2011 NFL Mock Draft: 12 days out


1. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: The Panthers seem to believe Newton is the player that can turn their franchise around. At this point, anybody else would be a big surprise here.

2. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama: Denver has needs all over the place, but John Fox tipped his hand by cutting his best interior defensive linemen.

3. Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, OLB, Texas AM: Peterson or Gabbert could be the pick, but Miller fills a bigger need and the Bills coached him at the Senior Bowl, where he was sensational.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia: A quarterback is needed badly, but Mike Brown is too stubborn to admit that Palmer no longer has a future in Cincinnati.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: With so many young signal callers on the roster, I think Arizona will upgrade their defense here, where arguably the best player in the draft is still on the board.

6. Cleveland Browns: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: Defensive end is also a huge need, but the talent evaluators in Cleveland are all offensive-minded and there is a much deeper defensive end class than receiver this year.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska: Gabbert is still on the board, but I think Jim Harbaugh truly believes in Alex Smith.

8. Tennessee Titans: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri: The Titans desperately need a franchise quarterback, and one falls into their lap here.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith, OT, USC: Dallas needs to do a lot better at right tackle, and they reportedly love Tyron Smith, who has a ton of potential.

10. Washington Redskins: Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina: With two passers and two receivers off the board, the Redskins need to add a blue chip defender with this selection. Robert Quinn would be an enormous upgrade over converted offensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander.

11. Houston Texans: Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri: Smith’s draft stock is rising quickly, and Houston needs some edge rushers for their new 3-4 defense.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Jake Locker, QB, Washington: The Vikings love mobile quarterbacks who can throw on the run, and there is no question that quarterback is their biggest need.

13. Detroit Lions: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson: Yet another piece to the puzzle for an improving Lions defense. Playing alongside Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams, and Kyle Vanden Bosch should really help Bowers develop.

14. St. Louis Rams: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn: Fairley’s draft stock is dropping due to character concerns, but there’s no way he gets past the Rams at fourteen, who need a presence on the interior.

15. Miami Dolphins: Mike Pouncey, G, Florida: The Dolphin running game certainly isn’t what it used to be. However, the offensive line has as much to do with that as running back. Pouncey has a better chance to be a pro bowl player than Mark Ingram, and you want to take difference makers in the first round.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue: Once again, the Jags have serious problems getting to the quarterback. Ryan Kerrigan is a very, very good football player and will help out Tyson Alualu quite a bit.

17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin: Talent and need converge here as J.J. Watt is the dream pick here for the Patriots.

18. San Diego Chargers: Cam Jordan, DE, California: San Diego is falling in love with the 5-techniques in this class, and Cam Jordan can certainly help solidify an already talented defensive unit.

19. New York Giants: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College: Every starter on the Giant offensive line is at least thirty-years-old, so they should be in the market for some youth there. If they don’t, they’ll end up like the Redskins.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona: Tampa desperately needs to find a sack master, and I’d say Brooks Reed is regarded as that type of player as he keeps drawing comparisons to Clay Matthews.

21. Kansas City Chiefs: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor: Scott Pioli always takes care of his defensive line first, and he needs to upgrade Ron Edwards in the middle. Taylor is one of the few 330+ pounders coming out of college that is always on top of his weight and can overwhelm smaller offensive linemen.

22. Indianapolis Colts: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado: There’s little doubt that the Colts will be looking to draft an offensive tackle early on. Nate Solder is a gifted athlete and has the chance to develop into a superb left tackle.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado: Asante Samuel is 30, and the Eagles don’t have much to write home about behind him on the depth chart. Jimmy Smith can start at right cornerback from day 1 and eventually slide over to the left side.

24. New Orleans Saints: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State: The Saints reportedly love Cameron Heyward, and they certainly are in the market for versatile defensive linemen that they can move around a bit.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa: Seattle needs to do something about their anemic pass rush, and there’s good value still on the board.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin: The Ravens are serious about cutting ties with Jared Gaither and have been organizing visits with a bunch of pass protectors.

27. Atlanta Falcons: Justin Houston, DE, Georgia: The local product will be a big addition to a team that has only one impact defensive lineman in John Abraham, who turns 33 in a couple of weeks.

28. New England Patriots: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis aren’t bad, but Mark Ingram would be a big upgrade over the perennial committee of undersized, old, broken down backs in Foxborough.

29. New York Jets: Marvin Austin, DE, North Carolina: Shaun Ellis, the Jets’ only good 5-technique, will be 34 very soon, and they need young blood on their defensive line. Marvin Austin’s stock is rising again and his athleticism makes him a good fit for the 3-4.

30. Chicago Bears: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami: Tim Jennings got abused in the NFC Championship Game, and they could use an upgrade across from Charles Tillman. The Bears will love Harris’ competitiveness, physicality, and aggressiveness.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas: The Steelers have an elite run defense, but are far too thin at corner. If Ike Taylor bolts in free agency, the Steelers will be in big trouble defensively.

32. Green Bay Packers: Corey Liuget, DE, Illinois: Outstanding value here for the Packers as they get to replace Cullen Jenkins with a very similar type of player.

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