Last update: Thursday, April 28, 2011, 3:30 PM.
Next update: Thurs evening. Follow me @walterfootball
This 2011 NFL Mock Draft order is based on the official 2011 NFL Draft Order
Carolina Panthers: Orlando Franklin, G, Miami
Standard protocol after drafting a franchise quarterback is to give him an offensive lineman or a brand-new weapon to work with. Carolina needs to find an upgrade on its front unless it wants Cam Newton to be sacked half a dozen times every week like Jimmy Clausen was last year.
Cincinnati Bengals: Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State
If Cedric Benson isn't re-signed as a free agent, Cincinnati will need a new running back. Bernard Scott (sub-200 pounds) is not an every-down runner.
Denver Broncos: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
So, the Broncos draft a quarterback after all. This is a weird pick. I didn't want to drop Ryan Mallett any further - I tried, but couldn't fit him in the second round - and John Elway may like his raw ability enough to select him in the third round. Remember, even though they have Tim Tebow, new regimes mean new quarterbacks.
Buffalo Bills: Sam Acho, DE/OLB, Texas
If the Bills can't land Von Miller at No. 3, they'll look for a pass-rusher in one of the next couple of rounds. They're moving on from Aaron Maybin, and Shawne Merriman is no lock to do anything next year.
Arizona Cardinals: John Moffitt, G/C, Wisconsin
The Cardinals need to find multiple upgrades for one of the worst offensive lines in football.
Cleveland Browns: Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
Once again, the Browns will be looking for 4-3 personnel. Shaun Rogers and Kenyon Coleman were both released earlier this offseason, opening a big void next to Ahtyba Rubin.
Dallas Cowboys: Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
As mentioned in Round 1, the Cowboys have issues in their secondary; they surrendered an average of 319 passing yards in the seven weeks prior to letting John Skelton win on a fourth-quarter drive. Even Rex Grossman torched them.
I can't imagine Terence Newman being around much longer. Newman, 33 in September, struggled last year and will be due $8 million in 2011.
New Orleans Saints: Mason Foster, OLB, Washington
Strongside linebacker isn't a huge need for the Saints right now, but it will be if they don't retain free agents Danny Clark, JoLonn Dunbar and Marvin Mitchell. And even if they do, there's room for improvement.
Houston Texans: Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
Despite taking Kareem Jackson in the first round of last year's draft, Houston still must address the cornerback position. Jackson has to improve, while Glover Quin would be better served as the nickel or free safety.
New England Patriots: Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia
New England acquired this pick from the Vikings in the Randy Moss trade.
Given their pass-rushing issues, it shouldn't surprise anyone if the Patriots double dip at rush linebacker this April.
I mocked Justin Houston to the Patriots at No. 28 in my previous update. It was revealed Tuesday morning, however, that Houston failed a drug test at the Combine, so he's likely to fall to Rounds 2-3.
With that in mind, the Patriots could definitely still be interested in Houston if he falls to this spot. Last year, they took a chance on Aaron Hernandez, who similarly failed a drug test in Indianapolis. Houston presents incredible value here, and he's a great fit in Bill Belichick's defense.
Detroit Lions: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
The Lions always go with the best player on their board as long as it makes sense for them. In this scenario, their strategy will also fill a big need; Julian Peterson, who struggled at times last season, has been released. Detroit needs to find a replacement.
Bruce Carter is a really talented player who would be a first-round prospect if it weren't for a torn ACL. The Lions are reportedly really interested in Carter.
San Francisco 49ers: Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa
If the 49ers pass on Blaine Gabbert at No. 7, they'll be looking for a quarterback on Day 2. Ricky Stanzi is being talked about as someone who would fit in really well in Jim Harbaugh's system.
Tennessee Titans: Greg Little, WR, North Carolina
Greg Little has major character issues, but the Titans won't care. Little would be a great fit on this team because he can help Chris Johnson with his tremendous blocking and field-stretching abilities.
St. Louis Rams: Clint Boling, G, Georgia
The Rams continue to build around Sam Bradford. They can bolster his protection and improve the running game by finding an upgrade over Adam Goldberg, who played miserably at right guard in 2010.
Miami Dolphins: Dontay Moch, DE/OLB, Nevada
As mentioned in the first round, the Dolphins will be looking for some pass-rushing help across from Cameron Wake. This could allow them to move Koa Misi inside.
Dontay Moch is a project, but the Dolphins may think they can coach him up to be one of the next great pass-rushers in the NFL.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Marcus Gilchrist, CB/FS, Clemson
Jacksonville has to upgrade both safety spots in addition to the cornerback position. After all, there's a reason the Jaguars finished 31st against the pass.
Marcus Gilchrist is a team captain and a three-year starter.
Oakland Raiders: Chimdi Chekwa, CB, Ohio State
The remainder of Nnamdi Asomugha's contract has been voided, so one of the league's top cornerbacks is now a free agent. The Raiders will need a replacement.
Chimdi Chekwa has the height and speed that Al Davis covets. Chekwa ran a 4.38 at 6-0, 191, showing "great playa" qualities.
San Diego Chargers: Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State
Darren Sproles is a free agent. Kendall Hunter is not Sproles, but he's a pass-catching, change-of-pace back who could serve as a substitute.
New York Giants: Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee
New York could stand to improve the tight end position; Kevin Boss is a decent player, but he's nothing special. Luke Stocker is a steal in the middle of Round 3.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh
The Buccaneers double dipped at defensive tackle and wide receiver last April. They could do the same at defensive end in the 2011 NFL Draft considering how much they need help at the position.
Philadelphia Eagles: Christian Ballard, DE/DT, Iowa
The Eagles may look for a mid-round weapon at defensive tackle for Jim Washburn. Christian Ballard is one of the top players available and fits Jim Washburn's system. Ballard failed a drug test at the Combine, but Andy Reid will give him a second chance.
Pick change; previously Terrell McClain, DT
Kansas City Chiefs: Chris Carter, DE/OLB, Fresno State
The Chiefs have only one reliable pass-rusher. Adding a solid complement across from Tamba Hali would take Kansas City's defense to the next level.
In a top-heavy but thin pass-rushing draft class, someone like Chris Carter (16 TFL and 10 sacks in 2010) could emerge as a second-round pick. Carter had an outstanding 1.59 10-yard split in his 40-yard dash.
Indianapolis Colts: Tyler Sash, SS, Iowa
Melvin Bullitt is a free agent and Bob Sanders was recently released. Strong safety has suddenly become a huge need.
An Iowa safety to replace another Iowa safety? Bill Polian does love his Big Ten players.
New Orleans Saints: Kenrick Ellis, NT, Hampton
The Saints just signed Shaun Rogers, but they need a long-term solution next to Sedrick Ellis. And besides, Kenrick Ellis is one of the best players available.
San Diego Chargers: Shareece Wright, CB, USC
The Chargers acquired this pick from Seattle for Charlie Whitehurst.
Cornerback isn't San Diego's greatest need, but the team needs depth at the position. Plus, Brandon Burton is one of the top players available.
Baltimore Ravens: Casey Matthews, ILB, Oregon
The Ravens should obtain some competition for Jameel McClain. Ray Lewis will be 36 in May, so Baltimore will need to find a successor as well.
Baltimore has expressed interest in Casey Matthews, who might go earlier than most think because of his bloodlines.
Atlanta Falcons: DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
Michael Turner has carried the ball 340-plus times twice in the past three years. He really looked worn down toward the end of last season, failing to gain more than four yards per attempt in any of his final six contests.
The Falcons need to take the burden off Turner and find a talented successor for him.
New England Patriots: Edmond Gates, WR, Abilene Christian
Upgrading the pass rush and the offensive line are two of the three things the Patriots need to accomplish this offseason. The third is finding a receiver who can stretch the field.
New England has met with more than a dozen receivers in the past month or so, meaning Bill Belichick is fully interested in upgrading the position. One of the wideouts he met with, by the way, was Edmond Gates, who happens to be the top player available.
Chicago Bears: Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State
The Bears will be searching for an upgrade at receiver sometime early in the 2011 NFL Draft. They've shown a ton of interest in Austin Pettis.
New York Jets: Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana
It doesn't seem like the Jets will be able to re-sign both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards. If one walks, New York will need a new wideout.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Colin McCarthy, LB, Miami
It would not be an NFL Draft if the Steelers didn't pick a linebacker.
Green Bay Packers: Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington
Ryan Grant is entering his contract year. James Starks looked great during the team's Super Bowl run, but has a long injury history. Brandon Jackson is a free agent. The Packers should find some running back help in the middle rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Taiwan Jones had an incredible Pro Day, running a 4.29 40 and notching an 11-foot broad jump. He looked great catching passes in the drills, so he could go in the second round.
Carolina Panthers: Terrell McClain, DT, South Florida
I had Carolina picking defensive tackles to open and close the third round in a previous update; that's how dire the position is for the Panthers.
Pick change; previously Drake Nevis, DT
2011 NFL Mock Draft - Round 4
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