2011 Mock Draft – Page 2

11.
Houston Texans
Aldon Smith
OLB Missouri
As far as mid-1st round picks go, this is about as easy as it gets to predict. True, there are no sure things in the draft, but Aldon Smith is just too perfect for the Texans. In order for the move to a 3-4 scheme to work, Wade Phillips needs an elite pass rusher off the edge. Brian Cushing is moving to inside linebacker, opening up a spot for Smith on the edge. The only guy that may draw them away from Smith could be Prince Amukamara, assuming he’s on the board.
12. Minnesota Vikings Jake Locker QB Washington
Behind closed doors I’ll bet even the Vikings would admit Locker isn’t a top-12 talent in this draft. But with only Joe Webb under contract and the start of free agency still up in the air, they’re desperate. I suspect they’ll take Locker now, and then cross their fingers that they can trade for McNabb once the lockout is lifted. Given a year or two to learn under McNabb would be the best-case scenario for Locker, who is not ready to start in 2011.
13. Detroit Lions P. Amukamara CB Nebraksa
The Lions are one of the teams I haven’t gotten a good feel for this offseason. Many mocks have them selecting an offensive tackle (Castonzo or Solder) but I have a feeling Schwartz and Mayhew would prefer to take advantage of the defensive depth in this draft. Amukamara would bring some stability to a shaky secondary, which currently does not feature a single corner who was drafted by the franchise.
14. St. Louis Rams Corey Liuget DT Illinois
The Rams are taking a defensive lineman, that much I’m confident of (unless Julio Jones somehow falls), but which one is anyone’s guess. The consensus is that GM Billy Devaney is fond of Liuget and feels he could potentially play a role similar to what Ndamukong Suh has done of the Lions as an interior pass rusher. That said, Cameron Jordan, Muhammad Wilkerson and even J.J. Watt have to also be considered strong possibilities here.
15. Miami Dolphins Andy Dalton QB TCU
I feel sick just typing Dalton’s name in here. I just can’t believe he is even being considered in the 1st round. It’s not that I don’t like Dalton – he’s my 3rd rated quarterback – but he isn’t a 1st-round talent. That said, I think someone will be desperate enough to take him and the Dolphins are definitely on the short list of possibilities. If he goes in the 1st round I’ll be happy for him, but feel bad for the fans of his new team at the same time.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue
It’s hard to imagine the Jaguars not taking a defensive end here, but then again, it was even harder to imagine them taking Tyson Alualu 10th overall in 2010. Their pass rush was almost non-existent last season, and Ryan Kerrigan would immediately improve their ability to get to the quarterback. Some feel he is a better fit in a 3-4 scheme, but I think Jacksonville could use him effectively as a pure pass rusher. Da’Quan Bowers is also an option.
17. New England Patriots J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin
[from Raiders] Considering the depth at defensive line in this class and Patriots obvious need to add youth at the position, this is likely to be a defensive end. With Watt, Jordan and Wilkerson all on the board this is a tough call, but Watt just seems like a Belichick-type player. And perhaps most importantly, Watt is best suited to make a smooth transition to defensive end in the Patriots 3-4 scheme.
18. San Diego Chargers Cameron Jordan DE California
I am extremely confident that they Chargers are going upgrade their front seven with this selection – either with a defensive end or outside linebacker. But who will they target? In such a deep class it’s tough to know who will be on the board. Jordan and Muhammad Wilkerson both look like solid options in this scenario. Considering the depth at the position, however, the Chargers may try to trade down and address the need later in the 1st round.
19. New York Giants Mike Pouncey OG Florida
If Pouncey is on the board, the Giants will rush to the podium. And if he’s gone, they may rush to the podium with the name of another offensive lineman (Castonzo? Carimi?). Four of the Giants five starters on the offensive line are over the age of 30 (Chris Snee is the youngest at age 29). Pouncey would provide depth at both guard and center, and his addition could potentially make either Seubert or O’Hara expendable.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Da’Quan Bowers DE Clemson
I’ll join the masses in predicting Bowers’ fall. It’s hard to believe I had him projected to go No. 1 just a few months ago, but a devastating knee injury can have that effect. Even with the injury concerns, I can’t see him falling any further that this – his upside is just too great. If the Bucs take him and his career fizzles due to the injury, I won’t hold it against them at all. He is worth the risk this late in the 1st round.
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