2011 NFL Mock Draft Round 1 Picks 1-16 Updated Mar. 8th

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* NOW UPDATED WITH THE FIRST FOUR ROUNDS!

1. Carolina Panthers: DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama-

With no Andrew Luck in the mix the Panthers, will go to plan B, which is to choose from one of the elite defensive players in the draft or wide receiver A.J. Green. There might be a big push for the Panthers to go for Green, given their need for a play making receiver (especially to help in the development of Jimmy Claussen), but I think that would be a big mistake. The Panthers have spent a number of draft picks on  receivers the last few years, and while Green is better than all of them, that is just too many resources to put into one position, especially when they have so many other holes. While there are some people who will point to Cam Newton as the answer, he simply isn’t a franchise quarterback of the ilk of Peyton Manning.

While I considered Bowers for the top spot, and have had Fairley there before I think Dareus makes the most sense. While the Panthers could use star DE Charles Johnson, he also might no longer fit in their system. New HC Ron Rivera has talked about employing both the 4-3 and the 3-4. That would make Dareus the be perfect fit for the the Panthers as he as adept to playing both inside at tackle and outside as a 3-4 end. While it isn’t his primary position, Dareus could even play some NT as well. Wherever he is lining up, Dareus projects to be a force at the next level. He should be an excellent run defender and put more than ample pressure on the quarterback.

Feb. 1st update: Still think Fairley is the pick here, combine, workouts and background work will all be crucial. The reports about his attitude are troubling, but not sold yet that it changes anything.

Feb. 17th update: No change at the top Fairley is still the best fit for the Panthers.

Feb. 24th update: Bowers is gaining some steam, especially if they lose Johnson. But Fairley is still the best fit for the Panthers.

Mar. 2nd update: It wasn’t the greatest combine for Fairley, but I hardly think it was the worst. Dareus might be moving up, but DT is a huge need and Fairley still has the best game tape.

pick change: Mar. 2nd previous selection, DT Nick Fairley

2. Denver Broncos: DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson-

With the Broncos officially resigning Champ Bailey, I think corner back slides a few notches down their needs list. The Broncos need help along the defensive line, and while initially I thought either Fairley or Dareus, would be the pick here, I think Bowers is the best fit. Bowers is the rare combination of a DE, who has the size and bulk to hold up in the running game, and get effective pressure on the quarterback. The Broncos still need a DT (actually two of them), but would be better served with drafting one with one of their two 2nd round picks. Bowers and Dumervil would give Denver the book end pass rushers that every team is looking for.

Feb. 1st update: Still think CB is the pick here and believe that Amukamara is that guy.

Feb. 17th update: Still like Prince over Peterson, but Peterson is closing the gap for me. Also think Denver could be the type of team that prefers Peterson. I keep Prince up here for now, but it is getting close.

pick change: previous selection Feb. 17th CB Prince Amukamara

pick change: previous selection Feb. 24th DE Da’Quan Bowers

pick change: Mar. 2nd previous selection DT Marcell Dareus

3. Buffalo Bills: CB Patrick Peterson, LSU-

The Bills could go any number of ways, but I’m guessing they focus on the defensive side of the ball, which is the strength of this draft. With Fairley and Dareus off the board I think they might target LSU CB Patrick Peterson. Peterson is a playmaker, and the Bills are sorely lacking that on defense. Corner back isn’t a major need, but the Bills face some good receivers and quarterbacks in their division and they might want to matchup. Von Miller makes a lot of sense here as well, but I’m guessing the hype from Peterson wins out.

pick change: Jan. 25th previous selection OLB Robert Quinn

pick change: Feb. 1st previous selection OLB Von Miller

Feb. 24th update: I’m not buying the Newton to Buffalo rumors, though I guess anything is possible considering they took Spiller last year. The Bills I think will look DE/OLB/CB before considering Newton. I like Dareus more than most and say he is probably the best fit for a 3-4 team.

pick change: Feb. 24th previous selection DE/DT Marcell Dareus

Mar. 6th update: I think this is maybe a little high, but the Bills could use a CB upgrade and Peterson looks like a star.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Cam Newton, Auburn-

While wide receiver could be the pick, or DE with Bowers on the board, I’m thinking the Bengals bite the bullet and grab Newton. Newton’s workout was a start, and if he follows it up with a big combine and pro day he will likely be picked in the top 5. If the Bengals can’t convince Palmer to come back and play, they will look for his replacement. Personally, I think that this is far too high for Newton, but some team will pull the trigger on him. It will be tough to pass up A.J. Green, but it could end up happening with Newton on the board.

Feb. 1st update: Yes quarterback could be an issue if Palmer follows through with his trade demands, but I don’t think there is anyone worth taking at this spot.

pick change: Feb. 1st selection WR A.J. Green

Feb. 24th update: I still see Newton as the fit in Cincinnati, although personally I think it is far too early for Newton.

Mar. 2nd update: Newton isn’t a top 10 quarterback, but I see the Bengals over drafting him. I really believe Palmer is done in Cincinnati, and Newton will be his eventual replacement.

Mar. 6th update: If there is one top 5 team that would pick Newton it has to be the Bengals. They need to move on from Palmer and they don’t mind taking a risk on guys.

5. Arizona Cardinals: OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M-

While a lot of people have the Cardinals taking a quarterback in the first round, I don’t think that is the direction they will look to go. I see Arizona looking to add a more veteran option and maybe drafting a QB in the mid-rounds. The Cardinals biggest need after quarterback is a pass rusher, and that is one need they can fill this April. With Miller on the board, the Cards should be running up to Commissioner Goodell to turn their card in. Miller will make the Arizona’s defense vastly superior.

pick change: Jan. 25 Previous selection CB Patrick Peterson

pick change: Feb. 1st previous selection OLB Robert Quinn

Feb. 24th update: Miller will need to have a big combine to secure this top 5 spot, but I believe that he will, and the Cards will be quite happy with their selection.

Mar. 2nd update: Miller looked very good at the combine, and while he was a little stiff in the hips he will spend most of his time in opponents backfields, so I don’t see that turning off the Cardinals.

Mar. 6th update: Some will push for the Cards to add a QB, but I just don’t see that happening. Miller is an elite talent and barring an injury should be the Cards pick.

6. Cleveland Browns: WR A.J. Green, Georgia-

The Browns have two major needs (WR and DE) and either one could make sense for this pick. I have previously linked them to both a receiver and defensive end, but now I believe they will look receiver first. Although I don’t normally advocate receivers over more important positions, like the defensive line, it is hard to argue against Green. Green has the skill set and potential to be the next elite receiver in this league. Given the Browns lack of a quality wide receiver, Green makes a lot of sense for them. Although, they could still look at DE with a guy like Robert Quinn or Aldon Smith, I think Green is too good to pass up.

pick change: Jan. 25th previous selection WR Julio Jones

Feb. 17th update: There is a chance Bowers could be off the board, but I still am pretty strong on this pick. He is the perfect fit for the 4-3 and is a huge need for the Browns. A.J. Green is a very real option for the Browns here, and I could move him back up dependent on his combine.

pick change: Feb. 17th previous selection DE De’Quan Bowers

Mar. 2nd update: With Julio Jones‘ performance at the combine he could be fighting Green to be the first receiver selected. I think Green still is the top choice and will end up being the Brown’s choice.

Mar. 6th update: I still like Green more than Jones and feel he is the perfect weapon for the Browns to help develop Colt McCoy.

7. San Francisco 49ers: QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri-

I’ve had the 49ers taking a quarterback for awhile, but we could be looking at an extended lockout that could make it difficult to land an established veteran. If that is the case the 49ers could very well look at Gabbert. Gabbert isn’t totally NFL ready, but he is fairly close, and he isn’t likely to be a complete bust. Given the talent on defense, San Francisco, could hope to forgo, adding an elite corner.

pick change: Jan. 25th previous selection, QB Blaine Gabbert

Feb. 17th update: I could see the 49ers look long and hard at both Gabbert and Robert Quinn with this pick, but right now I can’t see them not taking Peterson, who is a steal at 7 and a perfect playmaker.

pick change: Feb. 17th previous selection CB Patrick Peterson

pick change: Feb. 24th previous selection CB Prince Amukamara

Mar. 6th update: Gabbert is a good pick for the 49ers and can help begin the revival of that franchise. I think he will need a little time, but he should be a quick study under Harbaugh.

8. Tennessee Titans: DT Nick Fairley, Auburn-

The Titans have been searching for an inside pass rusher for a couple years now, and now they finally have one in Nick Fairley. Fairley is a top 5 talent, but one that could slip since he isn’t as good of a fit in the 3-4. Fairley will be a big boost to the Titans pass rush, that could be hurting from the potential loss of Jason Babin. Tennessee needs a disruptor along their defensive line and that fits Fairley perfectly.

pick change: Jan. 25th previous selection DE De’Quan Bowers

Feb. 17th update: It is really hard to say what direction the Titans go, but Gabbert has got to be on their short list. I don’t think he is a great quarterback prospect, but I do like the upside.

Feb. 24th update: I really don’t love this pick for the Titans, but it is hard not to go with it. They desperately need a quarterback, and at least have some talent around him on offense.

pick change: Feb. 24th previous selection: QB Blaine Gabbert

pick change: Mar. 2nd previous selection: WR Julio Jones

9. Dallas Cowboys: CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska-

The Cowboys have many needs, but I see them going hard after a corner back in this draft. I think Amukamara is the best CB, in this class and an absolute steal for them at this pick. Personally I think Amukamara is the best corner in this draft and will automatically revitalize their secondary.

pick change: Jan. 25th previous selection, OT Tyron Smith

pick change: Feb. 1st previous selection, DE Marcel Dareus

pick change: Feb. 17th previous selection, OT Tyron Smith

pick change: Feb. 24th previous selection, CB Patrick Peterson

Mar. 6th update: When you have Hakeem Nicks, and DeSean Jackson in your division you need to find a way to matchup. Even Rex Grossman threw for 400 yards against this Cowboys secondary, so CB is definitely a need.

10. Washington Redskins: OLB/ DE Aldon Smith, Missouri-

While a lot of people will try to ‘mock’ the Redskins a quarterback, that is not the direction this team should be going in. I could also see the Redskins as a prime team to trade back, given their vast needs and small number of picks, but I’m not predicting trades in this mock. In this version of the draft, I have A.J. Green available, which I know a number of fans would jump at, but that too is the wrong choice. The Redskins need to fix their offensive line, and their front 7 on defense, to become a contender. Until then it doesn’t matter who they have at receiver, since the quarterback will never get the ball to him.

I’ve had a 5 technique defensive end mocked here the last two weeks, but I’m going to change my tune a little and go with Aldon Smith. Smith will complement Orakpo on the other side and give the Redskins an incredible pass rush tandem. While defensive end is a priority it is such a deep draft that you can get a really good one in the 2nd round. I think Robert Quinn will get some looks here as well, but Smith might be a better fit.

pick change: Jan. 25th previous selection DE Marcell Dareus

pick change: Feb. 1st previous selection DE Cam Jordan

Feb. 24th update: The more I see of Smith the more I love him, I think he is going to be a dominate pass rusher at the next level.

Mar. 2nd update: I thought Smith had a great combine and really began to separate himself for me.

Mar. 6th update: I know I’m a lot higher on Smith than most, but I think 3 years from now when you look back at this draft he will end up being a top 10 player.

11. Houston Texans: DE Cam Jordan, California-

Houston will be in the midst of transitioning to a 3-4 defense, and with no corner back to take they should focus this pick on grabbing a front 7 player. While they could go for a rush linebacker, I think Robert Quinn isn’t the best option. Quinn could be better suited as a 4-3 end. Although they could make due with Quinn, I believe there is a better player available in Cam Jordan at defensive end. Jordan, for a 3-4 end, should still generate a good bit of pressure, and be a disruptive force in the backfield. Houston needs to add the best 3-4 player they can, and right now that seems like Cam Jordan.

pick change: Jan. 25th previous selection OLB Von Miller

pick change: Feb. 1st previous selection OLB Aldon Smith

Feb. 24th update: The Texans could look to move up or down in this draft, but adding an elite pass rusher is paramount as they make the 3-4 switch.

pick change: Feb. 24th previous selection OLB Robert Quinn

Mar. 6th update: Cam Jordan is a great fit for the Texans and upgrading that line with 3-4 players is key. A pass rusher is possible, but Jordan is too good to pass up.

12. Minnesota Vikings: WR Julio Jones, Alabama-

While I do think that offensive line and defensive line (along with quarterback) are bigger needs I don’t think the Vikings will let Julio Jones slip by them. Sidney Rice is probably going to leave as a free agent, and the Vikings have little in the way of receiving depth behind, Percy Harvin. If Jones is here I think they will take him.

While I like Jones overall and think he is a top half of the first round talent. I do feel the hype factor is raising his stock. Despite playing on one of the best balanced teams in college football, Jones has a lot of bad games out there. Between the inconsistency and dropped balls I think he is more of a risk. That being said someone will take him top 15 and the Vikings could make a lot of sense.

Feb. 1st update: I realize there are some Vince Young to the Vikings rumors, but I still see Newton as the pick here until that happens.

pick change: Feb. 1st pevious selection QB Cam Newton

pick change: Feb. 17th previous selection WR A.J. Green

pick change: Feb. 24th previous selection WR Jon Baldwin

pick change: Mar. 2nd previous selection DE Da’Quan Bowers

13. Detroit Lions: OT Tyron Smith, USC-

I know corner and linebacker are need spots, but they aren’t anything compared to Detroit’s need at left tackle. What the Lions have done in terms of protecting (or not protecting) Matt Stafford is flat out insane. You spend $60 million on a guy and you put him in a situation where he can’t succeed and needs to run for his life. The Lions have to fix that this offseason and grabbing Smith would be a smart move. In addition to the pain the offensive line has caused their quarterbacks, the Lions running game hasn’t fared much better. Their backs have one of the worst yards per carry in the league, and can never pick up the tough yards. I know defense wins championships, but Smith is a top notch talent and can protect Stafford for the next decade.

pick change: Jan. 25th previous selection OT Anthony Castonzo

pick change: Feb. 1st previous selection OT Tyron Smith

pick change: Feb. 17th previous selection OT Anthony Castonzo

Mar. 2nd update: Smith didn’t do the workouts, but he had an impressive combine nonetheless. Just by weighing in over 300 lbs, he showed that he is a top 15 talent. He will make Matt Stafford a very happy quarterback, and Lions fans should be thrilled that their offensive line is improving.

Mar. 6th update: Smith is still the top tackle on the board and his presence will allow Backus (a better run blocker) kick over to the RT spot, strengthening their line in two areas.

14. St. Louis Rams: WR Jon Baldwin, Pittsburgh-

The Rams need to walk away from this draft with a frontline receiver, which means they need to address this position in the first round. Now normally I would hate the idea of 3 receivers in the top 15, but it is hard to argue the talent of these three guys. Baldwin probably got passed up by Jones, but you really can’t blame Baldwin. He had a fantastic Combine in his own right and should be cemented into first round pick status. The Rams will be thrilled to land one of the top three receivers, though with the way their stock is rising, they might have to trade up to do so.

Feb 1st update: This pick will be either Baldwin or Jones unless the Rams grab a couple big receivers in free agency. They have to add weapons for Bradford and I don’t see them changing course.

Feb. 17th update: I think Baldwin is going to really kill it at the combine and pro day, which will cement this pick. I think there is a case to be made that he is even better than A.J. Green, but I’m guessing Green’s hype wins out.

pick change: Feb. 17th previous selection WR Jon Baldwin

pick change: Feb. 24th previous selection WR Julio Jones

Mar. 6th update: I know some fans don’t like Baldwin too much, but don’t buy the hype, this guy is a stud and just as deserving to go top 15 as Julio Jones. Yes they could go DE or DT here, but I’m a big believer in Baldwin and think he will be the best of the 3 receivers.

15. Miami Dolphins: RB Mark Ingram, Alabama-

I’ve had Ryan Kerrigan here for a couple of weeks now, but I have to change this to running back and Mark Ingram. I do think the Dolphins need another rush linebacker, it isn’t nearly as pressing of a need. Miami right now doesn’t have anyone capable of significant playing time on their running back depth chart. That means the need someone they know can start, not someone who might be able to start, like a late round pick. If the Dolphins had a 2nd rounder, I’d still maybe hold off. But not having a pick until the 3rd round, puts Ingram right here. I’m not a huge Ingram fan, and would say this is a good 10 spots too high, but he does fill a primary need for the Dolphins.

Feb. 1st update: Still not buying a quarterback here or a running back. If for some reason Gabbert falls I could see him being taken, but no way Mallett or Locker get picked here. Ingram is a nice back, but not top 15 worthy. Dolphins should stay the course and strengthen that defense.

pick change: Feb. 1st previous selection OLB Ryan Kerrigan

Feb. 24th update: I don’t love this Ingram pick, but until the Dolphins do something in their backfield it is hard for me to ignore the position.

Mar. 2nd update: Ingram had a good combine, but I think he needed to show a little more to be a top 15 pick. Right now I’m keeping this pick, but Miami might be better served trading back or filling their need via free agency.

Mar. 6th update: I want to see more out of Ingram to say he is top 15 worthy, but it is such a need for Miami I can’t pass it up.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa:

Clayborn was once thought to be a top 10 pick, but slipped some due to a poor senior campaign. Clayborn’s senior numbers weren’t entirely his fault as teams routinely double teamed him, and ran plays away from the powerful defensive end. Clayborn isn’t a dominate pass rusher, but he has the skills to get between 7-10 sacks a season. Clayborn will help continue to boost a Jacksonville pass rush that let them down when it mattered the most.

Feb. 1st update: Clayborn could be slipping and I nearly had him fall into the 20′s, but still have enough confidence to keep him here. Not participating in the Senior Bowl didn’t help his stock, and at this point unless he has an incredible combine I think the best he can hope for is being taken right here. The Jags could look corner or safety, but my guess is they stay with a lineman.

Feb. 17th update: I still like Clayborn to the Jags, though a guy like Kerrigan could be in the mix as well. Cam Jordan is guy who is falling, but really shouldn’t. He fits better inside on a 4-3, but the Jags could find a place for him. I think Clayborn has the inside edge, and is still a good fit here.

Feb. 24th update: Clayborn fits with the Jags and I think he is their number one target.

Mar. 2nd update: I like Clayborn maybe more than most, but I thought he looked pretty good at the Combine. I think the Jags will be in the market for a DE, and right now Clayborn is at the top of my list.

Mar. 6th update: Clayborn makes a lot of sense at this pick and while there are a couple of other respectable options I really think this is the way they go.


Round 1 Picks 17-32

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