2011 NFL DraftJohn L. Clarke's 2010 Mock Draft

Final: Updated 27 April 2011

1. Carolina Panthers: Marcell Dareus (DT-Alabama)

 There is just not that many talented big men like Dareus and as a former LB, Rivera knows the importance of having talented d-linemen. Dareus gets the nod because he is fast, strong and was coached by Nick Saban. I have heard the rumors on Cam Newton, but Rivera is a defensive minded coach.

2. Denver Broncos: Patrick Peterson (CB- LSU)

With talented, but aging vets Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins in the defensive backfield, Peterson immediately provides a swing DB, as he can move to cornerback, nickel back and even both safety spots, since he is a chiseled 220 lbs.

3. Buffalo Bills: Blaine Gabbert (QB-Missouri)

 Although they could go several routes with this pick, I think they need to invest in a QB. With Fitzpatrick able to win games, they have a stop-gap before Gabbert takes the starting reigns.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green (WR- Georgia)

 The once prolific offense may see their two top WR’s gone.  If Carson Palmer ends up staying, he is going to need a new #1 WR to throw to and Green is far and away the most talented.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller (OLB- TexA&M)

 The Cards have several young QB’s on the roster, so going after a veteran makes more sense.  With this pick, the Cards get a talented and explosive OLB which is crucial in running a successful 3-4 defense. He is almost a sure thing, something Coach Whisenhunt needs.

6. Cleveland Browns: Julio Jones (WR- Alabama)

His impressive showing at the combine has elevated his draft stock…probably the only player in history that had an injury actually boost his draft rating. With the emergence of McCoy and Hillis, a big play WR is needed to round out the offense.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Prince Amukamara (CB-NEB )

I think Cam Newton is too big of a project for rookie head coach Harbaugh to handle.  Amukamara is a much needed addition to an aggressive defense that was consistently burned in the secondary. This is a steal for the 49ers, as Prince seems to be one of the best athletes in all of the 2011 NFL Draft class and can play a variety of spots in their defense.

8. Tennessee Titans: Robert Quinn (DE - UNC)

The Titans have a lot offensive woes, but after the Vince Young debacle, I don’t think they touch a QB this round.  New head coach Munchak is a former offensive linemen and knows the value of a good DE that plays with great leverage. He may also select an offensive linemen here, but none are worth the #8 spot.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith (OT - USC)

Much has been made about Owner Jerry Jones never taking an offensive linemen in the 1st round.  He finally breaks his streak this year, as he once proud line is aged and bruised.  Smith is a better fit at right tackle, but may have the athleticism to move to the left side in a few years.

10. Washington Redskins: Aldon Smith (DE/OLB – Missouri)

It will be tempting to snatch Cam Newton at this spot, but Shanahan’s offense does not fit the skills of Newton.  The defense was a mess last year, and there is not a dominating pure nose tackle in the first round this year.  That leaves the versatile Smith.  Much like Brian Orakpo, Smith was a defensive end that has the skills to also play OLB in Jim Haslett’s 3-4 defense.  This will provide the ‘Skins with a pair of bookend playmakers, much like the Steelers have had of late.

11. Houston Texans: Jimmy Smith (CB – Colorado)

This may be a bit of a surprise, but with defensive backs slowly getting bigger to match against bigger WR’s, the 6’2” Smith seems like a good fit above the remaining cornerbacks. They could take an offensive linemen here, or even Cam Newton, but Smith is an immediate need for a team that needs to get over the hump of being average.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Cam Newton (QB- Auburn)

The QB class is a tough one to evaluate, however I don’t see the Vikes passing on the potential of Newton…the question remains, will he become the next Josh Freeman or JaMarcus Russell?  They may go after a veteran QB, like Donovan McNabb, but that remains to be scene.

13. Detroit Lions: Cameron Jordan (DE- Cal)

The Lions are improving, but they still have a lot of needs.  Coach Jim Swartz believes a good d-line wins games, and with his selection of Suh last year, he needs a solid end that can take advantage of 1 on 1 blocking schemes. Jordan is very versatile, which is a huge plus, as he can move inside on passing downs.

14. St. Louis Rams: Nick Fairley (DT-Auburn)

His impressive size and strength boosts him up to this spot. The Rams defense has been very good and Fairley is that extra punch they need. They need WR’s to add to the offense, but none are a viable #13 selection.  Coach Spagnuolo is revered as a defensive line coach, and I think Fairley maintains his 2010 form.

15. Miami Dolphins: Gabe Carimi (OT- WISC)

Tony Sparano loves smash mouth football, which is the only kind of football they teach at Wisconsin. Carimi at right tackle and Jake Long at left tackle assures that the offense will be as powerful as they were in 2009. Much has been made about Ryan Mallet getting selected here, but I do not think Sparano gambles much, and Carimi is a Big 10 guy that Sparano seems to like.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan (DE- Purdue)

Much like the Matt Millen led Lions with WR’s, the Jags keep picking the wrong DE’s.  This pick is safe, as Kerrigan is a hardnosed athlete, whose work ethic is never in question.  This is a make or break year for Coach Del Rio.

17. New England Patriots: JJ Watt (DE-Wisc)

With the youth movement on defense, Watt is the logical move.  With the departure of Richard Seymour, Watt fills the much needed 5 technique that the Pats ‘D’ rely on.

18. San Diego Chargers: Akeem Ayers (DE/OLB- UCLA)

With Shawn Merriman long gone, Shaun Phillips turning 30 years old and Larry English not doing much, Ayers gives them a pass rusher they need.

19. New York Giants: Anthony Castonzo (OT- BosCol)

Their once proud line has fallen to age and injuries.  Castonzo seems to be the leader of the offensive linemen crop so far and can plug and play right away.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Aaron Williams (CB- Texas)

With leader Ronde Barber on the way out (maybe) they need to start to add to their much improved pass defense. With Talib also on his way out due to numerous legal issues, Coach Morris’s hand is forced.  Williams does give him options, as he can lineup out wide or in the slot.  There was also some talk of him moving to safety, although Tampa needs him as a corner.

21. Kansas City Chiefs: Torrey Smith (WR- Maryland)

This may be a bit of a reach for Smith, but he has talent and the Chiefs need receiving help above all else. Also, Coach Haley is good at molding young receivers and will want a shot to do so with Smith.

22. Indianapolis Colts: Corey Liuget  (DE/DT - Illinois)

Their run defense has suffered for years, but Liuget could be the answer they’ve been looking for.  Amazing strength and motor has shot him up the draft charts.  The Colts may reach for a DB at this point, but I don’t think they will gamble.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Justin Houston (OLB- Georgia)

With the offense clicking, the linebacker position has struggled for a while. Houston comes from a good Bulldog system and should contribute early. Look for Mark Ingram here as well to team with Shady McCoy.

24. New Orleans Saints: Da’Quan Bowers (DE-Clemson)

Other than Sedrick Ellis, the defensive line for the Saints are long in the tooth.  Bowers has a lingering knee issue, but Coach Payton is not shy of taking talent over injuries.  Bowers has top 10 talent, but needs to stay healthy and motivated to make this pick a steal.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Nate Solder (OT- Colorado)

Their line was one of the reasons the Seahawks struggled and Pete Carroll has to love the potential Solder has shown so far. He could be a right tackle immediately and gradually make his way to left tackle if he develops.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Harris (CB-Miami, FL)

Defensive Back help is a must if the Ravens want another shot at a super bowl. Harris would add some playmaking ability, and their other 3 ‘Canes (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Willis McGahee) have turned out well.

27. Atlanta Falcons: Adrian Clayborn (DE – Iowa)

He slips a bit because of his size, but he will fit into the Falcons scheme perfectly and cause some major damage.

28. New England Patriots: Mike Pouncey (C/OG- Florida)

The offense is solid, although Pouncey is the smart choice considering that the line is somewhat light and this pick also helps some potential free agent losses. Coach Urban Meyer and Coach Belichick are friends, so this is a natural fit for Pouncey.

29. New York Jets: Marvin Austin (DT – North Carolina)

This may be a surprise pick for some, but if anyone follows Rex Ryan, this is par for the course.  Austin has 1st round ability and his character questions are not as bad a people have made them out to be, not the Coach Ryan would care anyway. They need a younger defensive line, and Austin is the center piece they can build around.

30. Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod (OT-MissST)

They selected Chris Williams high in the 2009 NFL Draft, but he is now a guard and they desperately need to protect Jay Cutler better.  I think they snag Sherrod, a very underrated tackle.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Danny Watkins (OG- Baylor)

They could use a offensive tackle here, but Watkins is the next best thing.  Teaming with Pouncey, they should be able to run up the middle, as they like to do, more frequently.

32. Green Bay Packers: Cameron Heyward (DE – OSU)

I don’t think the Pack grab an RB, because once Grant gets healthy, they will have him, Jackson and Starks. Considering their enthusiasm for throwing the ball, this pick makes more sense. With Cullen Jenkins set to become an unrestricted free agent, Heyward is an immediate plug and play.

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