Round 1: 1-16 || Round 1: 17-32 || Round 2: 1-16 || Round 2: 17-32
*Underclassmen, **Redshirt Sophomores
Auburn DT, *Nick Fairley – Unfortunately, Andrew Luck has decided to remain in school and finish out his college career. Now, the number one pick becomes a lot more difficult for the Carolina Panthers. With the departure of Julius Peppers, they might look to pick up defensive end, Da’Quan Bowers. The Panthers defensive ends played very well this season, so I wouldn’t steer that direction. They should look to add the most dominant defensive player in the country, Nick Fairley. Fairley has the skills to succeed at the next level, both in run defense and pass rush. When he steps on the field he brings a nastiness with him. His attitude and play will surely help the Carolina Panthers become more stout at the point of attack. If you watched Fairley in the National Championship game, then you know just how dominant he is. He finished that game with 5 tackles for loss, and a sack. Unreal numbers!
Clemson DE, *Da’Quan Bowers - This is a tough pick. Denver has a new coach, their defensive scheme is in flux, and they may lose shut down corner, Champ Bailey this offseason. The best pick for the Broncos is, defensive end, Da’Quan Bowers. An explosive defensive end that is scheme versatile. He can play the power end in a 4-3, or the 5 technique in the 3-4. Bowers was a beast in 2010. He was the most consistent edge rusher during the season. He accumulated 15.5 sacks and 25 tackles for loss. He should pair up nicely with Elvis Dumervil once he returns from injury.
Texas A&M, OLB Von Miller – When running the 3-4, pass rushers are essential to the success of the defense. The Bills could go many different ways with this pick. They need a quarterback for the future, they need a lock down cornerback, they also need a playmaking receiver. I think there biggest need is adding a dynamic edge rusher to their 3-4. Without a rush OLB, the defense will have a hard time creating negative plays and winning the 3rd down battle. Von Miller is coming off of a great week of practice at the Senior Bowl. He’s an athletic freak that put up tremendous numbers in college. The Bills can’t afford to let a pass rusher of this caliber slip by them. There other needs can be filled in the later rounds.
Georgia WR, *AJ Green - The Bengals will more than likely be without receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens next season. Both are set to hit the free agency. Both were instrumental in the lack of success the Bengals saw in 2010. Ochocinco consistently wasn’t on the same page as Palmer, often running the wrong routes or not getting the proper depth. Owens had a good year statistically, but is always somewhat of a distraction to a team and drops occur often. The Bengals will get a legitimate number one receiver in the draft, and Palmers career may be saved because of it. A.J. Green is the top receiver in the 2010 draft class. He runs a 4.3 forty, has excellent hands, and runs precise routes. Right now he is receiving comparisons to Randy Moss. If that comparison holds true, things will bold well for Palmers future with the Bengals.
North Carolina DE/OLB, *Robert Quinn – The Cardinals need to improve their pass rush. Their two starting outside linebackers combined for a total of 10 sacks in 2010. There were twenty players across the league who racked up 10 or more sacks on their own in 2010. Joey Porter and Clark Haggans are old. Porter will be 34 next season, and Haggans will be 35. If the Cardinals don’t infuse some young athletes into their defense, they will find themselves in serious trouble. Robert Quinn can immediately replace Porter as the premier pass rusher. Quinn didn’t play college football in 2010 because of the infamous North Carolina agent scandal. In 2009, Quinn was highly impressive. As a sophomore, he sacked the quarterback 11 times. He is an athletic freak that will excel in the 3-4.
LSU CB, *Patrick Peterson – The Browns are switching back to the 4-3, which means 5-techniques are off the board. They could use a player like Julio Jones to stretch the field, but I think it’s a little to early for him. They are also in need of a rush defensive end, but none warrant the 6th pick. Instead, they simply go with best player available. They got Joe Haden last year, and this year they get Patrick Peterson. Imagine a secondary that includes Haden, Peterson, and Ward. That secondary would cause havoc for opposing quarterbacks.
Nebraska CB, Prince Amukamara - Im torn with this pick. I want the 49ers to go out and get their quarterback of the future. The only problem is, that guy may not be in the 2011 draft, or at least not in the first round. Jim Harbuagh’s recent actions lead me to believe they will go another route in the first round. He didn’t attend the Senior Bowl practices, and was recently quoted saying, that he’s excited about working with Alex Smith. I look for them to bring in a veteran, and just draft the best player available that fills a need. Prince Amukamara is extremely physical and technically sound. There aren’t may explosive receivers in the NFC West, so that should help Amukamara make an immediate impact.
Missouri QB, Blaine Gabbert – The Titans are a mess. They announced that they will part ways with Vince Young and now Coach Fisher has left the organization. Whom ever takes over the reigns, will need to find a quality quarterback. Kerry Collins and Rusty Smith are not the answers. With the emergence of Kenny Britt and Jared Cook, and one of the top five rushers in the NFL, the Titans are not far off from being a top 15 offense. I look for the Titans to answer their quarterback needs here. They are in a perfect position to get one of the top four slated for the first round. Right now, Blaine Gabbert is the number one rated quarterback on the board, and the Titans jump on it. Gabbert displays a strong arm, poise in the pocket, and accuracy. He should be able to come in and solidify the most important position on the field.
Colorado OT, Nate Solder – I know the Cowboys secondary is sub par, but lets get real, they need to sure up the offensive line. With all the talent they have on offense, there is no way Romo should be getting beat up like he is. There’s also no reason the running game shouldn’t be top five in the NFL. Add a top tier offensive tackle, and it fixes both areas. Nate Solder is a huge human being with surprisingly good athletic ability. The former tight end comes in at 6’9 315lbs, and should be able to keep Romo clean and create running lanes for Felix and co. If the Cowboys want to regain form they must start with the trenches.
Washington QB, Jake Locker - Shanahan has a blueprint for the type of quarterback he prefers. 1) They must be mobile enough to execute boots, rollouts, and escape the rush. 2) They have to have a strong enough arm to hit every throw on the field. 3) They must have some size to them. Last year, Shanahan was enamored with Jake Locker. It was believed that he would of been there 1st round pick had he come out in the 2010 draft. Locker had a rough week at the Senior Bowl. His accuracy was inconsistent, and he didn’t show to be a a bonafide number one pick. However, I still see Shanahan taking a chance. He fits the mold, and I refuse to believe that Rex Grossman is the answer.
Missouri DE/OLB, **Aldon Smith- The Texans just hired former Dallas Cowboys head coach, Wade Phillips, to be their defensive coordinator. That means there will be a shift in the Texans defensive scheme and philosophy. Since the 3-4 will be implemented, the Texans need to invest in a player who can rush the passer as an outside linebacker. DeMarcus Ware was the cog holding that Cowboys pass rush together, and I see Aldon Smith in the same light. Smith has the size, athletic ability and pass rushing skills to stand up and make an immediate impact in that Texans new 3-4. He is raw, but it is hard to ignore his upside.
USC OT, *Tyron Smith – The Vikings offensive line is getting old, and it’s getting old quick. A once elite group, struggled to open up holes for Adrian Peterson. It’s better that they address this issue now instead of later. The running game needs to become elite again if they want to compete in a defensively talented NFC North. Tyron Smith has a chance to be one of the few blue chip players in this years draft. He is an athletic freak with the physique of a linebacker. He excels in open space, mirrors with the best of them and will improve the Vikings offensive line from day one.
UCLA OLB, *Akeem Ayers – The Lions lack playmakers on defense. They are desperate for a solid cornerback, but the two top cornerbacks were both taken in the top 10. The next best thing is to add a versatile play making linebacker who can line up at multiple positions. Akeem Ayers can rush the passer, drop into coverage, and defend against the run. His ability to play multiple positions will give the Lions a lot of scheme flexibility on defense.
Alabama WR, *Julio Jones - Those of you who watched the Rams in week 17, saw that Sam Bradford is in need of a number one receiver. Had they had a guy who could consistently separate and get open, they would of won that game, and Bradford would of seen the playoffs in his rookie year. Fortunately for them, they didn’t. Now they are in position to get one of the best receivers in the draft. Julio Jones possesses everything you want in an NFL receiver. He’s tall, strong, fast, and physical, the list goes on and on. In my opinion, he is the most complete receiver in the draft and is poised to be a star receiver.
Florida OC/OG, Mike Pouncey – The Dolphins have gotten away from what turned their team from a a 1-15 team to a winning team, and thats running the ball. The eulogy has been given for the Wildcat, and it’s time for the Dolphins to regroup and get to some smash mouth football. The running game has to be the focal point if they want to contend in the AFC East. Even though both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are set to hit free agency this offseason, I don’t see the Dolphins going running back here. There will be running backs available in rounds 2-3. Everything in the running game starts with the trenches. The Dolphins go with Mike Pouncey. Pouncey can play either guard or center. He comes from the SEC and is a team captain. He should be able to come in a solidify a position along the interior line.
Purdue DE, *Ryan Kerrigan – The Jaguars have displayed an horrific pass rush over the past few years. It is an area that is of the upmost importance of being filled. You cannot compete against Peyton Manning and Matt Schuab without adequate pressure. They need a presence on the edge, and thats where Ryan Kerrigan comes in. Kerrigan has been a terror off the edge for Purdue. He has been doing his best Jared Allen impersonation all season long. His motor is non-stop, and he gets to the quarterback frequently. He also has a knack for forcing the quarterback to fumble. In two years, Kerrigan put up 23.5 sacks and 11 forced fumbles. His relentlessness is contagious and he’ll make the players around him better.
Round 1: Picks 17-32 >>>