The NFL Scouting Combine has now come and gone. Pro days are in full swing, and while draft boards are undoubtedly going to change until the first round begins on April 28, they're beginning to take shape. As each week passes, NFL Scout Jayson Braddock along with our College Football Editor Danny Hobrock continue to adjust their mock drafts as they do more research on this year's prospects and continue to consider the individual needs of all 32 teams, or at least the 31 who have a first round pick.
Our mock drafts have caught a lot of attention this year with Colin Kaepernick our first quarterback off the board. We want to make clear that while we take into consideration what we believe teams will do on draft day, we focus more on what we believe teams should do when they're on the clock.This week's mock features one running back moving into the first round with one running back droping out.
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. Also, check out our Top Ten 2011 NFL Draft Prospects by Positions.
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Xtra Point Football 2011 NFL Mock Draft 5.0
New to 1st Round
- Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
Dropped out of 1st Round
- Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
1. Carolina Panthers Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn Tigers: The Panthers are a tough call to make given their need for a franchise quarterback and the abundance of defensive talent at the top of this year's draft class. Marcell Dareus has been mentioned as a possible top overall selection, but as we scan game film we can't help but think that Fairley is the cream of the crop of this year's tackle class (even if the margin is razor thin). Da'Quan Bowers falls out of the top spot amid speculation that his injury is worse than is being let on.
- Previous Pick: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
- Other possibilities: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson; Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
2. Denver Broncos - Marcell Dareus, DT/DE, Alabama Crimson Tide: If Sam Bradford didn't come out last year, would Tim Tebow have been drafted first overall? No. Two defensive tackles would have gone one and two. There isn't a clear cut #1 pick, so teams shouldn't reach for a franchise quarterback. Neither of the top two defensive tackles are Ndamukong Suh, but both are better than Gerald McCoy. Denver has zero talent at the defensive tackle position.
- Previous Pick: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
- Other possibilities: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson; Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
3. Buffalo Bills - Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M Aggies: Miller has shot up draft boards since the process began. He's arguably the top pass rusher in this year's class and would be a real asset to any defense regardless of alignment.
- Previous Pick: Marcell Dareus, DE, Alabama
- Other possibilities: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU; Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
4. Cincinnat Bengals - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson Tigers: Bowers is tied with Patrick Peterson as far as the top player on our draft board. There has been a ton of rumors around the seriousness of his offseason surgery. He didn't work out at the combine or his pro day. Rumors are that he won't be ready for his April 1st workout either. The injury concerns will cause a slight slide, but the talent will keep in the top five.
- Previous Pick: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
- Other possibilities: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU; A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
5. Arizona Cardinals - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU Tigers: Imagine Peterson lined up opposite Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie. Teams would be hard-pressed to throw away from Arizona's top corner and would be forced to pick their poison. What's more, Peterson is arguably the best player in this year's draft.
- Previous Pick: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
- Other possibilities: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia; Cameron Jordan, DE, California
6. Cleveland Browns - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia Bulldogs: It'll be hard for the Browns to pass on Robert Quinn. They'll end up doing it, though, if AJ Green is on the board with him being such a rare talent. They need a true #1 receiver to help develop Colt McCoy as a quarterback. Green would also take away some of the eight-man fronts Peyton Hillis faced towards the end of last year.
- Previous Pick: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina Tar Heels
- Other possibilities: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina; Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
7. San Francisco 49ers - Cameron Jordan, DE/OLB, California Golden Bears: Choosing between Jordan and J.J. Watt isn't an easy decision, but we like Jordan as a 3-4 defensive end prospect. The 49ers could also look to grab Patrick Peterson if they're lucky enough to see him fall to them here, or could select any of this year's top quarterbacks.
- Previous Pick: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
- Other possibilities: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin Badgers; Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
8. Tennessee Titans - Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina: The Titans would love for one of the top defensive tackles to fall to them here. We don't see that happening, though, so if Quinn falls to the 8th pick we believe they'll be more than happy to get a premier pass rusher. They could take a quarterback, but we don't like the prospect of a team going into the year with a rookie quarterback and Rusty Smith as his mentor/backup.
- Previous Pick: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
- Other possibilities:Prince Amukamara, S, Nebraska; Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevadaa
9. Dallas Cowboys - Prince Amukamara, S*, Nebraska Cornhuskers: Dallas could draft Amukamara hoping he works out at the cornerback position, but move him to safety if he does not. They could use help just about anywhere in the secondary, so taking Amukamara makes sense. They could also look at any of this year's top offensive tackle prospects.
- Previous Pick: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
- Other possibilities: Tyron Smith, OT, USC; Nate Solder, OT, Colorado Buffaloes
10. Washington Redskins - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama Crimson Tide: Jones would give the Redskins a dynamic offensive weapon to insert some life into an offense whose only spark of late has been Santana Moss. Jones' injury is thought to be the same one that Michael Crabtree suffered in 2009 while training for the draft. Crabtree went 10th to the 49ers.
- Previous Pick: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
- Other possibilities: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin; Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
11. Houston Texans - Rahim Moore, S, UCLA: The Texans have a lot of holes to plug in their defense. They could easily go DE, OLB, or CB here, too. We feel that there isn't a bigger drop off in talent level than at the safety position. The Texans have to replace both starting safeties. Moore is by far the #1 safety available and the Texans can't afford to pass on him.
- Previous Pick: Prince Amukamara, S, Nebraska
- Other possibilities: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami; J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin; Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
12. Minnesota Vikings - Tyron Smith, OT, USC Trojans: The biggest question with Smith was his weight. He's added 27 pounds and will be the top offensive tackle prospect. Whoever is the quarterback in Minnesota in 2011 will need better protection than what Favre received last season.
- Previous Pick: Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
- Other possibilities:Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada; J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
13. Detroit Lions - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado Buffaloes: The Lions have to protect franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford has been hurt too many times in his young NFL career to emerge as a legitimate franchise quarterback worthy of taking the Lions back to the playoffs. Solder would be a good step towards keeping Stafford upright and healthy.
- Previous Pick: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
- Other possibilities: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami; Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
14. St. Louis Rams - Brandon Harris, CB, Miami Hurricanes: Harris is a much better corner than what he's getting credit for right now. The Rams would love for Julio Jones to slide to 14, but if he doesn't, then expect the Rams to bring in Brandon. Brandon will start as a rookie. He'll have some bumps along the way, but will end up being a solid starter for years to come.
- Previous Pick: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
- Other possibilities: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama; Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
15. Miami Dolphins - Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada Wolf Pack: We still believe the Dolphins could trade out of this spot to pick up more selections in this year's draft. Kaepernick could be a player they trade back to nab. Even if they stay at this spot, they may be forced to take Kaepernick here given that he'll likely be long gone before Miami selects again in the third round. His stock could also continue to climb to the point that Miami would have to select him here even if they are able to procure a second round selection. We like him as the top quarterback in this year's class and we're sure we aren't the only ones.
- Previous Pick: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
- Other possibilities: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn; Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn Tigers: It's time for the Jags to move away from David Garrard. Cam Newton is a huge upgrade over Garrard and could take advantage of having Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings in the back field. Newton is also able to make things happen off script. He'll need that ability in Jacksonville.
- Previous Pick: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
- Other possibilities: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami; Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
17. New England Patriots - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama Crimson Tide: We apologize to the rest of the AFC East for this pick. It's crazy to think that a team with the weapons and prolific offense that the Patriots currently have could add a top running back like Ingram, but it's a real possibility. Teams see what New England does in the draft every year, yet they still accept stupid trades with them and help the Patriots continue to build for long-term success. As the draft nutcases that we are, we have to tip our collective hat to Bill Belichek for the way he plays chess with the rest of the NFL while they play checkers.
- Previous Pick: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
- Other possibilities: Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri; J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
18. San Diego Chargers - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin Badgers: Many view Watt as a top ten talent and he could very well find himself taken that highly on April 28. A double-digit pick seems more apt, and at 18 Watt could turn out to be a great steal for the Chargers, for whom he'd serve as a 3-4 end.
- Previous Pick: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin Badgers
- Other possibilities: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa; Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
19. New York Giants - Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College Eagles: There are many who have Castonzo going to New York given the Giants' need for a tackle and head coach Tom Coughlin's previous tenure as Boston College's head coach. I'm not sure Coughlin's ties to the Eagles will have as much to do with the selection as Castonzo being the best tackle prospect available, but the reasoning makes sense.
- Previous Pick: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
- Other possibilities: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami; Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri Tigers: Adding a player like Smith, who projects as a 4-3 end or a 3-4 outside linebacker, to a defensive line that already includes Gerald McCoy and Brian Price would give the Bucs a solid, young defensive front around which to build.
- Previous Pick: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri Tigers
- Other possibilities: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue; Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech; Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
21. Kansas City Chiefs - Akeem Ayers, OLB/DE, UCLA Bruins: We've had Justin Houston locked into this spot for a few weeks, but if Ayers drops to the Chiefs we like them to take him. Ayers could be a steal this late in the draft and Kansas City could use a dynamic outside linebacker opposite Tamba Hali to add to an already strong defensive unit.
- Previous Pick: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
- Other possibilities: Justin Houston, DE, Georgia; Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
22. Indianapolis Colts - Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State: The Colts have to protect Peyton Manning. Due to Manning adjusting his game and releasing the ball quicker than any other quarterback in 2010, he made more mistakes. He also took more pressure and hits. It's time for this franchise to give back to Peyton for all he's given to them.
- Previous Pick: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
- Other possibilities: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois; Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois Fighting Illinis: With all of the Fairley/Dareus talk, the forgotten man is Corey Liuget. The Eagles and defensive line coach Jim Washburn would be more than happy if teams continue to underestimate Liuget's value. This Eagles line will be like the Titans line of 2008 when Albert Haynesworth was earning the league's biggest contract, if they draft Liuget.
- Previous Pick: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
- Other possibilities: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State; Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE, Temple
24. New Orleans Saints - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue Boilermakers: Kerrigan has been billed as a potential outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but his best fit is probably as an end in a 4-3 alignment. The Saints spent their first round pick last year on defense and could do the same this year as they build a defense on par with their explosive offense. Kerrigan could line up across Will Smith to shore up the other side of the defensive line.
- Previous Pick: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
- Other possibilities: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia; Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
25. Seattle Seahawks - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri Tigers: We've stated numerous times our feelings on Gabbert. We think he's this years' Jimmy Clausen, Brady Quinn, Alex Smith, etc. He's being over-hyped and he'll probably be over-drafted. We could have easily put Jake Locker here, but some team will over draft Gabbert and we believe that role is perfect for Pete Carroll.
- Previous Pick: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
- Other possibilities: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois; Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech; Jake Locker, QB, Washington
26. Baltimore Ravens - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado Buffaloes: Smith may have hurt his draft stock amidst concerns about his character. He also looked a little tight during his position drills. The combination could drop him in this year's draft. We've had him projected here for a few weeks, but others had him as high as #13 to the Lions. He would certainly give the Ravens a talented cornerback, though, after they failed to address the need in last year's draft.
- Previous Pick: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
- Other possibilities: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State; Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
27. Atlanta Falcons - Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami Hurricanes: Atlanta needs a complement opposite Roddy White. The Falcons have lucked out with Hankerson coming out in the same draft as AJ Green and Julio Jones. The knock on Hankerson was that he was too slow and inconsistent. We fought everyone on the latter for the last month and stated that he is the all-time leading receiver at the U...a school that produced Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Michael Irvin, etc. Now that the Combine has come and gone, the speed has spoken for itself. How does 4.43 sound? Before you say it, his game speed shows as that as well.
- Previous Pick: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
- Other possibilities: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor; Justin Houston, DE, Georgia
28. New England Patriots - Danny Watkins, G, Baylor Bears: The Patriots have an amazing ability of plugging young talent into the place of aging veterans. New England could look to that again with the pick of Danny Watkins on the interior of the offensive line.
- Previous Pick: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
- Other possibilities: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa; Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
29. Chicago Bears - Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh Panthers: Jay Cutler has been begging for his next Brandon Marshall since he left Denver. Baldwin isn't close to the physical receiver that Marshall is, but at almost 6'5 with a 42" vertical, Cutler would be more than happy to take this receiver out for a test drive. Baldwin has to become more physical and less timid at the next level.
- Previous Pick: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
- Other possibilities: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin; Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
30. New York Jets - Adrian Clayborn, Iowa Hawkeyes: This would be a great value pick for the Jets. If Clayborn falls all the way down to the 30th pick, it'll speak more to the depth of defensive line talent than any ineptitude on Clayborn's part. Rex Ryan would turn him into a killing machine at the 3-4 defensive end.
- Previous Pick: Danny Watkins, G, Baylor
- Other possibilities: Danny Watkins, G, Baylor; Aaron Williams, S, Texas
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - Curtis Brown, CB, Texas Longhorns: The Steelers need a playmaker at the cornerback position. Troy Polamalu has had to make all of the big plays in the secondary for years. It's about time that they take a little of the wear and tear off of Polamalu. Brown is a play-making ball hawk. No errant pass will ever be safe with Brown and Polamalu lurking in the same defensive back field.
- Previous Pick: Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
- Other possibilities: Rodney Hudson, G, Florida State; Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida Gators
32. Green Bay Packers - Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech Hokies:: Even though the Packers won the Super Bowl with James Starks at running back and Ryan Grant is coming back, the Packers can't be content with their backfield. Williams is a playmaker and the #2 back in this draft. If Grant continues to get injured, Williams will step in as the starter. If Grant stays healthy, at a minimum, Williams will beat out Starks as the backup and give Grant a run for the starter's role.
- Previous Pick: Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
- Other possibilities: Rodney Hudson, G, Florida State; Aaron Williams, S, Texas
Danny Hobrock, is a sports journalist covering NCAA Football and MLB. An NCAA Football On-Air Personality, Danny is the editor of our college football content. Danny's college football work has garnered national attention and has been critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ DannyHobrock
Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & NFL On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - 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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