Sports Central's second NFL Mock Draft 2011 Picks 1-16


*Major contributions have been made to this article from Richard Moore. Richard is a draft nut with an extensive knowledge of this incoming class. Readers may have previously heard him on Bomani Jones' Radio show The Morning Jones.

Richard Moore's selections

1.The Carolina Panthers select Da'Quan Bowers. DE. Clemson


The Panthers have a lot to think about with the first overall pick this year. Jimmy Clausen did not prove himself as a starter, but it would be unwise for the team to take a quarterback this year. They could trade down and take a defensive tackle. This is the best set of defensive linemen in the last five years. The safest and best pick would be Da'Quan Bowers.
Outside of quarterback the team has no major holes on offense with the emergence of Mike Goodson alongside the established Jonathan Stewart covering even if DeAngello Williams leaves. OLB James Anderson and Thomas Davis are about to be Unrestricted Free agents, and Davis has torn the same ACL twice in the last two years but Von Miller is not worthy of the number 1 selection.

2.The Denver Broncos select Marcell Dareus. DT. Alabama.

The Broncos were last in the league in sacks and John Fox has already said that they will go back to a 4-3 scheme this year. New Head Coach John Fox loves to pick up pass rushers in the draft. Nick Fairley better suits their system but Marcell Dareus has proven himself to be better than Fairley. With the resigning of Champ Bailey for 4 years, I don’t expect Denver to take a chance on Patrick Peterson.

3.The Buffalo Bills select Nick Fairley. DT. Auburn.

Ryan Fitzpatrick proved at the end of last season that he can lead the team. I don’t believe Cam Newton is the right QB for Buffalo even though Chan Gailey has his eye on him. I would expect Buffalo to look in the second round for Ryan Mallet or even Colin Kaepernick instead.
They released Marcus Stroud which opens a huge gap on the defensive line. Aaron Maybin looks like a bust but I don’t think he is, give him one more season to prove himself. The DL needs to be rebuilt and this draft is perfect for that.

4.The Cincinnati Bengals select Patrick Peterson. CB. LSU

The Bengals need a quarterback badly. Carson Palmer does not want to be there and the organization could also do with a new face. Drafting Cam Newton sounds great, but in reality Blaine Gabbert is a much better option.
The Bengals were one of the worst teams against the run last season. The defensive line needs some work. Jonathan Joseph is likely going to leave as a free agent which leaves the team with a need for a starting corner if they don't think Adam Jones can start again. With Patrick Peterson still on the board I can’t imagine The Bengals not taking the best pick in draft.

5.The Arizona Cardinals select Blaine Gabbert. QB. Missouri

Blaine Gabbert Blaine Gabbert #11 of the University of Missouri Tigers looks to pass against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini during the State Farm Arch Rivalry game on September 4, 2010 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The Tigers defeated the Fighting Illini 23-13.
Larry Fitzgerald needs a quarterback. Period! Max Hall and John Skelton are not good enough to win consistently. Blaine Gabbert is a great fit for the Cardinals; he can step in and start game 1 with Fitzgerald and a strong running game giving him the chance to succeed early in his career.
The Cardinals will be able to get one of the top 3 TE prospects in the second round, likely Luke Stoker while Vonn Miller may be talented but is not as valuable as Gabbert to the team.

6.The Cleveland Browns select AJ Green. WR. Georgia

Colt McCoy looks like the real deal, now it's time for the Browns to find him someone to throw the ball to. This gives McCoy a real threat at receiver and a legitimate top level receiver that should stop defenses from stacking against the run.

7.The San Francisco 49ers select Prince Amukamara. CB. Nebraska

The Niners only real problem offensively is the quarterback position. Cam Newton could be taken but there are no offensive linemen worth picking in the top ten this year.
San Francisco are in a great position to trade down should they choose to. Their biggest need is at cornerback and the second best cornerback of the draft is still on the board: Prince Amukamara. They could go with Von Miller, but I believe Prince is a better prospect.

8.The Tennessee Titans select Cameron Newton. QB. Auburn

Tennessee does need an OL but passing on Newton would be a bad decision. They could really use a defensive tackle to compliment Jason Jones but I have a feeling that they have been looking to Newton after confirming the premature end to Vince Young's career in Tennessee.

9.The Dallas Cowboys select Von Miller. DE. Texas A&M

A franchise left tackle is the biggest need for Dallas. Tyron smith is a great option but there are much better players still available. The best option for the team is to trade down and try to pick up Smith, Solder or Carimi later. If Dallas does not trade down I would expect them to go Defensive with the 9th overall pick.
The Cowboys were 12th against the run last year but they really struggled against the pass. The CB’s and S left in this year’s draft are not good enough to be drafted 10th overall. I don't see them passing on the talent of Von Miller if they stay in this spot.

10.The Washington Redskins select Julio Jones. WR. Alabama

The Redskins offense is in serious trouble. Ryan Torrain is not a bad back, he has speed and toughness with the ability to catch the ball. The team really needs a wide receiver and Julio Jones would improve that area as well as the special teams drastically. Look for Washington to draft a QB in the second round. Christian Ponder and Andy Dalton are a good fit for the team and both should be available here in the second.
Defensively JJ Watt or Robert Quinn could fit in their plans.

11.The Houston Texans select Robert Quinn. DE. North Carolina

I expect Houston to draft defensively in the first round.
Robert Quinn is the best pass rusher left on the board and the Texans are in dire need of someone to take the pressure off of Mario Williams. Quinn would have to adjust to outside linebacker but he is talented enough to do so.

12.The Minnesota Vikings select Ryan Mallet. QB. Arkansas

The biggest need for the team is QB. Joe Webb is not going to be a NFL QB so the team needs to look at Ryan Mallet is the best option for Minnesota.
Getting a CB this early is too much of a risk but there are plenty of DT available here and I could see Minnesota taking Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt. They could potentially take Cameron Jordan here and look to select a quarterback in the second round.

13.The Detroit Lions select Tyron Smith. T. USC

The Lions only major flaw on offense is a lack of protection for the fragile Matt Stafford. They are in a great position to take the first available tackle. Nate Solder in my opinion is the best OL in the draft. Tyron Smith is considered the best by almost everyone else, so I could easily see them taking him.

14.The St. Louis Rams select Cameron Jordan. DE. California

If St Louis wants to keep Stephen Jackson healthy, there are going to want to draft a RB that will be able to run inside. Mark Ingram is a viable option.
The loss of OJ Atogwe leaves a large gap at the back of the Rams' secondary while their linebacking unit needs to upgrade what surrounds James Laurenitis. However with James Hall's age, the defensive line needs to help Chris Long with another defensive end and Jordan fits the bill.

15.The Miami Dolphins select Nate Solder. T. Colorado

I don’t see Ricky Williams re-signing with another team. Don't rule out an interior lineman Danny Watkins is a great option for the team as well as Nate Solder but the Dolphins go with value and Solder is the best player for them.
Miami has one of the best Defences in the NFL. I don't expect them to draft a defensive player until the 5th round at the earliest.

16.The Jacksonville Jaguars select Aldon Smith. DE. Missouri

If the Jags believe enough in Titus Young they could take a chance on him this early. I doubt they will draft a WR but they surprised everyone last year by taking Tyson Alualu so early.
The Jags really need to get better rushing the quarterback next year with Aaron Kampman suffering a second ACL tear, he may be done. There is still a bunch of quality DE available with this pick. The best option for Jacksonville is Aldon Smith. He can start instantly and will add more speed to the line. I would expect Jacksonville to try to fix their CB issues in the 3rd round.

Check back later in the week for picks 17-32 of Richard's mock draft.

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