Saturday, April 02, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

"Our love needs protection, our love needs direction."

So incredibly happy the Sox are underway. I have to tell you that I honestly don't care that right now we're 0-4 (and currently losing tonight to the Tribe), because you have the nucleus of this team locked up for like five years. We need to turn our negative energies into positive ones for the Bruins anyway...they need it more for certain. So yeah, Sox, Bruins, mock drafts...just slipping it in there. Seriously, when is it not a good time to talk about the draft?...or the Masters, which starts tomorrow (mammoth dark horse: Fred Couples). So let's see what's new and completely the same here:
  1. Carolina- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: If this is the pick, there will be football in're just going to have to trust me on this one. Warren Moon has suddenly become a player in the media again with his association to Newton, which has been both helpful and hurtful to Cam. Helpful because it's paving the way for him to go #1, but bad because when you start saying that people are hating on Cam because he's black, that couldn't be more ridiculous. People hate on him because everything that has happened off the field to him is for the most part incredibly shady...not a race thing...some people just rub you the wrong way.
  2. Denver- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama: I think one of the bigger storylines leading up to the draft has been the ascension of Dareus moving past Nick Fairley into the #1 DT spot, and potentially being the best player in the draft (although I still say Patrick Peterson). I think the lingering health issues of Da'Quan Bowers ultimately will hurt him enough that Denver takes stock in what they have at D-tackle and realize that they have nothing there.
  3. Buffalo- Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M: If this is Blaine Gabbert, I'll be really stunned because Ryan Fitzpatrick is actually serviceable to the point where he could be a starting quarterback on a playoff team...not that Buffalo will be there anytime soon, but Fitzpatrick could totally work out on one of those "on the cusp" teams (Oakland immediately comes to mind). I'm not seeing the giant step you're taking with Gabbert over Fitzpatrick. Von Miller is just going to work out for someone...he's more of a lock for me to pan out than Patrick Peterson, and again, I think Peterson is the best player "talent-wise" in the whole draft.
  4. Cincinnati- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia: Once this video really starts to get into regular rotation on SportsCenter and NFL Network (which it has somewhat, but not to the degree that it probably will), there is going to be a tremendous push for the Bengals to secure a weapon that will keep Carson Palmer around. I think he will be able to play on a team with the Ocho and A.J. Green...just no T.O. please.
  5. Arizona- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri: I know there was a semi-rant about Gabbert above, but I'm totally convinced that Newton and Gabbert do not get out of the top 5. Most of the teams at the top of the draft are in absolute desperate need for a quarterback, and one team (Cincy) may soon be entering that argument. If you're the Cardinals though, you can't move forward with Derek Anderson...I saw what happens when Anderson is given total control, and it can be a bumpy road to say the least.
  6. Cleveland- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: I love Sheldon Brown (Gamecock!) and all, but he's 32, and with Joe Haden already on board, Peterson would make this a downright scary corner combination. Cleveland, like Denver, will be the beneficiaries of not having to draft a QB or even have to think about drafting one. Both of them will get guys that they should not even have a chance on (with no Cam Newton, Dareus is probably going #1, if not Peterson).
  7. San Francisco- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska: Again, a giant hole in the secondary is being left with Nate Clements out. The only chance the Niners have on getting Peterson would be to trade with Denver...something perhaps to keep an eye on (although Amukamara is a guy you could potentially tag as "elite" in the league).
  8. Tennessee- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn: The Titans are arguably the biggest winners of all of this, getting Fairley at #8 when he was the #1 prospect to everyone once Andrew Luck decided to return to Stanford for his senior season. The Titans clearly missed Haynesworth, at least on the field, and Fairley brings the same kind of 4-3 run-stop/pass-rush DTs.
  9. Dallas- Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina: My gut is telling me Quinn or J.J. Watt here. I think both of them are extremely high on a Dallas' board and they are notorious for a) drafting defensively in the first round, and b.) drafting hyrbid linemen. Watt is more of an inside guy, while Quinn is a speed rusher. Right now, slight edge to Quinn.
  10. Washington- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: Receiver seems to be the #1 need, but I would keep an eye out for Tyron Smith from Southern Cal, which would be a continuing commitment to completely overhaul the offensive line. The big move would be for the quarterback here...if not Newton and Gabbert, then Mallett is their guy (who they can take here or hope he somehow gets to the top of the 2nd or bottom of the 1st and basically do what Denver did to get Tebow last year).
  11. Houston- Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri: If ever there was a "Wade Phillips guy," it's Aldon Smith...kind of reminiscent of DeMarcus Ware when he was coming out of Troy (who coincidentally or not was also picked #11).
  12. Minnesota- J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin: Having Watt and Jared Allen on both ends would present total matchup nightmares for opposing teams with Pat and Kevin Williams occupying 4/5 of the opposing line.
  13. Detroit- Tyron Smith, OT, Southern Cal: Tyron Smith claiming the #1 tackle position was also big news. It has become apparent after a strong combine and his pro day, which showcased his skills at both tackle positions, that he wanted to shed the "he can only play right tackle" label. It might be tough for Smith to last this long once draft day arrives.
  14. St. Louis- Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue: Whatever the Rams do here, they have got to address either their defensive line (with both tackles and the right end seriously up in the air), or outside linebacker, where more question surface in terms of who they can stack outside of Laurinitis.
  15. Miami- Jake Locker, QB, Washington: So here is the stunner. I thought Mark Ingram would be locked in here, but I keep reading reports out of Miami that they are really, really hunting for a QB. Locker, from an athletic standpoint, fits the offense perfectly. He is a quarterback, but one that is really ideal for those "wildcat" situations, or whatever other kind of trickery Sparano can concoct. I think Ryan Mallett will be the franchise QB of this draft, but Locker's upside is seconded perhaps only by Cam Newton.
  16. Jacksonville- Cameron Jordan, DE/DT, California: You never quite know with Jacksonville. They had two first rounders in Eugene Monroe and Reggie Nelson who were supposed to be slam dunks, and both of them ended up not panning out, then they decided to go off the reservation and got Tyson Alualu, and he actually wasn't terrible. Jordan represents basically what J.J. Watt brings to the table, and realistically, I can see Jordan sneaking into the top 10.
  17. New England (from OAK)- Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College: With no free agency this year (at least not yet), the draft will have a much more "need-based" feel than it ever has. Matt Light's salary figure is going to be huge once he comes to the bargaining table, a number I again feel will be way more than the Pats ever dreamed of paying a tackle on the back nine of his career. So, look for left tackle to be addressed either here or at 28, or wherever they end up drafting.
  18. San Diego- Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple: Stock is on the rise to the point where he may enter the top 15 after having a 3rd-4th round grade to begin this process.
  19. New York Giants- Nate Solder, OT, Colorado: Solder is seeing his draft stock slip after Tyron Smith and Costanzo outperformed him at the combine, but again, myself, and pretty much every other evaluator, had this guy as the #1 tackle, so the G-Men could get a steal at 19.
  20. Tampa Bay- Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia: The most shocking part of the draft for me will be if the Bucs don't draft a defensive end or a speed rusher here. Of course I am not thrilled about this pick at all with my love of Justin Houston clearly at its all-time high knowing that he's amazing and if the Pats don't draft a guy who can sack the quarterback in the first two rounds this year, there's going to be a riot in Foxboro...okay maybe not a riot, but I'll drive down Route 1 and scream "what the f%*#!!!," then grab a beer at the Red Wing.
  21. Kansas City- Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor: Tough not to believe that the Chiefs will try and snag the nose tackle to complete their 3-4 renovation.
  22. Indianapolis- Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State: There's a growing buzz on Sherrod which has propelled him from a borderline late 1, early 2 to a top 20 talent with no chance of getting out of the first round. The Colts have got to make sure they have protection for Peyton. The Pats went 11-5 without Brady, but I think it will almost be impossible for the Colts to even break .500 without Manning.
  23. Philadelphia- Brandon Harris, CB, Miami: While it is true that the Eagles' O-line is hurting big time, I think they can hold off on spending a first round pick on a tackle (which, in this scenario, would likely be Gabe Carimi) and focus on their secondary. Also, as workouts and tape continue to become more available, it seems like Harris is being completely overshadowed by Peterson and the Prince because he is on their level in terms of attributes and just great instincts.
  24. New Orleans- Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson: The bottom line about Bowers is that some people are saying that they wouldn't even draft him in the first round based on the medical info that has come out in the latter stages of the evaluation process (pretty much right after his pro day). Even so, you're looking at a guy who could have possibly been the #1 pick in the draft if it were held at the end of the college season. The Saints have enough ammo even after their fallout last year on "The Run" that they can take a gamble with Bowers and hope that, with patience, he becomes the total beast that everyone thinks he will be when he's at his best.
  25. Seattle- Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas: In my mind, there is no way Mallett should get out of the first round. He is clearly the most pro-ready of any QB in this class, and while it was fun to see Matt Hasselbeck take over the reigns of a playoff team again, he has probably one more year left in Seattle, so the 'Hawks should be looking for someone they can introduce to the system now so they are ready for the post-Hasselbeck era in 2012.
  26. Baltimore- Aaron Williams, CB, Texas: A team in just dire need of a corner, and Williams, for being the #4 corner off the board, can start immediately for about half the teams in the league.
  27. Atlanta- Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland: The pick from Day One, and I'm not seeing any reason to change yet. They might think about a pass rusher, but Smith's upside and the lethal combination he would have with Roddy White will be too enticing.
  28. New England- Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida: The Pats will again be looking at a pass rusher if they don't take one at 17, but they will be able to wait on the three that will most likely be available here (Akeem Ayers, Bruce Carter, Brooks Reed to name three). I really have no problem with the Pats going O-line for both of their first round picks. I figure with Costanzo and Pouncey in the fold, you can lock up the right side of the line, move Vollmer over to the left side, and hope that Logan Mankins can get signed (although that continually seems highly unlikely). A lot of people have suddenly penciled Mark Ingram in here...I'll say this: It probably won't happen in the first round, but we pick again at the top of the second round, and I wouldn't rule him out there. They have to go Pouncey here because I've begun to figure out that there's no way the Steelers are going to pass on Pouncey at 31. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they moved up and got him to create the Pouncey brother superforce in the trenches.
  29. Chicago- Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois: I've been reading stories out of St. Louis on whether to draft Kerrigan or Liuget...and that's at 14. Basically what I'm saying is that I'm finding it harder and harder to believe Liuget falls this far.
  30. New York Jets- Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State: Paea has the size to play in the middle of the 3-4 in Jersey, and with no Kris Jenkins, that becomes the Jets' #1 need.
  31. Pittsburgh- Ben Ijalana, OT/OG, Villanova: This was the toughest pick for me of the whole first round because the race between Ijalana and Danny Watkins is so close for "that offensive lineman who sneaks into the first round." Slight edge to Ijalana because of positional flexibility.
  32. Green Bay- Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA: His combine really hurt his stock because he was slated by everyone to be in at least the top 20 a month ago. Again, the Pack will be in a position where they can get the best available player.
  33. New England- Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona: I feel like with Ayers off the board, the Pats have got to pull the trigger here to get their pass rusher, because after Reed, it seems like you're looking at a lot of third-to-fourth round talent at the DE/OLB position. Another thing: I'm watching this guy, and he's got the Clay Matthews thing happening, which reminds me that we traded out of the first round with Green Bay so they could take Clay, so maybe this becomes a make-up pick? Hmmm...well, we'll see.
So we'll see what happens in the coming weeks, but one thing is for certain: The calendar says April, so it's all about the Sox and the Pats in the draft...hopefully both my teams can make it happen. Here's hoping for warm weather and someone who can take that ridiculous grin off of Mark Sanchez's face. See you in a few weeks. Peace.


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