Mock Draft – Top 10
I am a self-proclaimed judge of talent when it comes to the NFL Draft, although I lack a lot of the resources the ‘experts’ have – I continually rank and predict prospects year in and year out. Even though I have do not have access to countless hours of game-film, I like to think I am somewhat accurate in my projections. Here is my latest Mock Draft the 2011 NFL Draft in April. This is my Mock 3.0 and is just the top 10 of my 4 round projection.
1. Carolina – De’Quan Bowers, DE – Clemson *
New Head Coach Ron Rivera is a defensive minded coach, and he takes over a defense that had just 31 sacks this past season. On top of that, DE Charles Johnson who led the team with 11.5 sacks is a UFA. Nick Fairley will be a serious option here, especially with Hayden and Landri (who?) listed as their DT’s. Bowers is my No.1 prospect and I feel they’ll want to replace Julius Peppers and that Rivera will be looking for a Shawne Merriman for his system. Cam Newton could also emerge, but not likely.
2. Denver – Patrick Peterson, CB LSU *
Sure, Champ Bailey just re-upped for 4 years and Fairley is still sitting here – but a team that only has 10INT’s last season cant pass him up. You could argue that Cox, Goodman, N.Jones, and Thompson can handle the job, but Peterson is a rare talent. The Broncos do have some FA’s when it comes to the defensive line (Fields, Thomas, Vickerson) so either Bowers or Fairley make great sense. I like Peterson, my No.4 prospect, here to sure up a pass defense against the bettering AFC West attack.
3. Bills – Cameron Newton, QB – Auburn *
Ryan Fitzpatrick is not a horrible option coming back, but he isn’t a franchise QB – is Newton? The combine will speak loud on whether Newton, my No. 8 prospect, is worthy a being a Top 3 pick. I think he is going to be to hard to pass up. A one-hit wonder if you will, and even though Buffalo has a lot of other holes to fill – I think he has to be the pick. Fairley would be great for the 3-4, as would any defensive line help. They’re two top tacklers from 2010 are FA’s (Posluszny, Whitner) so they need defensive help.
4. Bengals – Nick Fairley, DT – Auburn
Finally, arguable the top player in the draft, my No. 2 rated player, comes off the board and no one is happier than Cincinnati. There wont be more questions around any other team this off-season, from Carson Palmer wanted traded to TO, to OchoCinco becoming Johnson again. The Bengals had 27 sacks this past season, and aren’t losing much coming back from the defensive line – but you wont pass up Fairley at this point. AJ Green could be an interesting option, especially if Fairley is gone.
5. Arizona – Von Miller, OLB/DE – Texas A&M
Miller is my No. 6 prospect, and is a specimen that should shine come the combine. The Cardinals could be tempted if Newton is sitting here, and with Blaine Gabbert. I know they do not have the answer, yet, and QB but they draft two QB’s last season so I can’t see taking another young one this high. Kolb? McNabb? Bulger? Stanton? Gradkowski? They’re QB’s that will be available. Joey Porter probably wont be back, they lost Dansby last season so I like Miller at this point.
6. Browns – AJ Green, WR – Georgia *
WR’s have’t been a Top 10 target lately due to many who are bust – but Green, my No.3 prospect, will not flop. Green is a big 6’4″ target comparable to Larry Fitzgerald. The Browns need a big target, regardless of whehter its Mccoy or Delhomme throwing the ball. Petyon Hillis was a bright stop, but the team scored less than 30 touchdowns in 201o with just 13 from passing. No WR on the team had over 40 catches, and the leading WR (Chansi Stuckey) is a UFA. Mo Massaquoi would be a nice number 2 WR. They’ll also have holes to fill on defense – if Green is gone, any defensive prospect fits.
7. 49ers – Marcel Dareus, DE/DT – Alabama *
The Harbaugh ear begins. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in SanFran with the QB spot so – I think you have to think Gabbert, or Newton if available, could be appealing. They probably make a run at Kevin Kolb or stick with Alex Smith (an UFA). DT A.Franklin is a FA, and after re-vamping the offensive line last season – look for San Francisco to address the defensive side of the ball. Dareus, my No.5 rated player, would be a nice fit and give some versatility. Richard Quinn or Cam Jordan could draw some interest if Dareus is gone.
8 .Titans – Blaine Gabbert, QB – Missouri *
With the VY and Jeff Fisher ear over, and no QB – I think I’d be hard to pass on Gabbert, my No. 13 player, at this point. It’ll be hard to find a quality starter at QB in Free-Agency – could they lure Matt Hasselbeck? Or is Rusty Smith given a chance? I know they need to address the defensive line, but there is a lot of depth throughout the draft where they could fill that need. I also look for offensive line, for a new head coach who was an Offensive Line coach, to be an area they target early.
9 .Dallas – Prince Amukamara, CB – Nebraska
Terence Newman is getting any younger, and the Cowboys secondary has been a question mark for a long time. Dallas doesn’t have a lot of FA, and upgrading the offensive line and safety position (OT Free and SS Sensabaugh are UFA’s) may be bigger priorities – but Amukamara, my No.7 prospect, is too good to pass up. With DE Spears a FA Quinn or V.Miller could also be options. Maybe an OT rises a little and becomes an option here (Solder, T.Smith, Castonzo).
10. Redskins – Richard Quinn, DE/OLB – UNC *
Most people forget Quinn since he sat out this past season, but he can get to the QB. Speaking of QB – in my mock they miss out on the top 2. Im actually not so sure they take a QB in the first if one is available, look for McNabb to be back and for them to hope Locker or Mallet fall into the 2nd round – or target a young QB later. Quinn, my No.9 overall player, is a nice fit in the 3-4 system. Plus, Washington just needs to get younger.