I'm with you on the Vikings and Dolphins, but I'm not sure about your read on the Giants. They're not getting healthy. Their two best O-linemen (Pugh and Richburg) are doubtful. With a decimated O-line and Hankins out, the Giants are clearly the weaker team in the trenches in this matchup. You mentioned that the G-Men could be motivated by their opportunity to cushion their lead in the NFC East, but don't forget that Washington can pull into a tie for first with a win. Just some food for thought.
1. Hackenberg needs to the right team with a mature environment where he can sit behind a quality starter. He is the best arm talent in the draft. Has excellent footwork and a nice release. He moves well in the pocket despite all the sacks. he is a play action quarterback who inexplicably plays zone read in college. In the rare instances they run play action from under center he looks great. Then they go back to zone read. The defenses don't honor his running ability and just tee off on the running back. Which puts them behind the chains consistently and there is no draftable talent offensively on his team outside of the RB Barkley(freshman)
This is an opportunity for you, the readers, to vote on the picks in the 2011 NFL Draft. All you need to do is sign up for the forums and vote in the 2011 Reader NFL Mock Draft section of the forums. If you have trouble registering, e-mail me. Look for updates on Twitter @walterfootball.
Swag Dynasty: Roger Goodell: "The 17th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft has been traded, the [Insert Team Name Here] are now on the clock"
Hahahahaha, Seriously though.
Cameron Jordan, California Golden Bears.
One may scoff at this selection and say, "He doesn't fit the Bill Belichick mold!", and while this may be true, I think he could be the exception to the rule. Look at him, Cameron Jordan looks like he is chiseled of stone, he hardly has an ounce of fat on him. His athleticism and physicality is ridiculous for a man of his size. Now, while Cameron Jordan doesn't fit the BB mold, he offers something that is highly coveted by Belichick...Versatility. He could play DT in a 4-3, DE in a 4-3, or a 3-4 DE. In college he played in a 3-4, which is the same defense that Bill Belichick runs. Basically Cameron Jordan is a terror against the run and can rush the passer. Also, while 3-4 DE isn't the biggest need for the Patriots, it's definitely near the top of the list - with OT and Rush Linebacker. However, I feel like it is too early for an OT not named Tyron Smith and the only guys I like to play Rush Linebacker (that wouldn't be a reach at this point) are Aldon Smith and Robert Quinn, unfortunately both are gone.
I voted for Cameron Jordan, but I am hoping for Aldon Smith here. ...Who am I kidding? This pick is probably going to be traded along with 28 and 33.
Trisoman: This must be one of the deepest Defensive Line classes ever, with JJ Watt and Cameron Jordan still being available at this spot - and let's not even talk about the folks who are rising up the board at this point.
Going purely by the consensus rankings and cbssport's rankings, I've gone with Cameron Jordan here but I'd expect a really close fight with JJ Watt in this reader mock. New England needs to upgrade their D-line and even if they trade out of this spot, a needy team would jump for one of these 2 elite prospects - who I don't think will last this long in the real draft.
Classic Silver and Black: Everybody thinks that Belichik and co will trade down from this spot.
But if there's a scenario in which they might actually keep the pick it's this one. After they traded Seymour and Ty Warren got seriously injured, 3-4 DE is the single position of biggest need in the Patriots roster. And what happens here? All the best 3-4 DEs in this draft fall in New England's lap!
There may be some discussion about which name they would call, but none about the position, surely at least one of those DE talents is high on BB's wishlist. Having to guess between Jordan, Watt, Wilkerson and Heyward, I say Cameron Jordan.
KyleCleric: Justin Houston is the best pick. He is far better than the next best OLB fit for the Patriots. Houston combines the next best combination of athleticism, pass rushing skills, size, and length to Aldon Smith and Ryan Kerrigan and is the Pats 3rd best option of the OLBs that the Pats will likely get to consider at 17.
You guys will choose JJ Watt or Cameron Jordan. Both are mistakes. Neither have the size the Pats like for the DL position. DLs have dropped in this draft making them likely available for where the Pats pick next in this draft, 28 or even 33. The best DL fits are Cam Heyward and Muhammed Wilkerson. BB would likely take Heyward over Watt, Jordan, or Wilkerson. Phil Taylor is also available and has the movement skills and length to be an excellent end as well as nose. If he falls to 28 or 33, he would be under consideration for the same spot. With 5 players under consideration for the DL spot, they will wait until 28 or 33 to fill the position.
Gabe Carimi is also a possibility here. He is the best OT fit for the Patriots in this draft. He would be my second choice to Houston.
RazorStar: Wow, the Patriots cannot go wrong with virtually any of the players on the board right now. Between the Offensive Line and Defensive Front seven, I think they'll target the defense first.. and form here I was stumped. I went towards Justin Houston, since you can't go wrong with a pure pass rusher, but there are just too many good options out there. Watt, Jordan, even Carimi or Pouncey might fit in.
Vardaan: I picked Mike Pouncey here. He is a versatile offensive lineman who could start who could start from day one in the NFL. The Patriots were rumored to be interested in Pouncey's twin brother last year and Mike Pouncey may be a similar bargin. The development that Pouncey needs to suceed in the NFL is low. If the Patriots trade Logan Mankins, Pouncey will be able to fill the role without the Patriots missing a beat. While the defensive line is also an option, the draft class has some good depth at the position while the offenensive lineman have a bigger gap with more raw prospects than starters.
Pheltzbahr: Watt?! Cam the Patriots resist trading down and Pounce on their choice of 3-4 DEs or OLineman. This just demonstrates Belichicks' A-keem eye for matching deep positions in the draft and the Patriot's needs. So many right choices and Bill will likely surprise anyway, so I'm going with Pouncey.
mdb17: I like Pouncey here. I think the talent in the middle of the 1st round is very similar to the guys late in the 1st round.The positions that are currently deep in talent that match the Patriots needs are OT and DE. This means there is currently a large supply of guys that they can get later for those two positions because they have a lot of choice. Pouncey is clearly the best prospect at this position and is a Day 1 starter which is important in the Patriots organisation for a 1st round pick.
StevenLourie: Watt would make sense, but I believe Walt's sources when he says they refuse to deal with Watt's agent. In that case, this pick is Cameron Jordan. They have nice stopgaps on the line in Gerard Warren and Marcus Stroud, but Jordan can become their Richard Seymour, which is interesting because that's who they got this pick for. and of course, Ty Warren's health is still a question after missing all of 2010.
7o62x39: Cameron Jordan - One curious aspect of most mocks is the exceptional value of these DEs (Kerrigan, Jordan, Watt, Reed, Wilkerson) in the mid-first. As DEs, Reed and Kerrigan are 4-3 only. Jordan and Watt can play either scheme at DE and Wilkerson is a 3-4DE only. As Walter has noted, Watt is off the board due to his agent. Kerrigan just went at 16 to the Jags. Jordan is rated better than Reed and Wilkerson. With Jordan available, the Pats, for once, stay put.
Blazedestin: Cameron Jordan, and the Patriots will be tripping all over themselves to hand in their draft card.
Good explosion, elite athleticism, AND experience in the 3-4 defense with solid production there? He might be an inch short and ten pounds too light to be the perfect 5-tech, but considering this guy is a top 10 talent, the Patriots get an absolute STEAL here. There's going to be other talented offensive line prospects available at #28 and #33. There will not be a player like Cameron Jordan there at all; they can wait to address the interior of their OL.
Whatdoyouwant711: 3-4 DE is the biggest need and Watt is the BPA by a mile. Shouldn't be too difficult.
rphx88: A.J. Smith will poo his pants in excitement if J.J. Watt falls to the Chargers. I don't think it will happen but the Chargers will jump all over Watt if given the chance. Watt is probably best suited to play 3-4 end at the next level. The player who seems most like Watt is Trevor Pryce in my book. Both have similar builds and seem fit for the 3-4 end. Ultimately, the Chargers will get a guy who won't be a cancer in a locker room that had more head cases than it needed.
Blazedestin: Chargers can use some more talent up front; their front three isn't bad by any means, but it hasn't been a dominant force since Jamal Williams declined. That being said, Watt is an excellent player who in a 3-4, will truly shine. He looks to be a player who can hold up vs. the run, while generating a modest pass rush. Unlike Cameron Jordan though, who I have rated a bit higher, Watt isn't experienced in the 3-4. That being said, the 5-tech has a relatively similar job; engage the offensive tackle and possibly a guard, and eat up space so your rush linebackers can exploit mismatches against Tight Ends and Running Backs. I think Watt will excel at that role in the NFL.
Manu Giboli's Bald Spot: Cam Heyward. I'm not sure if J.J. Watt fits what the Chargers look for and need, and that leaves it between Heyward and Muhammad Wilkerson. Since the Chargers seem to love Heyward, I'll vote him over Wilkerson.
Vardaan: With the loss of Shawne Merriman, I believe the Chargers have a larger linebacker need than previously. Justin Houston is my highest rated player who fills that need so I voted for him. Reed is an option, but I see him purely as a pass rusher, while Houston is more versatile in my eyes.
JoeLegend: Man everyone is JJ Watt crazy. I went OT Carimi can come in start at RT and protect the bread winner Philip Rivers I could be wrong but wasn't this Defense top 5 last year i dont see how a 3-4 DE is a big need. But who knows we all know who the Chargers GM is.
Aaah: The Chargers were number 1 in yards on offense and defense. Didn't run the ball very well. So I voted for Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
to run behind. They simple had to many turn overs and sacks.
Classic Silver and Black: This is going to be a defensive pick. As long as the Chargers have Philip Rivers at the helm, they can get their offense going even with stonehanded receivers and polystyrene tackles.
Their most glaring holes are in the non-kicking positions of the special teams, but obviously nr 18 overall is not the spot to fill such needs.
By default, defense is where AJ 'lord of no rings' Smith will direct his attention. As many noted, a 5 technique DE is San Diego weakest defensive spot.
But which 3-4 DE is Smith going to choose? After surprise reaches in 2009 (Larry English) and 2010 (Ryan Matthews) I think he will raise eyebrows once again. In clutch moments of important divisional match-ups, the Chargers defensive front wasn't able to stop the running game of the Chiefs and Raiders. Smith will overreact to that, ranking his prospects only on run-stuffing skills and size. He's never been afraid of reaching for future potential when more experienced, readier players were available at the same position.
It happened before, it will happen again. The San Diego front office calls Muhammad Wilkerson from Temple (MAC) over JJ Watt from Wisconsin (big 10).
SanchoPanza: The Chargers electrify with an increase in their wattage.
RazorStar: JJ Watt is the perfect 3-4 defensive end, probably the highest player on most everyone's boards at this point and fills a need for the Chargers. This pick just makes too much sense. They don't even need to settle for a Wilkerson or Heyward at this point.
SwAg Dynasty: J.J. Watt, Wisconsin Badgers.
This pick isn't really that hard. They need a 3-4 DE and J.J. Watt happens to be a very good one, the best of the remaining 3 that are considered "1st Round Prospects", in my opinion. There really isn't too many other directions to go in at this point for San Diego. I mean, they could do something stupid and trade up for a RB or something like last year, but let's assume they got all that stupidity out of their system.
They won't take Akeem Ayers and the other 3-4 OLBs because they selected Larry English in the 2009 Draft and A.J. Smith isn't going to give-up on his 1st Rounders! ...Unless your name is Shawn Merriman, Ladainian Tomlinson, Junior Seau, Eli Manning, Antonio Cromartie, etc. But seriously, he won't give up on English this soon.
They could use another WR, but this is way too early for Jonathan Baldwin. All that's left outside of those already mentioned are O-Lineman, which I doubt the Chargers will take because they have a good LT in Marcus McNeill and don't want a good RT for whatever reason, also Mike Pouncey is a very good Guard prospect, but I will paraphrase something that Walt said, that I agree with, in his draft grades from last year whenever the 49ers took Iupati - "You don't need to spend the 17th Overall selection on a Guard. You can find stud guards in later rounds, there is no need to spend such an early pick on one".
- Mike Pouncey: 39.3%
- Gabe Carimi: 30.4%
- Nate Solder: 16.1%
- Corey Liuget: 3.6%
- Akeem Ayers: 3.6%
- Mikel Leshoure: 1.8%
- Derek Sherrod: 1.8%
- Jimmy Smith: 1.8%
- Muhammad Wilkerson: 1.8%
Reader 2011 NFL Mock Draft Member Comments:
Vardaan: As, with the Patriots, Mike Pouncey is a viable option. Offensive line is a major need for the Giants due to the pressure that Eli Manning faced. Improving the offensive line will also result in a better running game, which was already one of the best last year in terms of ypg. While offensive tackles may be more important, the versatility of Pouncey, along with his ability, make Pouncey a better option than Carimi. Pouncey can run and pass block well. I think that he is the pick if available.
Thiergow: I voted Mike Pouncey.
With Anthony Constanzo off the board the choice was much easier. The Giants need to upgrade their aging OL. Some would argue that LT is the top priority but I don't agree. Even though David Diehl is far from being a good tackle, he has done the job for years. He is often useless against speed rushers but Eli gets rid off the bowl pretty quickly and avoids sacks for the OL. Plus I'm not done with Beatty yet. The guy he's entering his 3rd year in the NFL and I believe that he can still be a good tackle. And if Shawn Andrews can find a way to stay healthy, then the Giants will be just fine at that position.
So yes, the situation at the T position still doesn't look so good but it looks worse at G and C. Seubert AND O'Hara are coming off big injuries and we don't know yet if they'll be able to play in 2011. Guess what? Pouncey can play both positions. Some have concerns with his snapping skills (especially in the shotgun) but if the Giants found a way to make Rich Seubert - the guy had never played C before 2010 - and Adam Koets - M. fumbled snap during each training camp - snap then they can make something of Pouncey. And if Seubert or O'Hara can play, then you can put Pouncey at guard while he learns how to snap correctly.
But this pick isn't just about need. Jerry Reese likes to pick the best player available regardless of the team needs. I believe that Pouncey is the best guy on the board. He his the top interior lineman and skilled just like his brother. Moreover, picking an OLB (Ayers) or a DT (Liuget) would be a reach for the Giants right now.
StevenLourie: Pouncey's stock is on the rise right now, as his brother's was at this time last year. Once a candidate to still be available to teams like New England at 28, Chicago at 29, and Pittsburgh at 31, Pouncey likely won't make it out of the top 20. I've seen him mocked to Detroit at 13, St. Louis at 14, Miami at 15, New England at 17, and here to the Giants at 19. Pouncey also tweeted that he would be surprised if he wasn't a Dallas Cowboy next season, which means the Cowboys at 9, who are looking to shop the pick, could move down into the early-mid teens to grab him, with a team like St. Louis (14), New England (17), or San Diego (18), moving up to 9 to take Julio Jones. Anyway, point is, Pouncey's likely a top 20 pick and since he's still here at 19, I think the Giants pull the trigger, given their need upfront. Rich Seubert is an injury prone 32 year old in a contract year. Pouncey can be his replacement at guard. He can also move to center in a pinch, another need of theirs.
SirApurrpos: There are several Centers that will be available in later rounds. I went with Corey Liuget because it is doubtful Barry Coffield is going to be back because of contract issues and Rocky Bernard will be 32 next year and is on the chopping block. They drafted Linval Joseph last year to be the future NT and I think Luiget would be their future UT and help keep the Giants D in the top ten versus both the pass and the run.
Aaah: When your picking 1-20 and miss the playoffs, you get development players in later rounds. In the first round, you must try to get a player who will start now. The Giants were solid on offense. Heck they were solid on defense. BUT, what is typical of Tom Coughlin Teams, their Special Teams suck. Turnovers were also huge. SO I am voting for Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado.
Finnegans Wake: Chose Carimi. OT provides better positional value, and Carimi can upgrade McKenzie as the Giants see whether they have anything in Beatty; Carimi may even be switched to LT at some point. IMO, OG, ILB, and CB value can follow in succeeding rounds.
Ckane138: In this spot I think they'd take Carimi with the idea of bringing him along at left guard or right tackle before eventually moving him to left tackle like they did with Diehl.
RazorStar: I went with Nate Solder, with the Giants coaching staff this guy can really focus on perfecting his talents as a blind side tackle and be able to keep Eli Manning upright for the next 6 or 7 years. Carimi and Pouncey may be better players right now, but I believe in Solder's raw potential, and I think he's a better Left Tackle, which is a much bigger need for the Giants.
tbod10: I was debating giving the Giants Liuget because of their potential need at DT if they don't re-sign Cofield, but I changed my mind the more I thought about it.
Their backup centers, Rich Seubert and Adam Koets, are almost guaranteed not to be ready for the start of the 2011 season if there is one. That leaves a potential hole at LG and backup C. Shaun O'Hara is also getting older and is coming off an injury riddled 2010 in which he barely played. Considering his versatility and the fact that they would go into training camp with no true backup center, the Giants will draft Mike Pouncey if he falls to them at the #20 pick.
Classic Silver and Black: Despite some struggling in the last couple of years, the Giants don't have that many blatant needs. An aging offensive line and a similarly old linebacking corp is where some youth may be needed.
Considering Akeem Ayers poor postseason, no 4-3 LB is worth being drafted this early and surely this is not a team known as reaching for players.
When it comes to pass protectors, the best guess would have been Castonzo if available, the New York front office just loves Boston College players. Unfortunately, he's already been drafted in this mock.
Mike Pouncey automatically becomes the next best guess. He may be the BPA on their big board at this point and all in all the Giants have less bench depth in the inside of their offensive line than they have at tackle (Beatty, Andrews).
BobLoblaw: Coughlin has publicly said the team needs a new center, and he seemed to regret not drafting the other Pouncy last year. I think if Mike's available, Coughlin will leap forward in an aggressive manner akin to that of a tiger seeking to capture its prey.
Blazedestin: Going with Mike Pouncey, but given that the Giants are my team, I'd like to look at each possibility.
Akeem Ayers - While a SAM backer is a need, the consensus is that Ayers would be best in the 3-4 Rush OLB role. I loathe Ayers as a prospect; he lacks the most important trait I want in defensive players: He's afraid of contact. Looking at his film (Vs. Temple is the most damning), and he doesn't have the beserker like mentality you want out of your defenders. He's too willing to yield yardage to avoid the big hit. You don't want that out of a running back; you sure as hell don't want that out of your linebackers. I would go insane if Big Blue picks him up in any round, let alone R1.
Gabe Carimi - Mostly a RT, Carimi might not be a bad fit with the Giants. Definitely a lunch-pail road grader that the Giants like, and Kareem McKenzie is starting to decline. Is William Beatty the answer? He hasn't looked like a solution at either tackle position so far.
Mikel Leshoure - Probably not. He's a small reach here, and while the Giants would probably take Ingram if he's around, Ingram provides real value. Leshoure does not. RB is not a dire need for the Giants.
Corey Liuget, Muhammad Wilkerson - They're talented enough, but the Giants took Linval Joseph in anticipation of Barry Cofield leaving in FA. DT will be a depth issue, but we think that Joseph might be able to do something in the NFL.
Derek Sherrod, Nate Solder - Diehl is a decent left tackle, but these guys would be able to make him slide inside. Again, not an awful idea, but Diehl is a serviceable left tackle.
Jimmy Smith - Sorry, but the Giants don't tend to draft players with severe character concerns, and we're not so horribly deficient at CB that we need to spend a 1st rounder on the position. We have a pair of decent starters, and Aaron Ross has to get healthy eventually... hopefully.
Kyle Rudolph - Kevin Boss is a pretty good TE. He's not explosive or flashy, but Kyle Rudolph would have been the 3rd or 4th TE off the board last year. Simply not worth #19 overall.
Back to Pouncey, he's a quality Guard with experience at Center who would be able to step in for Rich Seubert immediately, and would be a better backup than Adam Koets at center. Pouncey would give us a very good piece on our offensive line that can make an impact at multiple spots. If he's 75% as good as Maurkice, the Giants will be happy with what he becomes.
- Justin Houston: 48.9%
- Adrian Clayborn: 31.1%
- Gabe Carimi: 4.4%
- Nate Solder: 4.4%
- Aaron Williams: 4.4%
- Akeem Ayers: 2.2%
- Jimmy Smith: 2.2%
Reader 2011 NFL Mock Draft Member Comments:
Blazedestin: Voted Justin Houston. The Bucs will be looking for an explosive 4-3 defensive end to bolster the pass rush. They'll consider a cornerback in the wake of the Talib fiasco, but the best player (Smith) has similar character concerns to Talib.
Justin Houston is a dynamic pass rusher who was tabbed as a 3-4 Rush OLB before putting on about 20 pounds. He's still a better option than Clayborn, who's better suited for 4-3 LDE, or Reed, who's best suited for 3-4 Rush OLB for the Buccaneers.
Many Ginobli's Bald Spot: I've been saying Clayborn for the longest time, but now I'll go with Houston. I think Houston is a better pass rusher than Clayborn, and the Bucs desperately need an upgrade at DE for the pass-rush.
RazorStar: They aren't going to go with a character problem in lieu of Aqib Talib's little incident so quite a few of these guys are off the table. I don't see them going for an offensive lineman this early, so I'm projecting a bit of a surprise here. Aaron Williams immediately helps out that secondary, he can play corner or free safety depending on what Tampa wants to use him for, and it allows them to get rid of the character problems in their secondary (Talib and Tanard Jackson). I think that would be the best choice, aside from trading down a bit and grabbing the defensive end who falls a bit plus a few extra picks.
KCinMan11358: I find it interesting that people are assuming the Buccaneers dismiss character concerns because of player such as Talib, Mike Williams, and Jackson. Something should be noted about that. Talib was drafting in the previous regime and Williams and Jackson were both 4th round picks, so its not like they weren't afraid to cut them if it didn't work out. Take a look at Freeman. True leader. Organizing practices during the lockout will only help the Bucs.
I picked Houston here. When Walt says his source they like someone, his source is usually right. Maybe he knows Mark Dominik or something....But none the less this pick makes sense. He is a true pass rusher and played in good competition in the SEC.
Finnegans Wake: It's tempting to say Williams, who can help out at a couple of spots in the secondary, but the Bucs need a DE and Houston looks like the best fit. He also gives the DC some options to drop and cover like an OLB to mix up the fronts.
Vardaan: With the recent Aqib Talib situation, CB seems to be a need. However, this pick will not be Jimmy Smith, who has been compared to Talib. Why get Talib v2.0? The Buccanneers most important need is a DE because they could not get a pass rush going consistently. Justin Houston is the top rated pass rusher who could play at the 270 weight the NFL teams would like with the same speed and power that he played with in college.
Vardaan: Phil Taylor is the best fit for NT, which is a need for the Chiefs. They can build around Taylor and Hali (who fit the two most important positions in the 34) and have a defense for the future. I can see Taylor going as high as 11 and with the amazing tape, Taylor should be the pick here.
Blazedestin: While the Chiefs could use some additional explosiveness on their offense, their defense still could use some work. Glenn Dorsey's started to emerge as something like a viable 3-4 Defensive End, and while Tyson Jackson's still mediocre, there's not much at the nose. Phil Taylor is far and away the best nose tackle prospect in this draft class. The Chiefs will look to acquire a Wilfork like player here, and Phil Taylor fits the bill.
VikingSteve26: Stuck between Phil Taylor and Torrey Smith. I think I'll vote Phil Taylor, but don't rule out Torrey Smith... the Chiefs don't have another good receiver to complement Bowe.
StevenLourie: Mike Vrabel didn't have a sack last year. He's done. They need a rush linebacker opposite Tamba Hali, but it doesn't necessarily have to be an elite pass rushing linebacker. Hali had 14.5 sacks last year (and somehow didn't make the Pro Bowl) so that frees them up to add a more complete player across from him. Ayers actually reminds me of a younger Mike Vrabel, someone who can be solid #2 pass rusher, but helps you in other ways, such as in coverage and as a run stopper. I don't buy Phil Taylor here given his past. Scott Pioli likes cleaner players.
JoeLegend: I was torn between Nate Solder and Akeem Ayers. I went with Nate Solder you can plug him in at RT or put him in at LT and move Brandon Albert to RT anyway it improves the offensive line for a team that loves to run the ball.
I'm not sold on Phil Taylor being a 1st round talent 3-4 teams typically dont take NTs in the 1st.
RazorStar: I'd take Carimi here, word is the Chiefs are looking at offensive linemen, and with Carimi you plug him in virtually anywhere. The interior line is incredibly old, and Barry Richardson isn't really that great of a Right tackle, so Carimi could start right away at nearly any position. There are better nose tackles to be had in later rounds, wide receivers can be found much later, and I wouldn't be desperate for an outside pass rusher with Houston now off the board.
Tango: Weis is gone and the Chiefs have noone outside of Bowe. But there are no WR's worthy of this pick.
I hope Haley Solderfies the O-Line. So Nate Solder is the pick.
Finnegans Wake: Elite 3-4 NTs don't come along every year; the ones that are elite have typically been drafted R1 (Ngata, Wilfork, Hampton, Raji). Going back a ways, Ted Washington was a R1. Jamal Williams was a supplemental draft R2. Pat Williams is a 4-3 NT who could line up in the 3-4, and was UDFA.
If you want a dominant 3-4, it starts on the DL, and the keystone is that NT, period. Previously, I've stated that I look for guys who have the right frame and are able to lift 30 reps. To look at 2010 and 2011, Dan Williams and Terrence Cody were the top 2 purported 3-4 NTs; Williams (6'2", 327#) was the very definition of NT frame, but had a borderline 27 reps, so I didn't feel he was a R1 elite prospect -- maybe he turns into one, but I want more anchor. Cody, at 6' 1/2", 347# pounds (and up) had conditioning issues and weight issues, and only put the bar up 22 times. To me, DND; I don't think he was worth even a late R2. This year, Taylor's overcome the issues from earlier in his collegiate career and looks like he's gotten on the right path. He's 6'3", 331#, and repped 31 times. I think he has the potential to be the keystone as a 3-4 NT. Kenrick Ellis is 6'5", 346#, but has some questions about work ethic and consistency and only repped 27 times. To me, that makes him a developmental prospect at best, R3 and on. So that's a 2-year snapshot, top 2 NT candidates from each year, and only Taylor looks like a guy you could count on to be a NT.
Go back to that list of top NTs. Every one of those guys repped at least 30 times. It's a pretty clear demarcation. (And to answer Joe Legend, Ngata is most certainly the Ravens' NT. He happens to be flexible enough to play end in their 40 front, which makes him probably the best and most versatile nose playing today, but his primary role remains the nose.)
I'm going Taylor as a guy you start to rebuild a defense around.
MiamiDolphin4Life: I think Taylor Phils a huge need for the Chiefs. He's the pick
This year, as much as the Colts still need a defensive tackle, they have to go offensive tackle somewhere high. They have to protect Peyton Manning, that's more important than anything they can do right now.
Shake: Carimi. Even if he's only a RT, which I don't think he is, Ryan Diem was the worst player on the Colts line last year.
Blazedestin: The franchise IS Peyton Manning. No ifs, ands, or buts. With that in mind, they have to do everything humanly possible to make sure he can play as long as he can. Drafting a left tackle would help, as he hasn't had a good one since Tarik Glenn retired.
While Nate Solder has more upside, I feel like Derek Sherrod is more polished and has a lower player floor. Given that the Colts cannot afford to whiff on yet another early selection, Sherrod is a safer bet than the extremely raw Nate Solder.
Yergsword: I'm going with Sherrod here as I think he will develop into a very good LT, and I think Solder is way overrated and Carimi looks to be strictly RT material.
WhatDoYouWant711: I actually have Corey Liuget to the Colts in my mock. Indy needs to add size to both of their lines, and I think Liuget represents better value than a guy like Derek Sherrod or Nate Solder.
Could definitely be an OT, though.
Vardaan: I voted for Wilkerson over Liuget because Wilkerson is higher on my board. While offensive tackle is also an option, we have seen multiple years where the Colts need an offensive tackle, yet they did not draft one early. Manning seems to do fine without an offensive line, although he could use a better one. I simply went BAP here and have Wilkerson over the offensive tackles, Liuget, and the other options.
StevenLourie: No way this is anything other than an offensive tackle. Bill Polian just doesn't value the defensive tackle position and he loves to put highly ranked prospects around Peyton Manning on offense. He's already admitted that he should have drafted Rodger Saffold (an OT) over Jerry Hughes last year. He must really mean that because teams hate to admit mistakes on first rounders, especially after just one year. He's going to make up for that here. Peyton Manning had less time in the pocket than any season in the last decade and though he didn't take a large amount of sacks, he was hurried into interceptions and had his throwing motion altered on hits, leading to interceptions. Solder is a better fit for their scheme than Carimi and I think this is a little bit too early for Sherrod.
Jwarr37: It basically just comes to which OT they like better, I think the best available is Solder and he fits the bill as a LT.
Hopefully Polian doesn't draft Marvin Austin and then right after the draft goes,"I knew I should've took Solder!"
Finnegans Wake: I'm really holding my nose while voting Solder.
My opinion? The Colts are better served bolstering the DL, and BPA might be Liuget here. But if I'm mocking according to the Colts' FO tendencies, I have to think they go OL, and that means Carimi, Sherrod, or Solder. I like Carimi and Sherrod. But I think the Colts might like Solder better. He's got the agility that fits their scheme, even if I think he's going to lose leverage battles and require a couple of years of strength and conditioning to hold up to the abuses of the position. Were I running the show, it would probably be Liuget, although I find it very interesting that Marvin Austin is entering the conversation as a 1c option. I think if Austin gets his stuff together he could very well be worth a R1.
Colts Homer: Pick Gabe Carimi or else I will cut off your dick and feed it to your children.
Cicero: Carimi takes the lead by 1 vote! Colts Homer is about to Carimi his pants.
I voted for Carami because as Colts Homer said, Solder sucks. Both of the Colts tackles are terrible, and while I don't see Carimi playing at LT there's a chance he would be a decent LT and he should at least be a good RT, which is way more than I can say for Solder.
Trisoman: Voted Jimmy Smith. Area of need? Check. Character concerns? Check.
Though I'm unclear if the Philly fans will boo the pick, that seems to be the fundamental platform upon which all Eagles draft picks are founded on.
Yergsword: But Mudd doesn't? What was their sales pitch to coax him out of retirement, "I know you made a name for yourself with your system, but we want you to learn to do it our way." It just doesn't make sense. I'm sure their were other OL coaches that they could have gotten who could sit in a room with Andy and decide which OL they think can eat the most cheesesteaks, but perhaps they specifically targetted Mudd because they are ready to adapt to a leaner, more athletic line.
I have had Jimmy Smith mocked to my Eagles for quite some time (with Marvin Austin in the 2nd), and voted for him here, but I'm dissapointed that Marvin Austin wasn't an option. With the recent buzz about Austin going in the 20-32 range, I tend to believe that he may be very high on the Eagles' wish list.
VikingSteve26: Voted Nate Solder. The Eagles need a new right tackle and Andy Reid seems to prefer big offensive linemen.
FalconsFreak33: I picked Derek Sherrod. The Eagles offensive line was completely terrible last year and gave up many, many sacks. They need to upgrade their pass protection and you can never have enough good pass protectors in the NFC East and that is exactly what Sherrod excels at. I think Sherrod is underrated at this point and could be an eventual replacement for Jason Peters who somehow keeps making the Pro Bowl. Also, Andy Reid loves his linemen big and at 321 pounds Sherrod fits that label.
BroncosCon: Sherrod. Period. They draft from the inside out. He's less of a finesse OT than Solder. I think Solder has a higher ceiling, but my need a year or two to beef up and learn the NFL game. I don't think Sherrod needs that.
Skunkwick45: My vote is for either Corey Liguet out of Illinois who is one of the best DTs available or for the Eagles to keep it local and have Muhammad Wilkerson stay in Philadelphia. I'd have to say that Liguet would probably be the choice over Wilkerson just because the Eagles nabbed Graham last year who could be a DE/LB, picking Wilkerson though would allow Graham to rotate on and off the position though.
Either way D-Line to me is the route that will be taken unless the Eagles decide to move up and take a CB(aka not signing Nmandi) or Move back to acquire more picks in the later round.
Outsyderz34: Solder is this year's Bruce Campbell. Although he won't wait as long as Campbell, I just think he's a freak athlete that'll never really translate to the NFL.
If the choice is Ayers or Smith, the Eagles will pull the trigger on Smith. He's exactly what they need. The Eagles drafted almost exclusively on good character, four year players last year. That means this team is enriched with young high character laden talent and can use this draft to take chances on productive college players with character issues. The support is already there.
Finnegans Wake: I think Andy Reid would like to have another CB as big and physical as Bobby Taylor. OT is a real option, but there may be value in R2, and Smith could turn out to be a real steal here.
Aaah: Wow, Philly is a team that has the Luxary to pick BPA. They really need to generate more of pass rush and they didn't takle very well upfront. If they lose Michael Vick or DeSean Jackson they will be picking in the top 10 next year. So they should be picking Nate Solder, OT, Colorado, but Vick makes his own injuries and sacks. So they will pick Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado. I still have a hard time believing he will still be on the board. 6'2" 200 lb Corner with 4.39 speed.
Eagles247: Akeem Ayers is out, even though he visited with the team, since the Eagles have never taken a linebacker before round 2, and they will again go with this philosophy here. Kyle Rudolph is out since tight end is not high on the Eagles' needs with the team still high on second-year TE Clay Harbor, who was taken in the fourth round last year.
I really don't see the Eagles taking an offensive tackle here. With bigger needs at right guard and center, the Eagles would be wise to take a guard over a tackle. If a guard is drafted, the hole at right guard is filled and the Eagles could still swing out left guard Todd Herremans to right tackle should Winston Justice be deemed mediocre. Howard Mudd does not need superstars to work with, as he can mold players into superstars.
Now I am torn between drafting a guard or drafting a cornerback. Ben Ijalana is an intriuging prospect, but I think he is still a reach at No. 23. He could be available in the second round.
Now that a cornerback is the lone position remaining, and still a huge team need, which one is to be decided. Jimmy Smith and Brandon Harris, in my opinion, are the best bets here. Smith, sans the alleged "character issues," is the best cornerback available. If the Eagles can get the truth out of him as to the extent of his troubles which have not been made public, I think he is the pick. On the other hand, Harris would be the safer choice here, though still a reach. If I were the Eagles in this position, I would either trade down or take a chance and pick Smith.
Trisoman: Five folks have voted so far and I'm glad we all agree that the Saints will probably go DL in this draft. The sight of Marshawn Lynch busting 67 yards down the field must still traumatise Saints fans.
My personal opinion is that Liuget represents more value than Reed or Clayborn, both of whom are good players but who both have question marks around their translation to the pro level (Reeds with his production, Clayborn with Erb's Palsy). Liuget in the middle rotating with Shaun Rogers would free up Will Smith to get jiggy wit' it on the NFC South's QBs.
Blazedestin: Adrian Clayborn.
The sack leaders for the Saints were Sedrick Ellis and Will Smith, who had 6 and 5.5 sacks respectively. If you're unaware, that is not good. The Saints couldn't generate that much pressure on opposing QB's last year, a major reason behind their disappointing title defense. Muhammad Wilkerson is a good player, but projects to be a 4-3 Nose Tackle, not necessarily a paramount need, although it could free up 1v1 matchups for Ellis, their best pass rusher. Brooks Reed is an option, although I feel that by watching his game tape he'll get flushed out routinely at 4-3 DE in the NFL. His speed move, which his staple pass rush technique, was erratic at Arizona. Against faster, stronger tackles that can more effectively seal off the perimeter, Reed will often be staring at the backs of opposing QB's.
Ultimately, I don't think Clayborn solves all of the Saints' pass rushing issues. He reminds me a lot of Jamaal Anderson who went to the Falcons a few years ago as a prospect. 4-6 sacks a year, and he'll do well against the run. I think the Saints will take that this time around.
Neovenator250: The Saints biggest need is simply a playmaker in the front 7 of the defense, whether thats an Outside Linebacker, Defensive End, or 4-3 Nose Tackle (No, the signing of Shaun Rogers doesn't diminish this need much, if at all). As a Saints fan, I've been considering this for a while, and I brought the options down to a few: Brooks Reed, Corey Liuget, Adrian Clayborn, Muhammed Wilkerson, and Cameron Heyward. To me, DE is just a bigger need than NT in general, so I'll throw that out for the first round. I think we can get a quality guy there further down the line (if Phil Taylor had been available, it would have been a different story).
Left with Reed, Clayborn, and Heyward. Clayborn and Heyward both have the size that we covet in our DE (as Walter suggests) but Clayborn has that Erb's Palsy. Its not that I'm worried that he won't be a productive player, but the medical issue most likely limits him to a single position on the D-Line. Gregg Williams and Sean Payton both crave versatility in their players above all else and hate guys who get pigeon-holed into one spot. For that reason, I'm disgregarding Clayborn, which means that it comes down to Brooks Reed and Cameron Heyward. Heyward isn't going to be a huge sack guy (6-9 sacks per year in my opinion) but he's good against the run, he gives a decent pass rush, and he can play DE and DT in our 4-3 base. When Williams switches to the 3-4 (for those who don't watch the Saints often, Williams runs a defense with multiple looks. 4-3 is the base, but the 3-4 is often employed against strong QB's, like the Patriots game in '09, and the 5-2, and 46 Bear are pretty common as well) Heyward could easily play DE in that system as well. For a bonus, Heyward is a Black and Gold legacy, as his late father (Craig "Ironhead" Heyward) was a first round pick of the Saints back in the day.
I'd be happy with that pick, but Brooks Reed fits the bill to me. The guy has serious speed off of the edge, and he can do what the Saints need most - Get To The Quarterback. Too often, the Saints excellent secondary fell victim to the lack of any pass rush as subpar QB's like Matt Hasselbeck (both in the regular season AND the playoffs) had practically all day to sit in the pocket and pick us apart. Reed might be a little undersized, but the Saints have been searching for a pass-rush specialist for a while (see McCray, Bobby) and failing. Reed would be able to bring the pain to the QB. He has the size and speed to play in our 4-3 and 3-4 packages, much like Scott Fujita (who the team let go after last season and was unable to replace). Williams recently praised Fujita (along with Brian Orakpo) as one of the few guys who he considered to be an all-purpose Linebacker. Williams could see the same thing in Reed.
Reed is able to pick up his hand and play coverage from the DE spot, something which is a quality that the Saints regard highly (they have current DE Will Smith do it all the time). With this in mind, I voted for Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona.
Vardaan: The front seven is the biggest need for the Saints and I gave them my top rated player who fills that need, Akeem Ayers. I feel sad because, while Ayers had good production in college, he is very raw and may be a bust and I have nothing against the Saints. With good coach, Ayers could be a top 10 player in a re-mock of this draft and the Saints can provide that for him. I hope he turns out well for them, but just not this year because the Saints play the Jaguars in 2011 .
Classic Silver and Black: About the New Orleans first round pick, we can easily dismiss any position other than Defensive Linemen. Already in 2010 Sean Payton wanted to use a first rounder to improve the front 4 pass rush, but once they were on the clock all the DEs he deemed worth of a 1th round were gone. But this won't happen again, in the 2011 class there's plenty of players graded as late first rounders on most big boards. There's a high chance that a few of them will still be available once the Saints get called, and that's exactly the scenario in this mock.
Furthermore, a strictly BPA approach would result in restricting the choice to a few Defensive Linemen as well.
As to which actual name New Orleans will call, that's much harder to predict. If they privilege a run stop approach, Corey Liuget should be the favourite. If they strictly look for increasing the pass rush, Adrian Clayborn may be the best fit. Muhammad Wilkerson or Cameron Heyward would represent a more balanced approach.
I believe their priority is to bolster the pressure on the opposite signal callers, so they will draft Clayborn.
RazorStar: The Saints are probably going to bolster their defensive line here, but the question is who should they do it with? With the addition of Shaun Rogers, and having the solid but not spectacular Sedrick Ellis in the other slot, defensive Tackle isn't a pressing need, but I could see them taking Liuget if they were really high on him. But assuming they had weren't slanted in any weird way, I'd think the pick here would be Clayborn. He's big, strong, can set the point of attack in the run game, and has a good power rush, even with his Erb's Palsy. I think he's the Saints preferred defensive end out of the guys available.
VikingSteve26: Voted Adrian Clayborn. BPA on defense.
rphx88: The Saints probably will go D-Line with this pick and I believe the will go Defensive Tackle. The best tackle available is Corey Liuget therefor he is the selection. Liuget will provide a decent tandem between him and Sedrick Ellis. The Saints are stacked on offense so I expect this pick to be defense but a dark horse could be Liuget's team mate Mikel Leshoure.
StevenLourie: This is going to be best d-lineman available. My guess is that's Liuget. Could also be Wilkerson and don't rule out Clayborn and Heyward. I voted Liuget though.
Tom: This is a difficult one. Obviously, it should be DL. But Clayborn or Liuget? New Orleans have no sack leaders, but Clayborn doesn't look like a 12 sack/year guy. Liuget would solidify the run defense, and be a definite upgrade. While the league is as pass happy as ever, the NFC south might be the must run oriented division in the league. They've got to deal with Turner, Williams, and Blount six times a year. Stuffing those runners and sweeping your division is always huge, and Liuget is the BPA to do that. Arguably the BPA overall, I've got to pick Liuget.
- Jake Locker: 42.3%
- Adrian Clayborn: 11.5%
- Muhammad Wilkerson: 11.5%
- Ryan Mallett: 11.5%
- Marvin Austin: 9.6%
- Brandon Harris: 3.9%
- Cameron Heyward: 3.9%
- Nate Solder: 3.9%
- Christian Ponder: 1.9%
Reader 2011 NFL Mock Draft Member Comments:
RazorStar: The Seahawks actually have a very solid front seven if you look carefully, Chris Clemons and Brandon Mebane are criminally underrated, and guys like Red Bryant, Raheem Brock, even Kentwan Balmer to some degree provide good depth on the line, while Curry, Hawthorne and Tatupu make the linebacking corps pretty scary. So I think they'll end up addressing offense and looking toward the future at QB there. Corner is a possibility, but there's no corner worth taking this high.
So yeah, this is prolly where QB's start flying off the board, and the third one to go will be Jake Locker. Hasslebeck doesn't have long left and Whitehurst doesn't look promising for the future as a long term starter, but could be an excellent back-up in this league. I think they lean Locker partially because he's the hometown kid, partially on his really high ceiling, and there aren't really any character red flags to address. They don't need to start him immediately, and a year of sitting and learning would be great for him and the Seahawks in the long term.
Ragnarok: I'm torn between Adrian Clayborn and Jake Locker with this pick. I think Carroll will go with Jake Locker in the end though...IF he gets a positive review from Sarkisian. I think that the Carroll-Sarkisian connection being overlooked when it comes to whether or not they take Locker.
Tom: Locker. He's a reach here, but there's going to be a run on QBs in the early 2nd round, so if Seattle wants one they'll have to grab him here. While Seattle has more issues than QB, that's always the first thing a team has to take care of. Ideally, Locker would hold a clipboard for a year rather than get thrown into the fire. But who knows if Hasselbeck will have another year there before moving on or being sold to the glue factory?
I don't think it'll be Clayborn. Yes, they could use another end, but its not a priority compared to secondary and O-line, which need multiple upgrades each. They could use a RT, but Carimi is gone, and I wouldn't draft Solder here for it. He's too much of a project and seems more of a LT. They could go secondary here, except there's no one to take. Harris doesn't feel like a value here. And there's no point in drafting a receiver if they don't have a QB to throw to him. Aside from a risky trade-down, this is really their only option.
Also, how much has Bowers dropped like a stone in the past ten days? If I had one do-over vote in this draft, it'd be going for Aldon Smith instead of Bowers to the Vikings. With all the bad reviews about Bowers and his old man knee, there's no way that's happening now.
Vardaan: Clayborn is the best option and fills the Seahawks biggest need. It was apparent even in their playoff game that the 'Hawks had trouble getting pressure on the quarterback. While they need a quarterback also, Clayborn is a better player than any of the available quarterbacks (if they went with one, Ponder fits their scheme, WCO, the best) and fills a bigger need.
WhatDoYouWant711: Don't love the value for any of the DBs, OLs, or DEs. Muhammad Wilkerson is awesome value here, but aren't the Seahawks pretty set at DT with Brandon Mebane and Colin Cole?
I voted Locker, but shouldn't Mikel Leshoure be an option?
Aaah: 14 Passing TDs, defense on the field too long and rushing game suffered because of an inept passing game. I picked Ryan Mallett. Mallett can attack the field. He can keep teams from stacking the box.
StevenLourie: Ryan Mallett: one arrogant douche drafting another, makes perfect sense. In all seriousness, they've shown a lot of interest in Mallett so far. They need a quarterback. Whitehurst is not the longterm answer and Pete Carroll has shown a willingness to take chances on talented players with character issues and Mallett, who has the arm to be a top 5 pick, certainly qualifies.
Whooligun: Seattle could not run the ball for the life of them last year (except for the big Lynch run of course). They need help on the OL. Nate Solder hands down.
Classic Silver and Black: Sincerely, this is one of the most difficult picks to mock in the 2011 NFL draft.
The Seahawks main positional needs don't match with the players that reasonably will be available at 25 without reaching. Seattle must strengthen the inside of its offensive line, find a reliable cover corner, improve the consistency of its receiving corp and get more playmaking talent on its defensive front four.
Unless someone like Mike Pouncy falls - but now that seems highly unlikely - almost any player covering a need may be considered a huge reach just a few months down the road.
So by default I say Marvin Austin, while I feel that there are very few chances such a pick will happen for real. I guess we will know in a couple of weeks.
FinnegansWake: Another case where I'm toward between my own better judgment and whom I think the team will actually pick. This would be a really interesting spot for Marvin Austin, but I selected Locker; he won't last past the first 10 of R2, and he may actually be a fit here. I'm not a fan of this year's class of QBs, but if there's one team Locker might click with best it could be Seattle.
NMD: I'm going to have to trust Carroll's evaluation of the QB's on this pick. If he thinks any of them will be successful for him they'll be the pick here. I'm hoping either Pouncey,Carimi, or Jimmy Smith fall to this pick since they provide great value and need. As the board stands now if Carroll and Schneider don't believe in any of the QB's I think they'd go Muhammed Wilkerson to hopefully back up a re-signed Brandon Mebane at the 3-tech and Big Red Bryant at the 5-tech SDE or replacing a departed Mebane (or eventually letting Mebane go back to 1-tech). My second option would be Derek Sherrod to play RT even though I'd like more of a mauler then pass pro RT.
My vote goes to Jake Locker as the biggest potential for QB that hopefully Carroll believes he can bring out. I gave Locker the slight edge over Mallett here.
I don't believe Adrian Clayborn can be the pick here if the Seahawks keep running Carroll's base Defense. With his condition I've heard analyst's say he can only play on the right side of the defense to protect his right side, and that won't work as Carroll has the DE's switch sides to match Strong-side Weak-side. Also I don't think he is explosive enough to be the Weakside Leo DE or stout enough to be the 5-tech Strongside DE. Carroll's unorthodox defensive scheme needs particular DE's either a supremely quick rusher or a very stout run stopper, so unless he changes it up this year Clayborn cannot be the pick.
Trisoman: I voted for Locker but to be honest I can't imagine the Seahawks' Front Office being enamoured with any of the choices here in relation to their needs. They might just draft Brandon Harris but I suspect if they really want a QB they'd trade down and get Locker?
Classic Silver and Black: The Ravens are a team that tend to go strictly BPA (see Oher in 2009) and if they find that the top prospects still available don't match any of their needs they simply trade the pick (see 2010 first rounder).
I don't think they are going to reach for a cornerback that has a second round grade in most boards (Brandon Harris, Aaron Williams) and Nate Solder doesn't look to me like the kind of OT in which Ozzie Newsome may gamble. Newsome is willing to take risks on small question marks that he thinks its organization is able to correct (psychological concerns, tendency to go overweight) but not on a stiff player like Solder.
All in all either Baltimore will take one of the defensive linemen, players that would have been surefire top 20 picks in most other classes or they will trade the pick.
As to which defensive lineman would likely hear his name called at 26, most signs seem to point to Cameron Heyward.
StevenLourie: Ravens say they're looking for pass rushers early in the draft, which makes sense because they only had 27 sacks with 11 of those coming from Terrell Suggs and 5.5 coming from Haloti Ngata. they need a 3rd pass rusher and Cameron Heyward is a big upgrade over Cory Redding, who managed just 2.5 sacks at end last year. Rrush linebacker is a possibility, but I think Heyward is going to be higher on their board than Reed.
Aaah: Forty Sacks on Joe Flacco. Passing game suffered. Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
RazorStar: Nate Solder is too good to be true here. Jared Gaither is probably gone, and Michael Oher isn't a Left Tackle, so you go with one of the few guys remaining in this draft who can give you a presence at Left Tackle. There are a ton of good 3-4 players available as well, but the depth there is much greater than the depth at offensive tackle, so that can be addressed later.
FinnegansWake: Man, I hate the Ravens with a passion, but I pulled the lever for Sherrod, the guy I think would be the best pick for them. Their OT situation needs help and Sherrod could potentially be an NFL LT, a steal at this position on the draft. The also need CB and WR help badly, but I think the DL depth in this draft allows them to restock there later on.
Ragnarok: Ok, I'll go a bit out on a limb here. I know that a 3-4 DE and OLB are the popular picks here, but I don't think that Ravens can overlook the hole at RT. Gaither has back problems that don't seem to be going away. Yanda is a much better fit at RG. D-line is pretty deep in this draft class and they can very likely get a good prospect in the 2nd round. The top priorities have to be protecting Flacco and opening lanes for Ray Rice. We've seen what has happened to Stafford without decent protection and I don't think the Ravens will take the chance of having that happen. That being said, I'm going with Sherrod here.
Tokenbk: I like Brooks Reed as the pick at 26.
Even though I do think Wilkerson's upside might be too good to pass up @ this point, I think Art Jones will come along and be a solid player this year. So I don't consider DE our biggest need.
With this, OLB is the biggest need. No one knows if Kindle will be back, and there was no one to help Suggs out last year at all.
I also am not a fan of getting a tackle at 26.
With more pressure on the outside, everyone else on the defense, especially the corners, should perform much better.
Plus, you can never have too many Reeds.
7o62x39: Cameron Heyward edges out Muhammed Wilkerson - Like many Mockers I'm a fan of Baltimore's GM Ozzie Newsome. So when it comes to Baltimore my interest always perks up. Baltimore drafts BPA with deference to need and positional value. If there's no value they punt the pick. The WRs & CBs here aren't worth 925 points (on WF's corrected table). OT? I could see Sherrod here but not Solder. 5-Tech? There are two good options worthy of 925 points; Wilkerson and Heyward. Baltimore's Defense is interesting. In 2010 they ranked poorly in sacks (tied at 27th) yet statistically are one of the league's better Ds. Baltimore runs a plethora of schemes centered on Ngata who plays both one and two gap techs in the interior. Baltimore has a hole at 5-Tech and they need to get it addressed. I prefer Wilkerson in a simple 2-Gap 3-4 but the buzz is that Baltimore likes Heyward, I think the edge is that he is more versatile and can play some 1-Gap as well. The point of this mock isn't a normative "who should they draft" but an objective "who will they draft".
StevenLourie: Brooks Reed. pass rushers often go higher than they "should" in the first round and other than receiver, defensive end is their biggest need, and I can't see them reaching for a receiver like Torrey Smith here. Reed has the motor and the character that the Falcons love in a player. Clayborn doesn't. he's also not as good of a pass rusher, which is what they really need. They have Kroy Biermann for non-passing downs, but they need a pass rushing complement for him and a future replacement for John Abraham.
Aaah: Green Bay expose their corners as a weakness. Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
RazorStar: I went with Nate Solder, but I think his value is just plain higher than everyone else seems to think. One of the few good Left Tackles in this draft, he could easily replace Sam Baker on that offensive line. There are quite a few options for the Falcons though, they've always been a Sum of their Parts kind of team.
KyleCleric: In this scenario, if Derek Sherrod is available at 28, he will be the New England Patriots pick. Otherwise, Nate Solder.
Vardaan: Ragnarok: I think they go with Rudolph. Gonzalez has said he is retiring soon and they need to give Ryan another good throwing option. Rudolph is better value than the WRs available.
Tom: Torrey Smith. The Falcons need someone other than White to throw the ball to, and Smith is the best receiver on the board and a good value. Cobb has apparently been moving up in teams' boards too, but he's the kind of all purpose talent that the Falcons aren't looking for. They have a return game and a run game. Smith is more of a pure receiver who will help make White a bigger threat. With the way Gonzales looked at the end of last season, I could also see Rudolph here. I don't know if TEs need a lot of grooming time, so maybe they'll wait another year for their starter.
If the Falcons want a dominant rusher here, they're not in a good spot. Houston and all the other high values are gone. Clayborn is another big body, but won't rack up sacks. Reed will need some coaching and may not have the ideal bulk for a 4-3 end. At least not at this spot. Sheard may be a better fit, but he's even more of a reach. Even if the Falcons consider DL their top need, they've got to react to the board in front of them.
FalconsFan: No way the Falcons pick Clayborn. Dimitroff and Smith have been obsessing over adding explosiveness all season. The main knock on Clayborn is that he is not an explosive pass rusher. They already have a lot of bigger ends who are solid against the run but offer little pass rush(Sidbury, Jamaal Anderson, Chauncey Davis). Why would they take another one? The pass rushers they are interested in are Houston, Kerrigan and Da'Quan Bowers. If Bowers falls to 19 look for them to trade up ahead of the Bucs to snag him. They might have an interest in Brooks Reed, but word is that he'd fit better as a 3-4 OLB. I could not vote for Jabaal Sheard as he was not an option but I could see the team taking him.
So if the pass rushers they like are not there look for the them to add explosiveness on the offensive side. They have shown an interest in Randall Cobb, Jernell Jernigan and Torrey Smith. I voted for Smith. It's too high for Jernigan and Cobb might remind them too much of Harry Douglas. So they add the tall downfield burner in Smith, a high character guy which the team loves. The Falcons have nothing in terms of downfield receivers, as good as Roddy White is he is not an intermediate receiver. The best intermediate receiver in the game though. Their longest pass play last season was 45 yards. Voting for Clayborn is so illogical, people just see DE and do it because of the perception that the Falcons will take any defensive end available.
Manu Ginobli's Bald Spot: I'll throw a curveball in here: Randall Cobb.
The Falcons do need an upgrade acrosss from Roddy White. Cobb would help stretch the field for Matt Ryan, and in a division where all the teams have secondary issues, that helps greatly.
Whooligun: An extra run blocker, a replacement for Gonzo and someone to take the double and triple teams off Roddy....Rudolph is the pick here.
BobLoblaw: Gonzalez has at most one year left in him, and the Falcons have the luxury of finding his replacement here in Rudolph.
Ragnarok: I think they go with Rudolph. Gonzalez has said he is retiring soon and they need to give Ryan another good throwing option. Rudolph is better value than the WRs available.
Classic Silver and Black: Since taking Matt Ryan three years ago, the Mike Smith regime has always gone with defensive physical specimen in the first round (Peria Jerry in 2009, Weatherspoon in 2010).
I see it happening again. Their offensive line is OK and most of the skills players available here in this mock can be considered reaches, particularly considering what will be available in late round 2. Surely a nr 2 WR is the Falcons biggest need, but why reaching for Torrey Smith or Randall Cobb when you can get Leonard Hankerson or Jonathan Baldwin or Jerrel Jernigan 32 picks later?
Kyle Rudolph may look like an intriguing option, but I think the Atlanta front office will consider that no other team picking late in the 1st or early in the 2nd round needs a TE (many are mocking him to the Broncos, but they forget that John Fox dislikes receiving TEs) and so they could trade down about 15 spots, get another 2nd or 3rd rounder, and still take him.
So, in the end I think they will go defense once again. The BPA approach would suggest Adrian Clayborn and he is a physical specimen indeed, in some ways I would be surprised that he'll be still available here in the real life draft. But is he a safe pick, considering his Erb's palsy and his hit on the racist cabbie? I ain't sure he fits what Smith looks for in a first rounder, making the pick No 27 a real crap shoot.
Kyle Cleric: The decision comes down to Mikel Leshoure, Nate Solder, and Derek Sherrod. Solder has the most upside, but figures to be a liability if starting day 1. Running back is a need, but a minor one. The draft is deep when it comes to running backs so the Pats can target a Daniel Thomas, Ryan Williams, or Shane Vereen a round or two later.
Derek Sherrod is the best choice, best fit for the Pats right now and will be the selection.
Classic Silver and Black: If they really manage to steal Cam Jordan with the pick No 17, the Patriots can go offense with their next first rounder (if they stay put).
They already have tons of productive players at skill positions, while the recent retirement of Stephen Neal and the possible loss of Matt Light puts the priority on enhancing Tom Brady's protection.
Considering that all the premium DLines are gone, Derek Sherrod may very well be the BPA at this point and considering what written above, Bill Belichick will considering sending that name in instead of trading down.
Vardaan: If the Patriots keep both first rounders, one is going to be used on offense and the other on defense most likely. I went with Pouncey at 17 and would give them Reed here, but since they went defense at 17, I am going to vote for Derek Sherrod here.
VikingSteve26: I recall reading that the Patriots have one of the best OL coaches around. Nate Solder's potential could be tapped with good coaching... and if he blossoms, he could be an elite tackle. Be it left side or right side.
Tom: Solder. With 2 picks coming, the Patriots want an OLB and an OL. The question is who and where. The Jets and Packers are both in the market for an OLB, and the Bears, Steelers, and Packers might want an OL. If anyone stands out to their scouts, that's who they'll pick. Ayers can rush, but he can also drop back. That could fit NE's 3-4 set up well, and they probably think they could coach him up. I'm not sure if Reed possesses the same drop back ability. But they could also take a blocker now and probably get Sheard at the top of round 2 (assuming no trades, but whatever). If they want to make sure they get one of Solder, Sherrod, or Ijalana, it makes sense to take one now just in case all three get picked. Since that might be the case, I'd go with Solder. Some teams seem to rank him pretty highly, and he's got a lot of potential.
RazorStar: Brooks Reed seems like one of those players who just fits as a patriot. Lots of good option here for the Pats, it's just on who they want more. The Pats regret trading out of position to get Clay Matthews, so why not get a guy who is kind of similar and not "make the same mistake twice".
StevenLourie: Pats have picks at 28 and 33 and undoubtedly will be thinking about both picks when they select here. Rush linebacker and offensive tackle are probably their two biggest needs. Derek Sherrod might be best available, but with Sherrod, Solder, and Ijalana all still on the board there's a better chance there will be an OT available at 33 than a rush linebacker with only Brooks Reed and Akeem Ayers worth either pick (I don't buy Sheard going this early). They take Ayers here, loving his versatility, and then hope than one of the 3 tackles falls to them 5 picks later at 33.
Ragnarok: They need a rush OLB and Ayers fits that description. They could go O-line here but there will find very good value at pick 33 and beyond.
Yergsword: I've voted for Sherrod for at least 5 teams now, maybe this time I will be right.
mdb17: Personally I only see 1 standout option for the Patriots here and that's Derek Sherrod who I voted for. I want to quickly run through the other options which I'll do by coupling them by position.
The Outside Linebackers available are Ayers, Sheard and Reed. I'm not an Ayers fan at all. I see the versatility, pass rush potential and size but I also see the missed tackles, the lack of strength on the edge and soft attitude. I don't think he's as athletic as everyone thinks either. Sheard should still be available at 33 so I believe they can wait on him. I like him for the Patriots. He has the size, strength and pass rush potential to play OLB for the Pats. Reed is explosive off the line but lacks the pass rush moves to beat his opposing man. He gets most of his sacks on 2nd attempts to the QB which he won't get at the NFL level. His height will also will be an issue for the Patriots in the 1st round.
The Offensive guards that are available are Watkins, Ijalana and Wisneiwski which shows that the position is still relatively deep. I don't think any of them warrant a selection here but are definitely candidates in the 2nd round.
The offensive playmakers still available are Cobb and Leshoure. On Cobb, I think the Patriots will be interested in him because he's a 4-down player that is a good route runner and would be replacement for Branch down the line. He may remind them of Harvin who they were rumoured to be interested in. I think it's too early for Cobb and I think the Patriots have bigger needs than WR at this point in the draft. Leshoure is probably not getting the hype his play deserves and I would be content to take him here. However, like WR I think we have bigger needs than RB here.
Next the Offensive tackles which are Sherrod and Solder. I see Solder as a Left Tackle only prospect. To me, he lacks the strength to play on the right side. Many people will say that's fine because the Patriots need to replace LT Light, however in saying that they are forgetting how good Vollmer has been when he's played LT. I think the Patriots would likely be more comfortable having him protect Brady's blindside than an unknown when Light's career at the Patriots is over. I think Sherrod is a better tackle than Solder because he's stronger but still very athletic in his own right. He has the versatility to play both tackle positions which will be valued by the Patriots draft team.
Finally there is one option that is extremely likely which is the Patriots trade this pick to a QB needy team that trades into the pick. They will look for a 2012 1st round pick and a 2011 4th round pick. That was the trade they did with the 49ers in 2007 for the 28th so that's the value they assign to the pick. Options for the trade up would be Locker, Ponder and Mallett.
- Nate Solder: 71.1%
- Muhammad Wilkerson: 13.3%
- Marvin Austin: 4.4%
- Ben Ijalana: 4.4%
- Jonathan Baldwin: 2.2%
- Torrey Smith: 2.2%
- Danny Watkins: 2.2%
Reader 2011 NFL Mock Draft Member Comments:
Tom: Solder. It has to be an OL, and Solder is now the best of what's left. The Bears have a terrible line. Yes, they got to the NFC championship and made it work, but it was still terrible. If they had a better one, Cutler wouldn't have been so abused this season. They need to fix at least two spots on that line and Solder has the potential to finally be the tackle they were looking for when they drafted Williams. At this spot, I really don't see any other option for the Bears.
WhatDoYouWant711: I voted Solder. It's really a perfect match, IMO. Solder has all the upside in the world, but needs a lot of refinement and coaching. Mike Tice is one of, if not the best offensive line coach in football. The fact that Chicago needs an offensive tackle so absurdly bad only makes it easier.
I can't believe Muhammad Wilkerson is still available, though. That's some ridiculous value.
Otrain83: The Bears have pretty much made it known they are going to do what they can to get value with their pick. Move up to make sure they get one of the OL, or trade down if they are all gone. Williams, Wisniewski, or surprisingly Baldwin could be the pick if they get stuck. At least those are the names that the scouting department has mentioned. They are in an undesirable spot because there is a good chance that all of the worthy OL are gone, and the players left over either don't fit a need or would be a 15+ pick reach. But in this case, the BPA fits the greatest need and the Bears are in a scenario they hope to be in.
Classic Silver and Black: I believe that Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith are hoping that the real draft will play down just as this reader's mock.
They need that one of the top 5 rated OTs lasts until the pick No 29 and here Nate Solder falls to them. This is a no brainer and if it really happens the Bears will run to the podium to give Goodell this name.
JoeMiken: Nate Solder is the obvious choice. That probably means they'll go Marvin Austin.
rphx88: First, let me state one thing before I talk about the Bears pick. JAY CUTLER HAS A VAGINA, ON HIS KNEE! With that in mind the bears must do something to protect their QB with such anatomy. Therefor they select the big tackle out of Colorado, Nate Solder. I find Solder extremely raw but has the potential to become a decent starter in the league with proper coaching. He also needs to manage his weight by making sure he can keep it on. Solder is defiantly not the for sure thing but the Bears have to get some protection for Cutler and his Vagina.
TerrapinPrime: The Bears have a plethora of needs. No need is bigger or greater than finding their biggest investment, Jay Cutler some protection. Chicago badly needs a possession wide receiver but no one at this spot is worth the pick over the top lineman. Defensive Tackle is a need but he would be the wrong tackle for protecting Cutler. The prospect they draft has to be whoever gives Double Chin the best chance of standing upright. He spent a huge chunk of the season running for his life and making horrible throws because of it. I don't care if the pick is Ben Ijalana, Nate Solder, or Danny Watkins, whoever gives the line the best chance at looking competent is the pick they need to take. I'll say Nate Solder since he is the top lineman left.
StevenLourie: I think it's a foregone conclusion that if any of the first round tackles are on the board (Smith, Castonzo, Carimi, Sherrod, Solder) that one of them goes here to Chicago. Even if all 5 are off the board, they could easily make a minor reach and take someone Ijalana. Solder is available here and they take him. He's raw, but Mike Tice will think he can coach him up and even though he's raw, he's going to be better week 1 than any other left tackle on their roster.
Matt24: Solder is their guy. Watching Cutler get tossed like a rag doll all season will force JA's hand into taking Solder. The interior DL needs to be addressed as well for the Bears, but in my opinion, to a lesser extent that can still be addressed in later rounds with quality prospects. The OT class this year is pretty top heavy so grabbing the last of the top 5 OT makes the most sense.
BobLoblaw: A Soldier in Soldier field. Could be there be a more perfect fit? This just makes too many sense. The Bears so love football players who are soldiers then named their stadium after them, and now they can have a player named?wait, what? It?s ?Solder?? Um?still, I think my point mostly stands.
- Muhammad Wilkerson: 41.8%
- Akeem Ayers: 27.3%
- Brooks Reed: 18.2%
- Stephen Paea: 12.7%
Reader 2011 NFL Mock Draft Member Comments:
Daphenomx: With Taylor and Heyward off the board this pick has got to be Wilkerson. Too many questions about Ayers work ethic will scare the Jets away from the potential second coming of Vernon Gholston. Also with Wilkerson's size at 6'5 305, he's a natural fit for the 3-4 end position as a long-term replacement for Shaun Ellis if he isn't brought back.
VikingSteve26: Voted Muhammad Wilkerson. BPA. Thought about voting Akeem Ayers though... don't they need linebackers?
JoeMiken: Wilkerson is the BPA and fills a need in this case. I think they look at offensive linemen and rush linebackers in the mid-rounds.
Vardaan: The Jets' pass rush was not up to par last year so I voted for the best pass rusher available, Brooks Reed. While I am not high on him, he fits a big need in the heavy blitz defense the Jets used and will get a lot of mismatches, which he abused in college.
Lax18: The Jets need an non-stop, high motor rush OLB, brooks reed is exactly that. He has the speed coming off the edge that is almost identical to that of clay matthews and he fits the bill for the high effort and relentless motor. Being a 3 year starter and team captain shows his leadership skills and shows that he is very coachable, something that vernon gholston was not. I believe akeem ayers is best suited for the 4-3 so i dont want to take a chance on a guy thats never really been a pass rusher.
Brooks Reed has the speed, motor, and the hair to be one of the next greats under Rex Ryan
StevenLourie: D-line is a bigger need than rush linebacker. They really just need a nickel rusher to replace Taylor. They can do that in the mid rounds. It's going to come down to nose tackle or end here and since Phil Taylor is off the board, Wilkerson is the easy choice. Shaun Ellis is 34 and a free agent. Mike Devito didn't manage a sack last year.
Classic Silver and Black: In the 2010 season the Jets were so desperate to get some QB pressure from the DE position that they tried to transform super-bust OLB Vernon Gholston into a tech 5.
Couple this blatant need with the fact that at this point Muhammad Wilkerson is the BPA by far and what you get is that the D Lineman from Temple is an easy choice for the T-Rex franchise at No 30 if the real draft rolls out this way.
Pheltzbahr: This pick likely will address the obvious depletion of the front 7.
- Supposedly the Jets are high on Akeem Ayers, but I just don't see how his lack of physicality on tape is enticing to them - Ruptured Scrotum v2.0?
- Brooks Reed looks to be a Ryan type guy and could very well be the pick, but I'm not sure he is well rounded enough to warrant a selection that will be expected to start on opening day.
-Paea isn't a large enough human being to be the space eater NT the Jets covet and with Phil Taylor off the board, will look elsewhere.
-WR is intriguing if they're in love with someone, but I think they are going to to do their best to resign both Santonio and Braylon or use a later selection on a project.
-OL is more of a luxury pick and they will likely pursue an FA RT (lol) or go with what they have.
-I can't see them justifying another 1st round secondary selection, especially at FS which holds little positional value.
- Muhammed Wilkerson fills a need and has the physical and mental attributes to succeed in this defense. He can be a cornerstone lunch pail player on this defense for years. He's the pick.
- Aaron Williams: 36.2%
- Danny Watkins: 17.0%
- Ben Ijalana: 17.0%
- Brandon Harris: 8.5%
- Stephen Paea: 8.5%
- Marcus Cannon: 6.4%
- Akeem Ayers: 4.3%
- Jabaal Sheard: 2.1%
Reader 2011 NFL Mock Draft Member Comments:
VikingSteve26: Voted Aaron Williams.
Pittsburgh needs an offensive lineman, specifically a tackle, but there are none here I see worth taking over Aaron Williams, who provides a solution to their secondary woes.
StevenLourie: I know, I know, the Steelers never draft cornerbacks early, but they're not stupid. They know why they lost to the Packers. It's the same reason they lost to the Patriots and the Saints. Teams that spread them out can neutralize their great blitz and force the cornerbacks to cover and the Steelers' cornerbacks couldn't. They got lucky in the first and second rounds of the playoffs, drawing two teams that don't spread well, the Ravens and the Jets, but teams like the Patriots, Saints, Eagles, and of course the Packers who can spread well can beat the Steelers with ease. The game is changing. It's more of a pass heavy league with more and more teams using 3 WR sets as their base. I expect the Steelers to adapt to the changing times and take a corner here. Aaron Williams is a natural fit for their scheme and can play free safety, which will be a need down the road, if he fails at corner.
Steeler: I choose Brandon Harris for the higher upside. You take a good corner here not a safety...unless it is Troy or Ed Reed. I like what Finnegans Wake's post. Hopefully one of the big lineman fall to them either on the OL or DL, Stephen Paea would be a good choice if he was 10-15 heavier and healthy, like F.W. says I trust the Steelers staff to make the right call on any guys health. There are a lot of 2nd round CB talents out there and some small school guys in the third or fourth round that fit the Steelers MO like a glove.
Tom: Ijalana. I don't think he's a reach at all here. With some uncertainty at both tackle positions, Ijalana could bring some stability. He has long arms for reach and leverage, and definitely has the potential to be a solid tackle. When you've got a chance to get a tackle like that, a team should take it. The Steelers can give Ijalana a chance at tackle, and even if that doesn't work out he would be a great guard. Offensive line is Pittsburgh's biggest need, and they won't get anyone better than Ijalana here, who's versatile and has huge upside.
Classic Silver and Black: The Steelers lost the Superbowl because of their 3 turnovers. To avoid it happens again, they need to improve their Offensive Line now, not later.
Every single draftnick says that Danny Watkins is a first round OL talent, the only concern is his age (27). But that shouldn't be a scare away factor for a team that has all the tools to win now and 6-7 years from now will probably be in rebuild mode anyway.
Their D line needs some rejuvenation too, but all the round 1 front talent is gone with the sole possible exception of Paea who has always played in a 4-3 and may not fit as a 3-4 NT in Pittsburgh line-up.
Cornerback is probably even bigger a need, but CBs are not as important in their schemes and all the top talent at the position is gone as well. They will address it in a later round.
To sum it up, I believe Watkins would be the choice in this scenario.
JoeMiken: I went Watkins as well, but the Steelers are kinda like the Bears in that they've needed fresh OL talent for the last 4-5 years, yet usually go elsewhere in the 1st round. In Pittsburgh's case, they need help at all spots on the OL other than center. Watkins is older than your average college prospect, but he's also a guy who can jump right in and contribute from Day 1.
Dorkvomit: As a die hard Steeler fan the need to upgrade the CB position is definitely the priority in this draft,but I'm not sure if they will draft that position just because it's their biggest need. The steelers like to draft for the best player available, with Williams still having the Free Safety label attached to him,i don't think he's the best still on the board,so i chose Stephen Paea. Paea is a brute who's very strong & hard to block,he will add youth to the NT position that has Hampton(32) & Hoke(35). If they draft down(they've never drafted out of RD1) i believe their target will be Ras-I Dowling-CB/Virgina!!
Vardaan: I voted for Marcus Cannon because he has a sweet name, fills a big need, and has a rising stock.
Finnegans Wake: I've discussed the Steelers FO methodology and Tomlin's tendencies before, so I'll try to keep this brief. Not particularly thrilled with what I'm seeing at the bottom of R1 in most mocks, this one included, so it would not surprise me if the Steelers move up a few spots to get a player they like. Adam Schefter says it isn't their way, but, contra Adam, the Steelers do move up when there's someone they really like (Polamalu and Santonio Holmes are the two Colbert has targeted). But, staying at 1.31, we can play the elimination game.
The Steelers R1 picks are always solid, can't-miss kinds of prospects. Even if they have a glaring positional need, they'll stick to their BPA philosophy... within reason. With two of the game's best OLBs (Harrison and Woodley) and a R2 OLB draft pick from 2010 (Jason Worilds), I find it highly unlikely that Ayers, Reed, or Sheard are going to offer more realistic positional value than CB, OL, DL, or even ILB. They want their first rounder to be able to contribute within a year or two. They also do not take older prospects. Tomlin has skewed even younger than Cowher, but I think the oldest guy over the past 10 years was 23 when drafted; a lot of 20 and 21 year olds in the mix of late. The idea is to mold players who can contribute for a long time. That tells me that Watkins may rate highly on tape, but he probably still has a R2 value. They're not giving up a R1 pick for the age-equivalent of a free agent OG (who has no NFL playing experience). Paea is an interesting guy, but I cannot for the life of me see a position in the Steelers 3-4 due to his frame. I'd like to, but I can't. Just doesn't have the size, so that spells 4-3 DL only to me.
That whittles us down to Cannon, Harris, Ijalana, Dowling, and Williams.
All five would provide immediate positional support. I think Cannon and Dowling are more R2 values per most draftniks, but Dowling could be a R1 value were it not for injuries, and the Steelers spent a late R1 on a player from Virginia with a medical ding who turned out to be a pretty solid player (Heath Miller). I'll trust their med eval to cull the truth. And the scouts might have a higher grade on Cannon than the draftniks do, and simply follow their own muse. So I think those players could potentially be in the mix. I'm going to nix Ijalana because over the past decade, all Steelers R1 picks have been from bigger programs. They aren't afraid to roll the dice on a guy from Tusculum or Tiffin, but I just don't see them taking the Nova guy, not just because of LOC but also because he missed the Senior Bowl eval. My personal opinion is that Ijalana is not a plug-in ready guy like Watkins, and will take a few years to get up to speed. That eliminates him from R1 for the Steelers.
It's hard to trend their CB criteria because, like OL, the Steelers have invested woefully little in high-level CBs. But they do like big, physical guys who can fit the LeBeau defense, which means tough tackling guys. What they've lacked is elite speed and skills. Harris, at 5'9", strikes me as a guy the scouts would relegate to nickel. A very good nickel, but not a R1 grade. Tomlin attended the Texas pro day, but that's not a sure tell. In fact, the years when the Steelers' pick is telegraphed (like Pouncey last year) are the exception, so when I see all these mocks with the Steelers taking Williams, I go contrararian. If the scouts agree that Williams isn't the speed lockdown corner, but more a FS convo project, they will probably pass. And I think they pass on Dowling based on the med concerns, but would take him R2. In fact, I think the Steelers might see late R2 as a real value cluster for CB (Curtis Brown, Brandon Burton, Curtis Marsh, fallers like Dowling). They may want more of a speed/upside guy that they can train up.
So by process of elimination, I'm going with a dark horse here: Marcus Cannon. The Steelers have no one of value at RG (Trai Essex, Ramon Foster), so Cannon could conceivably be called into action very early on. Plus he has the positional flex on the OL that they crave, and with RT up in the air (Flozell Adams is 35, and in his last contract year; Willie Colon is a FA and coming off an Achilles injury), Cannon could eventually kick out to RT. And compared to the guys they've had at LT (Max Starks, IR; Jon Scott), Cannon actually ran a better 40 and could probably fill in there in a pinch. OL coach Sean Kugler kept that line together with duct tape and Silly Putty last year, and based on his (relative) success I think the FO would love to see what he can do with better talent. Cannon has the flexibility to cover several OL positions and become a solid contributor.
SteelCity: Dire is a subjective term when it comes to discussing team needs. To say that the Steelers have any real "Dire" needs is an unnecessary exaggeration. Certainly they have areas that need improvement or an infusion of youth. The more I watch of Aaron Williams, the more that I think he needs to be the first round pick for this club. In my ideal scenario, the Steelers would trade their first and third round picks to a team in the 15-18 range. With the fifteenth pick in the draft, the Steelers select Mike Pouncey out of Florida. One can dream.
Matt24: As a Packer fan, it's pretty evident the Steelers could use help at CB. Williams is BPA at that position at this point but only because of the injury clouds over Dowling's head right now. However, the Steelers might consider Dowling to be BPA over Williams based on their own evaluation, it's hard to know. Though the OL could still use some help, that need can still be addressed in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Williams seems like the safest pick for the Steelers right now.
RazorStar: The Steelers generally target the best player available, and don't really care if the guy can start right away or not. Aaron Williams has some real skills at any defensive back position, and is a better prospect than any of the other corners on the board right now. I have a feeling if he was drafted he could fit right in at free safety, but regardless, his talent is too much to pass up here.
Classic Silver and Black: After the Johnny Jolly fiasco, a tech 5 DE is probably Green Bay's main need. Unfortunately there's no such a player available here that can be worth a late first round pick.
Their offence is gonna be OK with all the injured players coming back healthy. So I think at No 32 the Packers will call a pass rusher to complement Clay Matthews.
Of the 3 possible candidates mentioned in this poll/draft, Jabaal Sheard is a pure power rusher who is a much better fit as a DE in a 4 men front, while Akeem Ayers is an all around linebacker, very versatile but with a higher value as a 4-3 SAM or WILL linebacker.
This leaves Brooks Reed as the only name that perfectly matches a need and the pick value.
Finnegans Wake: Bookended Clay Matthews with Matthews Lite (Reed).
Tom: As a Packer fan, I've been thinking a lot about this pick. I've been hoping Ijalana would be available here, and he's my top choice. But if these are the choices, Thompson is going to think long and hard about Ayers, and less so Reed. But he will not draft Watkins, Sheard of Rudolph.
Ijalana has the potential to be a tackle of the future. With Ijalana, Wells, Sitton, and Bulaga, the Packers would have their line set at 4 of 5 positions for at least the next few years. It doesn't matter whether Ijalana or Bulaga is on which side, the Packers spread out their receivers most of the time, leaving both LT and RT on the outside without help. McCarthy has said they basically look for two LT types, and the longer Bulaga stays on the right the less they want to move him. If Clifton has an injury, which I think is likely, Ijalana gives them a capable backup to stick in. Clifton had to sit out a series or two in the playoffs because of his knees, they can't be relied on much longer. Even if Ijalana doesn't make it as a tackle, the Packers have been looking for a solid LG prospect for years, trying to put Spitz and Bulaga there instead of Colledge. This year, they'll try Lang and McDonald. Ijalana could get a shot too, maybe learning the ropes before moving outside.
Having a reliable line is a bigger need than replacing the committee structure at OLB. It's not pretty, but Zombo is good against the run, Walden can blitz, and Jones has shown some talent when healthy. I'll admit it's a need, but after the atrocious Barbre experiment, the Packers should play it safe at tackle. I don't think they expect Lang to be a tackle prospect anymore, so there's no effective backup.
But if they do go OLB, I bet it's Ayers. He could have gone higher, and Thompson loves to grab falling prospects. Not only can he rush the passer, he can move back in coverage a bit. He has a versatility Capers can take advantage of. Reed has the blond mullet (which would look cool, 3 of 4 linebackers would look like marauding barbarians), but on tape is one dimensional. I know he's been a workout warrior shooting up the board, but I think he's a reach here. Sheard has character issues, and the Packers don't want any part of that. Especially after Jolly couldn't quit the purple drank.
Watkins is 27. Yes, the Packers are built to win now, but 27 is 82 in Thompson years. Youth is highly valued to him, and he'd much rather get a raw 20 year old than a proven 27 year old. It's why he never signs veterans. The Packers are not taking Watkins. And like I said, they've got two LG prospects they want to try out. They've been trying to find a spot for Lang for a couple years, and are really high on McDonald. I don't think they consider LG a high draft need.
Rudolph is redundant. Yes, Finley has been injured. But Rodgers loves the guy, and hypes him constantly. He wants Finley, not another TE to throw to. The Packers already kept four TE's on the roster, and another TE/LB in Havner. Spending a first rounder on yet another is ridiculous. Quarless deserves at least one more year behind Finley to learn.
It also won't be Torrey Smith. After all the butterfingers action the Packers have gone through at the end of last season, the last player they need is Torrey McBabyhands. McCarthy said weeks ago that he never made a place in his offense for a small, quick receiver, and that affected the return game. That makes me think they'll look for a Cobb or Jerrel Jernigan type if the go receiver and surprise people.
So it comes down to Ijalana or Ayers. Ijalana moves the OL from one injury away from disaster to being solid, deep, and young. All qualities Thompson can't get enough of. OLB is deep, and they might hope one of the committee will develop, either Zombo, Walden, or Jones. The Packers have the luxury of not needing another starter right away, but Ijalana would likely see play time sometime in the second half of the season. Better him than anyone else.
VikingSteve26: Voted Ben Ijalana. Tough picks here... GB still needs offensive line help. Too bad Watkins is 27. I considered Rudolph. Finley keeps getting hurt.
Pheltzbahr: Ted adds another OL builing block. Ijalana is versatile enough where you can plug him in where you need him. Gotta keep Rodgers upright and healthy. Scary how few true needs this team has.
BroncosCOn: I voted Watkins because I believe he's BPA and he has the makeup that Ted likes.
BobLoblaw: The top 5-techs went fast or I would have gone in that direction. They don't really have a lot of other needs, so they might as well go BPA, who is probably Ayers at the moment.
Matt24: Being a die hard Packer fan, having Ayers and Reed both be available at 32 would be pretty sweet.
The Packers have shown interest in both prospects by bringing in Reed for a personal workout and Ted Thompson attending Ayers pro day. Both seem like TT guys. Ayers has that college production, versatility, athleticism (to some extent) and great character. Reed has the burst, speed, high mototr, good character, and the Clay-like comparisons only bolster his case as the Packers 1st round selection. I feel like the Packers would be happy with either one if they were their choice, but as to which one they are higher on, I reeally couldn't say. My best bet would be that TT would choose Ayers over Reed if they were both available, just a gut feeling. So my vote went to Ayers. I don't think that both of them will make to 32, and which ever one is left is who TT will choose.
Cheezhead3644: With these players left available the value clearly lies with the Rush Linebackers. Although picking an OL in this draft is inevitable given the circumstances, the two on the board don't have the value that the Rush LBs do, and we all know how TT drafts based upon value. I think the value argument can also carry over to the other positions left on the board as well.
Given the above are true, only two remain: Brooks Reed and Akeem Ayers.
I would first like to say that the Packer D would be retarded good, if either OLB develops to be half the players Mathews is. Imagine how another player opposite Mathews would boost his performance even further. Everyone also knows that a good pass rush makes the rest of the Defense better. A better pass rush also solves the secondary issues, in many cases.
Now Between Reed and Ayers. I choose Reed. Not because he looks like Mathews, like everyone is saying, but because he has some of the same skills that Mathews has. He had the fastest 10 yard split of every defensive end at the combine giving him that extra quick first step that allows him to get around OT's on the arc. He is ten pounds heavier than Ayers, faster (4.66 - 4.80), and stronger (30 - 18 on the bench). Reed has everything needed to become and effective pass rusher in the NFL.
Brooks Reed: Arizona
- Stefen Wisniewski: 38.5%
- Marcus Cannon: 30.8%
- Colin Kaepernick: 15.4%
- Danny Watkins: 7.7%
- Rodney Hudson: 7.7%
Reader 2011 NFL Mock Draft Member Comments:
VikingSteve26: It sounds like they're going to lose Robert Gallery. Based on that, I voted Marcus Cannon.
Classic Silver and Black: I firmly believe that Al Davis feels like his team is set at the cornerback position. He gave a ****load of money to Stanford Routt and still hopes that the lockout will result in another uncapped year or in no free agency period to keep Nnamdi. But even if Nnamdi leaves Coach Davis won't draft a CB in day 2, he'll probably take a pure potential prospect at the position in the late rounds, like he does every year.
You can also write down that all the Kaepernick interest is a smoke screen, or better just an evaluation in the (extremely improbable) eventuality that he' still available on day 3. But Hue Jackson already uncovered Oakland cards about the QB position: they are not bringing in an early round talent that may threaten Jason Campbell in the short period. The front office knows that the key for a 2011 playoff run for this team resides in one most important variable, Jason Campbell's confidence. If the former Redskins signal caller feels like he's the safe starter in a familiar system then he may finally be able to perform at his level of talent.
This analysis leaves the Offensive Line as the area of need to which the Raiders will direct their early draft attention, surely with their 2nd round pick and maybe even with their 3rd round one.
If all the players given as possible options in this reader mock will really be available for Davis and Jackson to choose at No 47, I believe the pick will be Danny Watkins. Recently Al Davis said the he really wants to win another Superbowl while he still is in this world. Ok, I know that many people on this forum think he's undead and so he's going to stay as long as some virgins blood is sacrificed to him, but jokes aside the man will be 82 before next season starts. This means he wants to win now rather than later and he feels like he's just one or two draft away from having a title contending team. So he'll disregard a concern like a player's age and he'll go strictly BPA in terms of measurables. When OL is concerned, this means not just speed but even more muscular bulk, size and pure strength. Cross these features with the fact that the Raiders OL is transitioning away from a ZBS to a man on man power push style and that Robert Gallery won't be resigned, what you have is Danny Watkins matching perfectly Al Davis plans.
BobLoblaw: The Raiders obviously need offensive line help. LG, C, and RT are all positions they may look at during the draft (Al will force Bruce Campbell into the starting lineup at RG and Veldheer earned the starting LT position). They typically don't focus on the line early, but if Wisniewski is there his lineage and the fact that his uncle is currently an assistant on the offensive line makes him a very likely pick. If he isn't there, it's looking more and more like they'll go CB. They must not be as high on Chris Johnson as they once were, because they're bringing in tons of CBs for visits. Any big, fast, CB is a possibility. If Jimmy Smith starts to fall into the second round, they might go after him.
Finally, there are some other guys who wouldn't surprise me. I seriously doubt he'll be there, but I don't think the Kaepernick love is a smokescreen. Al loves Campbell, but Hue Jackson doesn't have to sell Al on replacing Campbell at QB, just on getting someone in just in case something happens. After the Russell debacle, I think he could sell that. They've also brought in Taiwan Jones and love anyone with that speed. Bush might not be around, McFadden is bit injury prone, and McFadden showed he can run it up the middle, so a smaller speed guy isn't out of the question. They also need an OLB across from Wimbley. Since they use 3-4 LBs at 4-3 OLB nowadays, speed rushers available here could be taken.