The entire first round of the 2011 NFL draft, mocked by Tanner Thoms. Tanner is including trades for the first time all year in his mock draft. Enjoy the read!
1. Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton, Quarterback, Auburn
For a day or two I thought the Panthers might seriously be considering Blaine Gabbert with the first pick, but now I’ve set aside these thoughts, because it won’t happen.
I’m still skeptical on Cam Newton. Clearly, many are. That said, he’s going to be a star in the NFL, one way or another. If anything, he brings a lot more attention to a franchise on the decline.
2. Denver Broncos- Marcell Dareus, Defensive Lineman, Alabama
From nearly every mock draft analyst I’ve seen, they all have the Broncos taking Marcell Dareus. For the life of me, I can’t find any reason as to why I would disagree with the experts.
Denver’s defensive line was atrocious last year. They truly missed Elvis Dumervil, the 2009 sack leader. Marcell and Dumervil should provide the Broncos with 20 sacks combined next year.
3. Arizona Cardinals (from Buffalo)- Blaine Gabbert, Quarterback, Missouri
3rd overall pick
5th overall pick
Third round pick
Third round pick in 2012
Fifth round pick
Quite the blockbuster trade in the top five right there, huh? I don’t know if this will happen, obviously, but it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if it did.
The Cardinals cannot go with Derek Anderson or John Skelton at quarterback next year. Larry Fitzgerald will leave if he has a terrible quarterback trying to get him the ball.
4. Cincinnati Bengals- A.J. Green, Wide Receiver, Georgia
The Bengals are going to seriously consider Patrick Peterson here, but in doing so, they might offend Jonathan Joseph, who is looking to resign with the team.
Wide receiver’s like A.J. Green don’t come around very often. Judging by what Calvin Johnson has done for the Lions, I know the Bengals will love taking Green.
5. Buffalo Bills- Von Miller, Hybrid Linebacker, Texas A&M
The Bills should be thankful to get rid of the bust that is Aaron Maybin. There were talks that the Bills actually plan to release him once the NFL starts up again.
Von Miller is an extraordinary talent. He’s been compared to Clay Matthews of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. I believe I rest my case with that statement alone.
6. Cleveland Browns- Patrick Peterson, Cornerback, Louisiana State University
The Browns made a great choice in drafting Joe Haden last year, who had a monster season. However, they need an upgrade at the cornerback spot on the opposite side.
Shelden Brown isn’t a bad player, but he’s easily replaceable. Patrick Peterson and Joe Haden could be the best corner duo in the NFL.
7. San Francisco 49′ers- Robert Quinn, Hybrid Linebacker, North Carolina
I’ve had Prince Amukamara mocked to the 49′ers for months now, but I’m a big fan of Robert Quinn. Even with his tumor concern, he’s worth a top 10 pick.
San Francisco’s pass rush is awful. Manny Lawson is a stud, but they don’t have much outside of him, and he might leave via free agency anyway. Robert Quinn will make the 49′ers have one of the best linebacker groups in the league.
8. Tennessee Titans- Nick Fairley, Defensive Lineman, Auburn
Nick Fairley is sliding on almost every mock draft I’ve seen, but he’s definitely talented enough to be a top 10 pick.
Tennessee is in need of some help on their defensive line. Jason Babin is a free agent and coming off a Pro Bowl season. If they can’t resign him, the Titans will be in big trouble.
9. Dallas Cowboys- Tyron Smith, Offensive Tackle, University of Southern California
The Cowboys are in love with Tyron Smith, it’s obvious. There’s been a ton of buzz that Dallas plans to take him with the ninth pick, if he’s available.
Tony Romo missed most of last year with an injury because his offensive line couldn’t keep him up. If the Cowboys want to finally have their successful season, they must protect their franchise signal-caller.
10. Detroit Lions (from Washington)- Prince Amukamara, Cornerback, Nebraska
13th overall pick
Third round pick
10th overall pick
Detroit should look to trade up here to get the prospect they’ve wanted all along— Prince Amukamara. He’s a great cornerback that they can’t afford to miss out on.
Alphonso Smith had a couple decent games last year, but he’s far too inconsistent to be an every game starter. Prince should replace him right away.
11. Houston Texans- J.J. Watt, Defensive End, Wisconsin
J.J. Watt is a prospect on the rise, and he fits one of the Texans’ biggest needs. When the Texans hired Wade Phillips to be their new defensive coordinator, he brought in the 3-4 defense.
Watt is a tremendous 3-4 defensive end. The Texans won’t have any trouble rushing the passer with Mario Williams and J.J. Watt on their defensive line.
12. Minnesota Vikings- Aldon Smith, Defensive End, Missouri
It’s almost a guarantee that the Vikings will take a defensive end in the first round, but the only question is who exactly will they take?
With J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn off the board, Minnesota should look towards Aldon Smith. Smith has been compared to Jevon Kearse in terms of his freak-like athleticism.
13. Washington Redskins- Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, Alabama
If Julio Jones is available when the Redskins pick, he will be their choice. I think it would be one of the biggest surprises in draft history if they looked elsewhere.
There’s a good chance that Santana Moss will be with a new team next year. He certainly can’t feel too confident, considering Washington has no idea who will be their quarterback next season.
14. St. Louis Rams- Corey Liuget, Defensive Lineman, Illinois
Corey Liuget is another defensive lineman that is on the rise as of late. He’s been linked to the Rams for weeks now, and it makes perfect sense for them.
St. Louis needs another pass-rusher outside of Chris Long. The Rams need to find an upgrade next to Fred Robbins on the defensive line.
15. Baltimore Ravens (from Miami)- Cameron Heyward, Defensive Lineman, Ohio State
15th overall pick
26th overall pick
Third round pick (2012)
Fifth round pick
It’s evident that the Ravens are seriously interested in Cameron Heyward, but can they risk him not being on the board when they pick 26th?
Baltimore wants to improve their defensive line, which struggled at times last season. Cameron Heyward should pair nicely with Haloti Ngata on the d-line.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars- Ryan Kerrigan, Defensive End, Purdue
Can you name both of the Jaguars’ starting defensive ends? I doubt you could, but I can’t blame you, for neither could I.
The Jaguars failed miserably with Derrick Harvey, so it’s time to move on. Ryan Kerrigan makes the most sense for Jacksonville at the 16th slot.
17. New England Patriots- Cameron Jordan, Defensive Lineman, California
The Patriots suffered through many injuries last season, but thankfully they were able to make the most out of what they had. It seens like that is what New England often does anyways.
New England must address their defensive line, which wasn’t the same after Richard Seymour was traded to Oakland. Cameron Jordan isn’t a good pass-rusher, but he will be able to take down the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage.
18. San Diego Chargers- Muhammad Wilkerson, Defensive Lineman, Temple
The Chargers are locked into taking a defensive lineman or a rush-linebacker. That being said, I doubt they’ll pull the trigger on Akeem Ayers, Brooks Reed or Justin Houston.
Muhammad Wilkerson has been on the rise for some now, which means he’s a sure-fire first-rounder. He should replace Jacques Cesaire, who will be a free agent this offseason.
19. New Orleans Saints- Da’Quan Bowers, Defensive End, Clemson
New York Giants trade:
19th overall pick
New Orleans trades:
24th overall pick
Third round pick
New Orleans needs a defensive end, and with Da’Quan Bowers still on the board, the Saints will look to trade up from their 24th spot in the first round.
Da’Quan Bowers will slide in the draft because of his injury concerns. However, his knee issues shouldn’t cause him to slip out of the first round all together.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Justin Houston, Defensive End, Georgia
For the first time since December, I don’t have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking Iowa Hawkeyes defensive end Adrian Clayborn with the 20th overall selection.
The word on the street is that the Bucs are targeting Justin Houston in the first round. Tampa Bay’s defensive line next year will look great with Gerald McCoy, Brian Price and Justin Houston anchoring it.
21. Kansas City Chiefs- Phil Taylor, Nose Tackle, Baylor
The Chiefs defense continues to improve each and every season, but one thing they haven’t been able to find is a nose tackle that can stop the running back.
Phil Taylor is easily the best nose tackle in the draft. Scott Pioli wants his version of Vince Wilfork, and he will finally get it with this pick,
22. Indianapolis Colts- Anthony Castonzo, Offensive tackle, Boston College
The Colts are going to take an offensive tackle in the first round. Everybody needs to put the “Andy Dalton to Indianapolis” rumors to rest. Peyton Manning isn’t hanging it up for at least another four years. By that time, Dalton will be almost 28 years of age.
Anthony Castonzo is my second-best tackle in this draft. Nate Solder is a close third, but I’m more sold on Castonzo for right now. Things could change soon, though.
23. Philadelphia Eagles- Gabe Carimi, Offensive tackle, Wisconsin
I thought about Jimmy Smith going here once again, but I think the Eagles are serious about signing Nnamdi Asomugha this offseason. In my opinion, they’ll get it done.
Philadelphia needs to work on improving their mediocre offensive line. Gabe Carimi has been compared to Jon Runyan, who had many great years with the Eagles.
24. New York Giants- Akeem Ayers, Outside linebacker, University of California at Los Angeles
I usually go with an offensive tackle for the Giants, but I’m not sure if New York is done with the William Beatty experiment quite yet.
Akeem Ayers’ stock is constantly going up and down, though I think he has first round potential. Drafting Ayers will allow the Giants to move on from Keith Bulluck after one year.
25. Seattle Seahawks- Jimmy Smith, Cornerback, Colorado
There are definitely character concerns for Jimmy Smith, but many players have had character issues before and went on to achieve great success.
Seattle’s secondary is one of the worst in the league. Kelly Jennings, the Seahawks best cornerback, is going to be a free agent this offseason.
26. Miami Dolphins- Mike Pouncey, Guard, Florida
I know that many people love Mark Ingram, but I’m honestly not a big fan. He was constantly outplayed by Trent Richardson, which isn’t a good sign for Ingram.
Miami should look to improve their offensive line. If they can keep Chad Henne on his feet for long enough, he will have an easier time making throws.
27. Buffalo Bills (from Atlanta)- Ryan Mallett, Quarterback, Arkansas
27th overall pick
Second round pick
Third round pick (from Arizona)
It was reported on April 9 that the Bills, Dolphins and Seahawks are putting in a ton of time with Ryan Mallett. This leads me to believe that a team is serious about trading up for him.
Ryan Mallett has a few concerns, but he’s a great quarterback. With his tremendous size and strong arm, he will be a star in the NFL.
28. Minnesota Vikings (from New England)- Jake Locker, Quarterback, Washington
New England trades:
28th overall pick
Second round pick
Second round pick (2012)
The Vikings, in one way or another, will get their hands on Jake Locker. No team has shown more interest in Locker than the Vikings, and Leslie Frazier has already expressed how much he likes Locker.
Minnesota cannot roll the dice on Joe Webb as their starter next season. The Vikings should sign a veteran (Marc Bulger), draft Locker and keep Webb on the roster.
29. Chicago Bears- Nate Solder, Offensive tackle, Colorado
Unless you live under a rock or you just don’t pay attention to sports, you know that the Bears have one of the worst offensive lines in NFL history.
Jay Cutler is a great quarterback, but he will never live up to his true potential if he can’t stay upright. The Bears need to find him some protection, which is where Nate Solder will play a key role.
30. Tennessee Titans (from New York Jets)- Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback, Nevada
New York Jets trade:
First round pick
Tennessee Titans trade:
Second round pick
Fourth round pick
Third round pick (2012)
The Titans want Colin Kaepernick more than any other quarterback in the draft. If they don’t trade up, there’s a chance he won’t be their for them in the second round.
Tennessee is kidding themselves if they think Rusty Smith can be their starting quarterback next year. Give Kaepernick a year behind a veteran.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers- Aaron Williams, Defensive back, Texas
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ biggest target is Mike Pouncey, but he went off the board to the Dolphins, so now the Steelers will be forced to look elsewhere.
Pittsburgh’s secondary isn’t terrible, but it could use some improvement. Aaron Williams is on the rise, and should replace Ryan Clark very soon.
32. Green Bay Packers- Brooks Reed, Hybrid Linebacker, Arizona
The Packers almost always go with the best player available strategy, and it’s clearly worked out well for them in the past (2005- Aaron Rodgers, 2009- Clay Matthews, 2010- Bryan Bulaga).
Brooks Reed will give Green Bay the consistent starter that they wanted on the opposite side of Clay Matthews. The Packers’ defense just got even scarier.
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