Updated Mock Draft

1.
Carolina Panthers
Blaine Gabbert
QB Missouri
The fact that, by my count, seven players could still wind up going No. 1 overall is amazing. I’ve had Bowers or Fairley in the top spot for the past month, but it’s starting to sound like the Panthers are leaning towards a quarterback. If GM Marty Hurney gets his way, Clausen will be given another year to prove himself, but new head coach Ron Rivera is apparently pushing for the opportunity to move on and put his stamp on the franchise.
2. Denver Broncos Da’Quan Bowers DE Clemson
Bowers stock has been called into question by some, partly due to injury concerns, but I still believe he is No. 1 on the Broncos draft board. He is a prototypical 4-3 defensive end and could fill the role that Julius Peppers played for years in John Fox’s defense in Carolina. As long as Bowers is able work out – even at slightly less than 100% – before the draft, he’ll come off the board in the top six. If Bowers isn’t their guy, Denver goes with Fairley or Dareus.
3. Buffalo Bills Patrick Peterson CB LSU
Buddy Nix showed last year that he is more interested in taking the best available player than filling a hole. While they have greater needs than cornerback, taking Peterson wouldn’t come as nearly the shock that the selection of C.J. Spiller did. He is clearly the best available player in this scenario and would start immediately (unlike Spiller). Leodis McKelvin is starting to look like a bust and Drayton Florence is a 30-year-old free agent.
4. Cincinnati Bengals Cam Newton QB Auburn
I strongly believe that Newton is far from a top-five prospect, which is why it makes perfect sense that he’ll end up in Cincinnati. The Carson Palmer era is over and by the time the draft rolls around, owner Mike Brown will have come to terms with that fact. He’ll want to make a splash and will fall in love with Newton’s athleticism much like he did with Akili Smith in 1999… and the results this time around won’t be much better.
5. Arizona Cardinals Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
Von Miller has done nothing but boost his stock this offseason and he now looks like a pretty safe bet for the Cardinals at No. 5. The only scenario in which I could envision the Cards passing on Miller would be if Patrick Peterson were still on the board. Miller is slightly undersized for a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he is a truly elite athlete and would greatly improve the Cardinals struggling pass rush. He has the potential to be an instant-impact player.
6. Cleveland Browns Marcell Dareus DT Alabama
Dareus was a top-10 prospect at the conclusion of the season but has managed to raise his stock even higher through his workouts. He’s now a candidate to go No. 1 overall and I would be somewhat surprised if he falls any further than No. 6. The Browns may be tempted by A.J. Green here, but the defensive line is a far greater area of need than receiver. Dareus fills a bigger hole than Green, and also is a much safer bet to make an immediate impact.
7. San Francisco 49ers P. Amukamara CB Nebraska
This is probably the worst-case scenario for the 49ers, who would love to see Patrick Peterson, Blaine Gabbert or even Von Miller fall. Based on the players on the board, this decision should come down to Amukamara and Fairley. Neither fills a huge need, but they’re the best available players. I’ll give the nod to Amukamara because he is capable of making the bigger immediate impact and will give the Niners some security when they eventually part ways with Nate Clements.
8. Tennessee Titans Nick Fairley DT Auburn
Fairley, Dareus and Bowers are all in frustrating positions. All three could go No. 1 overall, but one of them is likely to fall to the Titans at No. 8. Fairley is an elite athlete and should be an instant-impact pass rusher from the interior line position, however, he’s slightly undersized and isn’t strong against the run. I believe this deficiency will make him the one to fall. In Tennessee he’ll team up with Derrick Morgan to give the Titans two great young linemen to build around.
9. Dallas Cowboys Tyron Smith OT USC
The Cowboys would love to land Prince Amukamara, and would probably consider trading up for him or Patrick Peterson if the opportunity presented itself. But with both top corners off the board, the Cowboys have to reach to fill another position of need. Tyron Smith played right tackle at USC, but has demonstrated this offseason that he has the athleticism and the size to easily shift over to the left side. This is definitely a risky pick, but the Cowboys don’t have many other options.
10. Washington Redskins A.J. Green WR Georgia
This scenario may seem too good to be true for Redskins fans. There’s a slight chance that Green goes No. 1 overall, but the odds are greater that he falls all the way to No. 10. The Browns are the most likely team to snatch him up earlier than this, but if they opt for a defensive linemen I believe he’ll land in Washington’s lap. The ‘Skins biggest hole is at receiver. If Green is gone, Julio Jones should still be on the board and would be the pick.
11.
Houston Texans
Aldon Smith
OLB Missouri
Wade Phillips plans to move Brian Cushing to inside linebacker in the Texans new 3-4 scheme, which opens up a gaping hole on the outside. Connor Barwin will likely earn one starting job, but there isn’t another strong option on the roster. Smith is raw, having entered the draft as a redshirt sophomore, but has the elite physical tools necessary to transition from end to linebacker at the next level. He’s a bit of a project, but could provide an immediate boost to Houston’s pass rush.
12. Minnesota Vikings Cameron Jordan DE California
By tagging Chad Greenway as the franchise player the Vikings may have ended the Ray Edwards era. He’ll be one of the most highly sought after free agents and it will be difficult for Minnesota to keep him (assuming we have a free agency). It’s possible that the depth at defensive line in this draft played a role in their decision. Jordan has top-10 talent but could easily fall due to the incredible depth at the position. He should have no problem filling Edwards’ shoes.
13. Detroit Lions Akeem Ayers LB UCLA
The Lions have reportedly shown a strong interest in Ayers already this offseason. Since coming to Detroit, Jim Schwartz has placed an emphasis in building the defensive front seven. He’s done a great job rebuilding the defensive line, but now needs to focus on the linebackers. Ayers is a big, physical player who fits perfectly at strong-side linebacker in Schwartz’s system. If he’s off the board, they could turn their attention to cornerback (Jimmy Smith?)
14. St. Louis Rams Julio Jones WR Alabama
If Jones falls, this is an easy choice for the Rams. They desperately need a receiver, and Jones is a top-10 talent. The only team that may take Jones prior to No. 14 is Washington, who opts for A.J. Green in this scenario. Jones would give Sam Bradford a true No. 1 receiver, allowing their other receivers (Amendola, Avery, etc) to play more natural roles as second and third options. If Jones is gone, they’ll probably have to wait until the 2nd round to address this need.
15. Miami Dolphins Mark Ingram RB Alabama
I give in. I’m finally joining the masses and moving Ingram into this slot. I don’t like Ingram as a 1st-round pick, and definitely not as a top-15 pick, but the Dolphins need for a running back is obvious and there are enough people that think highly of Ingram that he may wind up here after all. That said, I still believe the Dolphins are extremely interested in Cam Newton and may try to trade up. If Newton falls out of the top five, the ‘Phins may make a move.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars Robert Quinn DE North Carolina
Christmas comes early for the Jaguars. Due to the ripple effect caused by both quarterbacks going in the top four, some quality defensive players are going to fall. In this scenario, Quinn falls primarily due to concerns after having missed the entire 2010 season. The Jaguars would be more than happy to stop his fall here at No. 16. The Jags anemic pass rush needs an instant-impact player and Quinn could certainly fill that role.
17. New England Patriots Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin
[pick from Raiders] The Patriots chose to franchise Logan Mankins rather than Matt Light, which makes me believe there is a strong possibility the 32-year-old free agent will find a new home this offseason. Sebastian Vollmer may move to left tackle, or they could fill that hole in the draft. Carimi is arguably the most NFL-ready lineman in this year’s class, making him a perfect fit for the Patriots, who have already showed an interest.
18. San Diego Chargers J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin
With so many elite defensive linemen available in this year’s draft, someone is likely to fall to San Diego. With Jacques Cesaire likely departing as a free agent, defensive end is arguably the Chargers greatest need this offseason. Watt has the size, strength and athleticism necessary to player in San Diego’s 3-4 system and should start from day one. If Watt is gone, someone like Adrian Clayborn or Cameron Heyward would also be a good fit.
19. New York Giants A. Castonzo OT Boston College
When your youngest starter on the offensive line is 29 (Chris Snee) its time to start planning for the future. I think this is a reach for Castonzo, but the Giants have relatively few holes and may be willing to take the risk. Castonzo’s upside is limited, but he’s fundamentally sound and should be able to contribute immediately. If they Giants prefer a player with more upside, Nate Solder could be the pick. Improving the interior line with Mike Pouncey is also an option.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue
The Bucs had a grand total of 26 sacks this past season – only the Broncos had fewer. Kerrigan isn’t a complete player, but the one thing he does very well is get to the quarterback. He could make an immediate impact as a pass rusher in Tampa, while the coaching staff develops him into a more well-rounded player. If Kerrigan is gone, but Bucs may try to trade back and land someone such as Justin Houston later in the 1st round.
21.
Kansas City Chiefs
Phil Taylor
DT Baylor
This is probably as high as Taylor could climb in the draft, but it’s a very realistic possibility considering the Chiefs needs. Scott Pioli was instrumental in the Patriots decision to draft Vince Wilfork and saw first hand what a dominant nose tackle can do for a defense. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, Ron Edwards isn’t that guy. Taylor may be the only nose tackle in this year’s class capable of starting immediately, making him a hot prospect in the late 1st-round.
22. Indianapolis Colts Derek Sherrod OT Mississippi State
The Colts offensive line needs some major work and I would be stunned if they did not draft a tackle in one of the first two rounds. This is a weak class of offensive linemen, so they may have to reach for someone, but it’s a necessary move. In this scenario Sherrod and Solder are the only realistic options. Solder has more upside, but Sherrod is more NFL ready which is what the Colts are looking for. They want to win now, and Sherrod can help them do that.
23. Philadelphia Eagles Jimmy Smith CB Colorado
Asante Samuels is among the best in the game, but the retirement of Ellis Hobbs has left the secondary depleted of talent. Smith is a top-15 talent, but character concerns could cause him to fill into the latter half of the 1st round. If he’s on the board here, the Eagles should take the risk. Given the depth at defensive line in this year’s class, the Eagles should also consider upgrading that area of the defense. Tackles such as Corey Liuget and Muhammad Wilkerson could be options.
24. New Orleans Saints Corey Liuget DT Illinois
The Saints desperately need to address their situation at linebacker, on both the strong and weak side, but no one on the board is worth a 1st-round pick. With so few other holes, their best bet may be to just settle for the best available player. In this year’s class that’s almost certain to be a defensive linemen. Corey Liuget is a good bet to still be on the board and would fit nicely in New Orleans. He’s a bit of a project, and would benefit from not having to start immediate for the Saints.
25. Seattle Seahawks Ryan Mallett OT Arkansas
Take away the character concerns, and Mallett may be the top-rated player in this year’s draft class – his raw skills are that good. However, the concerns do exist which is going to cause him to fall into the late 1st and possibly all the way into the 2nd round. Seattle is one of the teams that could stop his free fall. They could re-sign Matt Hasselbeck and allow Mallett to sit and learn for a year or two, hopefully developing his maturity and football skills in the process.
26. Baltimore Ravens Justin Houston OLB Georgia
This stat shocked me when I first saw it: only the Bucs, Jaguars and Broncos had fewer sacks this past season than the Ravens. Terrell Suggs is a beast, but no one else on that defense is capable of getting to the quarterback. Jarrett Johnson is valuable because of his versatility in their 4-3/3-4 hybrid defense, but he doesn’t scare anyone. Justin Houston should be an intriguing prospect for the Ravens because he has played in both a 4-3 and 3-4 scheme during his time at Georgia.
27. Atlanta Falcons Mike Pouncey OG Florida
The Falcons interior offensive did a solid job in 2010, but unfortunately both Harvey Dahl and Justin Blalock are free agents. It may be difficult to keep both in Atlanta. This isn’t an area that can go ignored if the Falcons want to keep their window of opportunity open while 29-year-old Michael Turner is still effective. Pouncey isn’t as dominant as his brother Maurkice, but is viewed by many as the top available guard in this year’s draft class.
28. New England Patriots Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa
This is a no-brainer for the Patriots. Gerard Warren and Mike Wright did an adequate job this past season, but an upgrade is clearly needed. Ty Warren returns from injury, and if he’s 100% the Patriots could once again have a dominant defensive line with the addition of Clayborn. His lack of elite athleticism has caused his stock to fall, but that shouldn’t concern New England who doesn’t rely on their ends to be pass rushers.
29. Chicago Bears J. Baldwin WR Pittsburgh
Jerry Angelo has to get Jay Cutler some help with this pick – either with an offensive lineman or a receiver. They really can’t go wrong either way, but if Baldwin is on the board Mike Martz might be pushing hard for them to go with the receiver. Baldwin would be a perfect compliment to Johnny Knox and Devin Hester. The Bears current receivers do a great job stretching the field, but they need a bigger, stronger possession receiver in the mix.
30. New York Jets M. Wilkerson DE Temple
Unless free agent Shaun Ellis returns, the Jets will have a gaping hole at defensive end. Rex Ryan’s 3-4 defense doesn’t work without a solid defensive line, so filling that gap should be a top priority in the draft. Muhammad Wilkerson played tackle at Temple but is more than capable of shifting to the outside in a 3-4 system and could excel under Ryan’s guidance in New York. Another possibility here is a receiver, such as Torrey Smith or Titus Young.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers Brandon Harris CB Miami FL
The Steelers continue to get by with mediocre cornerbacks but the time has come where they may be forced to address the hole in their secondary. Ike Taylor is a free agent and is return is up in the air. The Steelers simply can’t afford to enter 2011 with William Gay and Bryant McFadden as their starting corners. I’m not particularly high on Harris, but he’s a great athlete and there are enough people that feel he has 1st round talent that he make sneak in here.
32. Green Bay Packers Brooks Reed OLB Arizona
The Packers have struggled to find the right compliment to Clay Matthews at outside linebacker over the past two years, using Aaron Kampman, Brady Poppinga, Brad Jones and Frank Zombo. Reed could finally be the guy they’re looking for. He’s a similar player to Matthews, who excels at getting to the quarterback, and seems to do everything that Green Bay is looking for from their outside linebackers.
Round 2
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft Comments Off

About the author

Ryan McCrystal

Ryan launched DraftAce in 2004. His Top 100 board is currently ranked 1st out of 20 publications in The Huddle Report's five-year averages. His mock draft is ranked 10th out of 32 competitors.You can also find Ryan's weekly Heisman Predictor series on ESPN Insider every fall.