2011 NFL Mock Draft FINAL Version by: “The Better Looking Mel Kiper”

Well ladies and gentleman, after a 364 day wait, the greatest day of the year is finally here.  The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft will take place on Thursday night, and after months of talk about the CBA and a lockout, it is refreshing to finally start talking about players again.  As always, there is a lot of hype around day 1 of the NFL draft, but the rounds that make or break drafts for particular teams are 2-7.  Even though I love the draft and college football, no shot I’m investing the amount of time it takes to create a 7 round mock.  Therefore, I present to you the final version of my first round mock draft, after some disclaimers ofcourse…

DISCLAIMER #1: For the majority of teams picking at or near the top of the 2011 NFL Draft, they are there for a reason, their inability to make good decisions on draft day.  Even though my man CV is always pushing for me to “dumb it down” to try and better predict what these teams will do, I can only make myself so stupid.  Here’s to you Carolina, Buffalo, Cincinatti, Washington, Oakland, etc, you have officially taken the crown as the stupidest bunch in the league.  Good luck!

DISCLAIMER #2: After giving plenty of explanation regarding picks in the first 3 versions of my mocks, I’m keeping this one short and sweet.  If you want more explanation, hit me in the comment section.  Otherwise, just respect my extreme level of intelligence.

DISCALIMER #3: Along with this final version, I will also be releasing a “5 by 5” version of my mock draft, where I will predict five picks, and once those five picks are completed, I will predict the next five.  This will allow me more flexibility in terms of adjusting to in draft trades.  Be sure to check in to ntcf.wordpress.com throughout the entire first round to keep tabs on my 5 by 5 mock.  I will also be releasing a Patriots only mock draft later today, so check back for that.

DISCLAIMER #4: Similarly to what I’ll be doing throughout Thursday night, all I can ask of you is to grab some food, pick up a case of your favorite beverage, sit back with the TV on and your computer at your side, and enjoy the 2011 NFL Draft…don’t forget to tell your friends about “The Better Looking Mel Kiper’s” mock either.

  1. Carolina (2-14)

Although I understand the reason behind selecting Cam Newton (new coach = new QB, plus increase fan excitement), I’m not sold on Newton in the pros.

SELECTION: Cam Newton, QB Auburn

  1. Denver (4-12)

Denver’s return to the 4-3 makes Marcel Dareus a much more intriguing option than Von Miller.  Watching ESPN’s Sport Science on Dareus has me convinced he’s a great prospect.

SELECTION: Marcel Dareus, DE/DT Alabama

  1. Buffalo (4-12)

Even with a huge need at quarterback and just two short years after failing with the Aaron Maybin selection, Von Miller is too good for the Bills to pass up.

SELECTION: Von Miller, DE/OLB Texas A&M

  1. Cincinnati (4-12)

Carson Palmer wants out.  Chad Johnson wants out.  Marvin Lewis is somehow still in.  A.J. Green is the first step in replacing Chad Johnson, but the real question will be who throws him the ball?

SELECTION: A.J. Green, WR Georgia

  1. Arizona (5-11)

Larry Fitzgerald has reportedly let management know that he would be very unhappy if the Cardinals went with a rookie QB.  Aside from that, Whisenhunt knows that rookie’s don’t win in the NFL, and right now he needs some wins.  Best player available = immediate defensive upgrade.

SELECTION: Patrick Peterson, CB LSU

  1. Cleveland (5-11)

Holmgren just missed out on creating one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL by combining Peterson with Joe Haden.  Giving McCoy a good receiving option should be a top priority.

SELECTION: Julio Jones, WR Alabama

  1. San Francisco (6-10)

Reportedly, San Fran isn’t huge on Gabbert.  With needs a cornerback, Prince Amukamara would have been the top corner selected if it hadn’t been for Peterson.

SELECTION: Prince Amukamara

  1. Tennessee (6-10)

Apparently, Fairley is looking like he’ll be landing in Tennessee.  I’m still not sure how the Titans can go without a QB, but defensive tackle is a huge need for them

SELECTION: Nick Fairley, DT Auburn

  1. Dallas (6-10)

The Cowboys’ biggest need, by far, is at offensive tackle.  Tyron Smith is considered by many to be the best tackle available, and has the athleticism to be very effective on Romo’s blind side.

SELECTION: Tyron Smith, OT USC

  1. Washington (6-10)

With Rex Grossman currently penciled in as the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins, Mike Shanahan knows how huge of a need quarterback is.  Think Jay Cutler to Denver with this pick.

SELECTION: Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri

  1. Houston (6-10)

With the transition to a 3-4 underway now that Wade Phillips is in town, the Texans are in huge need of a pass rushing OLB.  Although Aldon Smith looks to be a bit of a project, he has the talent level to be dominant within a couple of seasons.

SELECTION: Aldon Smith DE/OLB, Missouri

  1. Minnesota (6-10)

With Favre hopefully never returning to the NFL, Minnesota’s two biggest areas of need are at QB and DE.  Locker is a possibility here, but Robert Quinn’s talent level may be too much to pass up.

SELECTION: Robert Quinn, DE UNC

  1. Detroit (6-10)

Protecting Matthew Stafford should be priority number one, two, and three for the Lions in this draft.

SELECTION: Anthony Castonzo, OT Boston College

  1. St. Louis (7-9)

After missing out on Julio Jones, it becomes time for the Rams (led by defensive line genius Steve Spagnuolo) to address some needs on the defensive line.

SELECTION: J.J. Watt, DE Wisconsin

  1. Miami (7-9)

Miami needs help on both sides of the ball.  Losing Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown to free agency leave an immediate hole at running back.  I think that addressing the offensive line with a guy as talented as Puncey might be the way to go.

SELECTION: Mike Pouncey, C/OG Florida

  1. Jacksonville (8-8)

Similarly to Miami, Jacksonville needs help all over their team.  Quarterback and defensive end are their two most glaring needs in my mind.  Not willing to grab Locker, defensive end is the pick.

SELECTION: Ryan Kerrigan, DE Purdue

  1. New England – from Oakland (8-8)

Never know what the Pats are going to do, and I keep changing my mind on top of that.  Here’s my best guess right now.

SELECTION: Cameron Jordan, DE California

  1. San Diego (9-7)

San Diego is desperate for help along their defensive line, and Muhammad Wilkerson has the size and strength to be a solid 3-4 defensive end.

SELECTION: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT Temple

  1. New York Giants (10-6)

The Giants revolving door in the backfield has become less and less effective as the years have passed.  It might be time for coach Coughlin to draft the best back to solidify his backfield situation.

SELECTION: Mark Ingram, RB Alabama

  1. Tampa Bay (10-6)

With the possibility of releasing Aqib Talib after a new CBA is reached, cornerback is a need.  That being said, they are desperate for a pass rushing defensive end.  Bowers is a great talent.

SELECTION: Da’Quan Bowers, DE Clemson

  1. Kansas City* (10-6)

Kansas City needs a pass rusher.  Vrabel is aging and Tamba Hali is getting double teams all over the place.

SELECTION: Brooks Reed, DE/OLB Arizona

  1. Indianapolis* (10-6)

Offensive tackle is by far the Colts’ biggest need.  Keeping Peyton Manning on his feet should be top priority.

SELECTION: Nate Solder, OT Colorado

  1. Philadelphia* (10-6)

After Ellis Hobbs was forced to retire after a couple neck injuries, the Eagles are in need of cornerback help.  The Eagles could also use help along the offensive line, defensive line, and linebacker…but I’m sticking with a corner.

SELECTION: Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado

  1. New Orleans* (11-5)

Pass rushing is priority #1.

SELECTION: Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa

  1. Seattle* (7-9)

Pete Carrol thanks the Gods that Jake Locker fell this far.  Locker will be a cornerstone in Seattle for years to come.  Jake Locker will be the best quarterback to come out of the 2011 NFL Draft.

SELECTION: Jake Locker, QB Washington

  1. Baltimore* (12-4)

The aging Ravens defense could use some upgrades.  They could use help along the defensive line, at linebacker, and in the secondary.  With the cornerback talent thinning, the Ravens stick to the strength of the draft.

SELECTION: Cameron Heyward, DE Ohio State

  1. Atlanta* (13-3)

Keeping Matt Ryan upright is a huge priority for the Falcons.  They could also use help along the defensive line and in the secondary, but Gabe Carimi is too good to pass up.

SELECTION: Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin

  1. New England* (14-2)

Again, I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I do love Akeem Ayers.

SELECTION: Akeem Ayers, OLB UCLA

  1. Chicago* (11-5)

Jay Cutler was on his ass throughout the entire 2011 NFL Playoffs.  Offensive tackle is a near necessity right now.

SELECTION: Derek Sherrod, OT Mississippi State

  1. New York Jets* (11-5)

With the loss of Kris Jenkins, nose tackle becomes a huge priority.  The Jets could also use help at wide receiver and at outside linebacker, but Phil Taylor is a complete load.

SELECTION: Phil Taylor, NT Baylor

  1. Pittsburgh* (12-4)

The 2011 playoffs made it very clear that the Steelers need help along their offensive line.  27 year old Danny Watkins may be the guy.

SELECTION: Danny Watkins, OG Baylor

  1. Green Bay* (10-6)

My philosophy this late in the round is to simply go with the best talent available.  With defensive lineman being the best available, the Packers are lucky they have a need there,

SELECTION: Corey Liuget, DT Illinois

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