2011 mock draft 6.0

Posted April 22, 2011 @ 7:09 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Updated at 7:08 p.m. EST on Friday, April 22

For our latest first-round mock for the 2011 NFL draft, we turned to PFW's correspondents to make the pick for their respective teams. With the Patriots holding two picks in the first round, Pats correspondent Ian Rapoport selected twice. And with the Raiders without a first-round pick, Mike Wagaman did not participate in this exercise.

The picks were made in succession according to the order of the first round of the draft. Trades were not an option but could be mentioned as part of the explanation for the pick.

1. Carolina Panthers Darin Gantt, Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald
Cam Newton | QB | Auburn [Jr.]
Panthers GM Marty Hurney has had a change of heart in recent years, and the former patron of Jake Delhomme knows that if he wants a long-term answer at quarterback, he might have to bite the bullet. Newton's far from a sure thing, but with a new staff, a great running game and a very good offensive line in front of him, there's actually some insulation for a player with potentially dynamic skills.

2. Denver Broncos Lee Rasizer, Broncos RapidReports
Marcell Dareus | DT | Alabama [Jr.]
The Broncos have huge defensive needs and get their pick of the lot after Carolina's selection of a QB. Dareus fills the biggest hole, which is in the middle of Denver's front four. The Broncos released two defensive tackles, and two more are free agents. Dareus would be the team's first defensive tackle selected in the first round since Trevor Pryce in 1997.

3. Buffalo Bills Chuck Pollock, Olean (NY) Times Herald
Von Miller | OLB | Texas A&M
The Bills still have a desperate need for a pass rusher. Miller can play either an OLB or DE spot and some think he's the best player in the draft.

4. Cincinnati Bengals Joe Reedy, Cincinnati Enquirer
A.J. Green | WR | Georgia [Jr.]
Chad Ochocinco, Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell are entering the final year of their contracts and Ochocinco's chances of being back this year are pretty slim. The Bengals have thrown away money the past couple seasons trying to find a No. 2 receiver but they need to start addressing their long-term No. 1.

5. Arizona Cardinals Kent Somers, Arizona Republic
Patrick Peterson | CB | LSU [Jr.]
The Cardinals need someone to contribute immediately and aren't sold on Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert.

6. Cleveland Browns Tony Grossi, Cleveland Plain-Dealer
Julio Jones | WR | Alabama [Jr.]
Jones would help give Colt McCoy a No. 1 receiver/TD-maker and help in the young QB's development. Plus, he carries less risk than the others available.

7. San Francisco 49ers Kevin Lynch, San Francisco Chronicle
Blaine Gabbert | QB | Missouri [Jr.]
The Niners are really looking for a quarterback, which is their No. 1 need, and Gabbert might be the most accurate QB in the draft.

8. Tennessee Titans Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean
QB Jake Locker | QB | Washington
The Titans can't afford to wait on their next franchise quarterback. So they grab Locker before someone else beats them to the punch.  

9. Dallas Cowboys Mickey Spagnola, DallasCowboys.com
Nick Fairley | DL | Auburn [Jr.]
Not sure the Cowboys would expect Fairley to be available at this pick, but would welcome the potential defensive end in their 3-4 alignment falling into their laps, especially since without the availability of veteran free agency before the draft that certainly is one of their need positions, with three of their top four defensive ends scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.

10. Washington Redskins John Keim, Washington Examiner
Robert Quinn | DE | North Carolina [Jr.]
The Redskins wanted a pass rusher opposite Brian Orakpo; they found one in the raw but very athletic Quinn.

11. Houston Texans John McClain, Houston Chronicle
Aldon Smith | OLB | Missouri [Soph.-3]
He's talented but raw and Wade Phillips needs an outside ’backer for his new 3-4 scheme.

12. Minnesota Vikings Judd Zulgad, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Prince Amukamara | CB | Nebraska
The Vikes learned last season that you can never have enough depth at cornerback, plus there are genuine concerns about Cedric Griffin coming off ACL tears to both knees the past two years.

13. Detroit Lions Chris McCosky, Detroit News
Tyron Smith | OT | USC [Jr.]
This would be a pleasant surprise if he fell here. The Lions need tackle help with aging Jeff Backus and injured Gosder Cherilus.

14. St. Louis Rams Jim Thomas, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Corey Liuget | DT | Illinois [Jr.]
Under this scenario, the Rams probably would be looking to trade down. But the pick is Liuget, who fills one of the team's greatest needs on defense — a three-technique in their 4-3 scheme with some quickness and penetration skills.

15. Miami Dolphins Omar Kelly, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Mark Ingram | RB | Alabama [Jr.]
The Dolphins desperately want to trade down to regain a second-round pick. Without a taker, Miami selects Ingram, the highest-rated player, who happens to fill one of the team's glaring needs.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars Vito Stellino, Florida Times-Union
Ryan Kerrigan | DE | Purdue
The Jaguars are desperate to improve their pass rush and Kerrigan has been compared favorably to starting DRE Aaron Kampman.

17. New England Patriots (from Oakland) Ian Rapoport, Boston Herald
Mike Pouncey | OG-C | Florida
Logan Mankins' long-term future is in doubt, supersub Dan Connolly is penciled in as the other guard, and C Dan Koppen isn't getting any younger. Drafting Pouncey provides immediate help at guard and perhaps long-term help at center with his nasty attitude.

18. San Diego Chargers Scott Bair, North County Times
J.J. Watt | DE | Wisconsin [Jr.]
Watt is a perfect fit for the Chargers' 3-4 scheme. He strong enough to handle double-teams and savvy enough to pressure the quarterback from the DRE spot. In a draft where the team needs immediate production from its selections, Watt will do exactly that.

19. New York Giants Paul Schwartz, New York Post
Anthony Castonzo | OT | Boston College
Injuries and age along the offensive line cut deeply into the depth and Castonzo is a ready-to-go tackle with great smarts and character, making him a perfect Giants pick. Would have gone for Pouncey if he was still there at No. 19.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Roy Cummings, Tampa Tribune
Cameron Jordan | DE | California
The athletic Jordan fills a big need for the Bucs as a pass rusher who also can play a little bit on the outside at linebacker.

21. Kansas City Chiefs Kent Babb, Kansas City Star
Akeem Ayers | OLB | UCLA [Jr.]
Not only does Ayers fit a need as a complement to Tamba Hali, he fits GM Scott Pioli's criteria as a former team captain and leader.

22. Indianapolis Colts Tom James, The Tribune Star (Terre Haute, IN)
Gabe Carimi | OT | Wisconsin
Left tackle would appear to be the team's biggest need. Carimi fits the bill.

23. Philadelphia Eagles Dave Weinberg, The Press of Atlantic City
Jimmy Smith | CB | Colorado
With Ellis Hobbs' neck injury leaving him on the verge of retirement and 2010 fourth-rounder Trevard Lindley a disappointment, the Eagles need a cornerback to pair with Asante Samuel.

24. New Orleans Saints Mike Triplett, New Orleans Times-Picayune
Muhammad Wilkerson | DL | Temple [Jr.]
The Saints will take the best available player here, but the best-case scenario would be for that highest-rated player to fit somewhere on the defensive line or at outside linebacker. They could use an injection of youth and athleticism to help disrupt opposing passers. Wilkerson is an intriguing athlete with great potential and could move from end to tackle in different formations, which will appeal to creative defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

25. Seattle Seahawks Clare Farnsworth, Seahawks.com
Danny Watkins | OG | Baylor
The first thing GM John Schneider will try to do — and wants to do — is trade back. If he can't, and with Liuget, Pouncey and Smith off the board, the Seahawks look to upgrade the interior of their O-line with an older (26 years old) but still-ascending player.

26. Baltimore Ravens Jamison Hensley, Baltimore Sun
Cameron Heyward | DE | Ohio State
With Wilkerson and Smith gone, their first choice would be to trade out of this spot. One of the big positives with Heyward that they like is his toughness. Even though he had a drop-off in sacks last year, they believe he could improve their pass rush, which produced a franchise-low 27 sacks in 2010.

27. Atlanta Falcons D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal Constitution
Adrian Clayborn | DE | Iowa
The Falcons need another pass rusher opposite John Abraham, who's not getting any younger. This is the deepest DE draft in a while, and Clayborn would be a good fit for them to serve as an understudy to Abraham.

28. New England Patriots Ian Rapoport, Boston Herald
Da'Quan Bowers | DE | Clemson
A top-10 talent who could be the next Richard Seymour, the Patriots make this pick confident that Bowers' knee will be fine.

29. Chicago Bears Bob LeGere, Daily Herald
Nate Solder | OT | Colorado
Solder is the best offensive lineman available. I don't think the Bears believe he will still be here. He might be a little bit of a project, but they have enough faith in OL coach Mike Tice to coach him up and make him an immediate starter at left tackle.

30. New York Jets Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential
Brooks Reed | OLB | Arizona
This is a little bit of a reach, but the Jets need an edge 3-4 pass rusher to disrupt the game. They have a lot of defensive linemen at the end of the roster, so it's not as big of a need as people think. I do think, though, that they will trade out of this pick to a team looking to take a quarterback, and that way they can regain their second-round pick. 

31. Pittsburgh Steelers Jim Wexell, Steel City Insider
Aaron Williams | CB | Texas [Jr.]
Prototype Steelers cornerback becomes yet another junior taken first by director of football operations Kevin Colbert.

32. Green Bay Packers Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Justin Houston | OLB | Georgia [Jr.]
The Packers return four players with starts opposite Clay Matthews but none with the pass-rushing power of Houston. It'll be a conversion for Houston, but his explosiveness and athleticism make this a gamble worth taking.