SP6: 2011 Mock Draft Lockout Edition(Part 1)


We are a little over a month away from the 2011 NFL Draft, where players will be drafted to teams and won’t be able to play because the millionaires and billionaires that make up the National Football League just couldn’t figure out how to split up nine billion dollars fairly. While they worry about that, the Draft will still happen(for some reason) so it’s appropriate to hold a mock here on Sports Perspective. It will be in three parts, 10 picks this post and 11 the next two since 32 doesn’t divide by three evenly(I can’t analyze a third of a pick sadly). So we’ll go in order, giving you the player I think the team should take and then the player I think the team WILL take. So, let’s go!

1. Carolina Panthers. Should take: AJ Green, WR, Georgia. Will take: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

Analysis: Carolina is a mess, sorry Panthers fans. A new coach is taking over in former San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, so you have to figure he will bring a new energy to the team. In a perfect world, AJ Green is the first pick because he is an explosive play-making wide receiver and Steve Smith just doesn’t seem to get it done anymore. With Jimmy Clausen being a young signal caller, giving him a big target who has considerable upside does nothing but help him.  However the Panthers worked out Cam Newton, and the optimism on Clausen seems to be silent. Newton at number one could very well be the new Ryan Leaf, due to lack of experience. Great athlete, but has a very high bust potential.

2. Denver Broncos. Should take: De’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. Will take: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

Anaylsis: I’m going to blow the same horn I did on the last pick, oddly enough another Auburn player but this time it’s Nick Fairley. Bowers has the experience, and with no guarantees on Elvis Dumervill coming off an injury you want someone who can put pressure on the quarterback. Fairley came into the Combine shorter than advertised, and I believe him to be part of the Auburn hype machine they rode during their season. Bowers is the safe pick, but Fairley is the flashy pick and he ends up a Bronco.

3. Buffalo Bills. Should/Will take: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

Analysis: A consensus pick here, though if Buffalo traded down for someone who wanted Peterson enough to make a bad deal for their own long term future then I’d advise that as long as the deal is right. However, in this case Buffalo needs a cornerstone player. Peterson has the potential to be a defensive force for his career, and has the wheels for the kick return game. God knows Buffalo could use some pick 6s and returns for touchdowns. Peterson can assist in those categories.

4. Cincinnati Bengals. Should take: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Will take: AJ Green, WR, Georgia

Analysis: Carson Palmer, the long time Bengals signal caller, said he wants a trade from the Bengals or he would retire. Cincinnati would be wise to take this opportunity to deal Palmer to a team who wants a veteran QB, and take the draft picks they’d get back. In that scenario, Gabbert steps in and becomes the new face of the franchise. However, it seems a lot more logical that Palmer will be back in Cincinnati orange, and with Chad Ochocinco possibly on his way out they snag the best wide receiver on the board to give him a new toy to play with.

5. Arizona Cardinals. Should/Will take: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

Analysis: Lots of people have Von Miller, the outstanding pass rusher mocked to Arizona. That’s a fine pick, because Miller will turn into a fine player. That said, Arizona needs a quarterback and needs one bad. Nobody they have will fit the bill, and since I have the Bengals taking Green I see Arizona swooping in and taking Gabbert and hoping that he can replace Kurt Warner in an area that the Cardinals woefully needed help in last season.

6. Cleveland Browns. Should/Will take: Marcel Darius, DT, Alabama

Analysis: Cleveland gets a steal at the six hole, as Darius slips down to the Browns. Last year they snagged Florida defensive back Joe Hayden, and this year they can sure up their defensive line by taking the defensive tackle that many people consider the best on the board. Alabama had a little bit of a down year, and Darius’ stock fell some because of that. The fact remains is, he’s a stud player who can make an impact at the next level. New head coach Pat Shurmur is an offensive mind granted, but Cleveland needs a defensive play maker as fast as they can get one, and this will fit the bill.

7. San Francisco 49ers. Should/Will take: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

Analysis: Both quarterbacks are off the board, the best wide receiver is off the board. This is pretty much a take the best available player pick, unless a trade opportunity comes up. However, 49ers fans will be very happy with the Aggie should he don their uniform on draft day. He’s got a motor like a pick up truck, and hits about as hard. Will disrupt the passing game, and pairing him with Patrick Willis will be a linebacker duo the team and fans alike will be happy with for a long time.

8. Tennessee Titans. Should take: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama. Will take: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

Analysis: Kenny Britt is one of the best young receivers in the NFL. Nate Washington is serviceable, but streaky. Bringing Jones in to slot on the other side of Britt would be a quarterback’s ultimate fantasy. Since nobody is quite sure who will be quarterbacking the Titans with Vince Young out, the Titans will go defense on this pick and take someone whose got upside to turn into one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL. If he had not been suspended by the NCAA, he’d be talked about above Von Miller, but that’s how football go. Rumors have also had Houston trading up to take the cornerback Prince Amukamara, so keep an eye on that.

9. Dallas Cowboys. Should take: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska. Will take: JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin

Analysis: If this ends up happening, it could end up being the worst first round pick this year. Dallas has major issues in the secondary, with Michael Jenkins showing the toughness of a Little Debbie cake and Terrence Newman getting injured like clockwork. A step below Peterson, Amukamara would be an injection of life into an otherwise useless secondary. He would be an upgrade over Orlando Scandrick, and could learn from Newman whose best asset now is his experience. Logic, however, has never stopped Dallas owner/GM Jerry Jones. Watt is the exact type of player Jones would fall in love with, and with Igor Olshansky looking like his tank is empty he can cite a defensive line need. Watt is a fine player, but I’m just not sold on his translation to the NFL.

10. Washington Redskins. Should/Will take: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

Analysis: Whoever the Redskins quarterback ends up being, he’s going to need protection. Trent Williams last year is a good start, but you can never have enough quality offensive line depth. Washington is an old team, and getting younger at every position is something to strive for any time you can do it. Smith has leap frogged Nate Solder as the best offensive lineman on the board, and while Dan Snyder may be a Jerry Jones starter kit I think Mike Shanahan has enough pull to win over Snyder and convince him that Smith is the man to take to close out the top ten of the draft. Julio Jones is there, however this is a fairly deep wide receiver draft. Players like Smith won’t be there in the later rounds, so he should be the priority when Washington is on the clock.





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