Xtra Point Football is your source for all things related to the 2011 NFL Draft. The NFL Scouting Combine is scheduled for February 23 through March 1 and we'll have the results as they're posted to keep you up to date with the latest as we move closer and closer to the first round of this year's draft on April 28. Also be sure to check out our 2011 NFL Draft Player Profiles and get to know the players available so you can formulate your own opinions of who your favorite team should pick. We are adding new profiles every day.
NFL Scout Jayson Braddock along with our College Football Editor Danny Hobrock will be conducting a series of Mock Draft's up until draft day. Be sure to check back with us each week as we'll be releasing new Mock Drafts every Monday until the big day. Here's how our experts see things shaking out if the draft were to be held today:
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Xtra Point Football 2011 NFL Mock Draft 1.0
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1. Carolina Panthers - Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn Tigers: Fairley cemented himself as the top defensive player in this season's draft in the BCS Championship Game. He gives the Panthers a key defensive piece to build around as they look to rebuild their team.
2. Denver Broncos - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU Tigers: There's a lot of ways the Broncos could go in this draft. They most certainly have to go defense after the way Josh McDaniels ignored that side of the ball the last two years. It doesn't appear that Champ Bailey will be resigned in Denver and even if he is, Perrish Cox is facing legal woes. Patrick Peterson can come in and be the #1 guy from the first game on. He's a complete corner and the most NFL ready.
- Other possibilities: AJ Green, WR, Georgia; DaQuan Bowers, DE, Clemson
3. Buffalo Bills - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia Bulldogs: Probably the best wide receiver to come out of college since Calvin Johnson in 2007. Green gives the Bills another offensive weapon to play alongside Lee Evans and C.J. Spiller.
- Other possibilities: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson; Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
4. Cincinnat Bengals - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson Tigers: Cincinnati needs that true game changing pass rusher. Bowers has the talent and ability to be the #1 pick in this draft. The Bengals would be ecstatic to see him fall in their laps at 4. Some question Bowers' jump in production from his sophomore to junior year, but the jump was due to his ability to stay healthy and be the focal point of the defense.
- Other possibilities: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina; Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
5. Arizona Cardinals - Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina: Quarterback is clearly a need, but with none worthy of a top five pick at this point, look for the Cardinals to beef up their defensive line by taking Quinn. He missed his entire senior season due to suspension, falling off a lot of radars, but the Tar Heel kids should climb up draft boards as we approach the draft.
- Other possibilities: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M; Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri; Jake Locker, QB, Washington;
6. Cleveland Browns - Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M Aggies : We have Miller going a little higher than most. He's the premier 3-4 OLB pass rusher in this year's draft. He could easily put up the numbers that Elvis Dumervil did in this position 2 years ago. We believe that after the combine and pro days, that Miller will be a top 10 pick. They could consider giving Colt a weapon here as well.
- Other possibilities: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama; Marcell Dareus, DE, Alabama
7. San Francisco 49ers - Jake Locker, QB, Washington Huskies: If the draft were today, this probably wouldn't happen no matter how badly the 49ers need a quarterback. But with several opportunities including the Senior Bowl to fall back into favor with scouts, Locker could see himself shooting up draft boards.
- Other possibilities: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
8. Tennessee Titans - Marcell Dareus, DT/DE, Alabama Crimson Tide: This is more of a value pick here. Dareus is a beast in the middle of a defensive line. The Titans have been looking for a replacement for Albert Haynesworth since he left. Tennessee will have a new D-line coach and defensive coordinator this year. Getting him a playmaker to stuff the run against divisional rivals Arian Foster and Maurice Jones-Drew could help out a lot.
- Other possibilities: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri; Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
9. Dallas Cowboys - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado Buffaloes: Offensive tackle is perhaps the Cowboys' biggest need this offseason and although it may be difficult to justify taking any of this year's crop of tackles in the top ten, a lot could happen between now and April 28 and teams tend to take tackles higher than perhaps they should. Solder is a big tackle at 6'9, 315 lbs who Dallas will hope can solidify their offensive line.
- Other possibilities: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska; Ryan Kerrigan, OLB/DE, Purdue
10. Washington Redskins - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri Tigers: Mike Shanahan has burned the bridge with Donovan McNabb. He'll need to find his replacement and if he sees Gabbert as an equivalent to Jay Cutler, who he drafted 11th overall in Denver, he'll snag him up. The biggest problem is, this may be early for Gabbert and he won't have any targets to whom to throw the ball in Washington. Getting a #1 receiving threat could also be a key piece to the puzzle.
- Other possibilities: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama; Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
11. Houston Texans - Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina Tar Heels: Austin fell off most radars this past season as he served an indefinite suspension that extended the entire season. A tough work ethic and some good interviews could move him into the top 15, where many were all but guaranteeing he'd be picked before the suspension. He's a pure 4-3 tackle, but is a possibility at the nose or 3-4 end on Houston's defense.
- Other possibilities: Ryan Kerrigan, OLB/DE, Purdue; Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
12. Minnesota Vikings - Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas Razorbacks: Brett Favre looks like he is finally going to call it quits. Tarvaris Jackson and Joe Webb don't appear to be the answer in Minnesota. Mallett has some flaws to his game, but if the Vikings think they can improve his decision making, they could look to take him here in the midst of this run on QBs. The Vikings were plagued by injuries in the secondary last year and could look for help there as well.
- Other possibilities: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska; Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
13. Detroit Lions - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska Cornhuskers: The Lions need to draft an elite cornerback and at pick 13, Amukamara could be too tempting to pass up. While a lot of attention has gone to the offense with Matthew Stafford under center, the defense, which includes last year's second overall pick Ndamukong Suh, is becoming the strength of this team.
- Other possibilities: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA; Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
14. St. Louis Rams - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide: This is a pretty simple pick. Even with Donnie Avery coming back from injury this year, the Rams have to get Sam Bradford a true #1 receiving threat. Jones alongside Avery would give Bradford an explosive arsenal in the new Josh McDaniels offense. Stephen Jackson is getting long in the tooth and they may look to find his compliment/replacement, too.
- Other possibilities: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama; Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
15. Miami Dolphins - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide: Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams could both be gone by the time next season starts, but even if they are able to keep one of the backs (Williams seems more likely), the Dolphins could target a running back early. Quarterback is a need with Chad Henne certainly not looking like the answer, but Ingram is a safer pick than any quarterback still on the board and gives the Dolphins a tough, talented back.
- Other possibilities: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas; Allen Bailey, DE/DT, Miami
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - Akeem Ayers, OLB/DE, UCLA Bruins: The Jaguars defense couldn't stop the run or the pass. They need help all over but they can't pass on the talent of Akeem Ayers at this spot in the 1st round. Ayers is a playmaking linebacker with the knack for getting to the ball. Jacksonville could also try to improve their secondary that was ghastly last year.
- Other possibilities: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami; Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
17. New England Patriots - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College Eagles: The Patriots could be down a couple offensive linemen heading into the draft. Either way, they could look to upgrade their line to keep quarterback Tom Brady upright.
- Other possibilities: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin; Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
18. San Diego Chargers - Cameron Jordan, DE/OLB: California Golden Bears: The Chargers are stacked all over their team. They had one of the top offenses and defenses in 2010. They have the luxury of taking their best fit here. Jordan has the size, speed, and power to not only tie up lineman as a 3-4 DE but to also get pressure on the QB. San Diego could also look to find Eric Weddle's replacement if he leaves via free agency.
- Other possibilities: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA; Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina
19. New York Giants - Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina Tar Heels: Carter gives the Giants a young linebacker to add to their corps. This could also go offensive line or even a cornerback such as Miami's Brandon Harris, who would become the third Hurricane to join the Giants secondary (Kenny Phillips and Antrelle Rolle).
- Other possibilities: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College; Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa Hawkeyes: Clayborn can come in and play next to Gerald McCoy and help to solidify a defensive unit that struggled against the run. Raheem Morris is trying to build a top defensive unit and Adrian could be the missing piece that either gets to the quarterback or helps take away double teams from McCoy. Adding a top corner opposite of Aqib Talib would also be a great pickup.
- Other possibilities: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami; DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
21. Kansas City Chiefs - Ryan Kerrigan, OLB/DE, Purdue Boilermakers: Kerrigan is a pass rusher who recorded 12 sacks in 2009 and then 13 in 2010. Kerrigan would give the Chiefs a second pass rusher to play alongside Tamba Hali.
- Other possibilities: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri; Justin Houston, DE, Georgia
22. Indianapolis Colts - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State Bulldogs: Peyton Manning is in the twilight of his career, and the Colts could really benefit from giving Manning more time and keeping him on his feet. Sherrod could come in and help a line that struggled to give Manning the time he needed last year. This pick is in the bottom part of the 1st round, so even if they have to move him to the right side, it would still be a value pick. The Colts also struggled against the run in 2010.
- Other possibilities: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State; DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Rahim Moore, S, UCLA Bruins: The Eagles need help in the secondary and could add a ball hawk of a safety in Moore, even if he saw a significant drop off in his interceptions last season. Moore came away with 10 interceptions in 2009, but fell off tremendously in 2010 with just one.
- Other possibilities: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin; Tyron Smith, OT, USC
24. New Orleans Saints - Allen Bailey, DE/DT, Miami Hurricanes: The Saints have some aging defensive ends and they need to start a youth movement. This would be a perfect place for Bailey to come in and learn before taking over. Bailey has proven to be able to get to the quarterback with east at Miami. The Saints could consider upgrading their linebackers corps or the offensive line to make sure the 6'0 tall Drew Brees has enough room to get the ball over the line.
- Other possibilities: Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida; Quan Sturdivant
25. Seattle Seahawks - DeMarco Murray: RB, Oklahoma Sooners: Call this the 'Willis McGahee pick'. Murray may have some teams wary because of injuries he's suffered throughout his career, but he's a top ten talent who could be a steal this late in the draft if he stays healthy. With Seattle struggling to find a featured back, this could be a smart pick.
- Other possibilities: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn; Andy Dalton, QB, TCU; Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
26. Baltimore Ravens - Brandon Harris, CB, Miami Hurricanes: Baltimore's defense was the same old monster last year, except at the cornerback position. Teams routinely got over the top of the corners and were able to run up the score on the usually stingy defense. Harris can come in and improve the back part of the defense and perhaps get them over the hurdle next season. They could also look to find Ed Reed's replacement and let Reed groom him for a year or so.
- Other possibilities: DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson; Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
27. Atlanta Falcons - Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri Tigers: The Falcons could look at an offensive lineman with this pick, but Smith is a value at the 27th pick and would give Atlanta a tough pass rusher who recorded six sacks in 2010 and 11 the season before.
- Other possibilities: Tyron Smith, OT, USC; Allen Bailey, DE/DT, Miami
28. New England Patriots - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin Badgers: The Patriots defense needs a lot of improvement this offseason. They need to start up front with their defensive line that has too many players towards the end of their career. Watt could come in and help get Bill Belichek's defense back to respectability. They could also go after a running back to put in the backfield with Woodhead and Green-Ellis. It seems like the Patriots take a linebacker every year, so that wouldn't be surprising either.
- Other possibilities: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech; Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
29. Green Bay Packers - Mike Pouncy, G/C, Florida Gators: The Packers were awful at protecting Aaron Rogers in 2009, but did see improvement in 2010. They used their first round pick last season to take tackle Bryan Bulaga of Iowa, and this season could look Pouncey's way to solidify the interior of the line.
- Other possibilities: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois; DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson
30. New York Jets - Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia Bulldogs: Houston seems like a Rex Ryan type of player. He would be a great addition as a 3-4 pass rusher. Ryan could also look to add insurance at the safety position with the injury to Jim Leonhard. I image he could look for an Ed Reed ball hawking safety, due to the heightened awareness of helmet-to-helmet hits. Even though Mark Sanchez has put up big stats and a great postseason record, it wouldn't be too surprising to see him take a QB prospect here either.
- Other possibilities: DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson; Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
31. Chicago Bears - Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami Hurricanes: Hankerson hasn't been mentioned too much as a potential first round pick, but he had a phenomenal senior season, breaking Michael Irvin's school record for receiving touchdowns in a season, and would be a great pick for a Bears team that needs help in the passing game.
- Other possibilities: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame; Tyron Smith, OT, USC
32. Pittsburgh Steelers - Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State Beavers: Casey Hampton has been the staple of the Steelers defense for years, but Pittsburgh needs to start grooming his replacement. Paea can come in and won't face the pressure of being the man right away. He can slide from the 3-4 DE position to the NT position until he gets his NFL legs underneath him. They could look to find Flozell Adams' replacement as well or even try to get better at the cornerback position. They may also look at a running back here.
- Other possibilities: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin; Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
Danny Hobrock, a sports journalist covering NCAA Football and MLB is the editor of our college football content. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock
Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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