Welcome everyone to the 2011 Thread NFL Mock Draft. While the labor situation has still left the season up in the air, there were still be an NFL Draft on April 28th and we are here to predict what the first round is going to look like. There are 3 of us participating in this process, myself, MYH, and friend of the thread Mark Rodriguez. The picks will be alternating like this: 1st: MichaelYoungHistory 2nd: Myself 3rd: Mark. And with the ground rules in place, the Carolina Panthers are on the clock and MYH will do the honors.
MichaelYoungHistory: With the Number 1 overall pick the Carolina Panthers select, Cam Newton, Quarterback, Auburn.
Analysis: So, I’ve been very hard on Cam personally given all of the <ahem> extracurricular stuff surrounding him,
Dolla, dolla bills y'all.
Blame it on Cecil...
But it seems that Carolina is more than a little bit smitten with the Heisman Trophy and National Championship game winner. Although Todd McShay does not believe that Cam is worth a pick that high, I will say one thing; with a new coach and staff coming in for Carolina, they need some new blood and a reason to get the fans in the seats. Say what you will about Cam, but he’s a blast to watch, and fans will love him. He’s already a media darling and the Jimmy Clausen experiment has gone as badly as possible. Cam needs some work with his physical tools, but he’s the best athlete at QB we’ve seen since Vince Young and played in an offense at Auburn that put up alot of points against vaunted SEC defenses. I don’t think he’s a week one starter (especially given the lockout, which will decrease his amount of time to practice) but when Clausen gets out there and stinks it up, ensuring that Carolina will once again miss the playoffs, I think Cam will get some starts towards the end of the year (See, Tebow in 2010).
The Big Socrates: With the 2nd overall pick, the Denver Broncos select….Marcell Dareus, Defensive Tackle, Alabama
Damn this man.
Analysis: The Broncos are in definite need of a pass rush amongst many things this offseason. This is due in large part to the fact that returning leader in sacks, Elvis Dumervil missed all season because of injury. The team also signed Jamal Williams from division rival, the San Diego Chargers, to play defensive tackle and got next to nothing from him. The Broncos unit finished dead last in the league in sacks this season with 23 sacks. To put that in perspective, there were 20 NFL players who had 10+ sacks by themselves. Marcell, most Longhorn fans will remember, is the man who forever changed the Longhorn’s fortunes in the 2010 National Championship game. New coach John Fox has gone on record of wanting to bolster the defensive line unit and the return of Elvis along with the addition of Dareus, will start them in the direction they need to be going in. Marcell playing wise, is a dominant defender that commands double teams and is great in run blocking. He has a high motor and is always seemingly in the middle of things. When paired with Elvis, they could make quite the dangerous duo.
Mark: With the 3rd overall pick, the Buffalo Bills select, Von Miller, Outside Linebacker, Texas A&M University
Von Miller, the best thing to come out of A&M since........well......
Analysis: The Bills have a lot of needs, especially on defense. If there was a blue chip tackle available, I would say jump on that. Miller is a freak athlete however and should give them that edge rusher they need. Also could see them going after Patrick Peterson or maybe even Cam if he is available.
Note: It pains me that a player from A&M will be picked before a player from UT.
(MYH NOTE: GO BILLS!!! I’m happy that we won’t be going QB b/c I think Fitzpatrick has earned another year…)
MYH: With the 4th overall pick, the Cincinnati Bengals select… AJ Green, Wide Receiver, Georgia.
I just wanted to sell my jersey for some extra cash. Maybe I should've been more like.....
Analysis: Both McShay and Kiper agree that the Bengals will go WR with this pick, and since Green is by far the most talented WR in the class, this is a pretty safe pick. My roomate in my first year of law school was a huge UGA fan, so I saw a fair amount of Mr. Green over his 3 year career at Georgia, and the hype is real. This guy is strong, fast, and runs great routes. He’s a potential #1 WR, and with Chad Ochocinco doing everything these days but catching TDs and an unhappy T.O., the pick makes sense. This guy is so talented in fact that some people have the Panthers taking him with the #1 pick.
Personally, I don’t think WR is the best way to go for Cincy. For starters, Carson Palmer has asked to be traded, and has said that if he’s not traded, he’d simply retire. He has vowed never to play for the Bengals again. Not that Carson has been any good the last few years, but he’s
still their guy…err…was their guy. Also, they had success in 2009 as a team that depended on a power run game and a great turnover-feasting defense. They won the division that year, but this momentum was lost in 2009 was the addition of T.O., not because he had a bad year at all, but mainly because they reverted back to the pass-happy Bengals of old and Carson sucked ass. Marvin Lewis is an awful coach and Chad is slowing down. They drafted two young Longhorn receivers over the past few years (Quan Cosby in 2009 and Jordan Shipley in 2010) and could easily snag a few more WRs off the open market. I think a better pick would be an OL to re-sure up that run game or someone on defense. But, they don’t care what I think. AJ Green will be the pick here…
TBS: With the fifth overall pick, the Arizona Cardinals select, Patrick Peterson, Cornerback, LSU
Just a beast.
Analysis: The Cardinals are in a bit of a fix. There are several players they’d want here. Needing help at QB, and LB at the top of that list. I think they try to pick up a QB in offseason (whenever that actually starts), and a LB later. The best player available at the spot is Peterson. Patrick is being heralded as the second coming of Deion Sanders. The guy is an absolute beast and with his size can engulf most WRs at the next level. He doesn’t mind being physical and can move all around the line of scrimmage to cover other routes.
As a Niners fan, it pains me to see him go here, but I think the Cards brass will pick the best player available here and take Peterson. Though if he falls, I thoroughly expect the Niners to run to the podium 2 picks later at 7. This could be the first reach pick of the draft or the first trade down pick. I think there’s a surprise brewing at 5 here.
Mark: With the 6th overall pick, the Cleveland Browns select Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, University of Alabama
One of the better WR/CB duels we've seen in the last few years. Julio gets the better of Patrick on this play.
Analysis: The Browns need a game breaking WR in the worst way. Green has already been taken, so why not go with the guy who had the better numbers at the combine and physically is the next T.O. Other needs the Browns are looking at are a strong 4-3 defensive end, but I don’t think their is one worthy of taking at this point. Though Jones may be a bit of a reach, he was very productive in the SEC. He is strong enough to beat the press and to wrestle away the jump balls away from opposing cornerbacks. If Colt is really who they want at quarterback going forward, then they need to get him a weapon so that he can develop, especially someone who can not only go across the middle and make the tough catch but also can get a deep ball.
MYH: With the 7th overall selection, the San Francisco 49ers select, Blaine Gabbert, Quarterback, Missouri
As the representative Niner fan, I have no problem with this selection.
Analysis: Being a UT fan, I’ve seen my fair share of Blaine Gabbert. Even as a freshman, it was clear that this guy would be a pro. He’s big, athletic, tough, and gets the ball down the field. He has great vision. What he’ll need to work on is his decisionmaking at times, as sometimes he’s desperate to make plays and holds onto the ball for too long.
As far as the Niners go, they have been struggling for the past few years, but with a new hot head coaching hire in John Harbaugh, its time to get some new blood at QB. They have one of the best TE’s in the game and are still high on Michael Crabtree, not to mention one of the best RB’s in Gore and a beast at LB. They have a nice core to build around. Alex Smith hasnt been a total bust, but he was a #1 pick, meaning that they excepted alot more than him. Last year they played QB shuffle with Alex and Troy Smith, but Harbaugh is going to want a franchise-level QB going forward. With a few years on the bench with limited PT, Gabbert may be that guy.
(TBS Note: If Alex Smith starts another game for the Niners I’m pretty sure I’m cutting ties. I refuse to endorse such a thing.)
TBS: With the 8th overall selection, the Tennessee Titans select, Nick Fairley, Defensive Tackle, Auburn
Analysis: Flashback to Week 4 of last college football season. I’m watching South Carolina vs. Auburn. I’m a big fan of the Ol’ Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier) and I’ve found myself rooting for South Carolina in recent years. This game pitted two early undefeated SEC teams that duked it out back and forth all day. But while Cam Newton was the exciting one on offense, it was Nick Fairley who was dominating on defense. Nick was an offensive linemen’s worst nightmare. A big man with quickness of a guy 20-30 pounds lighter. He terrorized running lanes, and he was vicious with his QB sacking ability. This guy is seriously a bigger Ndamukong Suh from what I saw last year. I don’t know if he’ll be able to put it together to be that kind of player, but I definitely saw that he could be that. Nick is accused of taking plays off and being a bit of and off the field concern which is sole reasons why he has been shown to slide here. With Bowers’ injury, I don’t see how he makes it out of the top 5 but if everything sorts out, the Titans will get a great player that slides to them.
Nick: With the ninth overall selection, the Dallas Cowboys select Prince Amukamara, Cornerback, University of Nebraska
Analysis: Man do I wish this were like a fantasy draft and Dallas had the wrap around picks. Dallas doesn’t have that many holes, but the holes they do have are very big holes. Our secondary went from a very good secondary to one of the worst in the league (thanks to the Texans however, it wasn’t even the worst in the state of Texas). The offensive line is very old and not that effective. Looking at those two positions, I’m taking the highest rated player from those two groups. Amukamara was a multi year starter on one of the better defenses in the country the past two years. He has great cover skills and will be good opposite Jenkins or Newman (my dream scenario would be to move Newman to safety for a few years and hope that Jenkins can remember how to play football). I wouldn’t be too disappointed if Dallas took Tyron Smith out of USC or even Mike Pouncey from Florida in this spot, or even moving back and gaining some more picks, but I think Amukamara will get the pick.
MYH: With the 10th overall pick, the Washington Redskins select, JJ Watt, Defensive End, Wisconsin
Analysis: Wow. The Redskins were awful last year. New Head Coach Mike Shanahan and Veteran QB Donovan McNabb had multiple issues. Albert Haynesworth was a fatass and didnt work hard. The defense was mediocre at best, and they really don’t have alot to build around. They could potentially draft at any position and it would probably upgrade their team in some way. I still think WR is their biggest need, and if Julio Jones is still there they’d take him for sure. If Julio Jones is gone, they’ll look elsewhere. If there is any team that will be looking to trade down to get more picks, it’ll be Washington.
The Redskins also need some help in their front 7 on defense. JJ Watt is a solid Defensive End who played for a stout Wisconsin defense. Scouts are very high on this kid, and most think he’s a top 15 pick or so. Draft Guru Mel Kiper describes Watt as “A high-energy guy capable of diagnosing plays, contributing in various schemes, and holding up well against the run while getting after quarterbacks in the pass game.” The problem with projecting this is that there are 3 DE’s in this draft that are all ranked pretty similiarly: Watt, Bowers, and Quinn. Quinn didnt play football in 2010 b/c of some <ahem> scandals down at UNC, so I don’t think he’ll be the first DE off the board. I also wouldnt be surprised if at least one of these guys is already off the board by the time Washington goes on the clock. Given the concerns about Quinn and the fact that Bowers may already be taken, I think Watt is the pick. This is a fairly low risk pick, which is exactly what Washington needs about now. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them trade down or pick Bowers here.
Alright guys, that wraps up Part I of the mock draft. Check back with us next week for picks 11-20.
*Sorry about the weird spacing issues. Couldn’t adjust it for some reason.
-The Big Socrates, MichaelYoungHistory, & Mark Rodriguez