With my co-blogger getting me pumped again about the 2011 college football season, I figured that it is never too early to throw a mock draft out there…
FYI: I used the same draft order as 2010, so some player placement will certainly change as the NFL season unfolds.
1. St. Louis (1-15)
I’m pretty sure on almost every mock draft out there so far, either Jake Locker, Ryan Mallet, or Andrew Luck are going first overall. I think that Locker is the best athlete of this group, and usually when quarterbacks are rated closely together, overall athleticism pulls one guy over the remaining competition. Locker has a cannon for an arm, finally has a coach that will install an NFL type system (Steve Sarkisian), and has the ability to run away, and occasionally through defenders. I’m looking forward to see if he progresses with his touch/accuracy this season and if he does then he’s almost a lock at the top spot. BUT, the Rams selected QB Sam Bradford with the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, so the Rams will be looking to fill another need. Chris Long has yet to pan out and the Rams are desperate for a dominant pass rusher. I doubt anyone selects a defensive end with the first overall pick (pending a rookie salary cap) but this player addresses one of the Rams’ biggest needs.
SELECTION: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
2. Detroit (2-14)
One team that I am really excited to watch this upcoming season is the Detroit Lions. Matthew Stafford has shown glimpses of being a very good NFL quarterback. He has a huge arm, which Calvin Johnson certainly benefits from greatly. If he can lower his interception total from the 2009 season, I would expect the Lions to be selecting somewhere in the 10-12 range next draft. Jahvid Best looks poised to have a good rookie campaign, and the defense seems to be evolving into a pretty good unit (see Ndamuknog Suh, Louis Delmas, etc.). The Lions’ biggest needs are at offensive tackle, defensive end, and linebacker. Protecting Stafford’s blindside is an investment that the Lions certainly should look into.
SELECTION: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
3. Tampa Bay (3-13)
Tampa Bay may have the most holes of any team in the NFL. Their offensive line is in shambles, their second round pick from 2010 (WR Arrelious Benn) may not even crack the starting rotation, they have no one to rush the passer, and struggle to find anyone to tackle the opponent’s running back. Ronde Barber is coming to the end to the road, and combining a stud young corner with Aqib Talib could help to take some pressure off of Josh Freeman and that young offense.
SELECTION: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
4. Washington (4-12)
I’m expecting Shanahan to work his magic on this team and for them not to be drafting in the top ten in 2011, but here they are fourth so I’ll go with it. The Redskins have revamped their offensive and defensive lines, brought in Donovan McNabb, and are returning one of the better secondary’s in football. The only position that is noticeable week in Washington is the receiving corps. Luckily for McNabb and coach Shanahan, this draft is pretty receiver heavy.
SELECTION: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
5. Kansas City (4-12)
For the Chiefs to have any success this year, Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles both need to have big seasons. Outside of those two positions, Kansas City could use help on the offensive line, at nose tackle, linebacker, and corner. With Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry roaming the secondary, along with Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey stuffing the run, adding a pass rushing OLB could benefit that young defense tremendously.
SELECTION: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
6. Seattle (5-11)
Pete Carroll has revamped this Seattle team. He loves young, explosive talent. I think that the Seahawks are going to surprise some people this year with their passing attack (you heard it here first; pick up Matt Hasselbeck in your fantasy leagues!) and their defense is young and athletic. That being said, they still have a big hole at running back that has yet to be filled. Certainly a committee consisting of Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, and Leon Washington will be serviceable, but a headline running back could go a long way towards putting this team back in playoff contention.
SELECTION: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
7. Cleveland (5-11)
I’m not sure if Colt McCoy is the long-term answer at quarterback, but I’m assuming that Holmgren is going to run with that for at least a couple of seasons. Their offensive line (aside from Joe Thomas) isn’t that great. Jerome Harrison showed some promise at the end of last season but I don’t see much future with him as a number one back. Their receiving corps is decent, but nothing special. They need defensive line help, linebacker help, and safety help. Basically the Browns need a lot of damn help! But, I’m not going to doubt Holmgren’s ability to put a decent product on the field. One of the quickest ways to improve your defense is by suring up your big guys up front.
SELECTION: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
8. Oakland (5-11)
Maybe I’m looking too much into preseason, but so far the Raiders’ defense looks really good. Their line is revitalized with the addition of Seymour and rookie Lamarr Houston. Rolando McClain looks like he will be contributing immediately, and Kamerion Wimbley has been shedding blocks like an animal so far. You know what Asomugha is going to give you, and although their safeties aren’t big names, they can certainly hit. To protect Jason Campbell left tackle should be the position addressed in 2011.
SELECTION: Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
9. Buffalo (6-10)
I think that we can all agree on one point, the Bills do not need a running back. But, every other position essentially is an area of need. Offensive line, wide receiver, nose tackle, linebacker, and cornerback are all position that could be addressed. But, the 3-4 defense is not very effective unless you have a good nose tackle anchoring the defensive line.
SELECTION: Jerrell Powe, NT, Ole Miss
10. Jacksonville (7-9)
I don’t know if the Jaguars could go another season without addressing the wide receiver position. Garrard is decent, MJD is MJD, their offensive line is physical, defensive line is improved with the addition of Aaron Kampman, their linebackers and defensive backs are a decent unit. But, as I said earlier, wide receiver is their biggest area of need.
SELECTION: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama