This 2011 NFL Mock Draft order is based on the official 2011 NFL Draft Order. Yes the order, and therefore the picks, will change numerous times between now and then. One more regular season week in the NFL , and the playoffs of course, so the draft order should look somewhat different between now and then. There’s also a lot of college football left to be played in the bowl games. Which means there are injuries yet to take place and draft stocks to fluctuate.
By Paul M. Banks
1. Carolina Panthers Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
It’s hard to decide what’s better about Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck as a NFL prospect, possibly the #1 NFL Draft prospect,- his strong arm, excellent read-and-recognitions, quickness and mobility, poise and intelligence on the field or his excellent standing off of it.
“He was hitting the wide field, go route, intermediate, and the thing that really got my attention is his ability to run. I think he had a 50 something yard run for a touchdown. So his ability, his escapability, I didn’t know what it was. I now know what it is. The guy is extremely athletic, as well, and he can run. So he brings a big dimension to the table and not just throwing the football,” Kelly said.
And Luck is also an exceptional student (high school co-valedictorian), leader in the community and icon of the program at an elite institution. Given how Draconian NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is in applying his character policy, being a stand-up guy today matters more than ever on NFL Draft day.
Carolina’s roster is a messy situation to say the least, and they’re looking to rebuild again, all over the offense. And the defense, and the special teams.
For more on Luck go here.
Car draft possibilities : 4-3 DL, QB, OL, DB, uhm everything
2. Denver Broncos Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Denver’s d line is terrible! Hopefully, for their sake they draft for need. To paraphrase Kanye “no one man should have all that Bower(s). After starting his career slowly in Death Valley, the 6-4, 275-pound specimen has found his penchant for penetrating opposing backfields.
Den draft possibilities: WR, 3-4 DL, 3-4 LB, RB
In 2010, it was all about Suh vs. McCoy when it came to NFL Draft debates, this year the position battle is at wideout not tackle. And in ’11 it’s Green vs. Jones. It’s a LOADED class at WR, and these two studs lead the way. Green is a guy who can both be dangerous underneath, and stretch the field. Forget that whole jersey-selling incident; the NCAA needs to relax when it comes to situations like that.
Cin draft possibilities: 4-3 LB, 4-3 DL, DB, OL
The Cards seem content to throw a bunch of money at Donovan McNabb in the offseason, so they likely won’t be addressing their quarterback issues in the draft. Their cornerback issues? Different story. It’s between Peterson or Amukamara.
5. Detroit Lions Marcel Dareus, DE, Alabama
Dareus is just over 3 bills, and he’s excellent at moving all that wait around quickly and gracefully. He’s shown a lot of versatility in Nick Saban’s hybrid schematics and perhaps that acumen will carry over to the more sophisticated schemes in the NFL. Imagine what a revamped and dominating defensive front the Lions would have if you teamed Dareus with Ndamukong Suh and Kyle Vanden Bosch. KVB is a leader in the weight room and in conditioning sessions, he’d be perfect mentor for Dareus. And as you might have noticed, the Lions need help in the pass defense department. Might help ‘em out a bit to get more of a rush, eh?
Even though Detroit looked a lot better than usual this season, they’re still the Lions,and found their way back to the top five draft choices. But they got a great pick at #2 last year. To read an exclusive with Suh, and see how his rookie year went, go here.
Det draft possibilities: RB, DB, OL, 4-3 LB
6. Buffalo Bills, Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
And we have our first WTF?! moment of the draft. Although that moment is courtesy of Buffalo, so those moments are actually to be expected. Newton is shooting up scout’s big boards though, after literally coming out of nowhere in 2010. And Buffalo desperately needs a new signal caller, why not do something rash? At this level, Newton is allowed to “take the money and run.” And soon, he’ll be “big paper like pancakes stacking ‘em up.
Buf draft possibilities: QB, OL, 3-4 LB, 3-4 DL
7. San Francisco Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
Mallett has that cannon for an arm that all NFL personnel look for when building their offense. He just needs seasoning and to build more consistency. He looks like a QB prospect that has all the requisite tangibles. Intangibles? that’s a different story. But Alex Smith was a train wreck of a pick, and Troy Smith is just a nice stop-gap; not a long term solution
S.F. draft possibilities DB, QB, 3-4 DL/LB
8. Dallas Cowboys Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Like Ndamukong Suh last season, the Huskers have produced a top NFL defensive prospect with a very difficult name to spell and pronounce. And like Suh last year, he shot up NFL Draft big boards later in the seasonal cycle. He returned this fall without seeking a round projection from the NFL Draft advisory committee. Dallas needs a lot of help in stopping the pass, and Peterson is a top 5 prospect.
Dal draft possibilities: 3-4 DL, DB, OL, WR
The Skins run defense is atrocious, and they could also use more rush from their front seven. This fall, I asked Kerrigan what it was specifically about the 4-3 scheme that played to his strengths.
“I’m a hand in the ground guy, so I feel like that’s what suits me best, I’m not as comfortable from the stand-up linebacker position. We do that a little bit, so I’m not totally against it, but I’m just a little more comfortable with my hand in the ground do I can fire off the ball better,” Kerrigan answered.
To read an exclusive interview/profile of Kerrigan go here
Was draft possibilities: OL, DB, WR, RB
10. Houston Texans Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
Quinn is shaping up to be this draft’s wildcard. He could go as high as the top 5, or fall out of the first round entirely. It depends on a multitude of factors, such as 3-4 teams looking for rush linebacker, or 4-3 units like Tampa that project him as a 4-3 outside linebacker prospect. and how he does at the combine.
Right now collegiate defensive ends shifting over to linebacker at the professional level are hotter than Hayden Panetierre’s legs in short shorts.
Quinn is like Miami’s Allen Bailey, Pitt’s Greg Romeus and Texas’ Sam Acho, collegiate defensive ends who could likely find themselves playing a linebacker position in the NFL; all dependent on scheme.
Hou draft possibilities: DB, RB, 4-3 DL, OL
11. Minnesota Vikings Nick Fairley, DL, Auburn
Fairley is the defensive of equivalent of Cam (or as his haters call him $cam) Newton. Came out of nowhere to become dominant. From obscurity to the top of the college football pantheon, Fairley can play in either the 3-4 or the 4-3 and he’ll give the Vikes the first obvious value pick in this draft.Yes, I’m aware that the d line is not their biggest area of need, but we’re predicting they go after a QB in free agency, not the draft. (Read more about that here and here) And Fairley can play either tackle or end, making him a great pick-up.
Min draft possibilities: QB, WR, DB, 4-3 LB
12. Cleveland Browns Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Everyone raves about JJ’s potential and measurables. Not so much about all his drops, but he redeems himself with his durability. In Colt McCoy, the Browns found themselves a young signal-caller in the draft. The next year they add a play-maker to go with him. Look for the St. Louis Rams to do the same.
Cle draft possibilities: QB, WR, RB, DB
13. Seattle Seahawks Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Despite all the on-the-field issues Locker has shown this season, there’s no way the Hawks pass up on the hometown boy. This pick is a mutually beneficial relationship. Locker is the poster child for “if you can leave early do it! You’ll be kicking yourself later)
How far has this guy fallen? The day after the 2010 NFL Draft I received a Jake Locker promotional postcard from the Univ. of Washington in the mail. Here are some of the more interesting quotes included in it. “”If he’s not the number one pick in 2011, it’s an upset,” Mel Kiper Jr. “If I didn’t have to coach against him, I’d be a bigger fan,” Jim Harbaugh. Since then I’ve gotten two more promotional and informational postcards from UW, but both came before his 4 of 20 passing disaster in week two. The luster is off Locker now.
To read about my tour of Seattle’s Qwest Field go here
Sea draft possibilities: QB, OL, 4-3 DL, DB
NFL teams are more careful than ever in this era of Roger Goodell’s attempts at legislating morality. Because there are no doubts about Clayborn’s ability on the field. The All-American Honorable Mention had 11.5 sacks last year, and took home the Orange Bowl MVP and National Defensive Performer of the Year Awards.
But a racially-charged incident with an Iowa City cab driver has put his character, and therefore his NFL Draft Stock, into question. After reading this interview/article, any concerns of this sort will be alleviated.
“I would not rather put it all out there. But there were words exchanged that somebody shouldn’t say,” he responded.
“I think I made the right decision. Can’t go back on it now, so why think about it?” He said.
The former Missouri state high school player of the year, who finds himself everybody’s preseason All-American, as well as on the watch lists for the Lott, Lombardi, and Hendricks awards, didn’t even put in the paperwork for the NFL draft last spring. But he did take out the NCAA insurance policy protecting his potential future earnings from the catastrophe of a career ending injury.
For an exclusive interview/profile of Clayborn go here and here
Ten draft possibilities: 4-3 DL, 4-3 LB, WR, QB
It was a shame that ’06 first round pick, Laurence Maroney, out of Minnesota, didn’t pan out. Early in his career, he truly showed flashes of being their legit replacement for Corey Dillon. However, the tandem of Law Firm/Boston Legal and Woodhead have given the Pats the best ground game they’ve had since Dillon left football. (For what he’s up to since retiring go here). Therefore, the Pats will consider tailback in a later round, not here.
Moore who picked off ten passes last fall, and has all the skills to play “centerfield” in the NFL. I know what you’re saying- it’s a reach to pick a safety this high, so few of them go in the first round. And to that I say what did we learn with this past draft? Did much of it make sense?
I yelled obscenities at the television when Belichick took Devin McCourty out of Rutgers last April. It seemed like the least of their worries at the time. Yet it was a brilliant move, as McCourty might discover the next “Revis Island.” In Brandon “Hollaman” Meriweather, the Pats have have another good DB. But then the talent level in the secondary drops off.
NE draft possibilities: 3-4 DB, 3-4 LB, WR, trading down and acquiring more picks (oh, wait- that’s a certainty)
16. Miami Dolphins Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Ask the Dolphins ground game how it’s going? So this is what the “wildcat” era eventually led to? But overall, not a bad place for the
For an feature profile/exclusive interview of Ingram go here
Mia possibilities: 3-4 LB, 3-4 DL, QB, OL
17. San Diego Chargers Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
Carter is another guy who could have possibly been picked this year, but went back to school to sharpen up his skills. He’s speedy, and could make a great fit at the SAM position. It looks like another season where all the experts are predicting San Diego to win the whole thing, but once again they’ll fall short. I was never sold on them like other people, partially because they’re lead by Norv Turner- and I know what he is. And they have an aging front seven; rejuvenating that should be priority #1 for the draft.
S.D. weaknesses: 3-4 LB, 3-4 DL, DB, RB
18. Jacksonville Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
Jacksonville’s 2010 NFL Draft made no sense to me yet here they are about to possibly win the AFC South. Some of their draft decisions seemed almost “Millenesque” to me. Yet here they are. I don’t get it. Also how can you be an NFL franchise, a winning franchise no less and lose money? I don’t know, ask Jax. How about taking somebody to help ease the burden on MoJo? He’s having a great season but with another year of 300+ carries, he’s not going to be there forever. Unless they believe Rashad Jennings is the long term answer.
Jax draft possibilities: 4-3 DB, 4-3 DL, RB, QB
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska
Crick learned from one of the best (Suh) last season, and like Ndamukong, he’s a big, fast, athletic player whose knows how to get off blocks and find the opponents’ backfield. Bucs are having a great year, a pleasantly surprising season. However, they need another pass-rusher.
T.B. draft possibilities: 4-3 DL, 4-3 LB, RB, WR
This large athletic man projects to a solid LT in the NFL, and could make for a good young pair of bookend tackles with this year’s #1 Bryan Bulaga.
Floyd entered this season with a career 84.1 receiving yards per game average, highest in the nation among returning receivers. His 5.1 catches per game is fourth among active returning FBS pass-catchers. He’s currently second on the school list for career 100 yard receiving yard games with nine. He needs three more C-Notes to catch Golden Tate for the ND record.
Floyd had an ok season, but not spectacular, as he transitioned from the pro-style to the spread-option.
“A lot of different routes, with the spread you can be inside, you can be outside, so there’s a lot of routes you need to know. I think everything’s going to come together, we’re going to get better as the season goes on,” Floyd said.
And of course no story about Michael Floyd is complete without mentioning that the true key to his realization of that enormous potential is staying healthy. Floyd led all FBS wideouts in the nation with a 29.09 yards per catch average and he was tied for the national lead in receiving TDs when he suffered a broken collarbone against Michigan State. But this year he only missed one game; meaning he tacitly answered the biggest question scouts have about him. That means he’s as good as gone. Mostly because any concerns you might have about his declining production in the spread-option won’t matter in the NFL.
For a more in depth-profile of Floyd go here.
Stl. draft possibilities: QB, WR, 4-3 DL, DB
22. Indianapolis Colts Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Indy has some obvious wholes in the defensive front seven. And being ravaged by unjuries more than any other team in the NFL (well, possibly Green Bay) didn’t help. Miller is the top player at the rush linebacker position in this class, and his versatility will get him noticed. A LOT. If he adds more functional strength, he’ll be the ideal 3-4 pass-rushing prospect.
23. Kansas City Chiefs Anthony Castonzo, OL, Boston College
B.C. is quickly becoming “OT U.” Exciting. Yes, I know. But big AC from BC can be as hard-hitting as the music of AC/DC. (damn keyboard, why can’t I figure out how to make a lightning bolt?)
24. NYG Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
NYG’s Jerry Reese is truly a value GM, who’ll take best guy available on the board. Even though the passing game is pretty much fine with this particular team in Gotham. In ’09 Baldwin, who goes 6-5, 225, caught 57 for 1,111 yards and 8 TDs. In ’10, the offense’s instability limited his production. However, he’s a giant physical freak and he’ll wow ‘em at the combine.
For more with/about Baldwin go here
NYG weaknesses DB, 4-3 LB, OL, RB
25. New Orleans Allen Bailey, DT, Miami
Bailey has all the natural gifts and skill sets, but he’s been quite inconsistent over his collegiate career. This could be like a bit of a stretch, but NOLA doesn’t have a ton of needs, and now would be a good time for them to take a flier. And they’ll likely draft for defense in ’11.
N.O. draft possibilities: 4-3 LB, 4-3 DL, RB, DB
We know the Bears offensive tackles are TERRIBLE. And we know Jerry Angelo is AWFUL at making personnel decisions! But they need to do something in April, since you and I could probably start at offensive tackle for them. Provided you and I were both 300+ pounds and able to power clean a small battleship.
Carimi, a 6-7, 327 senior from Cottage Grove Wisconsin who’s looking like a top ten pick in April’s draft. Carimi was named preseason First-team All-American by Lindy’s and Consensus Draft Services, as well as first-team All-American and All-Big Ten by Athlon Sports.
He’s shown both power and agility in pushing off defenders and opening holes. He’s arguably the top tackle in this draft, as his physical attributes set him apart from the rest: long arms, quick feet, and solid footwork.
Although he has a lot of experience and size, but he still lacks athleticism and technique. Also, scouts have no idea if he’ll play on the right or left side in the NFL and that could hurt his draft stock. He took over Joe Thomas’ (#3 overall pick in 2007) starting spot protecting the QB’s blind side, and never looked back.
“I was a freshman that year, so I took some technique from him,” Carimi said about what he learned from Thomas.
Carimi sees his biggest positive as “my upper body strength,” and his currently working on “lower-body strength and defending the bull-rush.”
Chi weaknesses: WR, DB, OL, RB,
Jones’ position coach described him as “an instinctive player with a great motor” and “a relentless competitor who never gives up on a play” The 6-1, 223 pound junior has tremendous NFL potential. Inside linebackers just don’t get drafted very high. Yes I know that, but Jones is about as good as it gets at the position.
The Jets need to find a way to bring more pressure in an increasingly pass-happy league.
For an exclusive interview/feature profile of Jones go here
“I’m trying to work on finishing, putting more players on the ground, as I’m a senior here and I’ve gone from being a freshman where most guys are stronger than me to now, I’m at a point where I’m stronger than most of the people I’m blocking. My uncle was one of those guys that always blocked through the whistle and I’ve tried to learn from him,” the big guy told me.
That uncle is former Penn State All-American Guard Steve Wisniewski. Who went on to make the Pro Bowl eight of his thirteen seasons with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders.
So obviously blocking is in the Wisniewski blood. Other people might not care about the OL a whole lot, but I enjoy listening to offensive linemen talk about their craft. I asked Stefen what he believes his biggest strength is.
“Probably technique, I pride myself on having really good technique, taking right steps, having good leverage, and putting my hands in the right spots,” he responded.
For more with Wisniewski go here.
Bal draft possibilities: QB, WR, OL
If they’re drafting for need, then they must go OL. Moffit was named second-team All-American by Lindy’s, Athlon Sports and Consensus Draft Services, and first-team All-Big Ten by Athlon and Blue Ribbon. He’s also on the Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List. Here’s our Q&A with the 6-5 324 senior from Connecticut.
Phi draft possibilities: OL, DB, RB
30. Pittsburgh Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
Nevis has had a breakout 2010, and spends a lot of time in opponents’ backfields. He’ll be a great value pick here.
Pit draft possibilities: OL, WR, QB, DL
Atlanta could really use a TE. Even though Rudolph missed the back half of 2010, his body of work has said enough for him to leave South Bend a year early.
Shoulder surgery limited Rudolph in the spring and summer, but as a freshman in 2008, he set school rookie receiving records, and also became the first Irish freshman ever to start every game at tight end. At Media Day I asked Rudolph what he’s working on to take his game to the next level.
“Technique, you can’t substitute technique for anything, especially in the run game, and being able to perfect my blocking in the run game will allow me to play a bigger part in our game,” he responded.
For more about/with Rudolph go here.
Atl draft possibilities: 4-3 LB, 4-3 DL, DB, OL
32. New England Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
I still can’t believe the Patriots passed on Jared Odrick when they had the opportunity to take him. They badly need to rebuild their front seven, but you know what will happen. They’ll probably trade this pick down two or three times, and stockpile 3rd round picks. The Pats need to do something about that big gash they have in their run defense, and Casey could be that run stuffer
NE draft possibilities: 3-4 DB, 3-4 LB, WR, trading down and acquiring more picks (oh, wait- that’s a certainty)
Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank