2011 NFL Draft Preview Picks 1-8
Previously I discussed the top 8 picks in the draft and today I bring you the following 8. This presents half of the first round in the upcoming draft and discusses in detail picks 9-16. Listed below are the top 8 picks again and then an analysis of the teams picking next.
1) Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton – QB – Auburn
2) Denver Broncos- Marcell Dareus – DT – Alabama
3) Buffalo Bills- A.J. Green – WR – Georgia
4) Cincinnati Bengals- Blaine Gabbert – QB – Missouri
5) Arizona Cardinals- Von Miller- LB – Texas A&M
6) Cleveland Browns- Julio Jones – WR – Alabama
7) San Francisco 49ers- Patrick Peterson – CB – LSU
8) Tennessee Titans- Nick Fairley – DT – Auburn
9) Dallas Cowboys- Mike Pouncey – C – Florida
The cowboys have several needs and offensive line is certainly one of them. Let’s call it a hunch, but here’s what Pouncey himself feels about his draft status: twitter.com/MikePouncey/status/55694775004835840#. For this reason and because they can certainly use the offensive line help, I’m choosing Pouncey to the Cowboys.
10) Washington Redskins- J.J. Watt – DE – Wisconsin
The Redskins have many needs currently and none more glaring than Quarterback. The uncertainty of Free Agency leaves them with as big of a challenge as any team. Neither of the top two quarterbacks are available here and J.J Watt offers great value at an important position for them. A team like the Redskins can’t afford to miss on this pick and Watt is a safe bet to be a big contributor for them.
11) Houston Texans- Robert Quinn – DE – North Carolina
Houston’s defense was simply awful in 2010. They have needs at nearly every position. Drafting a pass rusher like Quinn would be a major asset in Wade Phillips’ defense in 2011. He would provide the team a solid pass rusher opposite Mario Williams and is a step towards rebuilding one of the worst passing defenses from 2010.
12) Minnesota Vikings- Jake Locker – QB – Washington
Locker could go nearly anywhere in the first round or fall out of it entirely. With so many questions surrounding Free Agency this offseason, the Vikings choose Locker here to ensure they have a young QB to build upon in 2011. If they do happen to sign or trade for a veteran QB then Locker has someone to study under while he learns the pro game. I think Minnesota makes a natural fit for him here.
13) Detroit Lions- Prince Amakamura – CB – Nebraska
Coach Jim Schwartz has been slowly remaking the defense and turning around the Lions franchise and adding a solid young corner like Amakamura would be one of the last pieces. This pick fits a need for the Lions and gives them one of the top players available at this point in the draft.
14) St. Louis Rams- Muhammed Wilkerson – DT – Temple
The Rams biggest need is to find a young WR for Sam Bradford but the top 2 are sure to be gone by this point and no other receiver in the draft is worthy of a pick this high. A hybrid DT/DE, Wilkerson would be a great compliment on the defensive line to Chris Long. Wilkerson is very much like some of the defensive line players from coach Steve Spagnuolo’s time in New York where they were dominant on the defensive front.
15) Miami Dolphins- Mark Ingram – RB – Alabama
Ingram is a natural fit in Miami. Both RB’s struggled in 2010 and had poor seasons for Miami. While Ingram had a knee injury towards the beginning of last season, the Heisman Trophy winner in 2009 would be a great fit in Miami and provide the Dolphins with the top RB in the draft.
16) Jacksonville Jaguars- Akeem Ayers – OLB – UCLA
The Jaguars have many needs on the defensive side of the ball and Ayers would be a major upgrade to the linebacking group. The Jaguars have made some surprise picks the last few years in the first round but Ayers is one of the top talents at Linebacker in the draft and would be a contributor to the defense immediately.
Check back soon for my previews of pick 17-24 and closing out the first round with picks 25-32 soon.