THIS IS NOT A 2011 NFL MOCK DRAFT. Click the link to see my 2011 NFL Mock Draft. This is a 2011 NFL Not Draft - a compilation of popular mock picks that, in my opinion, will not happen.
Carolina Panthers: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
This is a tough one because most 2011 NFL Mocks project Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton or Marcell Dareus to the Panthers. However, I've noticed that four mocks have slated Nick Fairley No. 1 overall since April 1 (click the link for details).
Fairley to Carolina is not going to happen. Fairley is a 1-year wonder with work ethic concerns, and he's not even the top defensive tackle in this class.
Denver Broncos: Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
I didn't even consider Von Miller as a possible option for the Broncos until a particular sun-tanned NFL Draft analyst for ESPN mocked Miller No. 2 overall.
I really don't understand the thought process behind that. Miller is the top 3-4 player in this class, so why mock him to a 4-3 squad? And even if Denver wants to use Miller as a pass-rushing specialist, they already have an identical player (Elvis Dumervil) to do that. This pick makes absolutely no sense to me.
Buffalo Bills: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
I mocked Patrick Peterson into this slot about a month ago. Now, I don't think the Bills selecting Peterson is even a remote possibility.
If Buffalo doesn't take a quarterback, the selection will be Von Miller. Chan Gailey is enamored with Miller, having coached him at the Senior Bowl.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
There's a school of thought that the Bengals will select Cam Newton if he somehow falls to them at No. 4.
First of all, I'll be pretty shocked if Newton makes it past both Carolina and Buffalo. And second, Newton is not a good fit for Jay Gruden's offense. Neither is Ryan Mallett. If the Bengals select a quarterback in the first round, it'll probably be Blaine Gabbert.
Arizona Cardinals: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
The Cardinals are not taking a quarterback in the first round. I've written this ad nauseum this offseason, and so have all the Arizona beat writers.
Ken Whisenhunt is not going to devote tons of resources to an unproven rookie signal-caller with his job potentially on the line if he has another poor season. Instead, he'll either trade for Kevin Kolb, or sign a veteran like Donovan McNabb or Marc Bulger.
Cleveland Browns: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
I explained this one in my 2011 NFL Mock Draft: Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert really like multi-year starters from big programs. Nick Fairley started only one season at Auburn.
I think Fairley is well below Patrick Peterson, A.J. Green, Robert Quinn and Julio Jones on Cleveland's board.
San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
OK, maybe Patrick Peterson is an option for the 49ers at No. 7. I just refuse to believe that someone of Peterson's caliber can fall to No. 7. If this happens, six NFL general managers should be ashamed of themselves. Then again, as the adage goes, stupid teams make stupid picks.
Tennessee Titans: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
This was a tough one because the Titans don't really have that many options at No. 8 that would fill needs. Da'Quan Bowers will be available, but Tennessee isn't taking him because of his knee.
Dallas Cowboys: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Believe it or not, but I've received several e-mails from people asking me if the Cowboys would consider drafting Mark Ingram. Also, eight percent of the people in our 2011 NFL Reader Mock Draft voted for Ingram in this slot.
I can't see it happening. Only the Bills spend multiple first-round selections on running backs. Jerry Jones won't consider Ingram because he's not going to give up on Felix Jones. Plus, Ingram's not good enough to be chosen at No. 9 especially with a potentially problematic knee.
Washington Redskins: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
I don't see Jake Locker going in the first round; much less at No. 10 overall. Only one head coach showed up to Locker's Pro Day, which indicates that most teams don't have Locker rated highly on their board.
Locker is essentially the next Jake Plummer, so he would be a good fit for Mike Shanahan's offense. Shanahan has stated that he likes Locker, which is actually a bad sign; when Shanahan drafted Jay Cutler, he didn't even work him out. I don't know why Shanahan would be so forthcoming about his opinion regarding Locker.
Houston Texans: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Prince Amukamara is a popular mock selection at No. 11. The Texans really need a corner, and Amukamara is well worth the 11th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
However, I know for a fact that the Texans have, what I've been told, "some concerns" about spending consecutive first-round choices on cornerbacks. Houston will probably take a corner in Rounds 2-4.
Minnesota Vikings: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Both CBS guys mocked Da'Quan Bowers to the Vikings in the wake of Bowers' awful Pro Day.
I have to respectfully disagree with their projection. Bowers' knee is a huge concern, and considering how many needs they have, the Vikings just can't take a risk on the Clemson end this high in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Detroit Lions: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
I mocked Tyron Smith to the Lions for a while, but moved off the selection because I slotted Smith at No. 9 to the Cowboys.
If Smith is off the board, do the Lions grab the next tackle available? I say no. Detroit will stick with its strategy - which is taking the best player on the board. I could be wrong, but I highly doubt that Castonzo is rated ahead the likes of Prince Amukamara, Aldon Smith and Cameron Jordan.
St. Louis Rams: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Prior to his knee concerns, Mark Ingram was considered here. Steven Jackson only has a couple more peak years in the tank, so the thought process was that Ingram could ease the workload off Jackson.
Even if you're not taking the knee into account, Ingram is just not a realistic option. The Rams will spend a Round 2-4 selection on a backup running back; using the No. 14 pick on one would be a waste.
Miami Dolphins: Any player at No. 15
I wrote this in my 2011 NFL Mock Draft - if there's a team I had to bet on trading its first-round selection (excluding the Patriots, of course), it would be the Dolphins. They have no second-round choice, and they have too many needs to fill.
I'll be highly surprised if Miami makes a pick at No. 15.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
Defensive end is a huge need for the Jaguars, so naturally, you're going to see plenty of 2011 NFL Mock Drafts out there that slate Aldon Smith in this spot.
I don't see it. Gene Smith looks for multi-year starters, team captains and guys who have proven themselves on the football field at the collegiate level. Smith has immense upside, but he's far from a proven commodity, having started just 21 games at Missouri.