Monday, January 3, 2011

Non-Playoff Team Mock Draft

  1. Carolina Panthers: Andrew Luck, QB Stanford. Makes a whole lot of sense if Luck decides to declare. Also, watch out for for his Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh to be the head coach of the Panthers next year. If Harbaugh and Luck go to Carolina, that will be the best offseason any team will have. Luck will have an impact on the Panthers in week 1. Carolina is not a bad running football team and Luck can make the entire offense a viable entity to that team.
  2. Denver Broncos: Patrick Peterson, CB LSU. Denver needs a lot of pieces. Peterson is simply the best overall player on the board after Luck. Even though Champ Bailey is one of the only bright spots on the team, he will not be around forever. Peterson has exceptional ball skills, size, and speed for a corner who can make an impact on both defense and in the return game on special teams.
  3. Buffalo Bills: Cam Newton, QB Auburn. There's a lot of fool's gold in this draft, and there are a lot of fools in Buffalo. Cam Newton is going to shoot up the draft boards after his MVP performance in the BCS "Championsip Game" (you heard it here first). Newton is also going to be the best prospect wearing shorts and a T shirt and the Bills fell for that athlete last year (C.J Spiller). I'm not saying that he is the right pick here, but the Bills haven't been right in a long time.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals: Da'quan Bowers, DE Clemson. The Bengals only need to look at Carson Palmer's division performances to see what makes a good defense: Ball hawking corners and safeties behind a tremendous pass rush. Bowers has been a beast in the ACC tying the single-season sack record. Pairing up Bowers and rookie sensation Carlos Dunlap might give the Bengals the best pass rush without blitzing the QB.
  5. Arizona Cardinals: Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska. The best player in the draft that no one has heard from this year. Reason? Because nobody throws to his half of the field. Like Patrick Peterson, Amukamara will make an impact week 1 on both defense and the return game. This pick squarely depends on whether or not the Cardinals get a QB via trade or free agency, but I think that since Ken Whisenhunt will be on the hot seat next year, he will not want to start over at QB with that talented receiving core.
  6. Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR Georgia. Green is, far and away, the best WR in this draft and the Browns need to get some skill players around Colt McCoy. No one in college has been able to stop Green, which included an SEC schedule. Cleveland desperately needs a WR. I had to google their wide receivers not named Mohamed Massaquoi, and I certainly had to google the spelling of Massaquoi. The only benefit to the Browns wide receivers is that their names score big points in Scrabble.
  7. San Francisco 49ers: Ryan Mallett, QB Arkansas. San Francisco is probably sick of hearing this, but it's time for the Niners to rebuild. The new coaching regime is going to want a new face of the franchise, and the best place to find that is in a first round quarterback. Mallett certainly has the size and strength to be an NFL quarterback, but can he adapt to the pace of the NFL. Mallett will have the benefit of what should be a vastly improved O-line with an underrated set of skill position players that include Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, and Michael Crabtree. Mallett and Luck could very easily be competing for both the #1 pick in the draft and the 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year.
  8. Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT Auburn. Fairley is the best prospect to come out of Auburn this year, but will not be drafted first among them, which is unfortunate. Even if the Titans decide to reacquire Albert Haynesworth this offseason (strong possibility), this pick makes all the sense in the world. Tennessee needs to re-establish itself on defense. When the Titans were good, they were able to run the ball with Eddie George and were able to stuff the run with their defense. Fairley gives the Titans that ability to win the battle at the line of scrimmage.
  9. Dallas Cowboys: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB North Carolina. This is an example of taking the best player available regardless of need. The Cowboys struggled to protect the QB and run the ball all year, but there is not a top ten worthy offensive lineman in this draft. I would not be surprised to see a team trade up to this spot to get a talent like Julio Jones or Marcel Dareus.
  10. Washington Redskins: Marcel Dareus, DT Alabama. Dareus can be the beast the Redskins never got with Albert Haynesworth. Washington had one of the worst run defenses in all of the NFL last year and it all starts in the middle of the defensive line. Jim Haslett knows how to coach a defense he just needs some talent. Dareus takes up a lot of space just by standing still. Get him moving in the right direction and he is an absolute monstrosity.
  11. Houston Texans: Janoris Jenkins, CB Florida. Bad doesn't even begin to describe the Texans pass defense last year. It was worse than the new Tron movie. It was worse than Miley Cyrus' excuses for smoking weed. It was worse than Lindsay Lohan's rehab attempts. The only way the Texans are going to stop anyone from throwing on them is by praying that the tornadoes in the Midwest sweep through Reliant stadium, killing every offensive player they are facing. Long story short, it was ugly. Jenkins is the best available DB. Expect them to draft defense early and often.
  12. Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa. This pick depends on what Leslie Frazier does with pending free agent Ray Edwards. If they let Edwards go, Clayborn can fill his spot. The Vikings could use offensive line help but, once again, no elite O lineman talent here. It is also too early to take one of the second tier QB's like Blaine Gabbert from Missouri and Jake Locker from Washington. Minnesota fans need to come the realization that they will be ushering in the Tavaris Jackson era.
  13. Detroit Lions: Brandon Harris, CB Miami. Harris has played in all 26 games he has been eligible to play in at Miami. Has above average speed with adequate size to both cover wide receivers and to stop the run. Don't look now, but the Lions are on the prowl for the NFC North next year. If Detroit can shore up their pass defense, the Lions can contend to for a playoff spot. Their talent is that good. I remind you that they ended this year on a 4 game winning streak with backup quarterbacks.
  14. Miami Dolphins: Jake Locker, QB Washington. How bad were the quarterbacks in Miami this year? I don't think coach Tony Sporano survives black Monday and, once again, new coaching regime brings a new face to the franchise. Jake Locker's stock has fallen significantly since last year, but the talent is still there. The risk in the mid first round for Locker is well worth the possible reward.
  15. St. Louis Rams: Julio Jones, WR Alabama. I'm not as big of a fan of Julio Jones as other people due to his lackluster route running skills, but the Rams have a massive need at Wide Receiver. With Donnie Avery coming back next year, adding a home run threat on the other side with Julio Jones is not a bad idea with Danny Amendola in the slot. Julio Jones can be a matchup nightmare. Get ready for the Percy Harvin and Reggie Bush comparisons.
  16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri. Another player that I'm not as high on as others, but his stock is white hot. Some people even see him as a top five talent, I don't. Jacksonville needs to start thinking about a change at Quarterback down the road because I anticipate a coaching change taking place soon. David Garrard is not an elite quarterback and holds Jacksonville back from being an explosive offense. The Jaguars have above average skill players like Maurice Jones-Drew, Marcedes Lewis, and Mike Sims-Walker. It's time that someone gets them the ball more effectively so their stars can truly shine.
  17. New England Patriots (from Oakland): Akeem Ayers, OLB UCLA. The rich just get richer. If New England decides to draft here, they will just take the best athlete for their young, athletic defense. Ayers is a physical phenom and will excel in Belichek's 3-4 defense. The Patriots just have an embarrassment of riches and Ayers will just add to that.
  18. San Diego Chargers: Nate Solder, OT Colorado. The Chargers, statistically, only need to improve on special teams, and they will not look to do that in the first round of the draft. However, another area of concern is the run game. Ryan Matthews was a rookie bust, Mike Tolbert almost broke his neck, and Darren Sproles is only effective on third down. Phillip Rivers also took a lot of hits in known passing situations. All of this points to a need on the offensive line. Solder played left tackle in college but could easily flip to the right side to help anchor the Chargers offensive line along with Nick Hardwick at center and Marcus McNeill at left tackle.
  19. New York Giants: Mark Ingram, RB Alabama. With the departure of Brandon Jacobs imminent, the Giants will look to replenish their backfield with some explosiveness, and I don't mean the type of explosiveness that caused the giants running backs to constantly lose hold of the football. Ingram possesses elite talent at running back, especially with his patience and vision, to help the Giants close out football games without turnovers.
  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ryan Kerrigan, DE Purdue. Tough luck for the Bucs this year. Would have been a great story to go from two wins to the playoffs. Oh well, they do get a better draft pick because of it and Kerrigan makes a lot of sense to help further improve the hard working Buccaneer defense. Kerrigan will partner up with last year's first round pick, Gerald McCoy, to make one of the more athletic defensive lines. Kerrigan can get after the passer too on passing downs. Good fit for a good player.

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