2011 NFL Mock Draft 4.0

Posted April 20th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

With the NFL Draft quickly approaching what follows is the fourth mock draft for the year and the first to contain a full two rounds. The plan has been to refine the mocks with new versions every so often and this will represent the second to last. One final mock will be released a day or two before the draft is set to begin. The new format of the draft this year will put the first round in primetime on Thursday evening April 28th, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday night, and the fourth through seventh rounds on Saturday.

With the lockout and no CBA agreed upon free agency has yet to open. That makes things somewhat stable as analysis will be based largely on need, which is known right now, rather than having signings that fill or expose holes prior to the draft. Assumptions will be made as to which players will re-sign with their teams and which are likely to hit the market. Continue on to check out the full two round mock draft accompanied by the decision making process and as always leave any of your thoughts and feedback in the comments! 

1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Previous Mock Selection: Marcell Dareus
The Panthers would have loved to get the potential franchise QB Andrew Luck but unfortunately for them he chose to return to school rather than enter the draft. This pick though seems more wide open than ever with several names legitimately in contention. The Cam Newton talk has ramped up and if Carolina truly believes in him then his potential would be too much to pass up. Should they decide to play it safer Marcell Dareus has jumped Nick Fairley in the minds of many after a more impressive Combine performance and due to better attitude and work ethic. New coach Ron Rivera has the defensive background that would suggest going that direction. With Charles Johnson becoming a free agent Da’Quan Bowers name has always been up for discussion but they can’t spend the pick on someone with an iffy knee.

2. Denver Broncos – Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Previous Mock Selection: Nick Fairley
The new coaching staff is changing the defense from 3-4 to 4-3 and that will put an undersized Elvis Dumervil on one end. Beefing up the rest of the defensive line would be in order. Dareus would provide a stabilizing presence in the middle and has the edge in character and work ethic over fellow top DT Nick Fairley. Da’Quan Bowers could have provided pash rush from the other end needed in the scheme but his knee issues are forcing hesitation on using a top pick on him. Champ Bailey being re-signed probably removes Patrick Peterson from the discussion and corners generally don’t go this high in the draft anyway.

3. Buffalo Bills – Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
Previous Mock Selection: Von Miller
Von Miller would provide a much needed pass rushing threat at OLB as the team continues a transition to a 3-4. Miller blew scouts away at the Senior Bowl, in workouts, and at the Combine. Other areas of need include quarterback, though Ryan Fitzpatrick performed relatively well last season, and offensive tackle but there are none expected to go near the top of the draft. This pick would seem likely to address the defensive front seven but Patrick Peterson, regarded by many as the best player in the draft, could be the guy here as well if they choose to simply draft who they feel is the absolute top player on the board.

4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Previous Mock Selection: A.J. Green
With Terrell Owens gone for sure and Chad Ochocinco likely on the way out as well the Bengals could look for the explosive playmaker at receiver and Green has the talent to go this high. The Bengals could also use a pass rushing threat on the edge so again Da’Quan Bowers’ name surfaces. Carson Palmer has demanded a trade but even if he stays it would not be out of the question for the Bengals to draft a QB here. The Bengals though have shown a stubbornness to giving into demands and they would probably view drafting Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert as costing them a great deal of leverage over the situation.

5. Arizona Cardinals – Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Previous Mock Selection: Von Miller
Many will expect the Cardinals to take their choice of quarterbacks at this spot and no one would fault them for doing so. There is a sense though that the team will sign a free agent or acquire through trade (Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb) and continue to try and groom one of their young picks from last year. Should that be the case the team needs a pass rusher at OLB (Joey Porter was not the answer) if Von Miller is available or they could go with the best player available on the board and upgrade their secondary with Patrick Peterson.

6. Cleveland Browns – Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Previous Mock Selection: Da’Quan Bowers
The Browns need some help in the front seven on defense especially as they transition from the 3-4 to 4-3. Quinn or Da’Quan Bowers could provide the pash rush the team will need from the edge. If a playmaker like Green were to fall here it would make sense to grab him and help in the development of Colt McCoy, and that means Julio Jones is not out of the question either. Having been suspended for all of last year and had a tumor removed from his brain in High School those things have created some concern about Quinn but his talent is unquestioned as he went into last year projected as a potential #1 pick.

7. San Francisco 49ers – Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Previous Mock Selection: Robert Quinn
New coach Jim Harbaugh will have the ability to draft his QB of the future here but there is no certainty that is what he will want to spend the pick on. The 49ers could be a team that looks to sign a veteran QB or trade for someone like Donovan McNabb or Carson Palmer but early indications have been they will stick with Alex Smith. Either way that would be an environment where Blaine Gabbert could sit initially and learn the system and he will need time like that to adjust after coming from a spread system. The team has a big hole at CB and that doesn’t even include the possibility that Nate Clements gets cut. Patrick Peterson or even Prince Amukamara could also be possibilities at this pick along with a pass rushing OLB.

8. Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Previous Mock Selection: Blaine Gabbert
Vince Young is gone and Kerry Collins is old and a free agent. This is where a QB almost seems to be the most certain choice. Blaine Gabbert or Jake Locker will likely be the two that get consideration as the team looks to avoid any possible issues due to character. With Gabbert off the board and Locker appearing to be a reach this high they would love to have Nick Fairley fall into their laps. The Titans have been searching for that “Albert Haynesworth” type tackle since he left. Character concerns and work ethic have been questioned and Fairley no longer looks like he will go within the top couple picks but he would be a great choice for Tennessee.

9. Dallas Cowboys – Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Previous Mock Selection: Cameron Jordan
The Cowboys could look a couple directions here but the secondary and defensive end could really use an upgrade. Offensive line could be under consideration and someone like Nate Solder or Tyron Smith might get a look. Prince Amukamara didn’t look completely fluid at the Combine which might make it tougher to take him this high. Cam Jordan though has been impressive in the Senior Bowl and the Combine and offers the versatility that would make him a good fit at DE in the base 3-4 or sliding inside to DT in 4-3 looks.

10. Washington Redskins – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Previous Mock Selection: Cam Newton
Donovan McNabb is obviously not the guy for Washington, and no one can believe that Rex Grossman is the long term solution. Mike Shanahan’s offensive system calls for a QB with a strong arm that can throw on the move and Cam Newton fits that bill exactly. Unfortunately he is off the board here and Jake Locker would be another good fit so he shouldn’t be ruled out. Wide receiver then becomes a top priority, along with offensive line help, or possibly a defensive tackle to replace Albert Haynesworth. Julio Jones has been immensely impressive leading up to the draft and has even been talked about potentially jumping A.J. Green as the first receiver taken when all is said and done.

11. Houston Texans – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Previous Mock Selection: Prince Amukamara
The Texans had the worst pass defense (maybe ever) last year. Amukamara falling to them would be ideal and until recently seemed unlikely to happen. Another option if he is not around would be to grab a pass rushing OLB as Wade Phillips takes over the defense (getting his “DeMarcus Ware”). Defensive tackle could also get a look. Essentially this pick is going to be on defense it is just a matter of where the best value remains. Getting a top-flight corner would obviously be the best case scenario.

12. Minnesota Vikings – Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Previous Mock Selection: Tyron Smith
The defensive line was a disappointment last year after having been a strength for the team for a long time. Pat Williams is 38 and a free agent and Kevin Williams will be 31 at the start of next season. The line could use an infusion of youth either there at DT or on the end where Ray Edwards is a free agent. An offensive tackle such as Tyron Smith would also fill an emerging need on the offensive line and his stock has been soaring putting him in the discussion. Da’Quan Bowers has been sliding over knee concerns and the perception as a “one year wonder” but it would be hard to pass him up in this range.

13. Detroit Lions – Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Previous Mock Selection: Akeem Ayers
Just like the Texans the Lions are in desperate need of help in the secondary. With the first two corners gone though it could be a reach to take someone like Brandon Harris or Jimmy Smith this high. If not addressing the secondary then OLB would be the next place to look and they can also use help on the offensive and defensive lines.

14. St. Louis Rams – Akeem Ayers
Previous Mock Selection: Julio Jones
The Rams need to get weapons for Sam Bradford in the receiver corp even though the situation is not as bad as it seemed last year since they were ravaged by injuries. Donnie Avery will be back and Mark Clayton would make sense to re-sign. That means they could also look to draft an OLB here or even upgrade on the offensive line. With the top two receivers off the board Akeem Ayers could be a good fit despite some sense that his stock has dropped due to mediocre 40 times. He is a very balanced player that simply succeeds on the field and eventually the tape will mean more than the numbers he put up at the Combine and Pro Day.

15. Miami Dolphins – Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Previous Mock Selection: Mark Ingram
The Dolphins aren’t sold on Chad Henne and both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are set to be free agents. As such QB and RB would appear to be the most likely options here. Mark Ingram as the clear cut top running back in the draft class would come in and make an instant impact but rumblings as of late regarding the long term shape of his knee may have teams tentative to spend a top pick on him. At QB either Jake Locker or Ryan Mallet could be considerations, and Miami is in a position where they could let a rookie sit for the whole year behind Chad Henne. Miami has shown interest in both and Locker’s mobility and intangibles would appear to be a better fit for the Dolphins.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
Previous Mock Selection: Jake Locker
It seems like every year the Jaguars are drafting a DE or signing a free agent and the position still remains a weakness. That would be the obvious direction to look here or an upgrade to the secondary. Aldon Smith is raw but has a high ceiling and could be exactly the type of pass rusher the team desperately needs. A QB like Jake Locker if still available could be another consideration or they could reach for one of the next best corners available.

17. New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders) – J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
Previous Mock Selection: J.J. Watt
The Pats have three picks in the first 33 selections so they can take the best player available in an area of need. RB, OLB, DE, and offensive line are positions where the team seem likely to actively pursue. J.J. Watt would be a great fit in the Patriots 3-4 scheme.

18. San Diego Chargers – Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Previous Mock Selection: Adrian Clayborn
Vincent Jackson has been slapped with the franchise tag but who knows if he’ll be sitting out yet again. Either way the team may want to look at taking a top flight receiver. More likely though they will choose to upgrade at DE or possibly grab an offensive tackle. Clayborn would be a good fit in the 3-4 scheme that the Chargers run though there is some slight concern over his having Erb’s Palsy and the drop-off in productivity in his senior year.

19. New York Giants – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Previous Mock Selection: Anthony Castonzo
There aren’t many glaring areas of need with the Giants but offensive tackle and even defensive tackle are possibilities here. Castonzo will be in the discussion as to who is the best OT in the draft. He comes from a program that has a history of producing good lineman at the next level and was a four year starter. That makes him an ideal fit for the Giants.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Previous Mock Selection: Ryan Kerrigan
The Bucs can most use upgrades on the defensive side of the ball with focus going to defensive end, outside linebacker, and corner. Kerrigan would be a good fit in the Bucs’ defensive scheme, providing pass rush from the edge as well as solid run support, and is proven as a polished three year starter.

21. Kansas City Chiefs – Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia
Previous Mock Selection: Justin Houston
The Chiefs could look at taking an OT here to help protect Matt Cassel. DE, OLB, and even another WR could be other options. One player they’ve shown interest in that would make a lot of sense is Justin Houston. In college he showed that he can play both down on the line and standing up, and that versatility would really come in handy for the Chiefs who need a dynamic pass rusher in their 3-4 defense.

22. Indianapolis Colts – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Previous Mock Selection: Nate Solder
The Colts need help on the offensive line and Nate Solder is an intriguing option. His mobility and size make him well suited for the zone blocking scheme the team runs. He is going to be a project however given his need to work on technique. If not offensive line then the team can once again use help stopping the run with a new defensive tackle or could look to replace Bob Sanders at safety.

23. Philadelphia Eagles – Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
Previous Mock Selection: Mike Pouncey
The Eagles could go defense here (OLB and CB) with a good value being Brandon Harris or Jimmy Smith. The versatility of Pouncey however would provide a nice upgrade for their offensive line. He has been impressing many lately with comparisons to his Pro Bowl center brother Maurkice being made (though Mike performed much better at guard than center). The offseason surgery leading to uncertainty with Winston Justice could also have them looking at offensive tackles.

24. New Orleans Saints – Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Previous Mock Selection: Stephen Paea
Reggie Bush is not a full time back and may not even be back with the team, and Pierre Thomas is injury plagued and a free agent. That makes RB a priority though taking one this high might be a questionable decision even if that player was Mark Ingram. The Saints could also look to the defensive line or grab a replacement at strong safety. Corey Liuget looks to be at the top of the second group of DTs as a disruptive force that can upset the pocket.

25. Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
Previous Mock Selection: Jimmy Smith
The Seahawks improbable playoff run dropped them from what would’ve been the 8th pick all the way to the 25th but the team has needs all over and not just in seeking a potential franchise QB. If Jake Locker were to slip here he would certainly get strong consideration as would Ryan Mallett and even Christian Ponder who may be the best fit of them all. It is no foregone conclusion that the team would go QB even in those scenarios as CB, OL, or DE make just as much sense. Mallett has faced a high level of scrutiny and seems to have come out of it in good shape. With the change in coordinators the Seahawks no longer require a mobile QB and could be enamored by his strong arm and potential.

26. Baltimore Ravens – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
Prevoius Mock Selection: Brandon Harris
Baltimore had serious issues with depth at corner and made the trade for Josh Wilson who played well but is a free agent. Fabian Washington and Chris Carr are also set to hit the market. Jimmy Smith has been facing questions around his character, which would make a destination such as Baltimore work due to the veteran leadership. Wide Receiver is also a big need with Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and Donte Stallworth facing either retirement or free agency.

27. Atlanta Falcons – Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Previous Mock Selection: Aldon Smith
John Abraham is getting up there in age and the Falcons could use someone opposite him if not just to be the eventual replacement. The best group of DEs are off the board though making corner and offensive tackle are other positions to look into. Brandon Harris comes from a system that is known for producing good performers in the secondary at the next level and would represent good value for the Falcons.

28. New England Patriots – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Previous Mock Selection: Gabe Carimi
Back to New England and grabbing an offensive lineman would be their type of pick made all the more necessary by the line disintegrating this off-season. Running back is a possibility and outside linebacker could be looked at. With so many picks the team can grab the player they like most and if Ingram falls this far its hard to imagine they let him go by. The Patriots are in a situation where they can take a bit of a risk on the knee concerns and potentially get the top flight RB they’ve been missing.

29. Chicago Bears – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Previous Mock Selection: Derek Sherrod
Obviously the offensive line is the biggest need for the Bears and it would be really surprising if they went any other direction. Defensive tackle and wide receiver would be other options, but if one of the top offensive tackles are around than they would be best served addressing that need. Gabe Carimi is in the mix as one of the best in the crop and as an experienced four year starter at a school that grooms lineman well he would slide in immediately to contribute.

30. New York Jets – Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE, Temple
Previous Mock Selection: Jonathan Baldwin
Both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes are set to be free agents and they’ll likely only be able to bring one of them back. The Jets went all in last season and now will be faced with a bunch of decisions. A replacement at receiver or more pieces on the defense (DT, DE, OLB) would make sense. Muhammad Wilkerson would be a fit at DE in their 3-4 scheme or slide inside for 4-3 looks and due to a great performance at the Combine he has solidified himself as first round worthy.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
Previous Mock Selection: Martez Wilson
The Steelers always seem to draft well and refresh talent particularly on the defensive side of the ball. They have the ability to go best available value here whether that be on the offensive line or at a number of positions on defense. Aaron Williams would be a good addition to the secondary.

32. Green Bay Packers – Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
Previous Mock Selection: Muhammad Wilkerson
The Packers faced a ton of injuries this year so evaluating their areas of need isn’t as straight forward as some other teams. They can probably best use new talent on the offensive line at either guard or tackle. A defensive end could also be a possibility. Derek Sherrod is probably the last of that top group of offensive tackles and would be able to take over at RT and allow last year’s first round selection Bryan Bulaga to move to LT.

33. New England Patriots – Cameron Heyward, OLB/DE, Ohio State
34. Buffalo Bills – Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
35. Cincinnati Bengals – Allen Bailey, DE, Miami
36. Denver Broncos – Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois
37. Cleveland Browns – Titus Young, WR, Boise State
38. Arizona Cardinals – Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
39. Tennessee Titans – Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
40. Dallas Cowboys – Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
41. Washington Redskins – Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
42. Houston Texans – Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
43. Minnesota Vikings – Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
44. Detroit Lions – Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
45. San Francisco 49ers – Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
46. Denver Broncos – Kyle Rudlolph, TE, Notre Dame
47. St. Louis Rams – Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
48. Oakland Raiders – Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
49. Jacksonville Jaguars – Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
50. San Diego Chargers – Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Marcus Cannon, OG, TCU
52. New York Giants – Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa
53. Indianapolis Colts – Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
54. Philadelphia Eagles – Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
55. Kansas City Chiefs – Rodney Hudson, C/OG, Florida State
56. New Orleans Saints – Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
57. Seattle Seahawks – Jarvis Jenkins, DT, Clemson
58. Baltimore Ravens – Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
59. Atlanta Falcons – Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh
60. New England Patriots – Orlando Franklin, OT/OG, Miami
61. San Diego Chargers – Sam Acho, OLB, Texas
62. Chicago Bears – Ben Ijalana, OG, Villanova
63. Pittsburgh Steelers – Clint Boling, OT/OG, Georgia
64. Green Bay Packers – Davon House, CB, New Mexico State

***Featured in the Walter Football Mock Draft Database***
***Featured in DC Pro Sports Report Mock Draft Database***