2011 Final NFL Mock Draft – Round 2
With Round 2 tomorrow starting at 6 p.m., here is my final Mock Draft – Round 2. Please note that this was done before Thursday’s Round 1, so some of these needs have been filled or players have been selected.
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33. New England Patriots (From Carolina): WR Jon Baldwin, Pittsburgh-
With the Patriots addressing their line needs in the first I think they might look to adding a playmaker or two in the 2nd round. I have a hard time believing that Baldwin will fall into the 2nd round, but there are only a handful of places where he could fit at the bottom of round 1 meaning it could very well happen. If he does fall this far I think the Patriots will be quite happy to add another tall receiver and big play guy to Tom Brady‘s arsenal.
34. Buffalo Bills: OT/OG Ben Ijalana, Villanova-
There is a chance the Bills could look at a quarterback like Andy Dalton, I’m thinking they stick to their board and go with another important position, offensive line. Ijalana really impresses me and I think he can be successful at either the tackle or the end spot. Considering how many holes their offensive line has Buffalo will be happy where ever he ends up. I know quarterback is a need, but I really think Ryan Fitzpatrick gives them some leeway that other teams don’t have.
35. Cincinnati Bengals: WR Torrey Smith, Maryland-
The Bengals will be looking to upgrade their passing weapons if they take a quarterback in the first round, and Smith is bay far the best receiver on the board. Smith has good size and the speed and quickness to stretch the field. With T.O. on the way out and Chad Johnson soon to follow, the Bengals need a number one receiver and Smith could fill that need.
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. Remember John Fox comes from a defensive background, and he saw in Carolina that you can win with just okay QB play if you have a good running game and defense.
37. Cleveland Browns: DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina-
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 Austin 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 rusd up the middle. Austin is a classic 3-technique, who should fit this system perfectly and collapse the pocket.
38. Arizona Cardinals: QB Andy Dalton, TCU-
I know this might be high for Dalton, but I think the Cardinals will appreciate his ability to start early over, a quarterback like Locker who might need some time to develop. Dalton is a safe pick, but one that could help put Arizona back into contention for the NFC West sooner rather than later.
39. Tennessee Titans: DE Jabaal Sheard, Pittsburgh-
At this point I don’t think there is a quarterback on the board worth taking (though technically all of these guys went much higher than their actual value), The Titans should look to grab the best player available. With defensive end Jason Babin preparing to leave via free agency, Tennessee needs to find a replacement. Sheard who has risen up draft boards given his versatility, would be an excellent fit here for the Titans. He and Fairley will team up to give Tennessee an elite unit on defense and help keep the Titans competitive.
40. Dallas Cowboys: DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State-
With no top offensive linemen available, I think the Cowboys will take the best player available in Cameron Heyward. Heyward should be an instant starter for them at defensive end, and really improve that front 7. Heyward is a prototypical 5-technique, who generates good pressure and penetration. This is an absolute steal if he falls this far, but with the obsession over signal callers earlier it could happen.
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. By adding both Tyron Smith and Hudson, Washington’s greatest weakness will quickly become a strength.
42. Houston Texans: NT Phil Taylor, Baylor-
Although I figured the Texans wouldn’t forgo the opportunity to grab a corner in the top two rounds, I now think they might stay focused on their front 7 in the early rounds. Phil Taylor would be a great fit in Houston and give the Texans the classic nose tackle they are lacking. The last thing the Texans can afford to do is not bring in 3-4 talent, because if they don’t their defense won’t be able to stop anyone. Corner and safety are still major needs, but ones that I think Houston can address later. While a foot issue has come to light for Taylor I don’t see it moving him off this spot, I think it just ensured that his stock doesn’t rise too high.
43. Minnesota Vikings: QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas-
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. Mallet isn’t a perfect fit for Minnesota, but he could go here. Based on talent alone Mallet is a first round quarterback, but his off the field issues will make him slide some on draft day. It is entirely possible Mallet slides lower than this, but with no third round pick the Vikings will probably take the risk. Mallet could do well to develop under Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave, who is here to develop a young gun slinger.
44. Detroit Lions: CB Aaron Williams, Texas-
Williams would be a great fit here for Detroit as their CB’s last year were a huge disappointment (putting it nicely). While I could see Williams fitting in as a free safety I think he is capable enough to handle the starting CB duties for the Lions. He might never be a true shutdown type of guy, but I expect him to be a very good starter in this league.
45. San Francisco 49ers: OLB Justin Houston, Georgia-
With the 49ers landing their quarterback, they will turn to their biggest defensive need an add a pass rusher. Houston is the best pass rusher on the board and a good value with this pick. The 49ers didn’t get a ton of pressure from their linebackers last season, and a couple of their best guys are free agents making this a top priority. Houston is slipping some due to a positive drug test at the combine, but I don’t think it will hurt him too bad.
46. Denver Broncos (From Miami): ILB/OLB Martez Wilson, Illinois-
I know some people might not get behind the idea of using their top 3 picks to fix the defense, 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. Wilson is a very capable linebacker, who can lineup at either SLB or MLB in a 4-3 system. Denver has needs at both spots and would be quite lucky to get him this low in the 2nd round.
47. St. Louis Rams: FS Rahim Moore, UCLA-
The Rams landed their top flight receiver in the first round, which leaves them with one big hole on offense, right guard. Unfortunately there isn’t a guard worth taking at this spot, meaning St. Louis needs to go with the best player on the board that fits them. The Rams lost O.J. Atogwe before the lockout, making free safety a pretty bare position. Moore is the type of player who can step in from day one and start for this team. Excellent value pick here, and one that should pay off nicely.
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: QB Colin Kaepernick, Nevada-
The Jaguars are looking for a young quarterback to groom behind David Garrard and Kaepernick would give them excellent potential at this pick. Kaepernick is my 2nd favorite quarterback in this class behind Christian Ponder as I believe he has what it takes to succeed in this league. Kaepernick is one of the hardest workers out there and Jacksonville will have likely found their quarterback of the future with this pick.
50. San Diego Chargers: DE Christian Ballard, Iowa-
The Chargers get a fine 5-technique prospect here in Ballard. He gets excellent penetration, and is a relentless fighter in the trenches. He isn’t the biggest, strongest or fastest DE in this draft, but he might make opposing blockers work the hardest. This is a good value pick and fills a big need for the Chargers.
51. Tampa Bay: CB Brandon Harris, Miami-
With some pending legal troubles for Tampa’s starting corner (Talib), the Bucs will likely look to address the position early in the draft. Harris is a borderline 1st rounder, so this is an excellent value pick for Tampa. He should be able to step in for Talib from day one, and he gives the Bucs a very good cover guy.
52. New York Giants: RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech-
Running back could quickly become a major need for the Giants if they lose Ahmad Bradshaw in free agency. If that is the case look for the Giants to add a running back in the 2nd-4th rounds. Although they could decide to wait to address their RB need, but Williams will be tough to pass up. Williams has star running back potential, and the Giants place a high premium on the running game.
53. Indianapolis Colts: OT James Carpenter, Alabama-
In the year before the Colts drafted Peyton Manning, they drafted bookend tackles with their top two picks, and I’m thinking this could be the year that history repeats itself. Indy needs to find a way to protect Peyton Manning and finding two new tackles would be a good start. Indy’s tackle play last year was pretty bad, and It forced Manning to make a lot of questionable throws to avoid the pressure. If the Colts can add bookend tackles, they would be pretty much set on offense.
54. Philadelphia Eagles: DT Drake Nevis, LSU-
The Eagles could use another young defensive tackle to help balance their line, that right now is strong on the outside, but pretty thin on the interior. Nevis is pretty much a 4-3 tackle only and a good fit for Philly given his work ethic and quickness. He should help bring pressure up the middle, which should make their ends more effective.
55. Kansas City Chiefs: WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami-
Hankerson could be nabbed earlier, but if he does last this long then I think the Chiefs will be quite thrilled. Kansas City needs to keep adding quality targets to Matt Cassel‘s arsenal and Hankerson would be a good fit. Hankerson isn’t the biggest or fastest receiver, but he should excel at the next level. The one real concern is his hands as at times he loses concentration and will have a multi-drop game, but otherwise he looks like a very good starting WR.
56. New Orleans Saints: DE Sam Acho, Texas-
The Saints need an end to complement Will Smith and Acho is the best guy still on the board. Acho doesn’t excel in anyone area but he is a quality pass rusher, who generates a good deal of pressure. He might have some trouble holding up at the point of attack against the run, but I like his potential.
57. Seattle Seahawks: CB Davon House, New Mexico State-
The Seahawks need to add a corner in the first two rounds of the draft, as there secondary got torched last season. House is a good value for this spot and he has good potential. He should be able to start year one, and has the ability to eventually be a number 1 corner.
58. Baltimore Ravens: CB Chris Brown, Texas-
The Ravens didn’t address the corner position in round one, which makes grabbing one here extremely important. Brown is a very good corner prospect and should be able to step into a starting role for the Ravens. I love the kid’s upside and really see him developing into a frontline guy at the next level.
59. Atlanta Falcons: WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy:
Although the Falcons need another DE to compliment John Abraham, I’m thinking they continue to add weapons on offense. Roddy White is a great receiver, but the rest of their pass catchers are in need of an upgrade. Jernigan offers a legitimate burner for Matt Ryan and someone who will stretch the field, which should help open up the middle for the Falcons tight ends.
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. While the Pats have some talent in the backfield I really don’t think anyone of them is a legit number one tailback. Leshoure has that number one back potential, and is a steal late in the 2nd round.
61. San Diego Chargers (from New York Jets): WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky-
The Chargers could use an upgrade on the right side of their line, but I don’t think there is a good fit at tackle here. While San Diego will definitely keep Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd is another story. Cobb doesn’t fit their traditional mold for WR’s, but he has a ton of value and can help them in the return game as well (Sporles is on his way out).
62. Chicago Bears: G Will Rackley, Leigh-
Chicago could double up on linemen in the first two rounds, as they simply can’t hope to compete next year without an adequate line. Rackley is flying up draft boards, and for good reason. Despite being a small school guy, he shows excellent potential and should be able to start early in his career. With Solder and Rackley, the Bears might have the beginning of a quality offensive line.
63. Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Ras-I Dowling, Virginia-
The Steelers desperately need to improve their pass defense this season as elite quarterbacks were able to take advantage of their holes in their secondary. Adding Dowling at the end of Round two would be a good value, and he should instantly upgrade the Steelers pass defense. While I think Dowling is a more talented player, he could fall given his murky injury history. If he checks out though Pittsburgh will be getting one heck of a player here.
64. Green Bay Packers: OLB Dontay Moch, Nevada-
This might be a slight reach, but Moch is moving up draft boards and is the next best rush linebacker available. He has exceptional speed off the edge and should, develop nicely as a complement to Matthews. Moch is a bit raw, but the upside is there, that I see the Packers pulling the trigger.