(Way early) 2011 NFL Mock Draft
Four quarterbacks, led by Ryan Mallett, projected to be first-rounders
Two SEC wideouts, A.J. Green and Julio Jones, are top 10 talents
Heisman winner Mark Ingram could be first-rounder if he leaves early
Sam Bradford getting picked No. 1 overall to the Rams? Gerald McCoy going No. 3 to the Bucs? That's old news to readers of my annual (Way Early) NFL Mock Drafts, in which I happened to nail two of the top three picks in last week's draft.
The top of the 2011 first round could hinge on whether Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck turns pro. But the redshirt sophomore comes from a well-off family in Houston (his father Oliver was an NFL quarterback) and isn't necessarily the best QB in this draft. We'll assume he's returning to school, leaving the No. 1 spot open for another big-armed quarterback.
1. Seattle Seahawks
The former Michigan quarterback has the most NFL-desirable skills in this deep QB class.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2010 belonged to the defensive tackles. The pass-rushers will take their turn this year, and Bowers is the scariest of the group. However, Bowers needs to be a bit more consistent in 2010.
3. St. Louis Rams
Some see Quinn as the second-coming of Julius Peppers. Overcoming an operation on a brain tumor in high school shows incredible character, but could also make some teams nervous. Not so the Rams.
4. Detroit Lions
The Lions would want to shore up their offensive line here, but this draft might not have the premier left tackle they'd want this high.
5. New England Patriots (via Raiders)
The Pats will need more offensive playmakers with Randy Moss turning 34 in 2011. Green is Calvin Johnson-light, which is still pretty good.
6. Cleveland Browns
Jones may not have 4.4 40 speed, but neither did Larry Fitzgerald. Most NFL teams choose college production over 40 times in this year's draft.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Played big against tough competition last season and has enough athleticism for Nebraska to consider working him into the offense in the coming season.
8. Kansas City Chiefs
Carimia wasn't overwhelming last year, but could rise to the top of an underwhelming class of potential left tackles.
9. Buffalo Bills
The knock on Gabbert will be the Missouri system that helped Chase Daniel put up huge numbers. But because of his size (6-foot-5, 240 pounds), Gabbert is a different kind of prospect than Daniel and teams will believe more in the stats.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags didn't bite on Tim Tebow, but will jump all over next year's big name even if questions remain about Locker's ability as a pure passer.
11. Tennessee Titans
Dareus got a lot of attention for knocking Colt McCoy out of the national title game, and should emerge as a star as the Crimson Tide tries to repeat.
12. Carolina Panthers
No guarantee current GM Marty Hurney and coach John Fox will be making this pick. Analysts wonder if Austin's drive equals his talent, so he'll have to play hard this year to go this high.
13. Denver Broncos
Sometimes overshadowed by other stars in the Texas secondary, Williams will step into the spotlight this season.
14. Chicago Bears
Costanzo could prove to be better than Carimi and shoot into the top 10.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers
Despite trading to get Bryant McFadden back, the Steelers still need help in a secondary that didn't make a lot of plays last season.
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