2011 NFL Mock Draft 1.0 (Picks 9-16)

Just a continuation from my last post…as a refresher, Nick Fairley went number one overall to Carolina, and in addition to the usual suspects, Blaine Gabbert, Robert Quinn, and Marcell Dareus are now off the board. On the clock now are the Dallas Cowboys.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

The Cowboys’ needs do not match up with the talent on the board at all. They need secondary and offensive line help, but the two stud corners are gone and while they may reach for USC’s Tyron Smith or Colorado’s Nate Solder, I believe Dallas would rather address the defensive side of the ball. They could really use a bookend rusher across from Demarcus Ware and Jerry Jones loves drafting Texas kids.

10. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

The Redskins still haven’t found an answer at quarterback, but it’s tough for anybody to succeed when they have to throw to the likes of Joey Galloway, Santana Moss, and Anthony Armstrong, who average 33 years of age. Washington desperately needs a big time weapon on the outside, and Jones certainly provides that.

11. Houston Texans: Stephen Paea, NT, Oregon State

Houston is transitioning to a 3-4 defense, but their leading candidate for the critical nose tackle position is the undersized rookie Earl Mitchell. Stephen Paea is arguably the most powerful player in the draft and plays with phenomenal leverage. He will team with Antonio Smith and Mario Williams to form a nice-looking defensive line.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

No defensive backs remaining should warrant consideration this high, and unless the Vikings fall in love with Cam Newton or Ryan Mallett, they will look to bolster their aging trenches. I believe Minnesota will try to bring Kyle Orton or Kevin Kolb into town, and with their first rounder, you can’t go wrong with a pass rusher. It could be Adrian Clayborn, but Minnesota needs to give Jared Allen some help up front.

13. Detroit Lions: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

The Lions have suddenly become competitive and very fun to watch as they feature elite offensive weapons such as Calvin Johnson and Jahvid Best. They still need to patch up that offensive line, and Tyron Smith is looking more and more like the top tackle in the draft. He can play either side and will help the Lions take the next step towards the postseason.

14. St. Louis Rams: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

The Rams made great strides this season, but they still have a lot of missing pieces. They really need another difference maker in their front seven. They couldn’t stop the run when it counted, so look for them to upgrade their outside linebackers and defensive tackles. Akeem Ayers can cover, stop the run, and rush the passer, and his versatility will allow Steve Spagnuolo to be very creative in his playcalling.

15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

The Dolphins are in need of offensive help and even though they got Brandon Marshall last season, the team is lacking firepower. Additionally, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams could both be let go this offseason, and Mark Ingram could provide the fresh legs that the Dolphins have been waiting for.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

Jacksonville opted to select a defensive lineman instead of taking a chance on a great college quarterback (Tim Tebow) last year, but the opposite could be true this year. Adrian Clayborn will be tempting, but the Jaguars have been trying to bring in somebody to push David Garrard, who will be 33 next month. Newton will excite the fan base and will be tough for Wayne Weaver to resist.

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