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2011 NFL Mock Draft - Needs, Wants & Desires
Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert
Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 23, 2011


Several teams need a quarterback, but does Blaine Gabbert move the needle enough to go in the top five? Is he a special talent, or just a safe one? What is ever NFL team's main need (besides a new collective bargaining agreement) and where should the top players go? Check out the latest CFN Mock Draft, predicting and projecting the first round.

2011 NFL Mock Draft   

January 23


- The 2011 Early Entries   .  

2011 CFN Position Rankings
- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs | Ps & Ks
- Top 150 Talents 

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs
2011 NFL Draft Order (so far)

1. Carolina - Nick Fairley, DT Auburn

TEAM NEEDS: 1) QB 2) DT 3) CB

Carolina needs a quarterback, and don't dismiss the idea that Cam Newton will be off-the-charts phenomenal once he gets into workouts. Fairley, however, could be the cornerstone of the Ron Rivera defense.

2. Denver - Da'Quan Bowers, DE Clemson

TEAM NEEDS: 1) S 2) LB 3) DT

He's not Julius Peppers, but Bowers could be the end that becomes the dominant force on John Fox's front four. A no-question top five pick, he could go No. 1 overall to Carolina. The Broncos could go Patrick Peterson to get younger in the secondary.

3. Buffalo - Cam Newton, QB Auburn

TEAM NEEDS: 1) DE 2) OT 3) QB

The Bills need to do something splashy. A non-factor for several years, Toronto, er, Buffalo needs something to rally the fan base around. The Western New York area wouldn't be energized football-wise by one lone move like taking Newton since drafting O.J.  

4. Cincinnati - A.J. Green, WR Georgia
 
TEAM NEEDS: 1) DE 2) OT 3) WR

Taking a quarterback here would signal the end of the Carson Palmer era (which he appears to want, demanding a trade), but the franchise appears to be looking to make one more run. Da'Quan Bowers would be the dream pick here, but Green is a must considering the age of the team's overrated targets..

5. Arizona - Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri 

TEAM NEEDS: 1) QB 2) G 3) LB

Don't dismiss the idea of Arizona moving up to take the guy it wants ahead of Buffalo. The Cardinals lost Kurt Warner, dumped Matt Leinart, and insulted the fan base by starting Max Hall and Derek Anderson. John Skelton isn't the answer, either. A new QB, though, won't get much of a honeymoon.   

6. Cleveland - Patrick Peterson, CB LSU

TEAM NEEDS: 1) WR 2) DE 3) CB

The Browns need more firepower and a bigger upgrade at all the skill spots, but coming up with a lockdown, No. 1 corner to rely on game in and game out would also be nice. Peterson might be the best player in the whole draft.

7. San Francisco - Marcell Dareus, DT Alabama

TEAM NEEDS: 1) QB 2) LB 3) CB

The Niners might try to start out the Jim Harbaugh era by reaching too high for a Jake Locker or a Ryan Mallett, but the foundation could be set on the defensive interior with a franchise-building rock like Dareus. The Niners aren't that bad at QB; they don't need to overpay.

8. Tennessee - Jake Locker, QB Washington

TEAM NEEDS: 1) QB 2) DT 3) LB

Of all the spots for Locker to go early on, this might be the best fit. He needs time and polish, and he'll get it if the Titans choose to keep using Kerry Collins as a stopgap. Jeff Fisher won't have any Vince Young-like diva issues with Locker, but he will need time to work on making the Washington star an accurate passer.

9. Dallas - Robert Quinn, DE North Carolina

TEAM NEEDS: 1) DE 2) OT 3) LB

The offense is loaded, but an offensive tackle wouldn't be a bad thought. Quinn, Von Miller, or the cream of the good offensive tackle crop will go to Jerry World.

10. Washington - Ryan Mallett, QB Arkansas

TEAM NEEDS: 1) QB 2) DT 3) RB

Mallett is a major reach this high considering he has to prove he can handle any semblance of a steady pass rush, but Washington can't go into 2011 selling Rex Grossman to the fan base. Don't dismiss the idea that Mike Shanahan, finally decides to invest on one good running back to work around, and Mark Ingram could be the ideal player for the system.

11. Houston - Von Miller, LB Texas A&M

TEAM NEEDS: 1) CB 2) DT 3) S

This could be the key pick to the second half of the first round. The Texans need Prince Amukamara, but they're not going to pass up a disruptive force like Miller if given the shot.

12. Minnesota - Nate Solder, OT Colorado

TEAM NEEDS: 1) QB 2) OT 3) DT

The Vikings aren't going to start 2011 with Joe Webb under center, but they're also not going to break the bank to move up to get Ryan Mallett or Jake Locker. However, if Cam Newton is here, watch how quickly Minnesota pulls the trigger thinking it has another very big, very mobile, Daunte Culpepper-like talent. Getting young at tackle on both sides of the line wouldn't be a bad thing.

13. Detroit - Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska

TEAM NEEDS: 1) CB 2) LB 3) S

If Amukamara is still there, this would be the fastest pick made in the entire draft. The Lions need secondary help, and getting a lockdown No. 1 like the Husker star would be a huge addition.

14. St. Louis - Julio Jones, WR Alabama 

TEAM NEEDS: 1) WR 2) RB 3) G

The Franchise needs weapons to work with. Sam Bradford showed that he has the talent and the potential to be a special quarterback, and Julio Jones would be a whale of a primary target from Day One.     

15. Miami - Mark Ingram, RB Alabama  
TEAM NEEDS: 1) G 2) QB 3) RB

Is Chad Henne the problem or is he just not getting any help? Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown aren't adding the pop needed. The interior of the offensive line isn't getting enough of a push, but the Dolphins could use a top back to carry the offense.

16. Jacksonville - Ryan Kerrigan, DE Purdue

TEAM NEEDS: 1) DE 2) S 3) WR

Is this the year the Jaguars finally fix the defensive end issues? If Kerrigan is still on the board, then yes. Finding a top-shelf receiver would be nice, and safety will be addressed in the later rounds.

17. New England (from Oakland) - Akeem Ayers, LB UCLA
 
TEAM NEEDS: 1) RB 2) DE 3) LB

Bill Belichick loves linebackers, and Ayers is the type of do-it-all playmaker who can be used in a variety of ways. The Pats could use another defensive end and more beef at linebacker, and in a hybrid way, Ayers fills both the holes. Don't be shocked if this isn't Aldon Smith.  

18. San Diego - Aldon Smith, DE Missouri

TEAM NEEDS: 1) OLB 2) WR 3) DE

The defense hasn't been the same since Shawne Merriman got hurt, and Smith, Akeem Ayers, or if he drops, Von Miller, could take over the role. Wide receiver has to be worked on later in the draft, and the Chargers should take several more pass rushing prospects to make up for the Larry English gaffe.    

19. NY Giants - Stephen Paea, DT Oregon State

TEAM NEEDS: 1) LB 2) DT 3) C

Offensive tackle wouldn't be a bad move here, and Mike Pouncey could be the answer to anchor the middle for the next decade, but Paea would be a key part of the rotation up front and fits what the Giants like to do.

20. Tampa Bay - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

TEAM NEEDS: 1) DE 2) CB 3) DE

This might be a bit high for the Badger star, but the Bucs need a pure pass rusher and a high-energy, high-motor producer on the outside while Gerald McCoy and Brian Price control the inside.

21. Kansas City - Tyron Smith, OT USC
TEAM NEEDS: 1) WR 2) OT 3) LB

Sort of the hot tackle at the moment, Smith is an athletic bookend who'd work with the KC offense and would quickly grow into a franchise tackle. A No. 2 receiver next to Dwayne Bowe is also a must, but the Chiefs can take care of that in the next few rounds.

22. Indianapolis - Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin
TEAM NEEDS: 1) OT 2) WR 3) Backup QB

Take your pick on the tackle who gets to try to keep Mr. Manning upright. While the team is still in Super Bowl mode and needs to upgrade the overall talent with yet another top player, addressing the quarterback situation will be vital soon. Indy might learn from the Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers progression and draft one of the quarterbacks, if a good one falls, to groom for the next few years.

23. Philadelphia - Anthony Castonzo, OT Boston College
TEAM NEEDS: 1) LB 2) CB 3) OG

The offense has the weapons, but it needs reinforcements on the line. Castonzo is hardly a need pick, and more linebackers will come aboard in the later rounds, but value at this point in the draft is at offensive tackle.

24. New Orleans - Justin Houston, OLB Georgia
TEAM NEEDS: 1) RB 2) DE 3) S

This is a reach, but New Orleans has to get back to its disruptive, ball-hawking ways, and it needs dangerous defenders on the outside to do that. Houston would play a variety of roles.

25. Seattle Seahawks - Corey Liuget, DT Illinois
TEAM NEEDS: 1) QB 2) DT 3) WR

Is Charlie Whitehurst going to be the face of the franchise? Even if he isn't, the Seahawks need more playmakers on the defensive front and the ultra-active Liuget can work as a big end or a nimble tackle.

26. Baltimore - Cameron Jordan, DE California
TEAM NEEDS: 1) DE 2) LB 3) S

Baltimore is Baltimore because it's great at bringing in dangerous defenders to replace aging dangerous defenders. There will be several options here for the end, but Jordan has the talent to be the best fit for what the Ravens like to do.

27 Atlanta - Cameron Heyward, DE Baltimore
TEAM NEEDS: 1) DE 2) OT 3) WR

It'll be a coin flip between the best offensive tackle left on the board and the best end left on the board. The versatility of Heyward is too much to overlook, and he'd be a phenomenal steal this late.

28. New England - Mikel Leshoure, RB Illinois
TEAM NEEDS: 1) RB 2) DE 3) LB

Assuming the Pats don't go trade-crazy, and assuming they address the defensive front with their first pick, going with the tough, quick Leshoure would be a huge upgrade over the already-productive overachieving backs the team uses now.

29-32. Green Bay - Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa
TEAM NEEDS: 1) RB 2) DE 3) WR

The Packers have a devastating secondary and a great group of linebackers. The versatility of Clayborn, or Cameron Heyward, would free up the Green Bay coaches to move around Clay Matthews even more.

29-32. N.Y. Jets - Drake Nevis, DT LSU
TEAM NEEDS: 1) DT 2) LB 3) RB

The Jets need that rock and that anchor in the middle that Kris Jenkins hasn't been able to be. Nevis might not exactly be a space-eater, but he'd be a key part of the run defense immediately.

29-32. Chicago - Benjamin Ijalana, OT Villanova
TEAM NEEDS: 1) WR 2) OT 3) DT

The shocking run deep into the playoffs has masked just how miserable the line has been, even in its revamped form. Jay Cutler needs a No. 1 receiver, but he also needs to keep his head from bouncing off the turf on a regular basis. Chicago MUST get a tackle it can trust after blowing the Chris Williams pick a few years ago.

29-32. Pittsburgh - Brandon Harris, CB Miami
TEAM NEEDS: 1) OT 2) CB 3) OG

The offensive line needs a major boost to help keep Ben Roethlisberger from getting killed, but Pittsburgh is about the defense. Harris might be a bit of a luxury pick, but he'd make the secondary instantly stronger.