What would the 2011 NFL draft look like if you put 32 Eagles fans in charge of each NFL franchise? Finally, we get an answer to that question. Over at Bleeding Green Nation, we've run a community sourced mock draft over the past month where one different person from the community has made a pick for one team per day. Keeping in mind that the stock of certain guys have gone up and down over the past month, so the higher the pick, the older.
Here were the results of the community sourced draft with a snippet of analysis and a link to full reasoning for each pick.
Ultimately, the Panthers choose to help boost their biggest need over the last four years: the run defense. Since 2007, the Panthers have ranked 18th, 20th, 22nd, and 23rd in run defense. The main excuse for the poor run defense is the poor defensive tackle play. Part of that reason is that the Panthers have never spent a first round pick on a defensive tackle in their 15 years of existence. The best way to boost a run defense is to have good defensive tackle play, just ask the Eagles that after grabbing Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley in consecutive drafts.
To say that Peterson is ahead of the other cornerbacks in his class would be an understatement, and certainly a big one. An intriguing physical specimen at 6-foot-1 and about 220 pounds, he has the size to play at both safety and CB, and has been compared to the likes of current NFL stars such as Charles Woodson. A heralded player from a young age, he flashed dominance as a press coverage specialist for LSU over the last few years and eventually forced opposing clubs to pass the ball away from his area on the field. He's unquestionably athletic and, believe it or not, has been said to run like Adrian Peterson in his role as a dangerous punt returner, while his ability to redirect opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage is something that will almost assuredly transition into immediate success at the professional level.
He is a solid QB with mechanics. He doesn't do anything great, but he's above average at most basic QB tools. He's got decent strength, good vision, and can throw in stride. Is he going to make the Bills better right away? Probably not, but he is a great piece to build an already solid offense around.
Newton is a pure winner, leader and great football player, who will excel in the NFL. The Bengals' 4th pick is not for need any more than it is Best Player Available, with several solid QB's suitable to new OC Jay Gruden's West Coast Offense available in later rounds. Because of Carson Palmer's self-demise, Owner Mike Brown will be wistfully hoping new Cincinnati Bengal Cam Newton will rejuvenate the fanbase, sell more merchandise and tickets, and (somehow) help the Bengals roar past the Ravens and Steelers for AFC North supremacy for years to come.
I normally try not to put too much stock in combine numbers, but I have to admit that my eyebrows were raised when I saw Dareus run a faster 10-yard split in the 40 yard dash than DT Nick Fairley, who is about 30 pounds lighter than him. Dareus is a huge, powerful linemen who uses his hands well and could instantly improve the Browns’ 27th ranked run defense. Until recently, I would have listed WR as the Browns’ biggest draft need, but with the recent release of former Pro Bowl DT Shaun Rogers, improving the DL has instantly become the highest priority. Several draft experts have Dareus listed as the best tackle in the draft, and he’s definitely impressed Holmgren so far:
Prince is the second best corner in this draft following Peterson and he isn't far behind. Yes San Fran needs a qb, but this is a team that has gaping holes in multiple phases of the game, especially in the secondary. Shawnte Spencer and Nate Clements scare no one. Look at all the good teams in the NFL and behind that starting QB and great pass rush are at least one, if not two shutdown corners. In my opinion, they are just as valuable. San Francisco has none, and by having great coverage in the back end, San Fran also shores up it's pass rush through coverage. As much as I want to take a qb here, and I really do, there's no one who really stands out and shouts, "I'm your franchise." Aaron Rodgers did. Heck a lot of guys have. But in this draft class, eh, not so much.
Green is what so-called draft experts like to call a physical specimen. At 6'4" and 212 pounds, Green already has Randy Moss-esque size. Normally players this big do not have the speed to go with their size. Not AJ Green. Green has been clocked in the forty at 4.38. In addition, Green also has great hands, something that is obviously needed in a wide receiver. Green can also make plays with the ball in his hands. Few receivers of his size can do this.
Ideally for Bowers, he'll end up in a 4-3 system where he can pin his ears back, attack the QB, and rack up sacks. Unfortunately for Bowers in this mock draft exercise, he lands in a 3-4 system, in which he may have some more 5-technique responsibility than he had hoped for. Still, it's not about where the player wants to go or what team may be the best fit for him in the NFL Draft. It's about who the best player is for the team that is picking, and for the Cowboys in this case, this pick is a coup.
Corey Liuget is going to play a role the Redskins had hoped Albert Haynesworth would play. A guy who can take on
multiple blockers and still have the power and explosiveness to disrput plays in the backfield. In fact, NFL scouts
claim the sexiest appeal about Liuget's game IS his ability to penetrate and wreck havoc behind the line.
11. Houston Texans - Robert Quinn OLB North Carolina
Quinn was a top 5 pick going into the year and because of endorsement issues fell out of the top 10. These issues also aren't things that are likely to continue in the NFL and shouldn't scare the Texans. Quinn is 6'4" and 265 pounds. He ran a 4.62 in the 40 to show NFL scouts the time off didn't make him out of shape. He also did 22 reps of 225 pounds at the Combine. Quinn is a phenomenal pass rusher and is very athletic for someone of his size and weight. The Texans are getting a player with top 5 caliber ability that can come in and improve their D right now and its at a position need. With Quinn, Connor Barwin, DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams this suddenly becomes a solid pass rushing unit. And, because of the quality of QBs in the AFC and the need for an effective pass rush, this is an easy pick for the Texans.
At 6'3" 220lbs, Jones is an absolute monster at the WR position. He ran a 4.34 at the combine and posted a 38.5 inch vertical - all on a broken foot, no less. He has shown great burst off the line and can use his strength and quick hands to manhandle CBs at initial contact. He's not an amazing route runner and can be a little slow coming out of his cuts, but he makes up for it with his strength and size. Jones is an absolute beast after the catch, breaking tackles like a running back, and shows a great competitive drive as a downfield blocker. He's a tough player and an outstanding citizen, known for his community service. His hands are suspect at times, but this is likely due to lapses in concentration rather than naturally bad hands. This is the sort of thing that can be coached up, and he's too dynamic of a player to skip because of a few drops.
Smith plays with great leverage and great footwork. He has played primarily right tackle, but has more than enough potential to man the left side. When you consider the incompetency of Jeff Bacchus and the fact that Matt Stafford is made of glass, then you need someone like Smith guarding Stafford's blind side. Smith can also blow huge holes and lanes up for Jahvid Best and the rest of Detroit's running backs.
The Rams current starting corners are Ron Bartell and Bradley Fletcher. They combined for 4 int's and 0 sacks. The Rams finished 18th in pass defense, giving up 232+ passing yards a game despite playing 6 games againist horrible offenses in the NFC West. I believe Jimmy Smith will develop into the next shutdown corner. In his final two years at Colorado, he only gave up one first down in man coverage. Smith has excellent size at 6'0 200+ lbs, and ran a 4.4 40 at his pro day in Boulder. I see Smith as a Darrelle Revis clone. They both ran 4.4 40 at their pro days, both are about the same size (Revis is 5'11 198) and both are extremley cocky but confident. They both want to man up against the other team's best wideout.
Running back is pretty much the biggest need here for the Dolphins, but the only team currently behind the Dolphins that would consider the #1 RB prospect in this year's draft would be the New England Patriots, who have other pressing needs such as O-Line and Defensive End. A trade down in the first round could still ultimately give Miami the same shot at Ingram as with the 15th pick, and even if Ingram is somehow snatched up before the pick, there are other good to decent running back options that will be available in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, including Ryan Williams and Mikel Leshore. Remember, while both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are free agents, there's still a possibility of the Dolphins re-signing at least one of these guys. To sum it up: if I were the Dolphins' GM, I'd be calling up picks 20-32 every possible second during the draft and see if someone's willing to trade their second pick or more to move up a spot. Alas, for the sake of this mock, we cannot do trades.
Aaron Kampman is coming off a torn ACL for the second year in a row and is their only proven pass rusher. The Jaguars need another explosive DE that can compliment Kampman. Cameron Jordan can fill that role. Jordan's a talented five-technique player who stole the show at the Senior Bowl in January. The son of a former NFL All-Pro, Vikings great TE Steve Jordan, Jordan's a hard-working, high-energy guy that will be right up Jack del Rio's alley. Jordan has the athletic ability to play both DE positions, and also the versatility, strength, and bulk to move inside to DT. Jordan will rejoin his former Cal teammate Tyson Alualu and hope to regain the chemistry they had in 2009 when they combined for 113 tackles, 20 for a loss, and 13.5 sacks.
17. New England Patriots -- from Oakland - Ryan Kerrigan - DE/OLB, Purdue
As a team last year, the Pats got no production out of their pass rushing OLBs, and that is a huge reason for their poor pass defense numbers. Even though Jermaine Cunningham is a good developmental player, Tully Banta-Cain and Rob Ninkovich should not be starting anywhere, especially on a team with Super Bowl aspirations. This brings me (finally) to my pick. Ryan Kerrigan is a guy that I feel can transition from 4-3 end in college to 3-4 ‘backer in the pros. He may not be the biggest guy, but he's a hustle player and had 32 sacks in his last 3 years at Purdue. His combine numbers were staggering, running a 4.67 at 267 pounds, and even though he's put on 12 more pounds, Kerrigan should be able to keep his explosiveness and quick feet to excel at OLB in the NFL. Even though I hate upgrading the Patriots, Ryan Kerrigan will be a monster at the next level and should be a perennial 10-12 sack guy for New England.
Last season, the Chargers' offensive line ranked in the middle of the pack, allowing 38 sacks and 68 quarterback hits. An upgrade to their weakest position along the line could easily make this offense progress from good to great. While the rest of their starters will likely be back for 2011, the question mark here is right tackle Jeromey Clary. Clary will be a restricted free agent (if and when there is a free agency) and the Chargers have tendered him at a second-round level.
Mike Pouncey (who I will assume will play guard and not center) was a second team All-SEC selection. He started all games he has played in (13 as a center and 28 as a guard, his natural position where he excelled). He helped the Gator interior line dominate in 2008 to an undefeated season and the national championship and in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati in 2010. He came in at the combine at 6-5, 320 lbs. Although his pass blocking skills are slightly below par, he excels in run blocking helping the Gators to a 5.6 YPC avg. in 2010. He has sharp technique and great athleticism for a guy his size. He is very strong and has great push in the run game. Even though he isn't vey agile, he makes it to the second level very easily. One thing that most people never seem to talk about with lineman (or really any college player) is penalties; Pouncey is very disciplined and is rarely called for penalties. One of the greatest things about Pouncey is his versatility. He can probably play any of the three positions of the interior line on an NFL caliber team. Another thing about Pouncey is that he is very smart. He is always meeting assignments and mirrors defenders very well. At 6-5 however he as susceptible to being overmatched by stronger bulls rushers on an opponent's defensive line. He has also shown some inconsistency as well as at times being beaten out by quicker pass rushers.
Lombardi Award finalist and consensus All-American, Iowa's Adrian Clayborn is someone that the Bucs can benefit from throughout their D-line. Clayborn is coming off of a down-year due to some nagging injuries (Clayborn suffers from Erb's Palsy that affects the nerves surrounding his right shoulder) but has 19 career sacks and a forced fumble on his resume. While 19 sacks are not mind-blowing over 4 years, it should be noted that 11 of them came in his Junior year. Clayborn's disease and regression last season has made him drop from his projections prior to this year (last offseason a lot of scouts and analysts considered him to be a top ten pick). However, he ran 4.76 which is in the top times among the top D-line talent in the draft. He is 6'2'' and 280 pounds and has motor that is non-stop.
Kansas City made the playoffs last season by going 10-6 and winning the AFC West. However, in Scott Pioli's 3rd year as GM, the Chiefs are still rebuilding their team. In 2010, the Chiefs were ranked as the 8th youngest average age in the league at 25.66 years old. The Chiefs primarily run a base 3-4 defensive scheme since the hiring of GM Scott Pioli & Head Coach Todd Haley. In such a scheme, one position that is at great importance is the nose tackle position or the zero-technique. Every great 3-4 defense has one and every other team needs or wants one. Good nose tackles are hard to find. Recently Ron Edwards has been the NT for K.C., but he'll be 32 years old at the start of the season & without a contract for 2011. In my eyes, Taylor is the best nose tackle in this draft. He has the prototypical size and skill-set to make it in the NFL.
Paea won't be counted on immediately to be "the guy" to solve the Colts' run D issues but alongside Moala could end up becoming one of the better DT's in the league. His best football is ahead of him, having only played for 6 years. By all accounts he is humble, hardworking, and determined to succeed. I fully anticipate that whomever selects this kid will be sewing a "C " patch on his chest within 5 years.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Brandon Harris - CB, Miami
This kid is a player. Man, after watching his film, it's hard not to like him. His instincts are second to none. His excellent ball skills evidenced by his 27 pass breakups the last two years, quick feet, loose hips, good balance and speed enables him to be great in man coverage. He displayed those qualities in the on-field drills at the combine. His performance in every drill was flawless, prompting rave reviews from Mike Mayock and Deion Sanders himself. He has an incredible burst when closing or recovering which helps him in zone. He recognizes the run quickly and is not afraid to get in there, make the tackle and make sure the ball carrier gets down. His work ethic and passion for the game are also phenomenal. He was quoted saying that he and his classmates should dedicate their 2010 season to head coach Randy Shannon, that they were largely to blame for their inconsistency. That's the type of leadership qualities we look for in a player.
Aldon Smith arrived on the national scene in his redshirt freshman season in 2009. In that year, Smith racked up 19 tackles for loss, including 11.5 sacks. His best game of the season came against the best team he faced that season, the Texas Longhorns. In that game Missouri got whalloped by the second ranked team in the nation, but Smith proved he was the real deal. He finished the game with 11 tackles, 4 of them for loss, and 2 sacks. The following week he showed he was no fluke by getting 3 sacks against Colorado in a dominating performance
Pete Carroll is known for going for the best player available and that player is the behemoth left tackle from Wisconson, Gabe Carimi. The 2010 Outland Trophy winner is a monster at 6'7 and 315 lbs. Sean Locklear has been the long-term starter at right tackle, but has had some injury issues and will be 30 at the start of the season. He's not known as a great run blocker and that's what this team needs after finishing 31st in rushing. According to coldhardfootballfacts.com offensive hog index, Seattle finished tied for 28th in the league.
With the drafting of Smith, the Ravens would be getting a deep ball threat to stretch out the field and give Flacco's arm some work. Smith is quick off the snap and can use his speed to terrorize opposing DBs. With Anquan Boldin there, he wouldn't need to be the number-one wideout and he could focus on making his game complete enough to be the number one when the time comes.
Although this past season Georgia switched to a 3-4 and Houston played outside linebacker, before that he was a defensive end in the 4-3 scheme. This guy is a monster when it comes to the pass rush. He is explosive off the edge and has an incredible gift of getting in the backfield. With John Abraham often commanding to be double teamed, Justin Houston could make a significant contribution right away as a pass rush specialist and eventually an all around defensive end. Justin Houston is a physical freak. He just ran a 4.57 at his Georgia Pro-Day and had an incredible combine. He is an extremely versatile player who in the past two seasons recorded 17 ½ sacks (one season as a DE on season as an OLB), he can excel in both schemes.
28. New England Patriots - J.J. Watt - DE, Wisconsin
Watt is a DE from Wisconsin who has great size at 6'6", 290 pounds, and has been described by most scouts as "NFL ready". The Patriots finished 14th in the league in sacks last year with 36.0. Although finishing 14th in sacks isn't too bad, they finished 30th in the league in passing yards given up per game with 258.5 yards, and 19th in yards given up per reception. This is mainly because they couldn't get consistent quarterback pressure because of their lack of a physical and explosive defensive end.
Compared by many to Tony Boselli, Solder, a massive (6'8 ¼", 314 lbs) former TE with good feet like our own Jason Peters, would fix all of that on the left side. He followed up a dominating Senior Bowl performance with an outstanding combine, running a 5.05 40-yard dash (tops for offensive tackles) with a 1.63 10-yard split (tops for offensive linemen). He also tied for the third-best vertical jump among offensive linemen (32 inches) and the third-best broad jump (9-2). Though he only managed a disappointing 21-reps @225lbs in the bench press, he clearly has the frame to bulk up quickly.
After releasing former first-round pick Vernon Gholston earlier this month, the Jets badly need a player who can boost their defensive end position. Trevor Pryce and Shaun Ellis are well into their thirties and Mike DeVito, who started 11 games on the right side last year, failed to come up with a single sack.
In Ayers, the Jets will get a productive, edge-rushing end with the versatility to fill in at linebacker. Should he fall this far in the real draft, Ayers would likely be an option too tempting for the defensive-minded Rex Ryan to pass up.
A 6'5" 321 tackle prospect Sherrod is projected to be a left tackle in the NFL, but has the ability to play either right or left tackle. Sherrod is the last of the "Big 5" offensive tackles (Smith, Solder, Costanzo, Carimi, Sherrod) in this yenar's draft and the drop-off from one to another is small. Depending on who you ask will depend on the order they rank the five, and any team would be ecstatic to have any of the five. After them the tackle position is slim pickings for the most part.
Heyward is ideally fitted for a role in a 3-4 system, most likely as a 5 technique. Being a Michigan fan as I am, I recall Heyward coming up big in the 09 Michigan-Ohio State Game, recovering a fumble for the first score of the game as well as getting a sack. This guy has huge potential to be a star. He has an ideal build at 6'5", 290, and has the quickness and agility to really flourish if put in the right system. He is strong, a good tackler, and can keep contain on the run, although he occasionally over-pursues. With the coaching of Mike Trgovac, I feel Heyward could really blossom into a premier DE, and make the Packers defense a force to be reckoned with for the future. Heyward has a few cons; he sometimes takes whole games off. Although he is another high motor guy, his speed is inconsistent.