Thursday, December 16, 2010

NFL 2011 Mock Draft round 1: picks 1-12

Now that it is bowl season this will be the last time we see all the pro prospects in real football game situations. I do not count the senior bowl and other bowls like that as real games because the defenses are very vanilla. The bowl games are a better barometer of the in game skills each prospect has. The draft order is based on current NFL standings.

  1. Carolina Panters: Andrew Luck, QB Stanford. Carolina is starting Armanti Edwards currently. All of the Michigan Wolverine fans know who that is, but nobody else does. Their quarterback situation has gone from bad to ugly at a faster pace than a Ferrari. It really is a shame because the Panther running game isn't bad with DeAngelo Williams (before he went on IR), Jonathan Stewart (90+ yards/game since returning from injury), and Mike Goodson (versatile change of pace back who is also good on special teams). Additionally, they have a solid deep threat in Steve Smith that can stretch the defense. Overall, Andrew Luck will test out at John Elway levels and makes all the sense in the world for Carolina and whoever their new coach is (my prediction is Luck's Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh).
  2. Cincinnati Bengals: Ryan Mallett, QB Arkansas. This pick strictly depends on what happens with Carson Palmer. There is a chance that he is not in Cincinnati next year and then this pick makes all the sense in the world. I also think that even if Carson is still in Cincy that this pick still makes sense because then Mallett can have a year to look and learn how to not play quarterback with talented receivers. Cincinnati is another team that is not this bad (like the Lions) so you might see them go with a defensive talent like Robert Quinn (DE North Carolina), but I think that the Bengals will be blown up and forced to start over. Having Ochocinco, Owens, Shipley (really underrated), Benson, and Gresham at the skill positions is a very good thing for a young Quarterback.
  3. Detroit Lions: Patrick Peterson, DB LSU. The Lions are not this bad and should have more wins than they do. With that being said, if there was an elite OL talent the Lions would go in that direction but I don't see that happening unless Anthony Castonzo has an insane combine and bowl game. However, I do see the Lions going defensive in the draft because their offense has been solid no matter who is at QB (Calvin Johnson = beast). I also predict the Lions getting help in the secondary because Deion Branch could still be running from that Thanksgiving day game (Alphonso Smith = eh, not so much). Patrick Peterson is one of the more versatile players in the draft and has boatloads of talent, size (6'1) and speed (4.3 ish 40). This freakish athlete can also make a difference on special teams and should make an impact right away.
  4. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT/DE Alabama. What a beast. As a Charger fan, this pick scares the b'Jesus out of me because Dareus is a phenomenal athlete with a knack of being in the right place at the right time to make big plays on defense. He lives in the opponent's backfield in both running and passing situations. He is a perfect fit in the 3-4 as both the NT and a DE on passing downs. He will eat up blockers and allow Denver's quick linebackers to make plays in the running game and will allow Elvis Dumervil to once again reek havoc on passing downs. This is a grand slam talent and will make a huge difference in Denver's terrible defense front seven. I don't see anyone else being a better fit here but Denver could go with CB Prince Amukamara to pair with and eventually replace Champ Bailey.
  5. Buffalo Bills: Jake Locker, QB Washington. Where do you begin with the Bills? There are so many holes to this team, but they play so damn hard. This is an example of a team that is not this good, but has somehow scratched out a few wins. The Bills are so bad that they can't even get the first overall pick with the worst team in the league. As someone who lives near a gaggle of Bills fans (yes they do exist) it makes for a lot of good joke cannon fodder. This is a little high for Locker as of now, but I do believe that the combine will treat Mr. Locker well. You can see one of the elite D lineman like Nick Fairley or Quinn (if availble) go here to help a terrible run defense. It all depends on the franchises view on Ryan Fitzpatrick. Everyone in fantasy football land overreacted to the three or four good games put in by Fitzpatrick and are paying for it by relying on a Buffalo Bill in any playoff situation (142 yards 1TD last week). Last year the Bills ignored their position of need and drafted C.J. Spiller (again, great joke cannon fodder). I don't see them doing that again.
  6. Arizona Cardinals: Robert Quinn, DE North Carolina. Arizona really wanted one of the QB's to fall to them here, but with all three QB's gone they turn to rebuild a defense that was torn apart by free agency last year. Everything about the Cardinals defense is bad (30th against run and 25th against the pass) but there is potential. Quinn has character issues, but the combine will prove his value to be far superior than any other defensive lineman. He has the athleticism to both stop the run and rush the passer. You may also see the other elite cornerback in Prince Amukamara get taken here to go alongside Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and form one of the best pairs of shutdown corners in all of the NFL.
  7. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska. Dallas will be briefly happy to have had such a terrible season because Amukamara is such a supreme talent. You might be saying, 'I've never heard his name called this year?' or 'I thought Taylor Martinez is the reason Nebraska is so good?' While Taylor Martinez is a good college football talent, Amukamara is the only NFL stud on the Nebraska roster. The only reason why you haven't heard his name called this year is because opponents don't even look at the side he is covering. He reminds me of Nnamdi Asomugha of the Raiders because of his size (6'1) and ability to completely shut down the opposition's number one receiving threat. The cowboys would be lucky if Amukamara falls this far, but if he's here it makes perfect sense because the Cowboys will need to reassess their front seven scheme now that Wade Philips is gone.
  8. Tennessee Titans: Da'Quan Bowers, DE Clemson. This is a classic case of best player available. This isn't a particular need for the Titans who are going through an identity crisis on both offense and defense. The impending divorce between Jeff Fisher and Vince Young will be entertaining and telling about where the Titans go in the future. However, no matter which direction the Titans choose, Bowers can flat out get after the QB, leading the FBS in sacks with 16 sacks. Only downside is that he is a one year wonder (pretty big red flag for me) hence he is a little lower on my board than most others. As evident by their interest in Randy Moss, the Titans may also go with WR wonder A.J. Green from Georgia, but I foresee Jeff Fisher still being the head head coach, which means that the Titans will refocus on running the football and playing good defense.
  9. Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR Georgia. Green fills a huge hole at WR for the Browns and their 27th ranked passing offense. Josh Cribbs is not an NFL grade WR, never has been, and never will be. The Browns need a legitimate threat at the WR position and Green gives them that. Green proved himself this year by averaging over 15 yards per reception and racking up 9 TDs in a season that he missed a few games due to suspension. Additionally, this will also allow Cribbs to focus on special teams a la Devin Hester. Another option for the Browns could be another OT to line up opposite Joe Thomas. Gabe Carimi fits the bill because he is massive and has the Wisconsin pedigree, but I think that WR is the way the Browns go here.
  10. Minnesota Vikings: Nick Fairley, DE/DT Auburn. A lot of this depends on free agency, particularly whether or not Ray Edwards re-signs. Obviously, if Edwards does not re-sign, then the Vikings have to get another pass rushing threat that can also help in the run game. Fairley has been shooting up the draft boards in his recent performances for Auburn, especially in the games against Alabama and South Carolina where he totaled 8 total tackles and 3 sacks. The Vikings would have really liked one of the QB's to fall here and it is still a little early to draft Cam Newton, but I see that if the Vikings pick 10 or lower that they will look to trade back.
  11. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR Alabama Jones fills a huge hole for the Redskins at WR. Santana Moss has never been a truly legitimate #1 WR and needs help. McNabb is a good QB but no one can throw to someone who is always double and triple covered. Jones will also bolster a lousy special teams unit in Washington (he has the hands to hold for extra points...SNAP!). Also look out for one of the OTs to go here so Shanahan can start building his zone blocking running game.
  12. Houston Texans: Janoris Jenkins, CB Florida. Those who play fantasy football know that the Texans are a delicious matchup for WR and QB because their pass defense stinks. They give up just about two passing TDs a game. That is unacceptable. Jenkins makes plays in the coverage games. His fluid cover skills will test very highly in workouts/combine. He may not have the best size/speed combination but, once again, he makes plays.