So this is my preliminary 2011 mock draft. It's just to give you all something to think about in the dead season of football. Sorry I haven't posted this earlier but I've been burnt out on all of the draft talk. That and after taking 3 OLB's and 2 WR's I was pretty angry, especially with the other players that were on the board. But that's a discussion for another post. Before anyone starts in on me about the Steelers draft slot, I tried to be as objective as possible. Given the teams old age and Ben's suspension we could be in for another long season if anyone gets hurt.
1. St. Louis Rams – A.J. Green WR, UGA
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Sam Bradford QB, Oklahoma
The Rams got their QB of the future, but I really don’t think he’s going to make much of an impact in the 2010 season. Coming from a passer-friendly offense at Oklahoma Bradford never really had to learn to deal with adversity from pass-rushers. It’s going to take some time for him to develop and in any event the Rams brass intends to let him ride the pine at first anyway. Taking Saffold at the top of the second round is really going to help their line protect Bradford but St. Louis really didn’t do anything to help its sorry defense which is going to cause them to gain the top pick again. Unfortunately, if that’s the way you choose to describe it, there won’t be any prospects like Ndamukong Suh in the 2011 draft. The closest defensive sure thing to Suh in the 2011 draft is LSU CB Patrick Peterson, but I don’t think a CB will ever be chosen #1 overall. A.J. Green is a beast, and I’ll be the first one to compare him to Randy Moss, except there is no baggage. Green’s a good kid with no red flags in his past. He has a tall, lean frame with deceptive speed. He also has very soft hands and phenomenal body control with the ability to catch the ball at its highest point. The Rams have a bevy of solid #2 and slot receivers to compliment Green’s ability to stretch the field.
2. Buffalo Bills – Jake Locker QB, Washington
2010 1st round Draft Pick: C.J. Spiller RB, Clemson
C.J. Spiller is an exceptional prospect but the Bills did almost nothing to address their two most glaring needs in the 2010 draft. Current QB Trent Edwards is not a quality starting QB in the NFL. The Bills used two late round picks on OT’s, but with the 9th pick in 2010 that should have been priority number one. Ryan Mallett is a tall pocket passer with a rifle for an arm who is perfect to combat the elements that frequent Orchard Park but Locker is a lot more mobile and better fit for Chan Gailey’s offense.
3. Cleveland Browns – Von Miller OLB, Texas A&M
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Joe Haden CB, Florida
Holmgren has found his noodle-armed QB of the future with Colt McCoy, and aside from him I thought they had a very good draft. They filled many positions of need, but the one glaring need for the 2011 draft will be pass-rushing OLB. Right now this is very high for him but I’m confident Von Miller will become the premier rusher of his draft class. Before he decided to return to school Miller would have been a late first round pick in the 2010 draft. The Browns traded for Chris Gocong but they don’t really have anything on the other side. Depending on how the season shakes out, particularly the development of Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie, Cleveland could be in the market for a #1 WR.
4. Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Peterson CB, LSU
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Eric Berry S, Tennessee
The Chiefs drafted Javier Arenas in the 3rd round, who I like, but a 5’9” he’s never going to be able to be anything more than a solid nickel cornerback. Peterson is being hailed as the next Darrell Revis. The term “Shutdown” corner is used a lot, but with regards to Peterson it may be true. He has a great size/speed combo, and is equally superior against the pass (in man and zone) as well as against the run. If Matt Cassell has another bad year GM Scott Pioli may finally admit that he was a bad signing and this pick would turn into Jake Locker, Andrew Luck, or Ryan Mallett.
5. Detroit Lions – Gabe Carimi OT, Wisconsin
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Ndamukong Suh DT, Nebraska/ Jahvid Best RB, Cal
Personally I still feel that the Lions should’ve taken Russell Okung, but I can’t really argue against a prospect like Suh. Detroit managed to pick a lot of solid players in the 2010 draft, filling a bunch of various needs, but it’s going to be another long season for Matt Stafford. They drafted Jason Fox in the 4th round, but you really can’t count on a late pick to have much of an impact. By the time the 2011 draft rolls around the Lions FO will realize that Jeff Backus can’t pass block and take the best available LT. They like to take the BPA, and with Patrick Peterson already off of the board, their biggest need lines up with the best available talent.
6. Seattle Seahawks – Andrew Luck QB, Stanford
2010 1st round Draft Picks: Russell Okung OT, Oklahoma State/ Earl Thomas FS, Texas
Seattle had one of the best drafts for 2010, although that’s not hard to do with two 1st rounds picks. With Russell Okung they have a blind-side protector for the next decade for their QB. The problem is that they don’t have a viable QB candidate for the next decade. Matt Hasselbeck is nearing the end of the line, and the recently acquired Charlie Whitehurst is nothing more than a career clip board holder. There’s a reason he could never beat out Billy Volek for the #2 QB job behind Phillip Rivers in San Diego. Of course I could be wrong, and Whitehurst could be a diamond in the rough however unlikely, in which case this pick would immediately turn to the top WR prospect available. And lucky for the Seahawks the 2011 draft is loaded with top tier WR talent. Coach Carroll signed Mike and Reggie Williams this offseason because he values size at the position, but neither of them are going to pan out. Current #1 T.J. Houshmandzadeh is already 31 years old entering the 2010 season. With A.J. Green already off of the board it’ll really come down to which ever player Carroll values more, either 6’3” Michael Floyd, 6’4” Julio Jones, or 6’5 Jonathan Baldwin.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Mallett QB, Arkansas
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Tyson Alualu DT, Cal
After having a phenomenal draft in 2009 I’m not sure what Gene Smith was smoking in 2010, reaching for two DT’s in the 1st two rounds with so many other more pressing needs. I like Alualu but they could’ve taken him where they drafted in the 2nd round. In 2011 the Jags will have a few pressing needs. The first is for a FS because former 1st round pick Reggie Nelson is awful. The second is for a #1 receiver. They signed Kassim Osgood and Mike Sims-Walker is pretty good, but both of them and Troy Williamson will all be free agents in 2011. Even still, after a great 1st year starting David Garrard has been a disappointment since signing his fat contract extension. Barring a big turn around the Jags will be looking for his replacement, but given the teams 2010 draft patterns they may reach for Pat Devlin instead of the better prospect Ryan Mallett. Mallett is a tall (6’7”) classic pocket-passer whose arm strength rivals that of Matt Stafford and Jay Cutler. If Garrard can turn it all around the team could easily take WR Michael Floyd or the best available CB or Safety.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Robert Quinn DE, UNC
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Gerald McCoy DT, Oklahoma
Tampa certainly upgraded the interior of their defensive line, and certainly upgraded their receiving corps, with Gerald McCoy and Brian Price but they added nothing to the DE spot. Coming into the 2011 draft this is going to be a huge need for them. Fortunately they are in a position to take the best available 4-3 pass-rusher. Quinn is a pass-rushing nightmare for opposing QB’s having 11 sacks and 19 tackles for loss as only a sophomore a year ago.
9. New England Patriots (via Oakland Raiders) – Julio Jones WR, Alabama
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Devin McCourty CB, Rutgers
The Patriots had a great draft from top to bottom. They needed a TE and drafted two potential starters in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. They got a little of everything to fill out their roster. But Randy Moss will be a 33 year old free agent in 2011 and Wes Welker is coming back from a serious knee injury this year. They drafted Taylor Price but he will probably be a solid slot receiver at best. The Patriots will have a choice to make between Jones and Michael Floyd. Jones is a big time play maker who is similar to T.O., including a penchant for the occasional drop. The other option would be a 3-4 DE but with the signing of Damione Lewis and drafting of Kade Weston and Brandon Deaderick I think their need for a WR will overcome their need on the defensive front. If Belichick were that concerned about the defensive front he would’ve taken Jared Odrick when he was available in the 1st round.
10. Chicago Bears – Michael Floyd WR, Notre Dame
2010 1st Pick: Major Wright FS, Florida
The Bears had a decent draft considering they didn’t have a 1st or a 2nd round pick. Still, the team didn’t address their most pressing need for an OG. They will probably sign a free agent at some point this offseason but will need to address the position early in the 2011 draft. Unfortunately there are no prospects worthy of a pick this high. They have also been lacking a true #1 receiver for quite some time now and finally get the chance to fill that need.
11. Arizona Cardinals – Joseph Barksdale OT, LSU
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Dan Williams NT, Tennessee
The Cards filled a lot of needs after losing so many of their superstars to free agency and retirement. I have them drafting this high because Matt Leinart is not going to be able to replace Kurt Warner which means they could easily take Pat Devlin here, but they did draft John Skelton who many believe will develop into a quality starter with a couple years of NFL experience under his belt. Jeremy Bridges will get his chance to replace Mike Gandy but I have my doubts about him.
12. Denver Broncos – Cameron Heyward DE, OSU
2010 1st round Draft Picks: Demaryius Thomas WR, Georgia Tech/Tim Tebow QB, Florida
What can you say about the Broncos? How about “Josh McDaniels is crazy!” In consecutive years he’s traded the team’s top players, QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall, and in return has ended up with Thomas and Tebow. Thomas may eventually become a solid NFL WR, he certainly has the size and speed, but playing in Georgia Tech’s Triple-option offense he never learned how to run routes. It’s going to take him a couple years before he makes an impact. The Tebow pick was a HUGE reach. Even if McDaniels wanted him he didn’t need to trade into the 1st round to get him. And this puts the QB position into turmoil because now you have 3 QB’s who all expect to start, and that’s going to do nothing but breed resentment. Why would he draft Tebow after trading for Brady Quinn? Anyhow, given McDaniels interesting drafting style this could be a hard pick to predict. On the defensive front the team has a lot of old rentals and they will be even older next year. This pick could easily be Jerrell Powe as well as the oldest player on the front is 34 year old Jamaal Williams. Cameron Heyward is the son of former NFL bruiser Craig “Ironhead” Heyward and would have probably been a first round pick had he declared for the 2010 draft.
13. Washington Redskins – Mark Ingram RB, Alabama
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Trent Williams OT, Oklahoma
The Redskins addressed their absolute most dire need in the 2010 draft by taking Trent Williams. Now Donovan McNabb won’t have to run of his life like Jason Campbell did. Unfortunately they didn’t attempt to upgrade their geriatric RB corps. Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, and Willie Parker have no tread left on the tires. Ingram has a good blend of power and speed and would be a great fit for Shanahan’s offensive scheme.
14. Philadelphia Eagles – Ras-I Dowling CB, Virginia
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Brandon Graham DE, Michigan
With the exception of Trevard Lindley in the later rounds I thought the Eagles had a great draft. They filled a lot of needs and got plenty of quality players. However one of their bigger holes was a CB, especially after trading Sheldon Brown to Cleveland, and they failed to invest an early pick at the position. If Ras-I Dowling would have declared for the 2010 draft he would have been the second or third highest rated cornerback. I put Philly at 14 because in his first year as a starter I expect Kevin Kolb to struggle a little.
15. New York Giants – Matt Reynolds OT, BYU
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Jason Pierre-Paul OLB, USF
The G-men did a great job of filling their holes on defense so in 2011 it’ll be the offenses turn for attention. Their biggest need will be to upgrade the RT spot after they move William Beatty to the left side. Kareem McKenzie is 31 years old and is starting to wear down. If he declares Reynolds may go higher than this. The Giants also need to start a youth movement at OC and OG, and even though the starting corners are above average they may also consider an upgrade depending on the talent available.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jared Crick DT, Nebraska
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Maurkice Pouncey OG/OC, Florida
As much as I’d like to give the Steelers the 32nd pick in the 2011 draft, which means they would’ve won the Super Bowl, with an aging defense and the Ben Roethlisberger suspension I just couldn’t put them any higher than this. Dennis Dixon will probably be the starting QB during those first six games and at worst I could see the team going 2-4, with wins against the Bucs and Browns. Age and injury are the two things I think the Steelers may not be able to overcome as the team will have several veteran starters that are quite long in the tooth. From an injury stand point fans will always need to worry about having capable back-ups for Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu. At 16 Crick represents the BPA at a position of need. At 6’5, 285lbs. he’s too small to replace Casey Hampton but ideal to replace Brett Keisel, keeping in mind that Ziggy Hood will replace Aaron Smith at some point. Even after trading for Bryant McFadden then Steelers will need CB help, but as the 2010 draft showed all of us, the Steelers don’t reach for need. They could also consider Jerrell Powe, the NT from Ole’ Miss, but he has some weight issues and the Coach Tomlin is not a big fan of those types of players.
17. Tennessee Titans – Marvin Austin DT, UNC
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Derrick Morgan DE, Georgia Tech
Like the Giants, the Titans are big on stock-piling their defensive line. They lucked out in getting top-10 talent Derrick Morgan in the 1st round of the 2010 draft and in 2011 they’ll be lucky enough to get Marvin Austin here. They will have a bigger need at CB so unless they find someone in free agency this could change to Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara or one of the Texas CB’s.
18. Carolina Panthers – Allen Bailey DT, Miami
2010 1st Pick: Jimmy Clausen QB, Notre Dame
The Panthers have had issues at defensive tackle for a while now and did nothing in the 2010 draft to address it. They need someone from the DT position that can be a pass-rush presence. They could also use help at OLB so Travis Lewis and hometown favorite Bruce Carter may be options as well.
19. San Francisco 49ers – Prince Amukamara CB, Nebraska
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Anthony Davis OT, Rutgers/Mike Iupati OG, Idaho
Current #1 CB Nate Clements is not nearly worth the huge contract he has as he is on a serious downswing. The bigger need to keep and eye on is at QB, because Alex Smith is in the final year of his restructured rookie contract. No one in the current coaching staff or front office has any ties to him. If the team is in a position to grab one of the top three QB’s, or perhaps even Delaware’s Pat Devlin depending on how his season goes, don’t be surprised to see the team pull the trigger.
20. New England Patriots – Marcell Dareus DE/DT, Alabama
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Devin McCourty CB, Rutgers
The Patriots have had a hole at DE since the Richard Seymour trade to Oakland and didn’t address the need in the 2010 draft until the 7th round. They may also have a need at OT. Current LT Might Light will be a 33 year old free agent. The Patriots may move Sebastian Vollmer to the left side but that would create a hole on the right side.
21. Atlanta Falcons - Greg Romeus DE, Pittsburgh
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Sean Weatherspoon OLB, Missouri
Jamaal Anderson has been a complete bust and needs to be replaced, and John Abraham will be 32 years old so this will definitely be a position of need in 2011. Atlanta could also use a solid #2 WR to replace Michael Jenkins, and with this draft being loaded with talent at that position they could also take the best available WR.
22. Cincinnati Bengals – DeAndre McDaniel S, Clemson
2010 NFL Mock Draft Pick: Jermaine Gresham TE, Oklahoma
Cincy was really hoping that Earl Thomas would fall to them in the 2010 draft because current FS Chris Crocker is average at best. Unfortunately he didn’t fall and for some reason they ignored the position all together. As of right now McDaniel is the top rated Safety prospect for 2011, although he is more of a SS prospect and the Bengals may target UCLA’s Rahim Moore or UNC’s Deunta Williams.
23. Houston Texans – Rahim Moore FS, UCLA
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Kareem Jackson CB, Alabama
If the Texans ever hope to take control of the AFC South, they are going to need to stop Peyton Manning and his areal assault. That means spending another 1st round pick on a DB. Moore is a ballhawk that would replace the oft-injured Eugene Wilson.
24. Miami Dolphins – Ryan Williams RB, Virginia Tech
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Jared Odrick DT/DE, PSU
In the 2011 offseason Ricky Williams will be a 33 year old free agent, and Ronnie Brown will be a free agent with a history of knee issues. Williams will only be a redshirt sophomore so the Dolphins will be getting him without a lot of wear and tear. Also, Jason Ferguson will be 35 years old so Jerrell Powe will also be a very likely option.
25. Green Bay Packers – Aaron Williams CB, Texas
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa
The Packers had a great 2010 draft but failed to address one pressing need for youth at CB. Charles Woodson and Al Harris with both be another year older and the Packers really need to get some young talent in place. They really can’t afford to ignore this need any longer.
26. Dallas Cowboys – Curtis Brown CB, Texas
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Dez Bryant WR, Oklahoma State
The cowboys did a great job in the 2010 draft filling a lot of holes. They drafted Akwasi Owusu-Ansah to possibly play FS and replace Ken Hamlin and Sam Young for OT depth. In 2011 they really won’t have any pressing needs but will need to look for a successor to Terrence Newman.
27. Baltimore Ravens – Chris Galippo ILB, USC
2010 1st Draft Pick: Sergio Kindle DE/OLB, Texas
The Ravens stayed true to form in 2010, taking players based on value instead of need. They’ll do the same thing again in 2011, bypassing their need for CB’s after the top 5 are already off of the board, and take the top ILB as a successor to Ray Lewis and upgrade over Tavares Gooden.
28. San Diego Chargers – Jonathan Baldwin WR, Pittsburgh
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Ryan Matthews RB, Fresno State
San Diego will have few needs to address in the 2011 draft, especially after getting an absolute steal with NT Cam Thomas in 2010. For starters, both Malcolm Floyd and Vincent Jackson are both set to become UFA’s and it will be too expensive to keep them both. Baldwin is a 6’5” stud and fits the mold of the type of WR’s the Chargers covet. Shawn Merriman will also be an UFA and unlikely to be resigned. With all the injuries to Louis Castillo DE may also be a position of need.
29. Minnesota Vikings – Pat Devlin QB, Delaware
2010 1st Draft Pick: Chris Cook CB, Virginia
Even if Brett Favre comes back for 2010, can he really come back for 2011? I know he’s the ageless wonder and all, but come on. Pat Devlin is the “under the radar” QB for 2011 who is drawing a lot of comparisons to Joe Flacco, although a lot of that has to do with the fact that he transferred from a PA school to Delaware. He does fit though mold though of a tall, strong-armed QB.
30. New York Jets – Adrian Clayborn DT/DE, Iowa
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
Their greatest need coming into the 2011 offseason with be for a DE considering Shaun Ellis and Marques Douglas will both be 33 year old free agents.
31. Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Castonzo OT, Boston College
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Jerry Hughes OLB, TCU
Unfortunately the Colts didn’t get to address their biggest need in the 2010 draft which is for depth at the LT position. Castonzo is the type of athletic offensive tackle that could the be cornerstone for the rest of Manning’s career.
32. New Orleans Saints – Sam Acho DE, Texas
2010 1st round Draft Pick: Patrick Robinson CB, Florida State
New Orleans never got the chance to upgrade their pass-rush in the 2010 draft. Apparently they were enamored with Jerry Hughes but Indy got to him first. Acho compares very favorably to Hughes as a quick, undersized DE prospect.