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 2.0
The Green Bay Packers are Super Bowl Champions and we reveal our Mock Draft 2.0! The shuffling of this year's 3-4 defensive ends continues in the middle and bottom of the round as some prospects move up the board and others down it. Expect the trend to continue in the coming weeks, but steady as we approach the draft. There are a couple of newcomers in this edition of our first round mock, while one quarterback makes his move into the middle of the round. Meanwhile, some of the more highly-touted quarterbacks continue their absence from the first round. Could Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett go in the first round or even in the top 10? Absolutely. But we aren't as high on them as others and see them more as late first rounders or second round prospects.
Dropped out of 1st Round: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State; Allen Bailey, DT/DE, Miami
New to 1st Round: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor; Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
Here's how we see the NFL First Round landscape as of February 7th.
1. Carolina Panthers - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson Tigers: 3 The Panthers need everything. They'll likely look to take the top overall player with the first pick regardless of need. Ron Rivera will reportedly keep the 4-3 defense in Carolina, where Bowers would fit in as a 4-3 end. If he decides to play the 3-4 scheme, which he has also coached, Bowers would be a good fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Similarly, Nick Fairley would fit as a 4-3 tackle or 3-4 end.
- Previous Pick: Nick Fairley, DT/DE, Auburn
- Other possibilities: Nick Fairley, DT/DE, Auburn; A.J. Green, WR, Georgian
2. Denver Broncos - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU Tigers: Picking second, the Broncos have the luxury of taking one of the top two players in this year's draft while also filling a potential need at cornerback. Champ Bailey will be a free agent and securing another lockdown corner will be a priority whether or not Bailey returns.
- Previous Pick: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
- Other possibilities: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson; Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
3. Buffalo Bills - Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn Tigers: 2 If Fairley isn't taken with the first overall pick, it's unlikely he falls past Buffalo at #3. He'd be an ideal fit as a 3-4 end and has the potential to be a very good player for a long time in the league. This would make three Tigers taken with the first three picks, albeit from different teams.
- Previous Pick: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
- Other possibilities: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia; Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
4. Cincinnat Bengals - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia Bulldogs: 1 In this mock, Da'Quan Bowers is already taken, so the Bengals could go get the second best defensive end in Robert Quinn, but we believe they'd rather take the best player at another position of need. A.J. Green is a game-changing playmaker and a true #1 threat at the receiver position. It doesn't matter if the Bengals stick with Carson Palmer or go in a different direction, they need a young, elite receiver to replace Chad Johnson.
- Previous Pick: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
- Other possibilities: Nick Fairley, DT/DE, Auburn; Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina; Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
5. Arizona Cardinals - Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M Aggies: 1 Miller is one of the fast risers in this year's draft class. He's been projected as high as a top-three pick, while many have him going to Houston at #11. If he's available after the first ten picks, Houston will get a major steal as we don't see Miller falling past San Francisco at #7.
- Previous Pick: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
- Other possibilities: Robert Quinn, OLB/DE, North Carolina; Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
6. Cleveland Browns - Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina: As Cleveland transitions back to a 4-3 defense, Quinn would be an ideal fit as a 4-3 defensive end. There's the chance the Browns look to add a playmaker on offense, but with A.J. Green likely gone at this point, Cleveland will look to add talent to fit their new defense and rely on the later rounds for playmakers.
- Previous Pick: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
- Other possibilities: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M; Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
7. San Francisco 49ers - Cameron Jordan, DE/OLB, California Golden Bears: 2 Jordan displayed his devastatingly effective swim move all season, but for those who didn't get to see Cal much last year, he had the move on display at the Senior Bowl as well. Jordan was the first player interviewed by the 49ers and new head coach Jim Harbaugh is very familiar with Jordan from his days as a Pac-10 head coach.
- Previous Pick: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
- Other possibilities: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M; Marcell Dareus, DT/DE, Alabama
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 and 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.
- Previous Pick: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
- Other possibilities: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska; Jake Locker, QB, Washington
9. Dallas Cowboys - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado Buffaloes: 3 The Cowboys could look to add youth and talent to their defensive front seven, but with Cameron Jordan off the board in our mock, we like the Cowboys to take Solder to solidify the offensive line. Winning the battle up front is important and the Cowboys desperately need help at tackle.
- Previous Pick: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
- Other possibilities: Cameron Jordan, DE, California; Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
10. Washington Redskins - Jake Locker, QB, Washington Huskies: The Redskins need to look to the future under center and could look at Locker as the top quarterback in this year's draft even if we're not so sure any quarterback warrants a first round pick this year.
- Previous Pick: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
- Other possibilities: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri; Cameron Jordan, DE, California
11. Houston Texans - Akeem Ayers, OLB/DE, UCLA Bruins: 4 Ayers is a versatile defender capable of playing 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end. With Houston looking to make the transition to a 3-4 scheme, they could look to put the right personnel in place for the switch. Ayers played on the weakside and strongside at UCLA, and even played with his hand on the ground on occasion.
- Previous Pick: Ryan Kerrigan, OLB/DE, Purdue
- Other possibilities: Ryan Kerrigan, OLB/DE, Purdue; Cameron Jordan, DE, California
12. Minnesota Vikings - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska Cornhuskers: 3 The Vikings drafted a cornerback in the 2nd round last year by the name of Chris Cook. Cook could be a starter this year and have a long, successful career. They could get Amukamara to learn behind the talented, but aging Antoine Winfield on the other side and slowly groom him to replace Winfield. Minnesota could also look for their quarterback of the future here as well.
- Previous Pick: Nick Solder, OT, Colorado
- Other possibilities: Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada; Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
13. Detroit Lions - Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri Tigers: 7 The Lions have put together a tough defense that includes NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Ndamukong Suh, and adding Smith would further solidify the defensive line to help Detroit win the battle up front. Cornerback is another need and a likely first round target if the staff likes one of this year's crop to warrant using the 13th pick.
- Previous Pick: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
- Other possibilities: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska; Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
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.
- Previous Pick: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
- Other possibilities: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama; Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
15. Miami Dolphins - Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada Wolf Pack: 10 A bit of a surprise pick at #15, the Dolphins would likely target Kaepernick in a later round, but with the strides he made at the Senior Bowl and further movement possible following the NFL Combine and his pro day, and with no second round pick Miami may have no choice but to take Kaepernick in the first round which is where we expect him to be projected by April. Kaepernick would be an ideal wildcat quarterback as well as a formidable every down passer. There is also the possibility that Miami waits until next season to take a quarterback and chooses one of this year's running backs instead.
- Previous Pick: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
- Other possibilities: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama; Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina Tar Heels: Wide receiver and safety are needs, but Julio Jones is off the board in our mock and with no Eric Berry in this year's draft, we don't see the Jaguars taking another safety in the first round in the wake of the Reggie Nelson disappointment. Carter is a pretty safe pick even if most don't have him this highly in the draft. He's a hard-hitting linebacker who has performed consistently throughout his career.
- Previous Pick: Akeem Ayers, OLB/DE, UCLA
- Other possibilities: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA; Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
17. New England Patriots - Ryan Kerrigan, OLB/DE, Purdue Boilermakers: 6 Kerrigan would play the 3-4 outside linebacker spot in the New England defense, but he's also an attractive 4-3 defensive end prospect. There are several 3-4 defensive end prospects left on the board and the Patriots could easily go that way as well.
- Previous Pick: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
- Other possibilities: James Carpenter, OT, Alabama; Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
18. San Diego Chargers - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa Hawkeyes: 1 We really like the Chargers to take a 3-4 DE with their first pick in the 2011 draft. This is the 3rd DE we have had them take here. I like Clayborn a lot better for the Chargers here than Cameron Heyward. Clayborn is built to hold up more blockers and free the Chargers linebackers. San Diego is really free to take whatever they desire, though. They could look for Eric Weddle's replacement if he leaves via free agency.
- Previous Pick: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
- Other possibilities: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA; Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
19. New York Giants - James Carpenter, OT, Alabama Crimson Tide: It's unlikely Carpenter is in any other mock draft this early in the process, let alone in the top 20, but he performed very well in Mobile at the Senior Bowl and separated himself from other top tackles who many peg as first rounders. In a relatively light class for top-tier tackles, Carpenter has the opportunity to move up draft boards. The Giants need to protect Eli Manning and adding Carpenter would be a step in the right direction.
- Previous Pick: James Carpenter, OT, Alabama
- Other possibilities: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina; Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide: 5 The NFL has become a two back league. There are not too many running backs that can take the pounding that comes with a 25+ carry per game performance. Teams have to have a 1-2 punch in the backfield. If Cadillac Williams isn't resigned, the Bucs will need to find a compliment to LeGarrette Blount. Ingram has the talent and personality to happily be the 1st or 2nd option in the Bucs backfield.
- Previous Pick: Previous Pick: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
- Other possibilities: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami; Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
21. Kansas City Chiefs - Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia Bulldogs: Adding Houston to an already talented defense gives the Chiefs a second pass rusher to play alongside Tamba Hali. Wide receiver is another need and if Julio Jones falls to them with the 21st pick, snapping up the Alabama product would be a no-brainer.
- Previous Pick: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
- Other possibilities: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama; Ryan Kerrigan, OLB/DE, Purdue
22. Indianapolis Colts - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College Eagles: The Colts could look to inject a little youth into their offensive line by taking Castonzo here. As Peyton Manning gets older, protecting him will become more and more important.
- Previous Pick: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
- Other possibilities: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri; Justin Houston, OLB/DE, Georgia
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Rahim Moore, S, UCLA Bruins: Moore picked off 10 passes in 2009, but fell off in 2010 with just one pick. Nevertheless, he's this year's top safety prospect by most accounts and gives the Eagles a talented defender in their secondary who should make a difference early in his career.
- Previous Pick: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
- Other possibilities: Tyron Smith, OT, USC; Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
24. New Orleans Saints - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois Fighting Illinis: 3 The Saints need to find a big, athletic playmaker in the middle of their defensive line. We like Liuget more than Allen Bailey, who we previously had taking up home in the middle of the Saints D-line. New Orleans could look for interior help on their offensive line as well.
- Previous Pick: Allen Bailey, DT, Miami
- Other possibilities: Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida; Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
25. Seattle Seahawks - Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois Fighting Illini: 6 Seattle saw production out of Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett, but neither is the long-term answer. Leshoure is a rising star in this year's draft with an excellent size and speed combination. Before all's said and done, he could end up the first running back taken in this year's draft.
- Previous Pick: Colin Kaepernick, QB, Seattle Seahawks
- Other possibilities: DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma; Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
26. Baltimore Ravens - Brandon Harris, CB, Miami Hurricanes: The Ravens have had some success taking Miami Hurricanes in the past (see Ray Lewis, Ed Reed) and could look at add Harris to shore up the cornerback position, which they did not address in last year's draft.
- Previous Pick: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
- Other possibilities: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin; Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
27. Atlanta Falcons - Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami Hurricanes: Roddy White is a pro bowler, but the Falcons are in a position to add depth in the first round and could look to do that with Hankerson. Hankerson is an excellent #2 wide receiver who could be used as a possession receiver but is also capable of the big play.
- Previous Pick: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
- Other possibilities: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois; Titus Young, WR, Boise State
28. New England Patriots - Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida Gators: The Patriots took three Gators in last year's draft and could look at Pouncey as a way to upgrade the interior of their offensive line. Pouncey is the twin brother of Steelers' pro bowl rookie center Maurkice Pouncey and played alongside him at Florida.
- Previous Pick: Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida
- Other possibilities: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin; Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
29. New York Jets - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin Badgers: With Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes entering free agency, the Jets could look to go wide receiver here, but with J.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward both on the board, we like Rex Ryan to add another defender.
- Previous Pick: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
- Other possibilities: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh; Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
30. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh Panthers: (NEW) The Bears don't seem to understand that Jay Cutler needs the big target to be comfortable in the offense. Cutler was at his best when he had the 6'4 Brandon Marshall to toss the ball up to. Baldwin is a huge target at 6'5 that can out jump almost any defender. With the height and jumping ability of Baldwin, Cutler would be allowed to once again just chuck the ball up to his huge target and allow him to come down with it.
- Previous Pick: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
- Other possibilities: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State; Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor Bears: (NEW) Casey Hampton is a very important part of this defense. The Steelers could look to find his replacement as Hampton is becoming long in the tooth. Taylor makes it impossible for one man to defend him. With Taylor at the nose tackle position in the middle of this defense, the talented linebackers and Troy Polamalu would be free to run through open lanes in the offensive line. The Steelers could also look for lightning to strike twice with the other Pouncey twin.
- Previous Pick: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
- Other possibilities: Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida; Kendric Burney, CB, North Carolina
32. Green Bay Packers - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado Buffaloes: 1 The Packers hit the jackpot with undrafted rookie Sam Shields last year as he developed into a very good cornerback who was a big part of their Super Bowl-winning defense and Tramon Williams is another young corner on the rise; but Green Bay could still look for help in the secondary. Smith is a very good coverage corner who would give the Pack some depth at the position and shore up the corner spot in the coming years.
- Previous Pick: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
- Other possibilities: Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State Wildcats; DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson
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
Baseball season is right around the corner and that means preparing for your Fantasy Baseball Draft. Tune in to Dr. Roto's Fantasy Baseball Podcast's LIVE on Blog Talk Radio, Friday evenings at 11:00PM EST. To have your questions answered on the air call (646) 915-9367. For those of you that can't listen to the show live, we'll broadcast each show on Around the Horn Baseball as a podcast each week.
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