2011 NFL Mock Draft: Round 2 Updated Mar. 8th
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33. New England Patriots (From Carolina): WR Titus Young, Boise State-
I don’t believe the Patriots will come out of this draft without adding at least one top skill player. And I see them addressing that need right here. Young has blazing speed and immense upside, that will get him some consideration for a late first round pick. The Patriots should be very happy to land him at this spot, and he will add another talented weapon for Tom Brady.
34. Buffalo Bills: QB Jake Locker, Washington-
Now the Bills might very well have to trade up into the late first round to land Locker, but it is very reasonable that without a team trading up in front of them, Locker is available at this spot. While addressing their vast offensive line woes is a major need and likely the smart direction to go, I don’t think the Bills will pass up on Locker. With Ryan Fitzpatrick in place, they can give Locker the 1-3 years he needs to develop. And Buffalo hopefully gets their future franchise quarterback.
35. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami-
I think this is pretty early for Hankerson, but If the Bengals go with Newton in Rd. 1, they will look to add a weapon for him in the 2nd round. Hankerson, has the skills to be a top receiver, but I still worry about his hands, and think this is a bit of a reach. The Bengals have bigger needs at DT and DE, but I just see this being their pick. They could opt for a running back as well, but right now I think they go for the hype of Hankerson.
36. Denver Broncos: DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State-
Paea is one of the best defensive tackles in this draft class, and while his stock took a hit with a knee injury at the Senior Bowl, this is still great value for the Broncos. Their defensive front 7 is basically a one man show and he is coming off a major injury. Adding Bowers was a good first step, but getting an elite run defender in the middle is key as well. The Broncos could consider a running back or linebacker with this pick, but DT is more important.
37. Cleveland Browns: DT Christian Ballard, Iowa-
The Browns are another team that is making a transition to a 4-3 defense, and now need to add the correct personnel. While the Browns have multiple needs for their new defense, adding Ballard would be a great addition here. They already have more of a run-stuffing DT, so now they need to add one who can generate a bit of a pass rush up the middle. Ballard is a relentless player, who’s motor never stops. Ballard should give good pressure up the middle, and fill a major need for the Browns.
38. Arizona Cardinals: OT/G Ben Ijalana, Villanova-
The Cardinals have a number of needs to fill, but the one that holds them back the most is their lack of a quality offensive line. While Ijalana played LT in college, he is more of a RT or G at the next level. While I like him better at guard there is no harm giving him a shot at the Cards RT spot. If he doesn’t work out there you can always kick him inside to guard.
39. Tennessee Titans: QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas-
Personally I don’t think Mallett is worth a top 50 pick given his character concerns, but if a team believes he can mature they won’t hesitate to pull the trigger. If Jeff Fisher were still in charge, I’d say no way this happens, but as it stands now the Titans have a huge void at QB and are getting a lot of pressure to fill it. The Titans brought in Chris Palmer specifically to work with a young quarterback so I have to believe they take one here. Look for them to also potentially pursue a trade up for Jake Locker if the opportunity presents itself.
40. Dallas Cowboys: FS Rahim Moore, UCLA-
The Cowboys secondary was so awful that just adding a single top corner back isn’t enough. Dallas also has major holes at their safety spots, with free safety being a particular area of concern. Moore, would be a great value at this pick and give Dallas a ball hawk center fielder.
41. Washington Redskins: G/C Rodney Hudson, Florida State-
I know the Skins have needs at RB, WR and QB, but until they get an offensive line in place it’s really not going to matter whom the Redskins have at their skill positions, as they simply won’t have the blocking to be effective. While the Redskins could look long and hard at NT Phil Taylor or DE Cameron Heyward, they need to upgrade this line in 4 spots. Hudson is preferred by some as a center, but I think he is a perfect zone blocking guard. He has quick hands and feet, and anchors extremely well. If the Skins grab him and stick him next to Trent Williams, they will be set on the left side of their line for years to come.
42. Houston Texans: CB Aaron Williams, Texas-
The Texans simply got burned last year in their secondary. While their pass rush was part of the problem they simply didn’t have players who could cover. Williams is a great cover guy and will probably be an immediate starter for Houston. I know some feel that Williams might not have the speed to be a cover corner, but I see the talent and he seems to play faster than his timed speed.
43. Minnesota Vikings: QB Christian Ponder, Florida State-
The Vikings will likely be adding a veteran quarterback this offseason, but they also need add a young guy, who can start in a year or two. Ponder I think is a good fit for Minnesota, and should develop well under Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave.
44. Detroit Lions: LB Martez Wilson, Illinois-
I know some prefer Wilson as an ILB, but I think he is an excellent strong side linebacker prospect. He offers good bulk to anchor against the run, and great speed for pursuit after the ball carrier. I think Wilson has immense upside, and the Lions should be quite thrilled with his selection in the 2nd round.
45. San Francisco 49ers: DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State-
Heyward will slip some due to his injury, but he would be a first round talent in most years and a great find for the 49ers in the 2nd round. He will strengthen an already impressive defensive line, and should be an instant starter on the right side.
46. Denver Broncos (From Miami): DT Drake Nevis, LSU-
I know some people might not get behind the idea of using their top 3 picks to fix the defensive line, but that is exactly what they should do. Yes they still need some help at RB, but they can get a decent option in the mid-rounds, and while their secondary and linebackers still need some help, their need isn’t as great as the defensive line’s. Adding Nevis gives the Broncos a potentially elite unit, that John Fox used to have (and win with) in Carolina.
47. St. Louis Rams: OG Danny Watkins, Baylor-
The Rams landed their top flight receiver in the first round, which leaves them with one big hole on offense, right guard. Watkins would be a great pick for them as he is the type of guy who can enter the starting lineup from day one. Although the Rams have some needs on defense, I can’t see them passing up an instant starter in Watkins to help protect their top two players in Sam Bradford and Stephen Jackson.
48. Oakland Raiders: C/G Stefen Wisniewski, Penn State-
Wisniewski’s uncle was an All-Pro center for the Raiders (and now their O-line coach), and I fully expect the Raiders to make Stefen their 2nd round choice if he is still on the board. While he could play guard for them, I think it is more likely he ends up their center.
49. Jacksonville Jaguars: CB Brandon Burton, Utah-
The Jaguars secondary is almost as much of a joke as their pass rush. They have to add some quality players who can cover. I think this is a little high for Burton, but Jacksonville has shown in the past that they are willing to reach for the player they want/need.
50. San Diego Chargers: OLB/DE Sam Acho, Texas-
This could be a bit of a reach for Acho, but he had an impressive combine, and the Chargers could use a younger pass rusher. I like Acho’s upside and I see him developing into a very good OLB.
51. Tampa Bay: DE/DT Allen Bailey, Miami-
The Buccaneers defensive line play was simply awful last year. While the tackles should get better, both ends need replaced big time in this draft. Bailey can play both inside and outside, but he is probably best suited as a left end, who can be strong at the point of attack. He’s a good bookend to Kerrigan, and gives Tampa a defensive front 4 that can grow together and become a dominate force.
52. New York Giants: RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech-
Running back isn’t a major need for the Giants, but they know better than most teams that you can never have enough talent at running back. Williams could rejuvenate their depth chart, and allow them to get rid of either Jacobs or Bradshaw as they are becoming more expensive.
53. Indianapolis Colts: NT Phil Taylor, Baylor-
I know Taylor is a better fit for the 3-4, but he can clog the middle just the same in a 4-3 as well. The Colts usually prefer smaller defensive tackles, but that strategy hasn’t helped them stop the run of late. Taylor is excellent value at this position and should generate a good bit of pressure from the interior.
54. Philadelphia Eagles: G/T Marcus Cannon, TCU-
The Eagles need to upgrade the right side of their offensive line, and Cannon is the best lineman on the board. While he might be best suited for guard, (which is still a need) look for the Eagles to give him a legitimate shot at tackle.
55. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Tandon Doss, Indiana-
Doss is quietly making his way up draft boards, and would be a good option for the Chiefs at the bottom of Rd. 2. He has a good size and hands and deceptive speed. He should be a good complement to Bowe, and hopefully revitalize their passing attack.
56. New Orleans Saints: OLB Bruce Carter, North Carolina-
The Saints have a major need at weakside linebacker and Carter is one of the best LB’s in this class, making this both a value and a need pick. Carter has the skill set to be an instant starter and should help upgrade the Saints defense.
57. Seattle Seahawks: CB Ras-I Dowling, Virginia-
The Seahawks need to add a corner in the first two rounds of the draft, as there secondary got torched last season. Dowling has some injury concerns, and has disappeared at times, but he has incredible potential. If he can stay healthy he projects as a number 1 corner, capable of shadowing the league’s top receivers.
58. Baltimore Ravens: WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky-
The Ravens receiving corps is vastly improved, but they are still looking for that home run threat. Cobb isn’t blazing fast, but he is so elusive that he will stretch the field for Baltimore.
59. Atlanta Falcons: DE Jabaal Sheard, Pittsburgh:
The Falcons need to find someone other than John Abraham to rush the quarterback and Sheard is the top end on the board. He’s not the fastest or the strongest end out there, but he gets constant pressure on the quarterback.
60. New England: RB Mikel Leshoure, Illinois:
The Patriots have a lot of picks to play with, so I see them going best player available with this pick and adding another weapon. While their ground game was nice last season, it didn’t have an elite feel to it, and it let them down when it mattered most. Leshoure has number one back potential, and is a steal late in the 2nd round.
61. San Diego Chargers (from New York Jets): OT James Carpenter, Alabama-
The Chargers could use an upgrade on the right side of their line, and while Carpenter isn’t projected as a top 2 round guy, his draft stock is moving up and he is a good fit here. I think Carpenter has a lot of potential and could be the answer the Chargers are looking for at their right tackle spot.
62. Chicago Bears: OG Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh-
The Bears line was truly awful last season, and just one replacement isn’t enough. If they want to keep Cutler afloat and win the NFC North again, they need an overhaul along their offensive line. Pinkston played LT in college, but he is better suited for guard. He’s good value at this spot and should help make the offense run quite a bit better.
63. Pittsburgh Steelers: OG Orlando Franklin, Miami-
The Steelers desperately need to improve their offensive line this offseason, and adding a G like Franklin will go a long way to helping. The Steelers do need a corner, but I think they might go guard here and corner in the next round.
64. Green Bay Packers: OLB Brooks Reed, Arizona-
Reed has been compared to Clay Matthews, so adding him to Packers LB corps could just be scary. I don’t think Reed is as elite as Matthews, but he is a relentless pass rusher who gets after the quarterback. If the Packers can get a book end to Matthews their defense could very well be unstoppable.