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Nick's "Eat A Lot of Turkey and Enjoy" Thanksgiving First Round Mock Draft
The draft order has been shifting in the last couple of weeks, which means it's time to get to work on an updated projection of how I think the draft may fall were it held today. As always, things are constantly in motion so don't put any of these in stone. Simply have a happy holiday and enjoy one of the many "what if" scenarios of the 2011 NFL Draft!
1. Carolina Panthers: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
-New coaching staff in 2011 means they aren't married to Moore or Clausen. They'll want "their guy," and Luck is the hot hand right now.
2. Cincinnati Bengals: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
-The Bengals are averaging a sack per game, which is pathetic. Bowers is emerging as a top five prospect, and would help a new Cincinnati coaching staff.
3. Detroit Lions: Patrick Peterson, DB, LSU
-The Lions will continue to address their defense with another top three pick, this time strengthening the secondary with a stud DB in Peterson.
4. Buffalo Bills: Marcell Dareus, DL, Alabama
-If the Bills really want to play a 3-4 scheme, they're going to need to find players that fit. Dareus would be a great five-technique lineman for them.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
-It might be a bit too high for the Cardinals to take a quarterback, so I'd look for them to go defense and take Amukamara to pair with Rodgers-Cromartie.
6. San Francisco *****: Robert Quinn, DE/LB, North Carolina
-I wouldn't rule out San Francisco taking a passer if the value is right, but in this projection, I have them strengthening their defense with a pass rusher in Quinn.
7. Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
-This is a big slip for Green, who is arguably a top 2-3 talent in this class. Cleveland needs some offensive playmakers, so he'd be a no-brainer to the Browns.
8. Dallas Cowboys: Nick Fairley, DL, Auburn
-Who knows if Jason Garrett hangs around in Dallas, but Fairley is a disruptive player who offers versatility for whatever Dallas wants to do in the future.
9. Minnesota Vikings: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
-When new head coaches join a team with an uncertain situation at quarterback, they want to take care of it quickly. The strong-armed Mallett will look very appealing.
10. Denver Broncos: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
-Denver has one of the league's worst run defenses, so improving their talent up front in their 3-4 defense would be an appealing option here.
11. St. Louis Rams: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
-The Rams give Sam Bradford a playmaking wide receiver in Julio Jones, who would instantly become one of the top receiving options in St. Louis.
12. Houston Texans: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
-The Texans recently added a cornerback in Kareem Jackson, but more help in the secondary would be beneficial.
13. San Diego Chargers: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
-With some of their defensive lineman possibly heading to free agency, San Diego may need to restock along their defensive front.
14. New England Patriots (f/OAK): Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
-With only 18 sacks on the year and questionable talent at outside linebacker, the 6'4" 255 pound Ayers makes a lot of sense for a Patriots defense in need of talent.
15. Tennessee Titans: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
-It sounds as if Vince Young's days in Tennessee are over; if Locker is somehow available here, he'd be a welcomed replacement for the Titans.
16. Washington Redskins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
-Head coach Mike Shanahan isn't known for spending premium picks on running backs, but Ingram may be too good to pass up for the halfback-starved Redskins.
17. Miami Dolphins: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
-Nose tackle Paul Soliai has been effective but isn't close to a contract extension with Miami. Paea has the strength, bulk, and leverage you look for in the position.
18. New York Giants: Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina
-Even if Clint Sintim comes along, the Giants will need someone to pair with him on the outside, as Boley and Bullock haven't been very dynamic.
19. Indianapolis Colts: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
-LT Charlie Johnson, in a contract year, is responsible for a third of Manning's 12 sacks. On the other side, Ryan Diem isn't getting any younger.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
-Despite spending their first two picks in 2010 addressing the defensive tackle position, Tampa's 14 sacks on the season suggests some help on the end could be needed.
21. Seattle Seahawks: Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida
-Pouncey is a better fit at guard than he is at center, but he has the versatility to play both. Seattle could use him in either spot.
22. Kansas City Chiefs: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
-Reuniting Charlie Weis with a player he coached in college would be beneficial to the Chiefs and Dwayne Bowe.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars: Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
-Adding a quality player like Lewis would allow the Jaguars to make some shifts in their linebacking corps and improve more than one position.
24. New Orleans Saints: Allen Bailey, DL, Miami
-Bailey has the potential to play on the edge at end or he can shift inside and help out at tackle, helping the Saints out across their defensive line.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers: DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas
-Love is a big, versatile lineman who should be able to help Pittsburgh improve a running attack that isn't quite as strong as years past.
26. Chicago Bears: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
-Finding ways to protect Jay Cutler should be an offseason priority for the Bears, and some would argue Castonzo is the best tackle in this class.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
-Major needs at cornerback will prompt the Ravens to rush to the podium to make this pick, should Miami's Brandon Harris still be available.
28. Philadelphia Eagles: Stefan Wisniewski, C, Penn State
-Injuries to starting center Jamaal Jackson will make it necessary for Philadelphia to find some competition for the position in 2011.
29. Green Bay Packers: Gabe Carimi, OL, Wisconsin
-Despite adding talent to their offensive line last year, improvements could still be made; Carimi could line up at guard or tackle, as needed.
30. New England Patriots: Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
-While the Patriots seem to get by with lesser talent at the receiver position, I believe they'd love to add someone of Baldwin's caliber.
31. New York Jets: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
-Von Miller is a disruptive pass-rusher who would be a great fit in the aggressive New York Jets defense; great talent at this point in the draft.
32. Atlanta Falcons: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
-If Aldon Smith declares for the 2011 draft, he'll be a pass-rusher to keep your eye on. Atlanta certainly will, as they'll look to improve on their 18 sacks thus far in 2010.
Re: Nick's "Eat A Lot of Turkey and Enjoy" Thanksgiving First Round Mock Draft32. Atlanta Falcons: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
-If Aldon Smith declares for the 2011 draft, he'll be a pass-rusher to keep your eye on. Atlanta certainly will, as they'll look to improve on their 18 sacks thus far in 2010."Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod