2011 NFL Mock Draft: Rumor Is…


Writing for an nfldraft website that aims to be the most comprehensive draft website on the web exposes you to a lot of different information. I have a serious list of blogs and websites that I read every day in order to be very informed (and probably to a point misinformed), and to provide that information to our readers.

And at this time there are a lot of rumors and information out there (most false) so I decided to make a mock draft based on prominent rumors that are our there and rather than explaining the picks I’m going to discuss whether or not I think the pick makes sense and whether or not I think the pick is actually plausible, for teams that I haven’t read a lot of rumors about I’ll predict the pick. This is not a prediction of where players will land just explaining the probability of some rumors out there.

Just a freak-thing Da’quan Bowers didn’t go in this first round as I was exploring rumors I’ve heard and read. Obviously Bowers is a top 10 players and I don’t think he’d make it any further down than the Lions at 13, or possible even the Titans at 8. So, again this is not a prediction of what will happen or should happen, but an exploration of rumors you may or may not have heard.

1. Panthers-Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn

I just talked again with out Panthers insider @BillVoth who covers the Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina. And he reiterated to me the same thing he told me a few weeks ago. The Panthers are drafting Cameron Newton unless they can find a reason not to draft him. Mike Mayock recently moved up Newton because he said “he killed interviews”. This is definitely possible.

Verdict: Virtual Lock

2. Denver Broncos-Marcel Dareus, DL, Alabama

The interesting rumor here to dissect here is not Dareus, because the Broncos are going to have to grab a DT early since they have few left on their roster, but the fact that the Broncos are interviewing, visiting, seducing, and anything else they can do to let people know that they are interested in a quarterback and early in the draft.

Well, Elway has promised transparencey. I believe the Broncos are serious about adding another quarterback, maybe even as high as the second round, which would really be a weird turn of events.

Verdict: Probable. The Broncos need interior line help and Dareus is the best interior linemen in the draft. They’re not taking a WR, and no CB has been drafted in the top three picks since at least 1965 (and probably before that too, but I didn’t check the history on that as well). Peterson could be drafted, just don’t think he would.

3. Buffalo Bills-Blaine Gabbert,QB, Missouri

Chain Gailey keeps hinting that they Bills are going to take a QB, much like he did last year whenhe talked about how the Bills needed someone to catch the ball out of the backfield, though no one expected that to happen in the first round. Both of the top QB will intrigue the Bills with their mobility and physical ability. We know the Bills had had a sit down dinner with Gabbert and they seem to be interested in him. They know they need a pass rusher from the OLB spot, but in this draft players like Brooks Reed, Jabaal Sheard, and Martez Wilson could be available very early round two. While the only QB who might be left could be Colin Kaepernick and Christian Ponder.

Verdictd:  Possible.

But I should also mention that at the same time it’s been reported the Bills absolutely love Von Miller and Patrick Peterson. I think 100 percent its Miller, Peterson, or QB in the first round. I don’t think they will go DL, they drafted 34 DE in the 2nd and 3rd rounds last year.

4. Cincinnati Bengals- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

With Newton and Gabbert off the board I have to imagine the pick here would be Green, Bowers, or Fairley. If they Bengals can’t get a top rated quarterback at 4th overall they might resort to grabbing a big time play-maker WR, who is young and not in a position to demand the ball yet to convince Palmer to come back.

And even if that’s not true the Bengals should consider Green because he’s one of the two best players available and if the Bengals are going to draft a QB next year he’ll have two very nice young play-makers already with Gresham and Green.

Verdict Makes Sense and is Plausible.

5. Arizona Cardinals-Von Miller, OLB, Texas A and M

This is one that is out there and makes a ton of sense. The Cardinals have no one to rush the passer, Calais Campbell led the team with 6 sacks last season, which isn’t terrible for a guy who spends a lot of time as a 3-4 DE, but it’s embarrassing that he leads the team in sacks. The Cardinals like to mix a lot of 3-4 and 4-3 and they need someone to get after the passer from the OLB position.

Verdict: Good Odds. It’s Miller if Gabbert’s off the board and Miller is available.

6. Dallas Cowboys-Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

This is less of a rumor I’ve heard and more of something I think will happen. I think the Cowboys would trade up to #9 in a heartbeat if Peterson is available at 6, and I think the Browns could trade down.

Verdict: Likely. The Cowboys have no qualms about moving up in the draft grab a player they like and Peterson is arguably the best player in the draft and would be worth moving up three draft spots.

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

Fans want a cornerback and the 49ers have had plenty of visits with cornerbacks.

Verdict: Makes sense, but I have no idea. I have no idea what the new coaching staff has up their sleeves. Do they want to have two dominant WR? Do they want to add talent to their front 7 on defense, do they love Jake Locker? We have no insight into how this coaching staff will affect the draft tendencies of the 49ers.

8. Tennessee Titans-QB Jake Locker

This is an underground rumor that’s not getting a lot of play, but essentially the Titans will draft a QB in the first two rounds, and they would prefer to grab Locker at 8th overall than risk not getting a QB they like in round two.

Verdict: Possible, but would be a hated pick. I think this is possible, because even more so than Cam Newton the range in which Jake Locker can go in and the view points on him are all over the place. There are scouts who are saying, for sure he’s a first round pick and others who are saying he’s no better than a second rounder. He has all the talent in the world even if he wasn’t productive.

Matt Ryan didn’t have great numbers his final year in college due to a lack of play makers around him (even though he made the B.C. Eagles into a BCS National Title Contender for awhile) while Locker’s team really struggled.

Still, I think this is possible because we’ve seen this time and time again- teams will overdraft Quarterbacks. Josh Freeman also had a final season where he completed less than 60 percent of his passes and was considered a reach in the first round (how bad does that look now…he’d probably be the #1 player drafted if that draft happened again and teams know what they know about now), but physical talent wins out over all else time and time again so Locker is possible.

On this board though, expect Da’Quan Bowers. The Titans have recently stated that they want bigger DE and DT, and that is Bowers.

9.  Cleveland Browns-Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

Verdict: Possible. The Browns are transitioning to a 4-3 and could use help along their entire front seven. Mangini only drafted choir boys so he might not be interested in Fairley. But Fairley’s dirty play might not bother Holmgreen and the new coaching staff.

I think the other obvious pick in this situation would be Julio Jones and that’d be the perfect pick, but I”m exploring some rumors I’ve heard from conversations with draft people, or things I’ve read.

10. Washington Redskins-Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

Verdict: Highly likely based on this mock. I think the Redskins are going in one of four directions here: Jake Locker/QB, Julio Jones, OLB, or trade down.

11. Houston Texans-Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal

Verdict: 50-50. I think it’s either a 3-4 DE like Jordan or Watt or an OLB like Aldon Smith. I think Aldon Smith will be a player that intrigues the Texans more than people think. And it’s the player I think will end up with the Texans in my final mock.

12. Minnesota Vikings-Tyron Smith, T, USC

I’ve heard the Vikings, Cowboys, and Giants have Smith very high on their board.

Verdict: A virtual lock. Other than QB or DE I think this would be an easy pick for the Vikings. And with the best DE and best QB’s off the board here Smith is the pick.

13. Detroit Lions-Anthony Castanzo

Verdict: I hope so. For Lions fans sake. They need to protect Stafford that’ll be harder to do if they stay with the OL they have now. Castanzo might be the best pass blocker in this draft and would be a good player to grab here. I know the Lions go BPA and in this scenario it’d be Bowers, but as far as the rumor of Castanzo being a target of the Lions I think it’s possible. I do think they could be too enamored with a Defensive linemen here to make this pick though.

14. St. Louis Rams-Mike Pouncey

The Rumor here is not that the Rams love mike Pouncey, but that the Rams will address the interior Offensive line position sometime in the first two rounds.

Verdict: Unlikely. Spags tipped his hand a bit last year when he signed a ton of former Eagles and Giants and drafted a lot of defensive linemen. It’s in his blood. I think they’ll go a Defensive linemen here with this pick. They have a ton of age at the DT spot, and could use another DE as well.

15. Miami Dolphins-Ryan Mallett

What I’ve heard more often than not (though not in the main stream) is that Mark Ingram is UNLIKELY to go to the Dolphins.

Two major reasons: First they feel they have needs along the offensive line and Quarterback that are more pressing.

#2-The Dolphins want to desperately add speed on offense. Mark Ingram is a good player, but the one thing he is not is a speedster.

Verdict: 50/50. I think they want a QB and I think they’ll like Mallett’s big arm and willingness to throw the football. It depends on how Mallett does in the interview room, and I haven’t heard anything about whether or not he’s impressed the Dolphins with his personality.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars-Ryan Kerrigan

Verdict: Virtual Lock. I’m pretty weary of being certain about what a team will do in the draft so it’s crazy for me to write virtual lock here and It might be hyperbole, but this pick is a perfect fit. Productive, leader, hard working at a position of need at a position in the trenches.

Da’quan Bowers if available here could be the pick too (he shouldn’t be).

17. New England Patriots-J.J. Watt

Verdict: Probably not. It makes sense, the Patriots fans want this pick. But I just don’t think it happens. I think they go Rush OLB, trade the pick away, or maybe go offensive line. The other reason I think it’s unlikely is because I can never guess what the Patriots are going to do in the draft and if I had to make a guess I would guess J.J. Watt. They really have their own system and way of doing things.  Just call this one a gut feeling.

18. San Diego Chargers-Akeem Ayers

Verdict: Possible. Again tough team to predict. I never thought they’d move all the way up for Ryan Matthews last year, so who knows what they’ll do. Something they do like to do is spend high picks on cornerbacks, they draft a lot of cornerbacks early, so that’s something to consider. I know they like Big WR. A lot of this depends on whether or not they are ready to call Larry English a bust.

19. New York Giants-Corey Liuget

This is one coming from Russ Lande and Sportingnews. They insist (seen it written more than once) that the Giants are interested in both Corey Liuget and Stephen Paea.

Verdict: Definitely possible. Surprisingly, there are three positions that the Giants have been very reluctant to draft in the first round: RB, LB, OT.

They’ve had plenty of chances to draft OT and have bypassed them. Same thing with linebackers. It’s just a philosophy they have about drafting offensive linemen.

Running back is a little different because every year they heavily consider a RB (based on NY Daily News sources…they have pretty good ones they nail the Giants pick almost every year-including JPP last year.), but they just haven’t made it to them.

The other thing we know is they really value DL early in the draft. Barry Coefield might ask to be traded depending on the CBA and if that happens Liuget becomes possible. Perry Fewell also gave a glowing review of Liuget after attending his pro-day.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Justin Houston, DE, OLB

Verdict: DE is a Virtual Lock. The Buccaneers know they need a DE to rush the passer, but they also know that there a lot of talented defensive linemen in this draft and one of them is falling to them no matter what. Whether that be Aldon Smith, Houston, Bowers (only if his Knee injury is very serious), Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed, Ja’baal Sheard, Cameron Heyward. Justin Houston or Aldon Smith are even more likely because their G.M. says they plan on running more 3-4 sets and Smith, Sheard, and Houston can be players that can rush from the 3-4 or 4-3 spot which fills two voids with one pick.

I think the Jags, Tampa Bay, Broncos, and Panthers are the easiest picks to mock if they board breaks this way (of course I can be wrong).  But for those teams it just makes too much sense. Need is going to match the value available on the board.

When need matches value it’s a great draft choice and usually an easy decision.

21. Kansas City Chiefs-Aldon Smith, OL, Missouri

Verdict: Likely.  Smith is a great option if  available, though I think he can go as high as #9 to the Dallas Cowboys.

22. Indianapolis Colts-Nate Solder

Verdict: Possible. The question is not whether or not the Colts will consider the best OL available, the question is who do they like? Are they Sherrod fans? Carimi lovers?

Polian though is tough to predict, but it seems likely they’ll grab an OL here in the first round.

23. Philadelphia Eagles-Jimmy Smith

Verdict: Unlikely. Not unlikely that they’ll end up with Jimmy Smith, it’s unlikely that they’ll actually remain at #23 overall for Jimmy Smith. They trade pretty much every year (moved up for Graham, moved up for Maclin (slightly), moved their first rounder for Jason Peters, moved back to get Kolb. The Eagles and Pats are the teams most likely to trade every year.

24. New Orleans Saints-Mark Ingram

Verdict: Very possible. I think this is very possible if he’s available at 24, and there is not a good Defensive linemen.  I also think the Saints are a team that is likely to move up (with to 17, 18, or 19) to grab one of the best remaining defensive linemen because the teams picking at 20, 21, 22, and 23 all could consider DL leaving the Saints with no linemen they want.

25. Seattle Seahawks-Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

Verdict: It’s possible, but I”m not buying it yet. The offense the Seahawks have run lately doesn’t require a great arm strength, but rather smart decision making and accuracy. Dalton is a gamer and a winner, whether or not he’s a first round pick is debatable.

26. Baltimore Ravens-Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

Brian Baldinger: I know for a fact if Cameron Heyward’s there at 26, the Ravens are not passing him up

“[The Ravens would] probably do backflips to podium if DT Muhammad Wilkerson is there,” ESPN’s Chris Mortensen writes.”

Umm, ok. That’s the stuff I was talking about, all the misinformation available now.

But anyway, I think OT or DE are the two  likely possibilities for the Ravens at this point.  I choose Heyward over Wilkerson because I don’t trust Mortensen’s reporting. Ooh burn.

But in all seriousness the Ravens stick to their board as well as anyone so this pick could be anyone. It could be a WR, OLB, OL, DE, who knows?

27. Atlanta Falcons-Brooks Reed

The rumor I’ve seen the most are Justin Houston and Cameron Heyward, but they are all gone at this point. So I turned to PFT’s pick tracker and they have had a lot of visits with cornerbacks including Brandon Harris and Aaron Williams, but also one with Brooks Reed.

28. New England Patriots -Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple

Verdict: Same as Eagles: I just can’t imagine that the Pats won’t move around somewhere in this draft. As far as their interest in Wilkerson I think it’s possible. He’s been climbing boards and would be considered a good value here at 28th overall.

29. Chicago Bears-Gabe Carimi

Verdict: If the Bears like an OL it’s probably a lock. Cutler got abused last year and they can’t ignore this position and they will do what they have to do improve their OL.

30. New York Jets-Phil Taylor-NT

Verdict: Depends on whether or not there is a pass rusher they like here. I was reading yesterday (in Sportingnews, I believe) a quote from Rex Ryan that flat out said- If there’s a pass rusher high on our board available when we pick we’re taking him.

This is one team that has no secrets. They have been close to a Superbowl the last two years and they need a pass rusher. I think here ayers might be a lock, if he’s still available.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers-Derrick Sherrod

Verdict: I have no idea. I’ve actually heard less rumors about the Steelers than probably any team out there (save for the next one). Fans want them to go OL, but they are another team that does a great job sticking to their board so it’s possible they go with a pick that shocks people a bit. I personally like Sherrod so I think it’s possible because he’s a first rounder on my board.

32. Green Bay Packers-Danny Watkins

He’s mocked here a lot as well as OLB (Brooks Reed usually).

Verdict: I have no idea. If you can correctly predict what the Packers will do in the first round and you’re submitting a mock to the Huddle Report you should get 5 bonus points.

What do you guys think?

Which of these rumors is the least likely, and which is the most likely? Let me know so I can take them into consideration when I write up my final official mock to the Huddle Report.

Follow us on twitter @nflmocks