Okay, so I lied. It is another NFL mock draft. But there is a reason why you should read this one! After watching hours of footage on every prospect in this years draft, I’ve started to build my mock draft for the 2011 NFL Draft. Now, I can’t guarantee this is how the draft will play out. While I’ve prepared myself by watching plenty of film, we all know that many of these GMs have no idea what they’re doing. We could all do their job better, right? Well, this is how the first half of Thursday’s draft should play out:
1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Newton will be the first pick. It’s not even up for debate at this point. He has the potential to be the next Ben Roethlisberger. Well, minus the sexual assault accusations. For now. Sorry Panthers fans, but I see Newton being JaMarcus Russell 2.0. Just make sure to keep him away from that purple drank.
2. Denver Broncos – Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Denver is praying that Carolina takes Newton. They don’t want him and they don’t need him. They have Tim Tebow! Dareus makes the most sense and will immediately improve John Fox’s defense in Denver.
3. Buffalo Bills – Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
Remember Aaron Maybin? No? Well the Bills do. They took him in the first round of the 2009 draft and hoped he would fill their OLB hole. Since they’re considering Miller here, it’s obvious that Maybin didn’t work out.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
The Bengals are a disaster. I guess that’s nothing new though. Ignoring their obvious need for a QB now that Palmer wants out, they need to fill their hole at WR. The T.Ocho experiment didn’t work. Even I gave up on Ocho this year. The days of the Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh duo are long gone and it’s time they start over. Green’s their guy.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Larry Fitzgerald will be the first to tell you that the Cardinals need a QB. This may come as a surprise to Derek Anderson (just kidding, it won’t) but they’ll be hoping either Gabbert or Newton make it to them. Luckily for Arizona, the Panthers will take Newton at number one and make their choice easy. Gabbert is the better option anyway.
6. Cleveland Browns – Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Poor Cleveland. At least the Indians are playing well because nothing else seems to be going their way in the sports world. They’re a big wildcard early in this draft. They have so many needs that they could go a lot of different ways. I see them taking Quinn here but I don’t know why. So let’s just move along.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Patrick Peterson, DB, LSU
This is where it gets tough for me. Being a Lions fan, I want them to get the best player at a position they need. But it just isn’t going to happen. Peterson is a top five talent and if he’s still around at this point, the 49ers will take him.
8. Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Tennessee could go a couple different routes here but I see them taking a chance on Nick Fairley. They’ve been looking for a defensive tackle since losing Albert Haynesworth and some think Fairley will be that guy. I have even heard comparisions to Ndamukong Suh. Woah there, cowboy. Fairley isn’t going to be as good as Suh but I think the Titans take him anyway.
9. Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Hmm. This seems like too smart of a pick for the Cowboys. Is it too early to start slamming them for drafting Dez Bryant last year? How much jewelry does one guy need? The fact that Jon Kitna saw time on the field last year makes it pretty clear that they need to figure out how to protect Romo. Smith should help that.
10. Washington Redskins – J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
I don’t know if Watt is the right choice for Washington. However, if they do take him, we’ll know that he was the wrong choice. Shanahan doesn’t know what he’s doing anymore as seen with how he handled McNabb and Haynesworth. I don’t expect Shanahan to surprise anyone ever again.
11. Houston Texans – Cameron Jordan, DE, California
While I’m not convinced that Schaub is the QB for Houston, their offense is still very good. Their defense is quickly improving and Jordan will help them even more. But does it make them good enough to make the playoffs? I doubt it.
12. Minnesota Vikings – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
They obviously need a QB again but there isn’t one worth taking at this point. While DE is a big need for them, I see them going the offensive line path. They’ll be bringing in a new quarterback and they need to make sure that he’ll be protected.
13. Detroit Lions – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
It took me a few weeks to get the pronunciation of Ndamukong Suh down and if the draft plays out like I hope it does, I’ll need to figure out how to pronounce Amukamara. The Lions need help on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield. Amukamara would be an amazing pick at this point in the draft.
14. St. Louis Rams – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Jones is interesting. He could go anywhere from six to 14. He won’t fall past the Rams though. They need a receiver for Bradford and they’re even willing to move up in the draft to get him.
15. Miami Dolphins – Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida
His brother had a really good rookie season, doesn’t that mean Mike will be too? Miami is just hoping that he won’t be the Jeremy to Maurkice’s Jason, the Boss to his brother’s Champ, or the Eli to Maurkice’s Peyton. I could do this all day long but I think you get the point.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Bowers has dropped due to concerns about his knee injury. Still, he is insanely talented and Jacksonville would love it if he did fall to them. However, Bowers won’t sell tickets so he might be enjoying LA in a few years.
Second half of round one is coming on Thursday!