2011 Mock Draft – Page 3

21.
Kansas City Chiefs
Gabe Carimi
OT Wisconsin
The Chiefs are a tough team to predict, but one thing I’m certain of is that they’ll target a player who can contribute immediately. I expect them to strongly consider an offensive lineman and if Carimi is on the board he could be the pick. His upside is significantly lower than someone like Nate Solder, but he is ready to play right now and should be a significant upgrade over Barry Richardson at right tackle.
22. Indianapolis Colts Nate Solder OT Colorado
It’s rare to have consensus on any late 1st-round pick, but just about everyone seems to believe the Colts are targeting Solder. He has elite athleticism for a linemen and is one of the few players in this year’s draft potentially capable of playing at a Pro Bowl level at left tackle. If the Colts were to pass on Solder, it would only be because he is too raw and they’re looking for someone to start immediately (Castonzo perhaps?).
23. Philadelphia Eagles Jimmy Smith CB Colorado
Due to character concerns I think there are very few teams that will consider Jimmy Smith in the 1st round. However, the Eagles have a glaring hole at cornerback opposite Asante Samuel and haven’t been shy about taking risks. Speaking strictly from a talent standpoint, Smith should be a top-15 pick and if the Eagles can keep him out of trouble he will be a steal here. If they are scared off by character concerns, their attention could turn to Brandon Harris.
24. New Orleans Saints Cam Heyward DT Ohio State
Going off the board with this pick, to an extent. Defensive line isn’t a glaring need in New Orleans but the talent is so deep at the position that I believe the Saints will add depth here. Heyward could be particularly intriguing due to his experience playing both end and tackle in Ohio State 4-3 scheme. That experience could ease his transition to his role in New Orleans, where he could be a backup at both positions in 2011.
25. Seattle Seahawks Phil Taylor DT Baylor
The Seahawks need a quarterback, but I think they’re actually more concerned about the possibility of losing Brandon Mebrane once free agency starts. Selecting a run-stuffing nose tackle like Taylor would serve two purposes. If Mebane returns, Taylor is the perfect compliment. If he leaves, at least they have Taylor left to build around on the defensive line. It would be a nice, safe pick to cover both scenarios.
26. Baltimore Ravens M. Wilkerson DE Temple
The Ravens don’t have a glaring need for a defensive end, but Wilkerson may have too much value for them to pass up here. He is a perfect fit in Baltimore due to his versatility. The Ravens run a hybrid defense, with a lot of 3-4 and 4-3 looks, which requires a deep defensive line and lot of guys like Wilkerson that can play in both systems. Wilkerson played tackle in a 4-3 scheme Temple, but has the skills necessary to play end in a 3-4 as well.
27. Atlanta Falcons Kyle Rudolph TE Notre Dame
Unless the Falcons think Justin Houston is a good fit at end in their 4-3 scheme, they’ll turn to the best available player here. Rudolph is an obvious 1st-round talent who only falls due to injury concerns. While some fans may prefer they get someone who fills a more immediate need, I believe GM Thomas Dimitroff has seen the impact Tony Gonzalez has had on Matt Ryan and doesn’t want to lose that in 2012 when Gonzalez retires.
28. New England Patriots A. Castonzo OT Boston College
Offensive tackle may not be the Patriots most glaring need, but I don’t think Belichick can let Castonzo slide in this scenario. Matt Light will be granted free agency once the offseason begins and if the franchise tag disappears in the new CBA, so will Logan Mankins. That would open up two glaring holes on the Patriots offensive line. I wouldn’t rule out Castonzo as an option for the Patriots with 17th pick either.
29. Chicago Bears Titus Young WR Boise State
If Green and Jones go in the first six picks, 26 selections is a long time to wait without another receiver. Someone else is going to sneak into the 1st round. I’m in the minority in my support for Young, but I think he has a chance to be that guy. The Bears would prefer a bigger target for Jay Cutler, but Young would be an upgrade nonetheless. How many defenses have enough speed to cover Young, Hester and Knox?
30. New York Jets Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA
As good as the Jets defense has been, their pass rushers aren’t anything to be scared of. Adding a young, talented pass rusher to pair with their veterans should be a priority here, and both Ayers and Brooks Reed should be considered options. I’ll give the edge to Ayers because I think he is better suited for Rex Ryan’s scheme. Reed is more of a one-dimensional pass rusher who may not be a three-down player in New York.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers Aaron Williams CB Texas
The Steelers have needed to upgrade their secondary for three or four years and it sounds as though they’re finally willing to spend a high pick on addressing the issue. Williams and Brandon Harris would both be nice fits and I expect at least one of them to be on the board. I’m not crazy about either guy as a 1st-round prospect but when you’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender you can afford to reach to fill a need.
32. Green Bay Packers Mark Ingram RB Alabama
We’re going to come dangerously close to not seeing a running back go in the 1st round this year, but someone will scoop up Ingram at the last minute. Green Bay is definitely a possibility, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Packers trade out of this slot. There isn’t a player that jumps out as an obvious fit for Green Bay here, and there could be a team desperate to trade up for Ingram or perhaps a quarterback.
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