2011 NFL Mock Draft – Divisional Round

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Here’s our first 2011 NFL Mock Draft at My Sports Rumors, this is our pre-Divisional Round edition. I’m just going to get right into it.

1. Carolina Panthers – WR A.J. Green – Georgia

Ok, I’m not fully sold as this being the pick for the Panthers but you know what it’s early in the season. I’ve been leaning defensive with this pick, and thought that way even more with new head coach Ron Rivera, a defensive specialist. That thinking is what made me do a complete turnaround and go with Green. I think he’ll get a playmaker on offense, since a defensive minded coach should be able to work with what he’s got.

2. Denver Broncos – DE/DT Nick Fairley – Auburn

I’m pretty certain Denver will go defensive with their first back, the unit needs a lot of help. The team had a league low 23 sacks last season. They could go defensive back but if John Fox winds up head coach they’re going to focus on that defensive line and Fairley is a beast up there.

3. Buffalo Bills – DE Da’Quan Bowers – Clemson

Most people, especially those in Buffalo, will be yelling for a quarterback here but there really isn’t one worth this pick. Instead the Bils should focus on their pourous defense that gave up about 170 yards per game on the ground and only sacked the QB 26 times. Bowers is a player that should definitely help solve that issue.

4. Cincinnati Bengals – WR Julio Jones – Alabama

This option only makes sense to me, the Bengals are going to need a solid wide receiver for the 2011 season. Who knows if Ocho Cinco Terrell Owens are back, I’m thinking neither will be so they got to turn their attention somewhere. The 6’4 Jones should definitely be a fit.

5. Arizona Cardinals – DE Robert Quinn – North Carolina

The Cardinals have two main needs, a quarterback and a defensive lineman. The main need is QB but for a team like the Cardinals I think it would be too early to select a QB like Blaine Gabbert, so I’m going to say Quinn is the guy. While he didn’t play at all in 2009, he should test off the charts at the Combine and become a huge prospect again.

6. Cleveland Browns – DE Marcell Dareus – Alabama

The big need for the Browns is a playmaker for Colt McCoy. Unfortunately, with Jones and Green off the board there isn’t anyone worth selecting on that side of the ball. So what do they do? They take Dareus who already has experience in a 3-4 defense, he’s big enough to play either tackle or end.

7. San Francisco 49ers – QB Blaine Gabbert – Missouri

With the 49ers new head coach being Jim Harbaugh you know he’s going the QB route. Gabbert is currently rated the #1 QB by many sources so I’ll take him for the Niners, at the moment.

8. Tennessee Titans – QB Ryan Mallett – Arkansas

After dumping Vince Young, the Titans need to go get themselves a QB because Kerry Collins won’t be around much longer. Mallet seems like the best choice to me with Gabbert off the board. Some will lean towards Cam Newton but I think the Titans will go with more of a traditional passer.

9. Dallas Cowboys – CB Patrick Peterson – LSU

Yea, I know I have Peterson dropping quite a bit and if it happens Jerry Jones will be ecstatic. Peterson is projected to be a top three pick so getting such a talented cornerback will be huge for a team that pretty much has none.

10. Washington Redskins – QB Jake Locker – Washington

Even with the team having many needs, their main need is to find a replacement for Donovan McNabb. There’s two left on the board Cam Newton and Locker, I think Locker would be the better fit with Mike Shanahan and his offensive style.

11. Houston Texans – CB Prince Amukamara – Nebraska

The Prince is the best corner still left on the board and we all know that’s a major need for the Texans. Who can forget how bad their secondary performed in almost every, single game. Prince has all the tools to be a potential shut down corner for them and what’s even better is that he can help in run defense.

12. Minnesota Vikings – QB Cam Newton – Auburn

The belief is that the Vikings will be draft a QB to replace Brett Favre, I agree with that thinking. For a while now I’ve called Newton another Daunte Culpepper and ironically Newton is the best QB still on the board. So let’s see are the Minnesota fans ready for Daunte Round 2?

13. Detroit Lions – DE/LB Von Miller – Texas A&M

When you combine last years first round pick Ndamukong Suh with Von Miller, quarterbacks should be running in fear. Miller had 9.5 sacks from the linebacker position last year, if you combine that motor with Suh’s and they’ll be plenty of Lions in the offensive backfield.

14. St. Louis Rams – DT Stephen Paea – Oregon State

The Rams need a playmaker at the wide receiver position to go with Sam Bradford, unfortunately there isn’t one available at this point. So what will they do? I’d think they’ll address the defense, Spags bread and butter. Paea at 300+ pounds will be a nice center piece at the middle of his defensive line.

15. Miami Dolphins – RB Mark Ingram Jr – Alabama

If the ‘Skins don’t select Ingram over a QB then he’ll easily fall to the Dolphins at #15. If he does fall, the Dolphins will be jumping for joy as they’ve found their replacement for both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown in one move.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE J.J. Watt – Wisconsin

The Jaguars are a team in desperate need for a defensive end, after the injury to Aaron Kampman they had no one to step in. Watt is a guy who could easily play along side of him, he’s a big prospect who is solid against the run and the pass.

17. New England Patriots (via Oakland Raiders) – LB Akeem Ayers – UCLA

Ayers is arguably the most all-around linebacker prospect in the draft. He could easily play against the run and pass, as well as the 3-4 or 4-3 defense. He’s the kind of versatile player that Bill Belichick would absolutely love to have.

18. San Diego Chargers – DE Cameron Jordan – California

The Chargers are still searching for someone who can replace Shawn Merriman, Jordan would be a good step in finding that replacement. He’s explosive off the edge against the pass and pretty solid in stuffing the run. In 2010, he had 12.5 tackles for losses and five sacks, production like that wouldbe a huge boost to the Chargers D.

19. New York Giants – OT Derek Sherrod – Mississippi State

Many will call for the Giants to select a linebacker here, every year the mock drafts call for it and it pretty much never happens. The Giants draft the best available player on their board, regardless of position not need (which LB tends to be annually). Ironically after I just said that, I think this will be the year the Giants select who they think is the best available player at one of their needs and for some reason i think Sherrod will be that guy. There may be better offensive tackles but he’d fit their offensive style as Sherrod help lead a rushing attack that averaged over 225 yards per game in 2010.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Adrian Clayborn – Iowa

The Bucs struck gold in last years draft, starting ten rookies and finishing above .500. That’s pretty freaking impressive. The offense looks like it is close to set, so its time to continue building that defense. Clayborn was once a top 10 prospect but character issues have caused Adrian to drop draft boards. But you know what we all know that Tampa is one team that’s never cared about character issues.

21. Kansas City Chiefs – DE Ryan Kerrigan – Purdue

The Chiefs have two areas of need, pass rushing and offensive line. With that being said I think they should focus their attention to one of the best guys still on the board in those area, Ryan Kerrigan. In 2010, Kerrigan had 18.5 tackles for losses, 13 of which where sacks. That’s definitely a pass rushing specialist.

22. Indianapolis Colts – OT Tyron Smith – USC

The Colts have needs on both lines of the ball, I’d say the most important area to address is the offensive. The Colts offense just didn’t look the same and a lot of that is because the offensive line was just weak as hell. Smith is arguably the best offensive tackle in the draft and should be a huge help to Peyton Manning in 2011.

23. Philadelphia Eagles – OT/G Gabe Carimi – Wisconsin

The Eagles offensive line was a disaster in 2010, they succeeded despite the unit thanks to the scrambling ability of Michael Vick. If the Birds can bolster that unit then the offense should be even more explosive next season. The question is do they look for a tackle or a guard? I’d say they just go with the most versatile of the group and Carimi can contribute at any position.

24. New Orleans Saints – DE/LB Aldon Smith – Missouri

The Saints defensive line could use some help and Aldon is still the best on the board. He’s arguably one of the best pass rushers in the draft, he’ll just need to improve against the run to succeed at the next level.

25. Seattle Seahawks – CB Brandon Harris – Miami

The Seahawks defense was horrible in 2010, giving up almost 370 yards per game most of which were in the air. So what’s that mean? They need to address the secondary. Harris is a guy who could step right in and be of immediate help as he’s also a solid defender against the run.

26. Green Bay Packers – DE Cameron Heyward – Ohio State

The Packers have a couple areas of need, offensive and defensive line, as well as the secondary. I think Heyward would be the perfect addition to their 3-4 defense. He’s big enough to play a DT in a 4-3 defense, but translates more into a powerful DE in a 3-4. He won’t be your speed rusher on the edge but he’ll help clog things up for those pass rushers to do their job.

27. New York Jets – DE/DT Allen Bailey – Miami

Bailey is a versatile player that can play inside on a 4-3, or edge on a 3-4. He’s quick and strong which Jets coach Rex Ryan will love as he should be able to use him all across the thin Jets defensive line.

28. Baltimore Ravens – CB Aaron Williams – Texas

The Ravens secondary wasn’t that good in 2010, struggling mightily at times. Some will argue it was the lack of a pass rush but I say regardless they address that area. Williams brings an added bonus, ball hawking availability which is a good fit for this team that likes to create turnovers.

29. Chicago Bears – OT Anthony Costanzo – Boston College

The Bears need to do whatever they can to get Jay Cutler more protection, as well as whatever the can to open up better running lanes for Matt Forte. Costanzo will be a huge upgrade to the unit and help lead that offensive line back to respectability.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers – DE/LB Justin Houston – Georgia

The last few years I’ve pegged the Steelers for an offensivve lineman, this year I think they address their linebacking corps as they’re expected to let LaMarr Woodley walk. Houston is the perfect talent for this team as he can play DE or LB, so basically he’ll fit right in with a 3-4 defense.

31. Atlanta Falcons – TE Kyle Rudolph – Notre Dame

The Falcons are in a good position now where they don’t have many weaknesses, so they can draft whatever they want. With the threat of Tony Gonzalez retiring, Rudolph would make for a solid selection. If Tony returns then Kyle will have a great teacher in 2011.

32. New England Patriots – G/C Stefen Wisniewski – Penn State

The Patriots are another team that doesn’t have to necessarily draft based on need, especially when they have three of the first 33 picks. In their first pick I had Belichick address his linebacker needs, now he hits the offensive line. With Logan Mankins most likely not returning, Wisniewski should help solidify the interior part of the offensive line.

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