No one, outside of the team itself, has a closer feel for what NFL teams are going to do on draft day than the local media that covers the team day in and day out. With that in mind, we are working together with prominent media personalities in all 32 NFL cities, having them make selections for their home team in our 2011 Media Mock Draft.
What makes this process closer to the real life NFL Draft than most NFL Mock Drafts is that the individuals making these selections are not worried if somebody is rising or sliding on draft boards. These respected media personalities are going to choose the player that best fits their team, similar to what happens in the NFL on draft day.
Selecting this pick was Darin Gantt, Carolina Panthers beat writer for the Rock Hill Herald/Charlotte Observer.
1 ) Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn Tigers – “The Panthers may not be locked into taking a QB (I think they’re strongly considering [Patrick] Peterson, [Marcell] Dareus and others), but he’s the one with the most potential. They’re doing loads of research, and if he checks off all the boxes, he gives them their first real chance at a franchise quarterback since they took Kerry Collins in the first round of their first draft.”
Selecting this pick was Woody Paige, sports columnist for the Denver Post, author, and Around the Horn panelist.
2 ) Denver Broncos – Patrick Peterson, CB – LSU Tigers – “He is a sure thing. Team up with Champ Bailey as starting cornerbacks.”
Selecting this pick was Jerry Sullivan, Senior sports columnist for the Buffalo News.
3 ) Buffalo Bills – Marcell Dareus, DT/DE – Alabama Crimson Tide – When made aware of the remaining prospects, Sullivan promptly just stated one word, “Dareus!”
Selecting this pick was Geoff Hobson, editor for the Cincinnati Bengals official team page.
4 ) Cincinnati Bengals – AJ Green, WR – Georgia Bulldogs - “#1 Receiver for a team that may say goodbye to Chad Ochocinco”
Selecting this pick was Kent Somers who covers the Arizona Cardinals and the NFL for the Arizona Republic.
5 ) Arizona Cardinals - Von Miller, OLB – Texas A&M - “The Cardinals pass on a QB to take someone they hope can contribute immediately. They need a pass rusher badly”.
Selecting this pick was Tony Grossi, NFL and Cleveland Browns beat writer for The Plain Dealer, Browns analyst, and Author.
6 ) Cleveland Browns - Nick Fairley, DT – Auburn Tigers - “The Browns need defensive linemen to fit into their new 4-3 scheme”.
Selecting this pick was Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee.
7 ) San Francisco 49ers - Robert Quinn, OLB – North Carolina Tar Heels- “The 49ers haven’t had a pass rusher finish with double-digit sacks since 2002. Quinn has the type of burst they’re missing at outside linebacker.”
Selecting this pick was Jim Wyatt, who covers the Tennessee Titans and the NFL for The Tennessean.
8 ) Tennessee Titans - Blaine Gabbert, QB – Missouri Tigers- “The Titans are in desperate need of a quarterback and Gabbert too good to pass up.”
Selecting this pick was Jan Hubbard, who covers the Dallas Cowboys for the Star-Telegram.
9 ) Dallas Cowboys - Prince Amukamara, CB – Nebraska Cornhuskers- “The Cowboys thought cornerback was a strength last season and it turned out to be a weakness. They need an infusion of talent and Amukamara will elevate the talent in the secondary immediately.”
Selecting this pick was Kevin Ewoldt, managing editor of HogsHaven.com.
10 ) Washington Redskins - Tyron Smith, OT – USC Trojans- “The Redskins have holes in almost every position on the field (QB, WR, NT, RB, OLB, OL). The Offensive Line has been one of the major reasons the Redskins continually rank in the bottom of the NFL in rushing and sacks taken. The Redskins only current two Right Tackles, Jammal Brown and Stephon Heyer, are both free agents and may not return. Neither of them play at a high level anyway due to injuries or inconsistent play. The Redskins no doubt need a QB, but securing book-end Tackles (Trent Williams #4 overall last year) will go a long way with a QB class that is no where near impressive. Tyron Smith was built for the zone blocking scheme and can make a bigger impact TODAY than any other draft candidate.”
Selecting this pick was Dylan Gwinn, On-Air personality for “The Dylan Gwinn Show” on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX.
11 ) Houston Texans - Da’Quan Bowers, DE – Clemson Tigers- “In order to win in this league you have to do two things: you must protect your quarterback, and you must make life hell for the other guy’s quarterback. Da’Quan Bowers doesn’t help you with the former. But, he absolutely helps you with the latter. I’m very pleased that my brethren and sister in the media left this beast here for the Texans at pick #11. Bowers and Mario Williams rotating at the end position in Wade Phillips new 34 defense is a lovely thought. There’s a reason why left tackle has become such a highly-paid position, and that’s because of athletically-gifted, and freakishly-talented athletes like Bowers coming off the edge. Or, from the 5-technique spot. Peyton Manning beware.”
Selecting this pick was Jeremy Fowler, of the Pioneer Press.
12 ) Minnesota Vikings - Cameron Jordan, DE – California Golden Bears- “Since Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert will likely be off the board early in the draft, selecting a quarterback at No. 12 from the second-tier batch might be a stretch. The Vikings can go with the safe bet by drawing from the deepest position in the draft, defensive end, while satisfying the quarterback needs in the second round. Jordan is versatile enough to thrive in the Vikings’ 4-3 set. But don’t be surprised if Minnesota trades back for a late-first-rounder while recouping the third-round pick lost in the Randy Moss trade.”
Selecting this pick was David Birkett, of the Detroit Free Press.
13 ) Detroit Lions - Aldon Smith, DE – Missouri Tigers – “The Lions are in an interesting position in this scenario, with both Prince Amukamara and Tyron Smith off the board. They’d love to trade down and acquire more picks, and with Julio Jones still available and the Rams up next, that might be possible. If not, the choice comes down to Aldon Smith and Anthony Castonzo, with Smith and his pass-rushing prowess getting the nod here.”
Selecting this pick was Jim Thomas, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
14 ) St. Louis Rams - Julio Jones, WR – Alabama Crimson Tide – “They need a difference-maker on offense, and Julio Jones has the chance to be a young T.O. minus the attitude. He will drop a few passes along the way _ like Owens _ but he will make plenty of plays.”
Selecting this pick was Ben Volin, of the Palm Beach Post.
15 ) Miami Dolphins - Gabe Carimi, OT – Wisconsin Badgers – “The Dolphins need serious help on the interior offensive line, and Carimi can play guard for a year or two before eventually taking over for right tackle Vernon Carey. Dolphins will skip over Mark Ingram because they can get better value at RB later in the draft, and skip over Ryan Mallett because they need players who will be immediate contributors. Finally, the Dolphins will do everything in their power to trade down from 15 and acquire multiple picks, unless Julio Jones or Blaine Gabbert somehow fall to them.”
16 ) Jacksonville Jaguars - Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB – Purdue Boilermakers – “Kerrigan fits a need and should be able to help the Jaguars up their sack total that ranked 31st in the NFL in 2010. He also perfectly fits the kind of character and high motor players that GM Gene Smith likes to target. Don’t be surprised if Florida State QB Christian Ponder is the Jaguars pick at 16 or if they trade down and draft him later in the first round, but given the 16th selection Kerrigan may provide more value.”
Selecting this pick was Greg Bedard, of the Boston Globe.
17 ) New England Patriots - J.J. Watt, DE – Wisconsin Badgers – “While giving Cameron Heyward, Mark Ingram, Nate Solder and Anthony Castonzo some thought, the Patriots go with the highest rated player on their board to shore up the defensive front that was ravaged by injury last season.”
Selecting this pick was Kevin Acee, of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
18 ) San Diego Chargers - Akeem Ayers, OLB – UCLA Bruins – “Biggest reason is the run on OLBs and DE in this mock. In this instance I can see them trying to trade down. The Chargers like Ayers’ ability to be disruptive in the backfield and will let him loose his rookie season in certain packages, including with Shaun Phillips and Larry English on the field with him.”
Selecting this pick was Mike Garafolo, of the Star Ledger.
19 ) New York Giants - Mike Pouncey, C/G – Florida Gators – “With their top two centers – Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert – recovering from surgeries, the Giants badly need immediate help as well as a long-term solution in the middle. Even Tom Coughlin admitted this offseason center is a need. So if Pouncey’s on the board, the Giants will snatch him up.”
Selecting this pick was Stephen Holder, of the St. Petersburg Times.
20 ) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Adrian Clayborn, DE – Iowa Hawkeyes – “The earlier run on pass rushers gobbled up some preferred choices, but the Bucs still land a top-notch defensive end to fill a need that has existed for several seasons now. The Bucs ranked 30th in sacks in 2010 and need a consistent edge rush to help young tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price develop. Cornerback would also make sense, but the value — and biggest need — is at defensive end.”
Selecting this pick was Adam Teicher, of the Kansas City Star.
21 ) Kansas City Chiefs - Anthony Castonzo, OT – Boston College Eagles – “This pick could go several different ways but the Chiefs need to address the age on their offensive line. By drafting Costanzo, the Chiefs can move Branden Albert inside to guard, where advancing age is becoming a problem”.
Selecting this pick was Mike Chappell, of the Indianapolis Star.
22 ) Indianapolis Colts - Nate Solder, OT – Colorado Buffaloes – “Colts need an offensive tackle and in this scenario I’d go with Colorado’s Nate Solder.”
Selecting this pick was Les Bowen, of the Philadelphia Daily News.
23 ) Philadelphia Eagles - Jimmy Smith, CB – Colorado Buffaloes – “The Eagles don’t have a starting quality right corner, with Ellis Hobbs unlikely to play again after a second serious neck injury in two years. They can address d-line and o-line issues later in the draft; harder to get a starting corner that way.”
Selecting this pick was Jeff Duncan, of the The Times-Picayune.
24 ) New Orleans Saints - Corey Liuget, DT – Illinois Fighting Illini – “If this draft were to fall this way, I think the Saints would definitely try to trade down beasue the players they’d be interested in that remain — the D linemen and OLBs — all carry similar grades. I think they’d be very happy with a solid defensive tackle like Stephen Paea or a starting caliber outside linebacker like Bruce Carter but I don’t think they’d want to draft either one of them at No. 24. The best talents on the board at that spot are probably DTs Corey Liuget, Marvin Austin and Phil Taylor. Austin is the most talented but he has character concerns, as does Taylor. In the Payton era, the Saints have shied away from these types, especially in the first round. With that in mind, I’ll say they take Liuget. He’s a versatile player who can play either three-technique or nose and would work well in their rotation behind Shaun Rogers and Sedrick Ellis.”
Selecting this pick was Matthew Heuett, Editor-in-Chief at SeahawkAddicts.com
25 ) Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Mallett, QB – Arkansas Razorbacks – “With Matt Hasselbeck a free agent and Charlie Whitehurst the only quarterback Seattle currently has under contract, the Seahawks need to land a potential franchise QB in this draft. Ryan Mallett won’t be running the sprint right option anytime soon, but he has experience in a pro-style offense, possesses rare arm strength and stature, and his cited negatives can all be addressed through additional coaching and game experience.”
Without further ado, the Baltimore Ravens are now on the clock…
Selecting this pick is Jamison Hensley, of the Baltimore Sun.
26 ) Baltimore Ravens – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE – Temple Owls – “The Ravens set a team record last season for fewest sacks in season (27), so they desperately need to upgrade the pass rush. Wilkerson has tremendous upside and would eventually replace Cory Redding, who is in the final year of his contract. He would team with Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody to form a talented defensive line for the next 5 years.”
The Atlanta Falcons are now on the Clock…
Please Note: We will be Hosting a LIVE CHAT during the 2011 NFL Draft. Please join us and take part in the discussion in the room. We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions as the 2011 NFL Draft progresses in real time.
Danny Hobrock, is our College Football Editor and NCAA Football On-Air Personality. Danny's writing on College Pigskin has garnered national attention and has been critically acclaimed. You may email Danny directly @ email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @DannyHobrock