With Andrew Luck heading back to Stanford, the quarterback class for this 2011 NFL Draft is looking a bit on the skimpy side of things. There is no question that with him heading back for a junior year... and possibly even a senior year that the upcoming draft was shaken up a bit.
With the 49ers in desperate need of some attention at the quarterback position, it's a mystery as to which way they will head with it. However, if there is one thing that we saw while the 49ers new head coach was at Stanford is that he is one of the best at coaching young talent up to meet their potential.
In this new thread, I went ahead and took an in-depth look at NFL teams needs and plugged in who I thought they would pursue in the draft based on that. Of course you have to consider and factor in best player available for each team as well. Some teams may have two or three big time needs at a few different positions.
So with all of those factors, let's look at me new "unofficial" mock draft. The "official" mock will be the last one of the year I do. The draft order is not set in stone yet. so I have used another sites draft order for the selections for this post.
1st Pick Panthers - DT -- Nick Fairely -- Auburn -- 6'4", 300 LBS: Fairely played like an animal in last nights National Championship game. He is by far the most destructive force to offensive lines this year. The Panthers are basically starting from ground zero and there is no better place than to start than by building a dominant defensive line.
2nd Pick Broncos - 34OLB -- Robert Quinn -- UNC -- 6'5", 271 LBS: The Broncos could go three different ways with this selection, possibly four if they trade. But despite their need to build a better Dline, and to get younger at the cornerback position, they lack a pass rush in the worst kind of way. The other two positions of DL and CB are much deeper than the outside linebacker position. If they are smart, which is to be determined, this would be the best way to go. Linebacker D.J. Williams led the team with 6 sacks. There is definitely room to improve.
3rd Pick Bills - OL -- Derrek Sherrod -- 6'6", 310 LBS: The Bills could go several different ways with the pick here, but the smartest thing to do would be getting Ryan Fitzpatrick a bit more protection. They have some offensive weapons and if Fitz has enough time to get the ball to them... on top of beefing it up for the run game, then the Bills could be on their way to improving in a very tough division.
4rd Pick Bengals - WR -- A.J. Green -- Georgia -- 6'4", 205 LBS: With Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco potentially moving on, the Bengals will be running a skeleton crew at this position. Even if T.O. moves on, they still can afford to get better there. If Jonathon Joesph leaves, it is also possible that the Bengals target a defensive back with this pick.
5th Pick Cardinals - QB -- Ryan Mallett -- Arkansas -- 6'6", 240 LBS: Coach Whisenhunt seems to like the larger sized quarterbacks. Just a couple of years ago the Cards had one of the best pass-protecting lines in the NFL. Not too many pieces have changed. When Kurt Warner was with the team, he was not the most mobile of quarterbacks. Mallett falls in to the category of a non-mobile quarterback but has a rifle of an arm. All any quarterback has to do in Arizona is just get in the general area of Fitzgerald's hands and they should be good.
6th Pick Browns - ILB -- Greg Jones -- Michigan State -- 6'2", 241 LBS: Last year the Browns did very good at drafting some potential star talent for their secondary. I believe that it will be Mike Holmgren's desire to get better at the linebacker position this year. While they desperately need help in the department of receiving, they can get help in the second and third rounds... possibly even free agency. The ground game is already solid with Hillis running the rock. Jones would be a great addition to an evolving defense. Jones is already used to playing in cold weather, so he won't have to make too much adjustment in Cleveland.
7th Pick 49ers - CB -- Patrick Peterson -- LSU -- 6'1", 211 LBS: There is no question in my mind that the 49ers would jump at the opportunity to grab Peterson at number seven should he be there. There is an instant need for help in the 49ers secondary. If you watched even one game last year, you'd know this to be true. Peterson has all the tools to be one of the best in the league.
8th Pick Titans - OLB -- Von Miller -- Texas A&M -- 6'2", 245 LBS: The Titans were literally running dry at the linebacker position. The secondary was banged up all year due to the lack of competence there. Miller would fit very well in what the Titans do. It is very possible that they could go with a wide receiver here, or something to help the offense, but Miller is very good and fills a crucial need for Tennessee.
9th Pick Cowboys - CB -- Prince Amukamara -- Nebraska -- 6'1", 203 LBS: Let's face it, Terrance Newman is not exactly number one cornerback material. He serves as a very good and solid number two. Amukamara could possibly step up and meet the challenge of being a number one rated corner for the Cowboys. Their secondary could definitely use a face-lift.
10th Pick Redskins - SS -- DeAndre McDaniel -- Clemson -- 6'1", 210 LBS: With LaRon Landry on the other side, this pick here would give the Redskins one of the better safety tandems in the league. The Redskins got beat a bunch on big plays down the field and will need a ball hawk like McDaniel back there to keep the opposition honest.
11th Pick Texans - C -- Stefen Wisniewski -- Penn State -- 6'3", 305 LBS: The Texans ran flat at times on offense last year. They seemed to be stuck in 2nd gear in spurts last season. They need help big time on their interior line. A good center is the leader of the offensive line. It would be ill advised to go in any other direction for the Texans as they are much stronger in all other areas. This should be priority numero uno.
12th Pick Vikings - QB -- Cam Newton -- Auburn -- 6'6", 248 LBS: Brett Favre is gone, Adrian Peterson is still there, the defense is pretty solid minus possibly a safety... Cam Newton makes sense here. He is a duel threat and a beast at the goaline. With Peterson and Newton in at the same time in the redzone, it will be very hard to defend against. Newton has a big arm to get it down field to the big play receivers in Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Bernard Berrian. There are endless possibilities on offense should the Vikings go with Newton.
13th Pick Lions - 43DE -- Da'Quan Bowers -- Clemson -- 6'4", 271 LBS: If Bowers is here, he could ultimately be a addition to help on that defensive line. He was the Nations leader with 15 sacks. If he could replicate what he has done in college in the pro's, the Lions will be stacked with one of the best defensive lines in the National Football League.
14th Pick Rams - WR -- Julio Jones -- Alabama -- 6'4", 210 LBS: Jones could be the missing link to an up and coming very talented football team. There are several receivers on the team now on the brink of breaking loose and emerging as threats to the opposition. With the addition of Jones, Bradford will have multiple options as he goes through his reads. Should they draft Jones here, this could be the makings of this decades next super tandem ala Manning/ Harrison, Montana/ Rice... well maybe not that good, but pretty good.
15th Pick Dolphins - 34DE -- Stephen Paea -- Oregon State -- 6'1", 315 LBS: The Dolphins lack a strong force in the middle of their defensive line. Although they may be looking for a quarterback, there really isn't many options. This is the safest pick for the Dolphins. They have their linebackers and they seem to have their secondary. Now it's time to focus on getting some push on that Dline.
16th Pick Jaguars - 43DE -- Adrian Clayborn -- Iowa -- 6'3", 285 LBS: The Jags lack any sort of force or outside rush from either defensive end. With Jack Del Rio, a defensive minded coach running the show, it seems appropriate that he would help out last years draft pick Alualu in drafting Clayborn. Clayborn has been a menace throughout his entire college career and should do just that as a pro as well.
17th Pick Patriots - 34DE -- Cameron Heyward -- Ohio State -- 6'5", 290 LBS: Big Daddy Wolfork is getting too old to do things by himself. He is going to need some help next year assuming he returns. Heyward has had a dominant college career. He could be an elite at his position. Specifically because Belichick is a master at coaching his guys up. Heyward just seems like a Belichick sort of guy and would be a good fit.
18th Pick Chargers - S -- Rahim Moore -- UCLA -- 6'1", 200 LBS: Moore has been one of the most talented players at his respective position. The Chargers are set at cornerback, but could use an upgrade on the back end of the secondary. He had 10 interceptions his sophomore year but only 1 pick this year. It was in large part to teams throwing away from him. Pro scouts, particularly the ones in the Southern California have not forgot about the talent and presence that this kid brings each and every game. He finished the year with 77 tackles. It may be a bit of a reach considering the drop off in INT's, but it will be a pick well spent in an area that the Chargers need.
19th Pick Giants - RB -- Mark Ingram -- Alabama -- 5'10", 215 LBS: This could be the closest thing the NFC East has seen to an Emmitt Smith type player in a long time. This is one of those best player available meets a need type of situations should Ingram fall here. I imagine he will be one of the players invited to the green room during the draft, but he may be waiting there for while considering that most teams are looking for running backs in later rounds nowadays.
20th Pick Bucs - WR -- Jonathan Baldwin -- Pittsburgh -- 6'5", 225 LBS: The Bucs lucked out in grabbing Mike WIlliams... he has been a pleasant surprise for them. However, they lack a solid second receiver. Of course there is always free agency, but when you are that young, it is wise to continue to try and get guys through the draft. The Bucs, and Josh Freeman would love to have a potentially great receiver like Baldwin.
21st Pick Chiefs - ILB -- Akeem Ayers -- UCLA -- 6'4", 255 LBS: Vrabel will not be around much longer. Ayers could start imediately and give the Chiefs the pass rusher they have lacked since the late great Derrick Thomas. Ayers is a guy who posses lightning fast speed for his position and a nice set of skills to get by would-be blockers. This would be an ideal selection should Ayers fall in to the Chiefs lap here.
22nd Pick Eagles - CB -- Brandon Harris -- Miami -- 5'11", 195 LBS: The Eagles got torched by Aaron Rodgers. One side of the field seemed to be secure and the other not as much. Harris would be a steal at the 22nd pick and the Eagles could certainly use it. Even though a lot of the blame was put on Michael Vick for the loss, the Eagles defense did give up 3 touchdowns in the air.
23rd Pick Colts - OT - DeMarcus Love -- Arkansas -- 6'5", 315 LBS: Love protected Ryan Mallett's hind parts all year long. He helped a not-so-mobile quarterback launch his draft stock a bunch higher than it should be. With that said, Love could wind up being the guy to protect Peyton Manning for the remainder of his career. This is more need than it is BPA, but it would work for the Colts who have done very well at drafting in recent history.
24th Pick Saints - 43DT - Marcell Dareus -- Alabama -- 6'3", 306 LBS: The biggest knock on Dareus, which is a big one, is that he had tendencies to take plays off throughout the year when he was in the game. Sean Payton is a big-time motivator. If he can't get this kid kick started, then nobody can. Dareus would be a nice replacement for the right defensive tackle Remi Ayodele who struggled quite a bit through the course of the season. He didn't manage many tackles, sacks, or just presence in general. Dareus would be an upgrade on downs when he decided to play.
25th Pick Seahawks - QB - Jake Locker -- Washington -- 6'3", 225 LBS: Locker will not start immediately but Pete Carroll knows all about Locker and could cultivate him in to a starter while he sits behind Hasselbeck for a year. Locker would be the next in line to keep that Brett Favre tree alive. Hasselbeck is oft injured, so Locker could see action here and there through the course of the season. Which in a sense would be good for him to get his feet wet like that and not be given too much too fast.
26th Pick Ravens - OLB - Ryan Kerrigan -- Perdue -- 6'4", 263 LBS: Kerrigan would be a nice addition to an already stacked Ravens pass rush. With Suggs coming on one side, and Kerrigan on the other... defensive coordinators will need Costco sized bottles of aspirin and NoDoz to find ways to slow them down.
27th Pick Falcons - TE - D.J. Williams -- Arkansas -- 6'2", 250 LBS: Although Tony Gonzales may seem like he'll be able to play until he is 50, that's pretty far from reality. Williams would be the perfect guy to step in, learn a year or two from the greatest tight end to ever play the game... and grow in to his own version.
28th Pick Patriots - WR - Torrey Smith -- Maryland -- 6'1", 205 LBS: Smith in my opinion seems like he would be a great fit and a possible number one receiver next to Wes Welker. Even though the Patriots never seem to find typical number one receivers (minus the stint with Randy Moss), they tend to coach all of them up very well. It doesn't hurt that these receivers have one of the all-time best quarterbacks to ever play the game.
...the rest will come as the playoffs progress and more teams are knocked out.
Don't forget to rec the post.
Last year smileyman and a few other provided their mock drafts in posts. This year is no different. So without further ado, here is his mock. This is his first one of a couple more to come. He will provide commentary in his future mocks.
1. Carolina Panthers Nick Fairley, DT Auburn
2. Denver Broncos Da'Quan Bowers, DE Clemson
3. Buffalo Robert Quinn, OLB North Carolina
4. Cincinatti Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska
5. Arizona Derek Sherrod, OT Mississippi State
6. Cleveland AJ Green, WR Georgia
7. San Francisco Patrick Peterson, CB LSU
8. Tennessee Marcel Dareus, DT Alabama
9. Dallas Von Miler, OLB Texas A&M
10. Washington Cam Newton, QB Auburn
11. Houston Cameron Jordan, DE California
12. Minnesota Ryan Mallet, QB Arkansas
13. Detroit Akeem Ayers, ILB UCLA
14. St. Louis Julio Jones, WR Alabama
15. Miami Mark Ingram, RB Alabama
16. Jacksonville Martez Wilsin, ILB Illinois
17. New England (from Oakland) Cameron Heyward, DE Ohio State
18. San Diego DeAndre McDaniel, FS Clemson
19. New York Giants Mikel LeShoure, RB Illinois
20. Tampa Bay J.J. Watt, DE Wisconsin
21 Kansas City Stefan Wisniewski, OC Penn State
22. Indianapolis Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin
23. Philadelphia Greg Jones, OLB Michigan State
24. New Orleans Ryan Kerrigan, DE Purdue
25. Seattle Jake Locker, QB Washington