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2011 Final NFL Mock Draft
Alabama DT/DE Marcell Dareus
Alabama DT/DE Marcell Dareus
Posted Apr 26, 2011

Where will Marcell Dareus end up going? Where will all the top quarterback prospects land? It's almost here. So what's the latest news, inside info, and rumors about how the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft is going to go? With what each pick might be, what it should be, and what it will be, here's the final mock draft before all the fun starts up on Thursday.

2011 NFL Mock Draft     

- The 2011 Final Mock Draft - Picks No. 17-32

2011 CFN Talent Rankings
- 1st Rounders
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders 
- Top Free Agent Talents 

2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs
- TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- OLBs | ILBs | DTs | DEs
- CBs | Ss

- CFN 2010 NFL Draft Team Rankings

2011 NFL Draft Top Prospects
- Offensive | Defense 

2010 NFL Draft Analysis

1st Round (1-16)
1st Round (17-32)
2nd Round
3rd Round
4th Round
5th Round
6th Round
7th Round
Top Free Agents

2010 CFN Talent Rankings

- 1st Rounders
- 2nd Rounders
- 3rd Rounders
- 4th Rounders
- 5th Rounders
- 6th Rounders
- 7th Rounders 
- Top Free Agent Talents 

2010 CFN Position Rankings & Analysis

- QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs
- Cs | OTs | OGs | DEs
- DTs | ILBs | OLBs
- Ss | CBs 
1. Carolina - Cam Newton, QB Auburn   

The Pick Might Be: Marcel Dareus. New head coach Ron Rivera would love to base his team around a few defensive killers. Patrick Peterson is good enough to be in the discussion, but if the Panthers go defense, they'll go with the big, versatile body for the front wall.

The Pick Should Be: Andrew Luck. Deciding to stick around for another year to study architecture, Luck could be the next Frank Lloyd Wright and it would still be a bad decision. Either you want to be an NFL quarterback or you don't. On sheer bad luck, pun sort of intended, the Panthers missed out on their chance to change up the franchise the way Peyton Manning made Indianapolis.

The Pick Will Be: Cam Newton. Assuming the Panthers can't trade down to take Peterson or Dareus, considering there's no great answer at the No. 1 they're going to shoot for the stars. If you're going to go for it, go for it.

2. Denver - Marcell Dareus, DE/DT Alabama 
TEAM NEEDS: 1) S 2) LB 3) DT

The Pick Might Be: Von Miller. There are rumblings that the Broncos will go with the elite pass rusher for the John Fox defense at the two, and then wait for down the road to address the safety ad defensive tackle needs.

The Pick Should Be: Patrick Peterson. Corner isn't a desperate need pick for the Broncos, but safety is. Take the LSU star, the best player in the draft, and stick him at safety until you need him on the outside.

The Pick Will Be: Marcell Dareus. It's sort of a borrowed basketball theory; if you can't really decide between two players, you go big. In this draft, pass rushers can be had down the line, and while Miller is a special talent, Dareus's versatility is too good to pass on.

3. Buffalo - Von Miller, DE/OLB Texas A&M  

The Pick Might Be: Marcell Dareus. If the Alabama star doesn't go at the two to Denver, he'll go with the three to the Bills. The worst run defense in the NFL needs a live body up front, and Darues is an ideal 3-4 end.

The Pick Should Be: Blaine Gabbert. If available, Cam Newton would be snapped up in a heartbeat to try to inject some new life into the franchise. There are several glaring needs, but quarterback might be the biggest and Gabbert would get Western New York fired up for the future - just in time for the Bills to see more games in Toronto.

The Pick Will Be: Von Miller.  The Bills need a pass rusher for the 3-4. It'll be either Miller or Dareus with either one a major upgrade over past drafting mistakes. Here's looking at you, Aaron Maybin.

4. Cincinnati - A.J. Green, WR Georgia  

The Pick Might Be: Julio Jones. Cincinnati marches to the beat of its own drummer. While the pick of Andre Smith has yet to work out, don't be surprised if the Bengals go back to Alabama to take Jones. Not everyone thinks A.J. Green is the draft's best receiver, and Cincinnati might be one of those teams..

The Pick Should Be: Blaine Gabbert. Carson Palmer is off to go sit on his millions of dollars while waiting to be snapped up by some desperate team looking for a free agent savior. The Bengals need a new direction, and Gabbert or Cam Newton would provide it.

The Pick Will Be: A..J. Green.  Chad I-Don't-Know-How-To-Spell-85-In-Spanish is all but done, and the team desperately needs a go-to target to work around. It'll be either Jones or Green. Flip a coin on which one.

5. Arizona - Blaine Gabbert, QB Mizzouri
TEAM NEEDS: 1) QB 2) G 3) LB

The Pick Might Be: Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals have several major issues from a pass rusher to a playmaking linebacker, but Peterson is too good to pass up. Word is that the Cardinals might wait on a quarterback and hope for Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder, or Andy Dalton in the second round.

The Pick Should Be: Blaine Gabbert. You don't mess around if you need a quarterback, especially not this year when the free agent window will likely be open for ten minutes. If the quarterback situation isn't addressed with Gabbert or Cam Newton, the Cardinals will be submitting their official entry into the 2012 Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

The Pick Will Be: Gabbert. Larry Fitzgerald needs someone to get him the ball. If you want to keep the superstar happy, and keep him in Arizona, you get him a stud under center.  

6. Cleveland - Julio Jones, WR Alabama


The Pick Might Be: Robert Quinn. This might be a tad too early, but the Browns needs a pass rusher and could use a versatile athlete to revolve the defense around. Quinn, or J.J. Watt, or Cameron Jordan would be an instant star for the Dick Jauron defense.

The Pick Should Be: Julio Jones. Colt McCoy needs someone to throw to. Mike Holmgren is committed to the Texas star, and now it's time to surround him with weapons.

The Pick Will Be: Jones.  It's an easy pick and an easy sell. If Jones goes early and if A.J. Green is still on the board, the pick would be just as easy.  

7. San Francisco - Patrick Peterson, CB LSU  

The Pick Might Be: Blaine Gabbert. Jim Harbaugh needs a quarterback. You don't start out a new coaching era relying on David Carr.

The Pick Should Be: Patrick Peterson. Corner is a need and Peterson is the best player in the draft. Put him with Patrick Willis and the Niners would have the nucleus for a whale of a defense.

The Pick Will Be: Peterson. If Peterson is gone in the top six, which wouldn't be a shock in any way, the Niners would still be sitting pretty hoping for Gabbert, Von Miller, or even Cam Newton to slide.

8. Tennessee -  Nick Fairley, DT Auburn


The Pick Might Be: Cam Newton. The Heisman winner is interviewing with the Titan brass. Considering Carolina isn't enamored with the first overall pick, don't be stunned if the Titans start anew by trading away the house to move up to grab Newton.

The Pick Should Be: Nick Fairley. There was a time early in the process when Fairley was considered the likely No. 1 overall pick. With former Auburn star Tracy Rocker coaching the defensive front, Fairley is an easy pick.

The Pick Will Be: Fairley. If it's possible to get a great value pick at the No. 8, Fairley would be it. He'd instantly fill a gaping hole, literally.  

9. Dallas - Tyron Smith. OT USC


The Pick Might Be: J.J. Watt. Rumors have been swirling for weeks around Dallas and its desire to trade down to grab one of the several good pass rushers on the board. Robert Quinn could be the pick, and Watt would fit perfectly, but Jerry Jones and company would like to have a shot at either one about five picks later.
The Pick Should Be: Da'Quan Bowers. The Clemson star's stock is sliding in a big way, but Jones didn't get to where he is by playing it safe. Roll the dice on Bowers knee, and if everything turns out to be fine, the Cowboys would get one of the best players in the draft with a need pick at the nine.

The Pick Will Be: Tyron Smith. The more time Tony Romo has, the better. While left tackle isn't an issue right now, and Smith would eventually work there, he'd be plugged in immediately on the right side. However, again with the trade rumors, there's a chance Dallas trades down to get one of the other star offensive tackles on the board.  

10. Washington - J.J. Watt. DE Wisconsin


The Pick Might Be: Jake Locker. The Redskins need a quarterback and a new leader to revolve the franchise around. Is Locker really good enough to go at the ten? No, but the team might not have a choice. No one is going to develop a young quarterback better than the Redskin coaching staff.

The Pick Should Be: Corey Liuget. Washington has to get over the mistakes of the past to find a big, active body for the inside. This is too high for Liuget, but he'd be a perfect fit for the defensive front.

The Pick Will Be: J.J. Watt. Quarterback is a need, a thumper of a defensive tackle would be nice, and a disruptive pass rusher would make a whole bunch of sense. Watt might be a slight reach here, but he's perfect for the 3-4.  

11. Houston - Aldon Smith, DE/OLB Missouri

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

The Pick Might Be: Robert Quinn. There are several teams in the top ten who'll be enamored with Quinn and will give a long, long look to taking him. He'd be just as good an option as J.J. Watt or Aldon Smith.

The Pick Should Be: Prince Amukamara. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips needs a versatile outside presence who can get into the backfield on a regular basis, but he also needs another shutdown corner. The Nebraska star would shine as an instant starter. 

The Pick Will Be: Aldon Smith. Flip a coin between Robert Quinn, J.J. Watt, and Smith, depending on who's still on the board. Quinn and Smith are more versatile than Watt.  

12. Minnesota - Jake Locker, QB Washington


The Pick Might Be: Cameron Jordan. A pure pass rusher on the outside, as long as the Vikings believe the two Williams on the inside still have some life left, having a presence like Jordan in the 4-3 makes perfect sense.

The Pick Should Be: Anthony Castonzo. The Vikings need a quarterback, but they also need to beef up the talent and options at tackle. Tyron Smith would be the right guy, but Castonzo would be a mainstay for a decade, too.

The Pick Will Be: Jake Locker. The Vikings have to pick a quarterback. They HAVE to pick a quarterback. Waiting until the second round and hoping for value isn't going to cut it. They like Locker and can ease him in by having him hand off to Adrian Peterson 25 times a game.  

13. Detroit - Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska

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

The Pick Might Be: Akeem Ayers. This might seem like a bit of a reach, but for a defense in desperate need of athletic, playmaking linebackers, it's a chance the Lions can afford to take.

The Pick Should Be: Prince Amukamara. The Lions have a ten-mile-wide hole at corner, and it's such a problem that they could end up trading up to make sure they get the Husker star.

The Pick Will Be: Amukamara. If you listen closely, you'll hear the Detroit brass yell, "Yoink!" as they run the card up to the podium.  

14. St. Louis - Cameron Jordan, DE California 

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

The Pick Might Be: Aldon Smith. There was a time when St. Louis was assuming that Julio Jones would fall here. That went bye-bye after the Combine. If Aldon Smith is still on the board, he'd be the hybrid defender who'd fill several roles.

The Pick Should Be: Cameron Jordan. Everyone's hot prospect after the post-season circuit, he could easily go much, much earlier than this.

The Pick Will Be: Jordan. Able to play inside or out, he has the versatility needed to play immediately on the Ram line  
15. Miami - Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina  

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

The Pick Might Be: Mark Ingram. It's time for an upgrade over Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. The Dolphin offense needs a franchise back to work around, and Ingram would be the centerpiece of the attack.

The Pick Should Be: Mike Pouncey. It wouldn't be the sexy pick for a team in needs of more flash, but Jake Long wasn't exactly the party time selection, either. Pouncey would be an immediate fill-in at guard.
The Pick Will Be: Robert Quinn. There are plenty of needs that can be filled in a good spot for Miami, and while running back, offensive lineman, and quarterback are all going to be addressed at some point, getting a good value pick in Quinn, a needed pass rusher to take the heat off Cameron Wake would be an instant hit.  

16. Jacksonville - Ryan Kerrigan, DE Purdue

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

The Pick Might Be: Da'Quan Bowers There will soon come a point in the draft when the GMs put their fear and desire together and go for the home run ball. Jacksonville will think Bowers, and then pass on the risk.

The Pick Should Be: Bowers. It's a chance worth taking. While he doesn't exactly fit what the Jaguars want out of a pass rushing end, if he's healthy he's the best defensive end in the draft.

The Pick Will Be: Ryan Kerrigan. Energy, energy, energy. The Jaguars want someone who'll fly into the backfield in a specialist role, and Kerrigan can bring the fire and the A effort needed on every play.  

- The 2011 Final Mock Draft - Picks No. 17-32