2011 NFL Mock Draft 7.0 (Picks 1-16)

  1. Carolina Panthers select Blaine GABBERT, QB, Missouri. The Panthers really have not tipped their hand at all here, but usually quarterbacks are taken with the number one pick. If Carolina believes Blaine Gabbert is a franchise quarterback, and most experts do, then he should be the pick. Da’Quan Bowers and Marcell Dareus are strong possibilities here as well.
  2. Denver Broncos select Marcell DAREUS, DT, Alabama. The Broncos need a ton of help pretty much everywhere on the field, and they have to start on the defensive line, where they are switching to a base four-man front and have just cut Justin Banaan and Jamal Williams, their two best interior players. After a phenomenal combine, Marcell Dareus has leapfrogged Nick Fairley and has put himself in the conversation to be the first defensive player selected.
  3. Buffalo Bills select Cam NEWTON, QB, Auburn. The Bills could certainly use Nick Fairley or Von Miller, but they need a face of their franchise and Cam Newton can certainly fill that role better than anybody in this class. He’s also a great fit for Chan Gailey’s system, and I’m sure he will be compared to a young Donovan McNabb.
  4. Cincinnati Bengals select Da’Quan BOWERS, DE, Clemson. With both top quarterbacks off the board, the Bengals will still have plenty of options on the board. Bowers gets the nod here because he presents good value, he plays a very important position, and the Bengals need an answer across from the emerging Carlos Dunlap. However, A.J. Green will be very tempting here.
  5. Arizona Cardinals select Von MILLER, OLB, Texas AM. It’s looking like Von Miller won’t make it past Arizona. The comparisons to DeMarcus Ware are pouring in and Arizona has absolutely nobody who can rush the passer. Patrick Peterson is an option, but Von Miller is too good of a fit in the desert.
  6. Cleveland Browns select Robert QUINN, DE, North Carolina. The Browns will struggle to transition to a 4-3 defense if they do not add some quality defensive linemen early on in this draft. Robert Quinn is a supremely talented edge rusher who has a ton of potential. It’s a toss-up between him and A.J. Green.
  7. San Francisco 49ers select Patrick PETERSON, CB, LSU. If both Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert get drafted in the top five, some really good defensive players will fall to teams picking later in the top ten. Here’s a prime example as the 49ers net an absolute steal in Patrick Peterson at seventh overall.
  8. Tennessee Titans select Nick FAIRLEY, DT, Auburn. Again, another premier defender drops out of the top five, which will make teams like Tennessee very, very happy.
  9. Dallas Cowboys select Prince AMUKAMARA, CB, Nebraska. Prince Amukamara will definitely be drafted in the top ten after answering any questions about his long speed at the combine. He will be a great replacement for Terence Newman, the last big 12 cornerback the Cowboys drafted in the top ten.
  10. Washington Redskins select A.J. GREEN, WR, Georgia. Somehow, A.J. Green managed to slip by both Ohio teams. However, there’s no chance he gets by Washington. Santana Moss is on his way out, and the Redskins are in desperate need of a playmaker.
  11. Houston Texans select Julio JONES, WR, Alabama. Houston really needs a pass rusher and a cornerback, but Julio Jones looks like he could be a dominant receiver. Drafting him could make Houston’s offense next to unstoppable. The more logical choice would be Aldon Smith, but I have a feeling that Jones will be drafted by a team picking higher than St. Louis at 14.
  12. Minnesota Vikings select Tyron SMITH, OT, USC. Tyron Smith really helped himself at the weigh-in at the combine, and he is now the top offensive tackle prospect in this class. Minnesota will definitely be interested as Bryant McKinnie struggled at left tackle last season.
  13. Detroit Lions select Jimmy SMITH, CB, Colorado. The Lions have been doing a great job infusing their defense with young talent, but they still have a lot of areas of concern. Cornerback is a spot they need to upgrade, and Jimmy Smith has a rare blend of size and speed that should get his name called in the top 15.
  14. St. Louis Rams select Corey LIUGET, DT, Illinois. The Rams have some talent on the defensive line, but Fred Robbins and James Hall are really getting up there in age. It’s time to bring an impact player in to help out Chris Long, and Corey Liuget could certainly fill that role.
  15. Miami Dolphins select Mark INGRAM, RB, Alabama. There’s a reason 99% of mock drafts predict the Miami-Ingram marriage. It makes too much sense. The Dolphins could add DeAngelo Williams or Brandon Jacobs in free agency, but I won’t assume that, so Mark Ingram becomes the obvious choice for Bill Parcells here.
  16. Jacksonville Jaguars select Aldon SMITH, DE, Missouri. When Jacksonville needs defensive line help, they never hesitate to bring in more players. Aldon Smith is raw, but has the potential to be a fearsome pass rusher who may even go higher. There has been some buzz that Dallas, Washington, or Houston will take him.
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