2011 NFL Mock Draft Primer


To me, Where Jimmy Smith Will End Up is one of the most intriguing storylines in the draft (picture source Gcobb.com)

This is my “primer” mock draft. The “last coating  mock draft” before my final mock draft coming out next week. I’d really like some feedback if you think the picks are impossible. I’m going to throw a few curveballs in the mock to see how it can effect everything and then try to narrow what I think is unlikely and impossible.

I didn’t think it’d turn out this way (writing this after I did my mock). But it really took a turning point when I had A.J. Green and Julio Jones coming off the board by the 6th pick and I added in a few “out of the box” picks I have been thinking a lot about lately that no one is talking about.

 Once that happens the picks changed on a dime, as a few unexpected players become available for teams they decide they can’t pass on. That’s how the real draft works. I think a perfect bracket is more likely than a perfect mock draft-at least in a Tournament Bracket you knows the next line a team has to play on in the bracket, while trades in the draft can mean you never even know where a team will end up picking.

 The final mock will be submitted to the Huddle Report and hopefully with some critical feedback here I’ll be able to balance my crazy picks with likely picks.

I’m still debating whether to take a middle of the road approach for the Huddle Report or go for broke. I’m a bit of a contrarian by nature, so I think I’ll probably end up thinking outside the box and be pretty close to where this mock is now, even if that means I end up in either the very top or very bottom of the Huddle Report Rankings. It’ll probably change up a little bit maybe even a lot as I look to push OL up in the draft and move up Cameron Jordan and/or J.J. Watt. But I feel this draft is risky, yet possible which is more my style.

One thing I’ve learned is when everyone is at a consensus that a pick is a  sure thing, be weary, except at the top of the draft.

1. Carolina Panthers-Cam Newton

2. Denver Broncos-Marcel Dareus

3. Buffalo Bills-Von Miller

4. Cincinnati Bengals-A.J. Green

5. Arizona Cardinals-Patrick Peterson

Ken Wisenhunt is on the “hot seat” and I think they fully plan on finding a veteran to play QB for them this year and improving their defense. I think the Cardinals big board looks like this: Miller, Peterson, Robert Quinn, Tyron Smith.  The Cardinals also were terrible with punt returns last year and they can use Peterson back there if they choose to.

I think Tyron Smith is a sneaky pick here that can also happen. They have one of the worst offensive lines in football and Smith has HUGE arms and the body of Adonis and is very intriguing for a OL needy team.

6. Cleveland Browns-Julio Jones

The Browns forego a defensive end, which they sorely need to add one of the two top WR talents in this draft. The WR depth in this class is not great, while the DL Depth is pretty good. They have a much better chance of finding a pretty good defensive end in the second round than they do finding a pretty good WR in the second round in my opinion.

7. San Fran 49ers-Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

I really debated back and forth with this pick a lot. But I decided that the 49ers have a genuine interest in bringing back Alex Smith and they choose Amukamara over Robert Quinn and Blaine Gabbert.

Again I think it goes: Amukamara, Quinn, Gabbert (I think Von Miller or Patrick Peterson would be a lock if available).

8. Tennessee Titans-Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

I think the this is the lowest Gabbert can fall. I don’ t think the Cardinals will take Gabbert, it’s possible. But I’m not buying it. If the 49ers pass on Gabbert the Titans should pounce.

9. Dallas Cowboys-Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

The best player left on the board. The Cowboys have shown a ton of interest in Tyron Smith and thats the consensus pick, which as I said in the intro tends to make me nervous. I think the Cowboys really like Cameron Jordan, but didn’t expect Nick Fairley to be available at #9 and choose Fairley over Tyron Smith and Cameron Jordan

10. Washington Redskins-Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina

I think Quinn is one of the few players who could make the Redskins decide to forego Quarterback in the first round (or at least at #10. Quinn is  a top ten talent and gives the Redskins someone to pair with Brian Orakpo to help control the very potent offenses in the

11. Houston Texans-Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri

This is one pick gaining steam that I actually believe the rumors about. Aldon Smith is a good fit for the Texans and if they can get Aldon  Smith in the first and Stephen Paea in the second round they could finally be ready to win a playoff spot next year.

12. Minnesota Vikings-Tyron Smith, T, USC

I think there are three teams in the top 20 that will have Tyron Smith high on then their board: the Cowboys, the Vikings, and the Giants. I think the Vikings are the other team that is likely to end up with a veteran free agent quarterback to give Joe Webb another year of development before they write him off.

13. Detroit Lions-Da’Quan Bowers, Lions

The Lions have gone strictly with a best player available approach since Martin Mayhew took over and it’s paid dividends. Even though the record doesn’t reflect that they are a talented team, they are, a few more players away from being a truly dominant team.

The news today is that they don’t consider Jimmy Smiths character a concern, so that’s also a distinct possibility. But in that same report Bowers knee isn’t a concern either.

Bowers>Smith  and Castanzo so Bowers it is.

14. St. Louis Rams-Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

One of a few curveball picks. I have. I just have this feeling that Adrian Clayborn is going to go a lot higher than people think when teams keep watching his 2009 film. His 2010 film was not bad, but it wasn’t great like his 2009 game film. Clayborn is a much better pure 43 defensive end than Cameron Jordan or J.J. Watt which is why he gets the nod here. Plus I think it’s possible that Watt and/or Jordan go higher than I have them slotted here in the draft which means that I think the Rams could really like Clayborn.

Clayborn to me is a safe prospect and I think the Rams like safe prospects, just in my opinion.

Just a strange hunch though i’m sure fans are mad that it’s not Liuget or Jordan here.

15. Miami Dolphins-Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

With no second round pick the Dolphins won’t take a running back in the first round, in my opinion. I think they will like Ryan Mallett’s big arm and willingness to make plays. There are rumors that Colin Kapernick can go somewhere in this area, but I’m not buying it.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars-Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal

I think it’s Cameron Jordan or Ryan Kerrigan. With Jordan available he goes to the Jaguars.

17. New England Patriots-J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

In the real draft I’m hoping the Patriots take Mike Pouncey, or the Dolphins so my favorite team won’t, but in this scenario J.J. Watt is the choice.

18. San Diego Chargers-Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Ok this is my second, out of nowhere pick along with Adrian Clayborn.

I would go with Muhammad Wilkerson or Akeem Ayers here (and Ayers might be my final pick), but I NEVER get the Chargers right. So I’m going to mock them a player I don’t think they will take and see what happens. Seriously, I’m terrible at mocking for the Chargers, which I’ll admit.

So this is just a “feeling” pick. The Chargers have only visited with five first round players: Danny Watkins, Cameron Jordan, Ryan Kerrigan, Akeem Ayers, and Jimmy Smith. (6 if you count Brandon Harris).

I don’t think Kerrigan best fit is a 34 so he gets passed on here. Watkins is a reach, Cameron Jordan is gone. I think Ayers would usually be my pick for the Chargers so I’ll go the opposite.

19. New York Giants-Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

Everyone and their brother has mocked the Giants Anthony Castanzo, Corey Liuget, or Anthony Castanzo here, all of which are possibilities.

I think Castanzo would be a good pick, but will probably be off the board here already. Pouncey fills a big need, but I don’t think he’s best player available.

I think there are three under the radar picks for the Giants. Jimmy Smith, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Mark Ingram.

Bradshaw struggled in the second half of last year and the Giants and Jacobs aren’t getting along great. Ingram’s father also played for the Giants (not that it matters) but with Bradshaw a F.A. and Jacobs a possibility to get released and Ingram the best player on the board (on my personal board) the pick is Ingram.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

I think his best fit is as a 43 defensive end, especially RDE. He’s probably the best player available and fits the Buccaneers biggest need. Easy pick if if he’s available, which I think is possible.

21. Kansas City Chiefs-Anthony Castanzo, T, Boston College

Phil Taylor and Akeem Ayers fill bigger needs. But Castanzo can give the Chiefs a Good LT and push Albert inside. Castanzo will probably be gone in the draft at this point (possibly the Giants, or Lions). I don’t think the Chiefs could pass him up in this scenario.

22. Indianapolis Colts-Nate Solder, T, Colorado

According to Rick Gosselin’s tackle Rankings (his rankings are based on inside information and not his own evaluations so they’re always the most accurate in the business). Solder is the NFL #2 OT, so the Colts don’t pass him up here.

23. Philadelphia Eagles-Mike Pouncey, G, Florida

I think the Eagles like Jason Peters and Winston Justice more than the fans do which is important. Jimmy Smith is off the board already here. The Eagles interior OL are not very good and they need some help at that spot. Pouncey is considered a good prospect by many (though I don’t love him). Though the Eagles generally prefer bigger offensive linemen Pouncey has good height and could put some pounds on his frame.

I think Corey Liuget is also a possibility here.

24. Trade: Washington Redskins-Jake Locker, QB, Washington

The Redskins makes a move up to grab Jake Locker who still remains on the board before Seattle picks him at 25th overall. The Saints move back into the second round (details of the trade are not important…if you really care, without looking at a trade value chart something like this year’s 2nd rounder, next years 2nd rounder and a fourth. ) Where they feel they can add a player they’ll like along the defensive line or at running back

I think Washington is a very likely spot for Jake Locker at #10 overall, but if they do pass on him for a player they also love I think they’ll find a way to get it next year.

25. Trade: Buffalo Bills: Christian Ponder, QB, FSU

The Seahawks according to our friends at www.seahawksdraftblog.com have Colin Kaepernick as the #2 QB on their big board. Yesterday, Andre Reed sent Ponder a twitter message saying “Looking forward to calling your name in the second round next week”.

Maybe the Bills really like Ponder. If they do they could be willing to move up the 10 spots to grab Ponder, because that would not cost much (their second and one of their fourth could probably the trick). 

I’m not sure about this though. I think if they get Miller in the first they could grab a QB in the second.

26. Baltimore Ravens-Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

Ozzie Newsome said that the Ravens are looking for a WR. Gosselin’s WR rankings has Baldwin as the #3 WR in the draft. Baldwin has all the talent of a first round player and with the Ravens leadership in the locker room could be a very nice pick for the Ravens here at 26. Cameron Heyward and OT like Carimi and Sherrod are excellent options as well here.

27. Atlana Falcons-Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

I’m pilfering this pick straight from Gosselin’s mock draft. Hadn’t thought about it, but it’s interesting and I like it with most of the good DE already off the board.

28. New England Patriots-Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA

The Patriots haven’t shown that they must find players with great speed at the linebacker position and that’s one of the biggest knocks for Ayers. But his potential is very nice and his all around game and versatility is excellent which could really intrigue the Patriots. With Watt and Ayers the Patriots have instantly improved their defensive front seven.

29. Chicago Bears-Cabe Carimi, T, Wisconsin

DT is a possibility here, but if Carimi is available I don’t see them going anywhere else.

30. New York Jets-Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois

I don’t love Liuget as a top 15 player, but I do I think he’s a nice prospect. But there are a lot of people who think he can play on any spot in the line in a 34. The Jets need depth and talent at DE and NT. Liuget could do both (I don’t think he’s a nose tackle) and is good value here.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers-Derek Sherrod, T, Mississippi State

Sherrod is underrated to me. Good solid player who can play LT or RT immediately. He’s also one of the best available players here. Brandon Harris and Aaron Williams are possible here.

32. Green Bay Packers-Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

Jusitn Harrell is always injured and the rest of the DL have some other non-football related issues. Heyward is good value here and fits one of the few needs for the Packers.

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Tags: 2011 NFL Mock Draft Buffalo Bills Cameron Newton Carolina Panthers Dever Broncos NFL Draft