2011 Pre-Draft Notes

My mock drafts are primarily based on the players I think each team will pick, but the notes are all about my personal opinions. For instance, Cam Newton should not be picked in the top ten at all. There are too many warning signs, and you can’t invest a good part of your franchise on someone who may not even try to play at a high level for your team. I don’t like Newton’s footwork either. Blaine Gabbert shouldn’t be a top ten pick, but I would definitely take him in the middle of the first round.

Jake Locker is my best quarterback ranked QB. He’s accurate, it’s just that his receivers and O-Line were horrible. Locker can be a great player. Why else was he thought of as the number one pick over Sam Bradford? Locker has all the tools, he can scramble, and he’s the best leader in this draft. Locker’s a stud, just watch.

Colin Kaepernick is the fifth best QB on my board. I love his raw athleticism, arm strength, ability against the pass rush, and overlooked intelligence. Christian Ponder can become a quality starter in a WCO. Ryan Mallett has an arm, but not much else. Andy Dalton seems like just a good backup at the NFL level to me. My QB rankings are as follows:

1. Locker
2. Gabbert
3. Ponder
4. Newton
5. Kaepernick
6. Mallett
7. Dalton

All the other guys, like Ricky Stanzi, aren’t worth much except for Pat Devlin. I would give Dev a look in the fourth round. Stanzi should go in the fourth too, because he’ll probably end up being an average backup. Greg McElroy is smart, but he doesn’t have NFL talent.

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey is an interesting player to watch come draft day. He’s a sleeper that can be an impact player at defensive tackle for a team with another year of development. I love his explosion between the gaps. AJ Green and Marcell Dareus are the two best players in the draft. If I’m the Panthers, I have to take one of those two guys. I would pick Dareus because defensive tackle is more of a need. At least at receiver, you have a stud in Smith and two players with potential in Gettis and LaFell.

Dareus would enable them to move to a 3-4, coach Ron Rivera would like this, and Dan Connor would be able to get some more playing time. Connor is the best run-stopping linebacker you’ve never heard of. Patrick Peterson isn’t a superstar in the making quite yet. Even with all his physical tools, you have to remember that he is only an average coverage player. His ball-skills are pretty good, he can press any receiver, he’s got a great mixture of speed and strength, and he’s an impact player on returns. However, he needs to work on his coverage skills. Be sure to check tomorrow for part two.