NFL Draft Preview: 2011 NFL Mock Draft First Round

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The 2011 NFL Draft is just about upon us, and here at Cappers Info, we’ve got our first round Mock Draft available for scrutiny. Check out how we see the first round of the draft going!

1: Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn – The Heisman Trophy winner takes his trade to Carolina, where he’ll have a significantly tougher time making headway than he did with Auburn.

2: Denver Broncos – Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama – Denver badly needs some help on defense, and this is a good way to start. The success of Ndamukong Suh last year in Detroit makes this pick all that more sexy for the Broncos.

3: Buffalo Bills – Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri – Buffalo could do just about anything with this pick, but it really has to take a quarterback in the first round of the draft one of these years. Gabbert is a pro’s pro, and he should help right away under center for a team that hasn’t had much to cheer about at that position since Jim Kelly left town.

4: Cincinnati Bengals – AJ Green, WR, Georgia – A perfect fit that makes a ton of sense here for the Bengals. New OC Jay Gruden would love to have himself a big time wide receiver to throw the ball to, and that might help get Carson Palmer to come back to the ‘Natti. It’s not likely, but Green is still a great choice anyway, especially if both Gabbert and Newton are off the board.

5: Arizona Cardinals – Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M – A dream scenario here for Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt. He could go with Patrick Peterson here, but instead, the prototypical outside linebacker in a 3-4 falls to him in this spot in Miller, a blazer off of the corner that can get to the quarterback.

6: Cleveland Browns – Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU – You can never have enough shut down corners at your disposal, and Peterson would be too good here for the Browns to pass up at No. 6. Peterson and Joe Haden would suddenly make up the best young tandem of corners that this league has seen in quite some time.

7: San Francisco 49ers – Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina – This would be a tough, tough spot for Head Coach Jim Harbaugh in his first draft. If this is how it were to play out, both the top corner and the top pass rusher on the board would be gone, as would the top two QB prospects. We have to assume that the Niners would try everything to get out of this spot at this point, because it’s probably too early to take Prince Amukamara. Instead, we’ll give the Niners the best player available in Quinn to help rush the passer.

8: Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn – The Titans take a very talented player with a troubled history in Fairley, which could be good… and it could turn out to be another Vince Young situation.

9: Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith, OT, USC – Jerry Jones takes his first ever offensive lineman in the first round in team history by taking Smith, who should do a better job of protecting Tony Romo than the OL in Big D did last year…

10: Washington Redskins – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama – The SEC West takes half of the Top 10 in this draft when Jones comes off the board. Washington needs a wide receiver in a big time way, but if it were smart, it would try to trade down and stock pile some picks, as there is plenty available for this team to pick later on.

11: Houston Texans – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska – The only reason this pick is going to take so long to get to the podium is because it’s going to take some rep for the Texans at least 20 seconds to spell Amukamara. If this pick is available and Houston doesn’t go grab the former Husker, everyone in the War Room should be fired in an instant.

12: Minnesota Vikings – JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin – Probably a bit of a reach here for Minnesota, but with an aging defensive line and a lack of interest for Jake Locker, Watt makes for a decent pick in a lousy spot to be in.

13: Detroit Lions – Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri – The reformation of the Detroit defense continues with Smith, who could be a monster lined up on the same side of the line as Ndamukong Suh.

14: St. Louis Rams – Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue – The run on defensive linemen continues here at No. 14, as Steve Spagnuolo collects a real stud out of Purdue that can be a double digit sack man.

15: Miami Dolphins – Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida – Pouncey becomes the first interior lineman off the board here at No. 15 in a position that Miami desperately needs to fill. It’ll do so with a local player from Gainesville that it hopes turns into the second coming of his brother, Maurkice Pouncey in Pittsburgh.

16: Jacksonville Jaguars – Jake Locker, QB, Washington – The Jags have had a history of terrible drafting, and this might be the pick that finally puts Head Coach Jack Del Rio in his grave. Jacksonville needs a quarterback, but Locker is clearly a project pick, not a guy you’re slotting in there right away.

17: New England Patriots – Justin Houston, LB, Georgia – Here, we just have a good fit for the Pats with Justin Houston. Sure, it’d be a reach of a pick here at No. 17, but Bill Belichick has never cared about draft value, just getting the right guys in the right spots in his lineup. Houston fills a big time void at OLB.

18: San Diego Chargers – Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal – This is the proper pick at this point for the Chargers, who need a replacement for the departed (and fallen off the face of the earth) Shawne Merriman.

19: New York Giants – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College – The G-Men would be doing cartwheels to end up with Castonzo, one of the best exterior OL options on the board this year.

20: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson – The Bucs have totally revamped their defensive line over the course of the last two years in the draft, and this year, the task will be complete if they can snare Bowers or one of the other stud defensive ends in this draft.

21: Kansas City Chiefs – Game Carimi, OT, Wisconsin – There’s never anything wrong with drafting a Wisconsin offensive lineman. The big man for the Badgers will end up in a KC uniform if he’s still on the board at No. 21.

22: Indianapolis Colts – Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois – Yeah, the Colts would probably be better served not drafting an interior lineman here, but GM Bill Polian always drafts the best talent available. Liuget is certainly a Top 20 talent, and Indy would be thrilled to have him at No. 22.

23: Philadelphia Eagles – Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado – The Eagles could be trading up for a corner at some point during the draft, but if they don’t, this is the man that they want. Smith is a perfect complement for Head Coach Andy Reid’s defense.

24: New Orleans Saints – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple – Save for Will Smith, there isn’t anything on this defensive line that scares us for the Saints. Wilkerson would at least threaten to change that.

25: Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas – Mallett has prototypical size for a quarterback, and he is just the type of man that Head Coach Pete Carroll built his teams around at USC. This is assuming, of course, that the team doesn’t have confidence in Charlie Whitehurst any longer after watching him stink it up for the most part last season, save for in that playoff game. It’s an ideal situation for Mallett to be in as a rookie, learning from Hasselbeck and Carroll.

26: Baltimore Ravens – Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State – And now we have three men named Cameron drafted in the first round with Heyward coming off the board to the Ravens. These big time athletic defenders are just what Baltimore is always looking for, and inevitably, Heyward would be able to step right in and help out a big time unit.

27: Atlanta Falcons – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado – We love the pick here for Head Coach Mike Smith to shore up another offensive line spot with Solder, a man who was a beast going against some of the best that the country had to offer in the Big XII last season.

28: New England Patriots – Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama – The rich just keep getting richer. Ingram is a Top 10 talent and is definitely the best back on the board, but his injury concerns are making teams shy away. If Ingram is the real deal, you can bet that New England won’t pass on him, especially with Belichick and one of his old assistants, Nick Saban in cahoots.

29: Chicago Bears – Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State – MSU is one of these programs that is growing in stature right now under Dan Mullen, and Sherrod could be a beast at offensive tackle for the Bears. Protection of Jay Cutler at least gives him a chance, though there might not be a chance for a man that has this bipolar of an arm.

30: New York Jets – Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA – Phil Taylor will be tempting here for the Jets, but Ayers is a pass rusher that is absolutely coveted by Head Coach Rex Ryan. Ryan loves these athletic players, and this is the perfect combination of speed and strength to add to the mix in the Big Apple.

31: Pittsburgh Steelers – Brandon Harris, DB, Miami – The Steelers really don’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses right now, but corner is probably one of them. Don’t be shocked if Pittsburgh tries to move up to get Mike Pouncey to slot in next to his brother, but it’s not all that often that we see the black and gold moving up, especially when they draft so well in the slots that they are in.

32: Green Bay Packers – Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona – With Heyward off the board, there isn’t much left for a 3-4 based team to go after. Reed is a nice alternative right now, though the possibility of a wide receiver is out there as well.

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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