Last update: Friday, April 22, 2011.
This is what it sounds like: What would the 2011 NFL Draft look like if the order were reversed? Whom would the Packers take with the first pick? My annual Backward NFL Mock Draft is listed below.
Go here for my 2011 NFL MOCK DRAFT
Real 2011 NFL Mock Draft
Green Bay Packers: Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
If the Broncos ran a 3-4, Von Miller might be the favorite to go No. 2 overall. Some have Miller as the top player in this class, so the Packers would not hesitate to draft him atop this fictional draft. Can you imagine Miller and Clay Matthews on the same defense? Opposing quarterbacks would be crapping their pants the entire week leading up to the game.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
No cornerback has ever been taken in the top two, but that certainly wouldn't be the case if the best teams were drafting first every year. The Steelers don't have many glaring needs, so they can address one of their few holes with arguably the best player in the 2011 NFL Draft class.
New York Jets: Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama
The Jets are looking for front seven personnel to get after the quarterback. With Von Miller off the board, Marcell Dareus becomes the easy choice.
Dareus would replace Shaun Ellis, a 33-year-old free agent.
Chicago Bears: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
There's no offensive lineman worth taking this high, but the Bears would be able to secure a No. 1 receiver they've lacked on offense for a very long time. I actually think I had Chicago picking Green in one of my very first 2011 NFL Mock Drafts.
New England Patriots: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
When the Patriots acquired the Raiders' first-round pick in the Richard Seymour trade, I imagine they were hoping they'd be drafting this high. Unfortunately for them, Oakland didn't cooperate.
In this make-believe backward 2011 NFL Mock Draft, New England gets the blue-chip pass-rusher it was perhaps aiming for when dealing with the league's undead owner.
Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Like A.J. Green, Julio Jones' spot is identical in both the real and backward 2011 NFL Mock Drafts. That's the case here because the Falcons are in dire need of a talented receiver across from Roddy White. Plus, Jones would make a huge impact in the running game because of his blocking ability.
Baltimore Ravens: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
The Ravens and Steelers both come away with potential shutdown corners in the 2011 Backward NFL Mock Draft. Prince Amukamara is a fine consolation prize for a team with most of its cornerbacks set to hit free agency.
Seattle Seahawks: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
I don't think the Seahawks will draft a quarterback at No. 25 because doing so wouldn't necessarily give them an upgrade over Charlie Whitehurst. However, if the draft order were suddenly flipped, Seattle would probably take Cam Newton because of his immense upside.
New Orleans Saints: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
The Saints are looking for help on the defensive line, so they wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on Nick Fairley despite his work ethic concerns.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
It's weird that this pick stays the same, but I'm pretty sure that the Eagles love Jimmy Smith and Prince Amukamara. Andy Reid could trade up for Smith on Draft Day, so getting him here would allow him to save one of his Day 2 selections.
Indianapolis Colts: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
It doesn't matter where the Colts are drafting - they're going to find someone to block for Peyton Manning. The only difference here is that they're able to land a tackle with a lot more upside than Derek Sherrod or Gabe Carimi.
Kansas City Chiefs: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
The Chiefs don't have anyone to rush the passer outside of Tamba Hali. That would certainly change with Aldon Smith, who is drawing some comparisons to DeMarcus Ware.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
The Buccaneers are looking to trade up for Robert Quinn, Ryan Kerrigan, Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt (not Aldon Smith). They won't have to surrender a second-round pick to land Kerrigan, Jordan or Watt in this backward mock. I have Jordan rated higher than Kerrigan and Watt, so he's the pick.
New York Giants: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Like the Colts, the Giants have to improve the offensive line for their Manning. Tom Coughlin lands his Boston College buddy without having to worry about Bill Belichick selecting him two picks earlier.
San Diego Chargers: J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Wisconsin
J.J. Watt is San Diego's choice in both mock versions since there isn't much of a difference between picking 18th and 15th. The middle selections aren't very fun in the backward mock.
New England Patriots: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple
The Patriots nabbed their rush linebacker. Now, they get their five-technique. Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt are off the board, but that's OK because Muhammad Wilkerson might be a better fit in Bill Belichick's defense than both of them.
Go to 2011 Backward NFL Mock Draft: Picks 17-32
Sorry for cutting this into two halves; I've received complaints about load times and putting the mock draft on two pages saves bandwith.
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