We’ve updated our week 8 version of our 2011 NFL Mock Draft. Check it out after the jump.
Updated November 2nd, 2010
1 Buffalo Bills
CB Patrick Peterson- LSU
Notes: I am holding out on Buffalo drafting a quarterback after seeing solid play from Ryan Fitzpatrick the past two weeks. What Buffalo does need is help on the offensive line and in the secondary. The 2011 class is weak on offensive tackles, but very strong on cornerbacks.
Patrick Peterson is one of the best cornerback prospects we have ever scouted. He is fast, strong, has great vision and can attack the ball. He is also a very dangerous return man. Yes, this sounds a lot like Charles Woodson. And yes, Peterson is that good.
2 Dallas Cowboys
DE Cameron Heyward- Ohio State
Notes: The Cowboys are too talented to be this bad- at least that is what we continue to hear. Dallas does have holes, and this is an aging defense. The Cowboys will find themselves in a position to draft the best player available, which is Heyward. Not only is he the best available, but he also fits a need on the defensive line. In Dallas’ 3-4 scheme Heyward will step in at right defensive end and give the Cowboys front seven an anchor on the edge.
3 Carolina Panthers
DT Marcel Dareus- Alabama
Notes: The Panthers have young players in key positions (QB, OT, DE), but they are lacking a solid man up-front. Dareus gives Carolina the perfect penetrating defensive tackle, and he is also versatile enough to play defensive end. It is rare to find a 6-3, 280lb defender who can also run a 4.9 in the 40. Dareus is a freak.
4 San Francisco 49ers
QB Andrew Luck- Stanford
Notes: Luck is among the draft’s best players, however so far this year the worst teams are set at quarterback. San Francisco is definitely not set at the position. Alex Smith, David Carr and Troy Smith have rotated under center this year with equally bad results. Troy Smith has looked promising in one start, but he does not project as a long-term starter.
What Smith can do is pave the way for Luck, who may not be ready to start Week 1 in the NFL. Luck’s arm strength, accuracy and vision are on par with Sam Bradford coming out of Oklahoma. The biggest question marks will be his game experience.
5 Denver Broncos
CB Prince Amukamara- Nebraska
Notes: After wasting a first round pick on Tim Tebow last year, Denver finds themselves in the top 5 after falling flat on their faces this season. Lucky for them, they find a shutdown cornerback in Prince Amukamara. Champ Bailey’s career is on the decline, and Denver is left with no one to replace him at CB1. Amukamara is the physical ball-hawk the Broncos will need to step in for the future Hall of Famer Bailey.
6 Detroit Lions
OLB Akeem Ayers- UCLA
Notes: It is always tempting to pick a wide receiver here, and there are a few good ones on the board, but Detroit has immediate needs elsewhere. The Lions liked Zach Follet at outside linebacker, but his career is in question after a neck injury suffered earlier this year. Opposite Follet the Lions must get younger and faster.
Enter Ayers, a pass-rushing stud from UCLA. Ayers is as versatile as any linebacker in the class and can easily drop back into coverage or rush off the edge. He will be an instant fan favorite in Detroit.
7 Minnesota Vikings
QB Jake Locker- Washington
Notes: Brett Favre is done. Finally. Thankfully. Minnesota is hedging their bets on Tarvaris Jackson, but we’re not sold. Locker’s stock has fallen slightly since the season started due to injury and erratic play at times, but when looking at the Huskies roster it is obvious that Locker is trying to overcompensate for the lack of talent around him. He has the tools to be a long-time starter in Minnesota (or Los Angeles), and the athleticism that Brad Childress likes in his quarterbacks.
8 Cincinnati Bengals
DE/DT Adrian Clayborn- Iowa
Notes: The Bengals are among the league’s more talented teams on paper, but their play in 2010 has been uninspiring. Rumors are floating that a regime change is in place, which would definitely shake up the draft.
Without knowing who will be calling the shots in Cincinnati on draft day, we hand them our #6 overall player and a versatile defender in Clayborn. He has the ability to play inside in a 4-3 or outside in a 3-4, with good quickness and enough strength to sit down on the run.
9 Cleveland Browns
WR AJ Green- Georgia
Notes: No, they will not be drafting a quarterback in the first round. Cleveland has key needs if they plan to surround Colt McCoy with the playmakers he needs to succeed. AJ Green is college football’s best receiver. He will bring an immediate threat in the red-zone target for McCoy. With Peyton Hillis and a solid offensive line, the Browns are on their way to respectability.
10 San Diego Chargers
DE Allen Bailey- Miami (FL)
Notes: While wide receiver is a need for San Diego, especially depending on what Vincent Jackson does after the season, we really like the pick of Allen Bailey here. San Diego’s defense has not been the same recently, and we can point to the loss of Igor Olshasnky and other big bodies on the defensive line as the reason. Bailey is the perfect 3-4 end for San Diego, as he can stop the run but also put pressure on the pocket by driving the tackle off the ball.
11 Arizona Cardinals
QB Ryan Mallett- Arkansas
Notes: The Max Hall story is heart-warming, but it is not a reality. Hall has not shown the productivity of a starting quarterback. The Cardinals are a different team without Kurt Warner on offense, and replacing him has to be their priority.
Mallet is a big-bodied quarterback with a monster arm, but also great touch and down-field vision. He is a great fit in Arizona.
12 St. Louis Rams
WR Julio Jones- Alabama
Notes: Injuries to Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton have highlighted a weakness in St. Louis. As this team builds around quarterback Sam Bradford they must add playmakers for him on the outside. Jones is an electric wide receiver who can dominate games against the best competition.
13 Jacksonville Jaguars
OLB Bruce Carter- North Carolina
Notes: The Jaguars are in need of safeties, but no players on the board are worthy of this selection. Bruce Carter, however, is. Despite issues with NCAA eligibility, Carter remains one of the more impressive players we have scouted. His speed and coverage skills make him a sure-fire first round prospect, and will bring youth and consistency to the position for Jacksonville.
14 New England (f/Oakland)
OLB Robert Quinn- North Carolina
Notes: Quinn, a defensive end at UNC, steps in to a huge need for the Patriots. Jermaine Cunningham has shown promise, but to return to their dynasty days, New England must build their defense up. That starts with adding another pass rushing threat off the edge. Quinn has top five talent, but limited film after an NCAA suspension this season.
15 Washington Redskins
QB Blaine Gabbert- Missouri
Notes: It is worth noting that Donovan McNabb will be a free agent after the season, and also that he hasn’t played that well. Mike Shanahan knows how important a quarterback is to success in the NFL, and short of trying to trade for Jay Cutler, he must make a move in the draft.
Gabbert, a junior at Missouri, has set the Big 12 on fire. He does benefit from a great system at Mizzou, but he is also a very mobile, very accurate passer with NFL potential.
16 Chicago Bears
OT Derek Sherrod- Mississippi State
Notes: Chris Williams has been injury-riddled throughout his young career, but he has been promising when active. The other four spots on the line in Chicago are all ready for an upgrade. Sherrod is an interesting player, and one we feel could excel at left guard in the NFL. He has quick feet, good strength and the agility to move on the inside. He also has some value as a left tackle, but his strength right now is in the run game.
17 Seattle Seahawks
DE Da’Quan Bowers- Clemson
Notes: The injury to Red Bryant has exposed a hole in the Seattle defense. Not only is depth needed, but more talent must be found to play opposite Bryant. Bowers is an athletic freak. Big, strong, and fast. He will give Seattle and Pete Carroll a pass-rushing terror from left-end.
18 Philadelphia Eagles
OLB Jeremy Beal- Oklahoma
Notes: Philadelphia is an intriguing team, and one who could go deep in the playoffs if healthy. One area of concern is the linebacking core. This unit has under-achieved when healthy, although we do like Ernie Sims. Beal is a pass-rusher in the Sooners scheme, but he is also adept at dropping into coverage and making plays in the run game. He is a true three-down ‘backer for the Eagles.
19 Miami Dolphins
RB Mark Ingram- Alabama
Notes: Following in his father’s footsteps, Ingram becomes a Dolphin in our latest mock draft. Miami will be faced with tough decisions regarding Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown after the season. With both players aging, and due new contracts, drafting a replacement makes more sense than re-signing both backs. Ingram is a tough, hard-nosed runner who can open up the play-action for Chad Henne and co.
20 Houston Texans
CB Janoris Jenkins- Florida
Notes: A name to remember as the draft gets closer, Jenkins is rising up draft boards this season. Houston must replace Dunta Robinson before they can seriously contend with the Colts in the AFC South. Adding the athlete Jenkins is a step in the right direction. He has the speed and man cover skills to lock down #1 receivers from day one.
21 Green Bay Packers
RB DeMarco Murray- Oklahoma
Notes: Ryan Grant was lost for the season, but there are also concerns about his long-term durability for Green Bay. Murray is the perfect back to compliment him. He has ability between the tackles, but is also a very good receiver out of the slot or backfield. Murray is yet another threat for Aaron Rodgers and the potent Packers offense.
22 New Orleans Saints
OLB Von Miller- Texas A&M
Notes: The Saints have managed to win this season without a dominating defense, something that cannot last them through the post-season. What they must do in the off-season is add a talented outside linebacker. Von Miller fits the bill. At Texas A&M he has been a pass rusher extraordinaire, but he has the skill set of a complete ‘backer.
23 Tennessee Titans
CB Ras-I Dowling- Virginia
Notes: The Titans are always one of the more physical and active defenses, a credit to Head Coach Jeff Fisher. Looking to the future, the Titans have needs at cornerback opposite Cortland Finnegan. Dowling is a clone of Finnegan, with a very physical style of play and aggressive pursuit.
24 Kansas City Chiefs
OT Anthony Castonzo- Boston College
Notes: As amazing as the Chiefs’ season has been, there are holes all over the place on the roster. Right tackle is the first need that jumps off the paper at us. Castonzo is a proven run blocker, key to the Kansas City offense, but he also has the Boston College pedigree that Scott Pioli came to love during his time in New England.
25 New York Giants
OG Rodney Hudson- Florida State
Notes: It used to be rare for an offensive guard to go in the first round, but lately it has been more common. Hudson is the next in a talented line of guards in round one. He has a great skill set and is a valuable blocker in the running and pass game. The Giants love Chris Snee, but they must find a capable guard opposite him. Hudson has Pro Bowl talent.
26 Tampa Bay Bucs
OT DeMarcus Love- Arkansas
Notes: Protecting Josh Freeman is the priority of the Tampa Bay front office, and for good reason. Freeman has been impressive so far in his career, and he alone gives the Bucs offense the life they’ve been missing for so many seasons. Keeping him standing will be the job of Love, a very talented lineman with the versatility to play tackle or left guard.
27 New York Jets
FS Rahim Moore- UCLA
Notes: Moore is more talented than his draft position and the Jets find a steal here in round one. Moore has serious range from the center of the field and has no trouble getting depth in coverage. Behind Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie he will be an interception machine.
28 Baltimore Ravens
CB Aaron Williams- Texas
Notes: Williams hasn’t performed up to expectations at Texas, but no one has this year. Looking at his 2009 film you will see an athletic cover man with great range and instincts. Williams can be physical at the point of attack, but what we like best is his ability to turn and run without losing a step. He also has great size.
29 Pittsburgh Steelers
DE/DT Nick Fairley- Auburn
Notes: Yes, Pittsburgh drafted Ziggy Wood to play defensive end in the first round. Yes, they need offensive linemen badly. With all that said, the Steelers season rests on their ability to recover from the loss of Aaron Smith at defensive end. This is a veteran defensive line, and it is time to draft replacements. Fairley could go much higher than this in April- his stock is soaring.
30 Indianapolis Colts
DT Stephen Paea- Oregon State
Notes: It is surprising how well the Colts play with no-name defenders, and yet they are always among the best in the NFL. Adding playmakers on both lines is a key for the Colts off-season. Paea may be a reach here, slightly, but he is the type of attacking penetrator Indianapolis loves on the defensive line.
31 Atlanta Falcons
CB Curtis Brown- Texas
Notes: Dunta Robinson has been worth every penny given to him this off-season as a free agent, but opposite him there isn’t much. Brown is a gifted athlete and zone cover man. Atlanta, to compete for a Super Bowl, must get better at cornerback.
32 New England Patriots
DE Cameron Jordan- Cal
Notes: The Patriots always seem to luck out and have great players fall into their lap. Jordan is yet another example. He’s a great fit for the 3-4, a Jeff Tedford product and a great all-around student of the game. In other words, he’s the ultimate New England Patriot.