2011 NFL Mock Draft 4.0 (Picks 1-16)

I normally wait for new important developments to happen before I begin a new mock draft. This time, I’m doing it because I feel pretty unsatisfied with my last one. That’s why I’ve changed 18 picks in the first round mainly because I’ve had some nights to sleep on it, I’ve read some other opinions, and I feel like there are more logical decisions to be made. The Green Bay fan that commented on my last mock would also be glad to hear that I have mocked a prospect other than an offensive lineman to the Pack. I love to hear your opinions, because most of you know more about your team’s needs than I do. So, please comment and give me feedback. I’m pretty new at this blogging thing, I’m 15, and this is really just a learning experience for me as I explore the world of sports journalism. Enough about me though, my new mock is below.

1. Carolina Panthers: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

Fairley has been the most dominant player in college football this year and fills an enormous need for the Panthers. He moves very well, has very polished pass rush moves, and manages to play the run exceptionally well. You just don’t see many prospects with Fairley’s blend of raw talent and technique.

2. Denver Broncos: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

I know Bowers is a strong possibility here, but with Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers returning as talented pass rushers, I can’t see how Peterson isn’t the pick here assuming Champ Bailey is let go.

3. Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, OLB, Texas AM

The Bills will take a pass rusher, but which one? Von Miller has seen his stock soar, but Robert Quinn has superior physical tools, and Da’Quan Bowers is generally regarded as the best overall prospect of the three. I’ll go with momentum here, and don’t forget that Buffalo coached Von Miller in the Senior Bowl.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

Cincinnati has their pick between A.J. Green, Da’Quan Bowers, and Blaine Gabbert here, so this will be an interesting pick. Green gets the nod because the Bengals believe in Carson Palmer at quarterback and in Carlos Dunlap at defensive end.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina

Arizona already has enough talented, young passers. If they add another quarterback, it will be a veteran. They will look to add a talented pass rusher here, and Quinn looks to be a perfect fit for the 3-4.

6. Cleveland Browns: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

Cleveland is making the transition to a 4-3 defense, and they have next to nothing that will fit in a 4-3 end role. They should count their blessings that Bowers is still on the board.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

Jim Harbaugh reportedly thinks very highly of Alex Smith, so maybe he will pass on Blaine Gabbert to help his team in other areas. Prince Amukamara fills a big need and isn’t a reach at 7 overall.

8. Tennessee Titans: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

The Titans need more than Kerry Collins and Rusty Smith at quarterback heading into 2011 and Gabbert has the arm to head a vertical passing attack that can get the ball down the field to Kenny Britt and company.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

I’m sticking with Solder to Dallas here because Marc Colombo was absolutely awful at right tackle last year and Solder should light up the combine. Usually, players who are 6’8″, 315 and can run under a 4.9 see their stocks soar.

10. Washington Redskins: Marcell Dareus, DE, Alabama

With Gabbert gone, the Redskins will likely draft the best defender available. That player will be Marcell Dareus, who will be a be a big upgrade over Vonnie Holliday.

11. Houston Texans: Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri

Houston will be switching to a 3-4 defense this year, and they will need to find some rush linebackers to help out their talented but inexperienced youngsters on the back end. Aldon Smith is extremely athletic and does a very good job applying heat to opposing passers.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

Minnesota needs to find an answer at corner opposite Asher Allen as Antoine Winfield is strictly a slot man at this point in his career. Jimmy Smith’s stock has been soaring, and he will probably wind up going between 11 and 13 overall when all is said and done.

13. Detroit Lions: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

The Lions have become one of the more exciting and explosive offensive units in the league, but they need to keep adding young talent to the defense. Ndamukong Suh, Louis Delmas, and DeAndre Levy need some help.

14. St. Louis Rams: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

Sam Bradford had a great rookie season, but the Rams need to surround him with more weapons. Mark Clayton, Danny Amendola, and Danario Alexander are all great complementary guys, but none are true go-to guys.

15. Miami Dolphins: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

Somebody will fall in love with Cam Newton, and Miami could very well be that team. The question is, do they like Newton better than Mark Ingram? Only time will tell.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

Aaron Kampman is coming off a second straight ACL tear, so the Jags need to find some stud pass rushers to take their team to the next level. Ryan Kerrigan is smooth and polished and is a very good fit here for the Jaguars.

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