2011 mock draft, take four


1. Panthers: Cam Newton, quarterback, Auburn.

The Panthers have decided to take a quarterback as the only team in their division without one, and prefer Newton’s upside and dominance to Blaine Gabbert’s mediocrity. With 93 touchdowns in 31 college games, Newton defines “playmaker” at the most important position in the sport.

2. Broncos: Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle, Alabama.

Dareus’ impressive college production has been overlooked in Nick Fairley comparisons; he was really only a full-time player one year at Alabama, and still racked up 11 sacks with 20 tackles for loss. A stronger option than Fairley, Dareus boosts Denver’s woeful defensive tackle depth chart.

3. Bills: Von Miller, linebacker, Texas A&M.

33 sacks, 50.5 tackles for loss, and 10 forced fumbles. The 2010 Butkus Award. Miller’s body of work compares favorably to all of this year’s top-ten picks, and his ability to bend and explode by offensive tackles is unrivaled. Chan Gailey will wait for his franchise quarterback at the top of round two.

4. Bengals: Blaine Gabbert, quarterback, Missouri.

Gabbert is the highest rated pocket passer in the 2011 draft, even if he never fully put it together at Mizzou. Cincinnati has been linked to pass catchers, but Jerome Simpson, Jermaine Gresham, Jordan Shipley, and Andre Caldwell form a passable nucleus. Who’s going to throw to them?

5. Cardinals: Robert Quinn, linebacker, North Carolina.

LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson is another strong possibility, but need trumps value when the talent differential is so small. A freakish athlete with 4.57 wheels at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Quinn would combine with O’Brien Schofield to give Arizona a formidable long-term outside pass rush.

6. Browns: A.J. Green, wide receiver, Georgia.

Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey, and Mohamed Massaquoi won’t cut it if the Browns are going to give Colt McCoy a legitimate chance to establish himself. Green has some Randy Moss to his game, scoring 23 touchdowns across 27 college starts in Georgia’s aggressive, pro-style offense.

7. 49ers: Patrick Peterson, cornerback, LSU.

The 2010 Thorpe Award winner as college football’s top defensive back, Peterson projects as a press-man corner capable of bottling up vertical, split end-type receivers. Also a playmaker coming off a four-interception campaign, Peterson would allow the Niners to turn the page on Nate Clements.

8. Titans: Nick Fairley, defensive tackle, Auburn.

Lacking scheme versatility and a consistent motor, Fairley’s “boom or bust” factor and inability to appeal to all teams will push a top-five talent out of the top seven. The 2010 SEC Defensive Player of the Year won’t bypass the Titans as a near lock to be the best player left on their board.

9. Cowboys: Tyron Smith, tackle, USC.

Smith was a right tackle only at Southern Cal, but his impressive length and athleticism have generated comparisons to D’Brickashaw Ferguson. With Peterson certain to go in the top seven, Smith will be Dallas’ highest rated player at a position they must upgrade with Marc Colombo on the way out.

10. Redskins: Jake Locker, quarterback, Washington.

Statistically, Locker grades out as an undrafted free agent with a 53.9 career completion rate, 15-25 record, and 6.65 yards-per-attempt average. Athletically, Locker is a picturesque fit for the Shanahans’ scheme, which relies heavily on its quarterback making throws outside the pocket.

11. Texans: Aldon Smith, linebacker, Missouri.

Draftniks question Smith’s ability to drop into coverage, but the Texans won’t pick him to shut down tight ends. Drawing comparisons to DeMarcus Ware, Missouri’s single-season sack record holder can be new Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ next big-time pass rusher.

12. Vikings: Prince Amukamara, cornerback, Nebraska.

The Vikes are enamored with Locker, but he won’t get by Washington as Mike Shanahan’s coveted quarterback in this draft. A safe pick at a need position, Amukamara could allow Minnesota to consider sliding Cedric Griffin to safety and upgrade a porous secondary save Antoine Winfield.

13. Lions: Anthony Castonzo, tackle, Boston College.

Detroit must draft the best offensive lineman available to keep Matthew Stafford healthy. Castonzo draws comparisons to Jake Long as a rock-solid pass protector with ample run-blocking upside. He’d start at right tackle in year one, and eventually replace Jeff Backus on Stafford’s blind side.

14. Rams: Julio Jones, wide receiver, Alabama.

Jones could conceivably go earlier than 14, but the odds on that happening diminish greatly once Washington passes. And we’re convinced Shanahan is smitten with Locker.  While St. Louis isn’t “one player away,” Jones instantly makes Josh McDaniels’ offense considerably more lethal.

15. Dolphins: Ryan Mallett, quarterback, Arkansas.

Miami’s front office has made its desire to implement a high-octane passing attack clear, and Chad Henne barely held off Tyler Thigpen and Chad Pennington last year. The Patriots’ scheduling of Tuesday’s pre-draft visit with Mallett indicates they’re doing intel on a player they anticipate landing with a division rival. Sorry mock drafters: The Fins aren’t taking Mark Ingram at 15.

16. Jaguars: Colin Kaepernick, quarterback, Nevada.

At the same time that local support is building for a first-round quarterback in Jacksonville, word recently leaked that numerous teams rate Kaepernick as the draft’s top signal caller. With a rare combination of arm strength and athleticism, Kaepernick is drawing Randall Cunningham comparisons.

17. Patriots: Ryan Kerrigan, linebacker, Purdue.

Kerrigan had more career sacks (33.5), tackles for loss (57), and forced fumbles (14) in college than Von Miller, and faced better offensive lines in the Big Ten. While he isn’t quite as explosive off the snap, Kerrigan fits the Patriots’ mold as a versatile, Mike Vrabel type who just makes plays.

18. Chargers: J.J. Watt, defensive end, Wisconsin.

Watt could go earlier if 4-3 teams believe he’s capable of affecting the quarterback as a left end, but he may lack the first-step burst that all four-man front clubs crave in linemen. San Diego’s biggest weakness is at “five technique” end, and Watt is the best one of them in this draft class.

19. Giants: Mike Pouncey, guard/center, Florida.

New York’s interior line is in shambles with center Shaun O’Hara and guard Rich Seubert both coming off serious lower-leg surgeries. Like his brother, Pouncey is ready to start on day one. The Giants’ front five would be Chris Snee, David Diehl, Kareem McKenzie, Pouncey, and probably William Beatty, with the rookie able to play either center or guard.

20. Bucs: Da’Quan Bowers, defensive end, Clemson.

Bowers’ camp has done its best to downplay the knee concerns, but last year’s NCAA sacks leader is dealing with degenerative arthritis in the joint. Teams will be extremely wary of a pass rusher who already wore a one-year wonder label, and is now nursing an explosion-sapping injury.

21. Chiefs: Gabe Carimi, tackle, Wisconsin.

We’ve admittedly had Carimi lasting too long in our first three mocks; this is a premier offensive lineman who would be picked in the teens if not for the abundance of difference-making, first-round pass rushers. In Kansas City, Carimi would bookend Branden Albert for the next ten years.

22. Colts: Derek Sherrod, tackle, Mississippi State.

Colts president Bill Polian has been publicly clobbering his offensive line for two years, so it’s probably time he does something about it. A 6-foot-6, 312-pounder with smarts (second-team Academic All American) and ideal length (84-inch wingspan), Sherrod is ready to start in the NFL.

23. Eagles: Jimmy Smith, cornerback, Colorado.

A legitimate top-15 talent with shutdown ability, Smith’s character concerns won’t cause him to slip past an Eagles defense that may be one right cornerback away from a Super Bowl appearance. Smith is a true man-to-man, “press” corner with enough physicality to also fill hard in run support.

24. Saints: Jabaal Sheard, defensive end, Pittsburgh.

Many draftniks wrote off Sheard after a relatively under-the-radar college career that included one off-the-field incident. The character concerns are overblown, however, and the 2010 Big East Defensive Player of the Year will be an impact rusher in Gregg Williams’ up-tempo defense.

25. Seahawks: Corey Liuget, defensive tackle, Illinois.

Seattle has shown minimal interest in retaining free agent Brandon Mebane, potentially leaving a gaping hole next to nose tackle Colin Cole. Often compared to Gerald McCoy and Tommie Harris in his prime, Liuget is an up-the-field pass rusher with a very high ceiling, having just turned 21.

26. Ravens: Brooks Reed, defensive end, Arizona.

Reed pushed himself into the first round with a Clay Matthews-like ten-yard split in Indianapolis, and the Ravens confirmed their interest during a March 28 private workout. Jarret Johnson is entering a contract year at age 30, so Reed could help on nickel downs before replacing Johnson in 2012.

27. Falcons: Danny Watkins, guard/tackle, Baylor.

Both Falcons starting guards are free agents, and so too is right tackle Tyson Clabo. Perhaps the nastiest offensive lineman in the draft, Watkins could start at any of the three positions in Atlanta. Though he’s only 6-foot-3, 312, Watkins has plenty of length (34-inch arms) to replace Clabo if needed.

28. Patriots: Cameron Jordan, defensive end, California.

The media overrated Jordan after a sensational Senior Bowl; he just isn’t a natural rushing the passer. Steve’s son still offers value as a late first-rounder for 3-4 teams. Jordan played in a three-man front at Cal, and he has long arms and massive hands to occupy blocks.

29. Bears: Marvin Austin, defensive tackle, North Carolina.

Austin’s college career left much to be desired (nine career sacks), but talent will keep him in round one. The nation’s former top defensive tackle recruit has rehabbed his stock with an exceptional offseason, dominating at the East-West Shrine and standing out at the Combine and Tar Heels’ Pro Day.

30. Jets: Akeem Ayers, linebacker, UCLA.

Coach Rex Ryan values linebackers that can both rush and drop, and Ayers was a playmaker in coverage with six interceptions at UCLA, two of which he ran back for touchdowns as a sophomore. The Jets have a great defense, but their outside ‘backers are mediocre getting to the quarterback.

31. Steelers: Phil Taylor, defensive tackle, Baylor.

Taylor’s foot problems have been overblown, and the 6-foot-4, 337-pounder could project as 34-year-old nose tackle Casey Hampton’s eventual successor in Pittsburgh. The Steelers would probably prefer an offensive lineman or cornerback, but may struggle to find one with enough value here.

32. Packers: Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive end, Temple.

SI.com’s Peter King reported Monday that Wilkerson’s stock is slipping late in the draft process, but there’s still a good chance he’d be atop G.M. Ted Thompson’s board at 32. An elite pass rusher in the MAC with incredible length and versatility, Wilkerson also plays a needy position in Green Bay.

Just missed: Maryland receiver Torrey Smith, Alabama running back Mark Ingram, Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward, Texas safety Aaron Williams, Georgia defensive end Justin Houston, Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder, TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, Colorado tackle Nate Solder.

61 responses to “2011 mock draft, take four

  1. Well, after watching Gruden’s meeting with Cam Newton, I hope Carolina doesnt have any complicated plays.

  2. Really folks? Every year the same thing happens. All the mocks get hot and heavy for QB’s going in the first round and every year most dont get selected until rounds 2 and 3.

    The most recent example is Colt McCoy. He was projected as high as the top 10 leading up the draft.

    There is no way more than 2 QB’s go in the first round. Newton at 15 to Miami and Gabbert at 10 to Redskins.

    The only sure thing in this draft is Patrick peterson.

  3. For the Ravens, I would rather trade back and out of the first rd if the best we can do is Brooks Reed. We dont have a good history drafting white passrushers. Dan Cody, Paul Kruger. Face facts, white guys dont make good passrushers. Too soft. Clay Matthews is an anomaly.

  4. Anthony Castonzo draws comparisons to Jake Long? In who’s eyes, Stevie Wonder’s?

  5. The Redskins are not taking Locker at number 10, and Shanahan does not “covet” him. Where you get your information is beyond me.

    Locker will be almost as big of a bust as Cam Newton will be.

  6. Everyone else’s mocks seem to be the same sans a few picks. This is refreshingly different, especially considering the draft never goes the way most mocks have it going.

  7. “Teams will be extremely wary of a pass rusher who already wore a one-year wonder label, and is now nursing an explosion-sapping injury.”

    And yet still draft him in the first round?

  8. I’m going to laugh my ass off at the team that drafts Jake Locker instead of Ryan Mallett.

  9. As a Bucs fan I would love to see the run of QB picks occur before pick #20.. but with Cameron Jordan on the board weighed up against Bowers and his knee… I’m thinking they go with the non-one year wonder non-injury issue Jordan.

    According to somebody with supposed inside information, the Bucs are targeting DEs Kerrigan, Jordan, Watt, and Justin Houston… but interestingly enough not Aldon Smith… anyway, Jordan will still be on the board and I think he would be the pick.

  10. I would take Gabbert’s “mediocrity” over Newton’s simplicity any day of the week.

  11. I have no beef with this..

    in fact any draft that has the eagles taking a CB other than harris from da-U is good in my book.

    Although the jacksonville pick is one hell of a reach., by so was Tyson ALALAUAUUUALALAU

  12. Can we drop the ‘Lions need a lineman to protect Matthew’ thought? I guess looking up league stats for sacks allowed takes too long. The problem wasn’t giving up a lot of sacks, it was his penchant for falling on the wrong body parts when he did get hit. Well that and Julius Peppers trying to eat him whole.

  13. No one can dispute Newton’s all-around athleticism (and winning smile), but if the Panthers want a Day One starter, that may be an expensive mistake. And I don’t see him learning much behind Clausen.

    Backer for the Cards? Who’s their QB?

    Gabbert to the Bengals? Will Brown free Carson?

    Colbert will take the best available talent, but o-line and CB are higher priorities for the Steelers than d-line. Hope we can fill those needs through the draft or FA.

  14. No way Cleveland passes on Peterson if he’s still on the board…I am getting sick of looking at these mocks that have the same thing…Tom Heckert is not dumb enough to pass on the best player in the draft…its just not gonna happen…

  15. I’ll bet Newton slides to #4. The Panthers should give Clausen 2 years before giving up hope. Don’t forget that the fan-base was crushed to hear that Luck wasn’t coming out for this years draft. Newton will be a disappointment to those fans. The bills have much more need for a DT or a LB and those positions actually have top-3 talent available on this years board (unlike QBs, which none of the the available ones are really worth a top-10 pick).

  16. In a nightmare Roger Goodell saw the future “face of the NFL”. It had features freakishly enlarged by human growth hormone and anabolic steriods, particularly in the jaw, neck, and forehead ridge. But more disturbing were the telltale symptoms of the primary psychopath. Inflated ego, absence of human empathy, lack of moral sense, overly exhuberant superficial charm, and constant denial and delection.

  17. Well as far as the Lions go with Julio Jones on the board it will cost St Louis a second to swap or they lose him, then the Lions will trade down a little farther for another 2nd, or 3rd and still get Anthony Castonzo, JJ Watt, Mike Pouncey, Da’Quan Bowers, or Jimmy Smith. Man Lions could be in good shape this draft

  18. “Sorry mock drafters: The Fins aren’t taking Mark Ingram at 15.”

    Are you apologizing to yourself for taking him in Mock Draft, Take One and Two and then hopping on the bandwagon that realizes that the Dolphins probably will not take a player without fantastic measurables at a position with the biggest injury risk, shortest NFL lifespan, and is the most easily replaceable?

  19. It feels like you’ve given up on the Redskins making a smart pick with their 1st round pick. Haven’t they shown they do pretty well with their pick recently? Quit slamming em with Locker so early.

  20. I guarantee you Buffalo will not select Von Miller, sources inside 1 Bills Dr are suggesting a reach pick. Watch the Bills take Kerrigan at 3, last year I told everyone here it would be Spiller, trust me this year it WILL BE Kerrigan.

  21. Would love to see the Lions move up to take Peterson, and If Ingram slips into the second round perhaps he replaces Kevin Smith. Also don’t think the vikings draft a cb. They need a qb, more, and drafting the best available is what I see them doing. As far as the packers and bears, I see chicago trying to fix the OL, and draft pouncey. Green Bay is always a mystery. I suppose it could be the guy listed or one of the others mentioned…

  22. So I have to ask, mostly because I’ve read just too much of your garbage now, but do you have any sort of journalism degree Mr. Silva?

    Your lack of knowledge on the things you report on is alarming. You’re supposed to do a little bit of investigative research before writing this stuff you know.

    I realize that PFT is a blog, and as such they toss around a lot of opinions and such, but you guys could at least hire people with a journalism background. I get annoyed reading something that is obviously the writer’s opinion, yet is trying to be passed off as “the facts.”

    For instance- saying that the Lions “must draft the best offensive lineman available to keep Matthew Stafford healthy” is irresponsible sports writing. The Lions offensive line in 2010 was 6th in the league in total sacks allowed and 3rd in sacks-per-passing-attempt. Clearly Stafford’s shoulder injury this season was not a result of poor line play.

    Rather, it was the result of a player who has never been taught how to properly tuck and take a hit. I watched that play live (and way too many times on replay) and Stafford tucks the ball under his right arm and falls directly on his shoulder. Had he wrapped both arms over the ball and fallen on his arm/chest the injury could have been completely avoided. Go watch the clip and you’ll see what I mean.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’d love the Castonzo pick because Backus is getting up there in years, but your reasoning is all wrong. Also, I highly doubt he’d start at right tackle before moving to the left side in a year or two. Cherilus played very well last season and there’s no reason to think we’d make another hole on the o-line by jettisoning our young starter at RT.

    I don’t mean to unload on you I guess, but it’s frustrating when the “experts” who are getting paid to write about your favorite team clearly don’t have any actual clue about said team. It’s not just this article either, every time I read your entries concerning the Lions I come away with the sense that you don’t have a clue about our team.

    If you’d like I’d be happy to give you my email and share some thoughts about the Lions with you… I follow them like its my job, so I’m sure I could give you some interesting leads, at the very least. Your call…

  23. 15. Dolphins: Ryan Mallett, quarterback, Arkansas.

    Isnt there alot of cocaine in Miami?

  24. if PFT wants their readers to boycott the draft, and believe me they do. then why are they doing a mock draft?

  25. I’ll give you props where props are do though- Colin Kaepernick to Jacksonville at #16 makes a lot of sense.

    A QB with his measurables and arm strength has 1st round pick written all over him. He’s athletic, fast, tall and has a rocket arm and a classic, over-head delivery. Granted he’s a little raw, but David Garrard is a great option to keep the seat warm for a couple of years while Kaepernick is developed.

    Also- @ kingjoe: you’re nuts if you think only two QBs go in the 1st round. I’d be surprised if any less than 5 were selected. And Newton sliding to Miami at #15? C’MON man! Like him or not, we all know there’s no way he falls out of the top 10.

    Newton, Gabbert, Locker, Mallett and Kaepernick are all very likely to go in the 1st round. Then you have the next wave with Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder, both of whom could sneak into the late 1st with teams looking to trade up and snag a passer before day 2…

  26. Say it ain’t so, Evan. A couple of those picks are right on like Locker to the Skins and Garbazo Bean to Detroit. That’s how they typically go.

    Too many QBs for the first round. They’ll fly off the boards in the second though. Dalton to the Colts in the second. And Williams will sneak into the bottom of the first.

    Also watch for trades down for the Pats to move up a little.

  27. So are lion’s fans actually parading here trying to claim they have a top 10 line? I mean, looking at the stats given I’d almost have to believe that.

    Truth is, it’s very average to porous. Homers see what they want and the mock is just for fun so settle down and don’t get your panties in a bunch. It’s not real, Dorothy – no need to tap your heels together.

  28. The Bengals taking Gabbert doesn’t make much sense to me. I believe you can take the top 7 QB’s in this draft and pick out of a hat. There is no guaranteed stud. So with that being said, wouldn’t it make more sense for the Bengals to take the absolute stud at WR (Green) and then get the QB in the 2nd round?

  29. As a Redskins fan, I see the writing on the wall – we’re 3-4 years away from being competitive. When incredibly talented teams like the Patriots have 2 1st’s, 2 2nd’s, 2 3rd’s – it couldn’t be more clear how behind the ‘Skins are.

    Therefore, do the smart thing – trade back for picks, fill some needs and suck for awhile. Hell, maybe even Andrew Luck falls to them next year.

  30. “Amukamara could allow Minnesota to consider sliding Cedric Griffin to safety”

    You’re kidding right? If anyone gets bumped into Safety, it would be Winfield.

  31. I’ll be smiling from ear to ear if the Bungles pass on Green and fall into the Browns lap.

  32. Evan, did Kerrigan really face tougher offensive linemen than Miller did? I’m not sure that the Big Ten has had that many OTs better than Loadholt, Trent Williams, Jason Smith, Tony Hills, etc.

  33. Uh, yeah….did you NOT SEE Newton last night?

    He’s not going #1 overall. I’ll bet anything.

  34. I swear PFT has projected the Steelers to draft a replacement for Casey Hampton for 6 years running now. There are bigger needs.

    Hint: they put two trophies on Aaron Rodgers mantle a few months ago

  35. After all the crying in here, I’m going to laugh if the Lions take an OT in the first. You guys are kidding yourselves if you think you don’t need one, regardless of the sack numbers.

  36. Also, as much as I like him, JJ Watt is NOT the best five-technique in this draft. What do you think Dareus’ primary position was at Alabama?

  37. let me get this straight,you spend the whole season trashing the bears even though they exceded your projections and the one area they need help in now is the offensive line and you have them taking defense?even though solder is still available? sorry but if he or any of the other lineman are still there at 29 they have to take them! if reports are true about seattle wanting a third rounder for thier pick I would do that in a heartbeat and take 2 lineman if I were the bears and stop patching the line and fix it now!

  38. Steelers would take Wilkerson over Taylor. However they won’t leave Nate Solder on the board.

  39. Dareus, Green and Peterson are the best 3 players in the draft. Carolina Panther football won’t be much better than Duke football if they go with Newton.

  40. The only sure thing about this years draft is the Union has torched it. Just like everything else it touches. How many businesses has the commies destroyed?

  41. I hope SF sneaks into the late first or early 2nd to grab Ponder. I think he’s the most technically sound QB of the bunch. He has great dropback mechanics and he is being overlooked, which I’m sure will fuel his desire to be great.

  42. Omg…… Not bowers plzzz. Ik he can be good but didn’t Tampa learn from there defensive injuries this year. Y draft someone who’s lookin like he’ll get hurt in 4 games. They need a pass rush or trade up and grab one of the to 2 corners since they’ll cut the bone headed talib.

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