Picking the first round of the NFL Draft is one of the more inexact sciences around. Somewhere between estimating the number of gumballs in a machine and guessing how many clowns will pile out of the Volkswagen at the circus.
That's why we are so proud of our efforts with last season's Mock Drafts. Oh sure, we whiffed on a few first-rounders, but we also nailed eight first-round picks with their correct team in our first effort last January. Our success jumped considerably as draft time neared, with our panel correctly hitting 10 of the top 11 picks.
Without further ado, here is our first Mock Draft of the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft, compiled by a panel of seven CNNSI.com "Draftniks." We will update it monthly leading up to the April 21 NFL Draft, reflecting changes in team needs due to free-agent signings, as well as the rising or falling of a player's stock due to their individual workouts and performance at the February 22-26 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Here's a glimpse at what the first round could look like come draft day.
|CNNSI.com's 2001 NFL Mock Draft|
|1 || San Diego Chargers 1-15 |
* Michael Vick QB Virginia Tech
| Likely to trade down but it's hard to pass on Vick.
|2 || Arizona Cardinals 3-13 |
* David Terrell WR Michigan
| Terrell, Boston would be a nice 1-2 punch.
|3 || || Cleveland Browns 3-13 |
Jamal Reynolds DE Florida State
| Brown, Reynolds could star together for years.
|4 || || Cincinnati Bengals 4-12 |
Andre Carter DE California
| Could be instant starter with Bankston, Booker or Wilson.
|5 || || Atlanta Falcons 4-12 |
* Kenyatta Walker OT Florida
| Falcons' QBs can only take so much punishment.
|6 || || New England Patriots 5-11 |
Leonard Davis OT Texas
| Bledsoe won't last two more years without a big tackle.
|7 || || (1) Seattle Seahawks 6-10 |
* Gerard Warren DT Florida
| Seattle needs lots of help on defense.
|8 || || Chicago Bears 5-11 |
* Jamar Fletcher CB Wisconsin
| Bears need secondary help, but lots of other things too.
|9 || || San Francisco 49ers 6-10 |
Deuce McAllister RB Mississippi
| Could be a West Coast offense dream back.
|10 || || Seattle Seahawks 6-10 |
* Justin Smith DE Missouri
| Two defensive picks in top 10 would improve Seahawks.
|11 || || Carolina Panthers 7-9 |
* Michael Bennett RB Wisconsin
| Would be second Badgers RB in a row taken at No. 11.
|12 || || Kansas City Chiefs 7-9 |
LaDainian Tomlinson RB TCU
| Need to find a running game this offseason.
|13 || || Jacksonville Jaguars 7-9 |
* Koren Robinson WR N.C. State
| Soward looks like a bust; McCardell could be gone.
|14 || || Buffalo Bills 8-8 |
Richard Seymour DT Georgia
| Fills a need with Phil Hansen not getting any younger.
|15 || || Washington Redskins 8-8 |
Santana Moss WR Miami (Fla.)
| George, Johnson (or whoever) need someone to throw to.
|16 || || Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 |
Drew Brees QB Purdue
| Would make up for last year's error of not taking Pennington.
|17 || || Green Bay Packers 9-7 |
Dan Morgan LB Miami (Fla.)
| D-line more of a need, but Morgan is hard to pass on.
|18 || || Detroit Lions 9-7 |
Rod Gardner WR Clemson
| Herman Moore clone could be asked to replace his cloner.
|19 || || New York Jets 9-7 |
Quincy Morgan WR Kansas State
| Martin would love someone like Q to stretch the defense.
|20 || || St. Louis Rams 10-6 |
Damione Lewis DT Miami (Fla.)
| Rams have to address issue on defense in first round.
|21 || || Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6 |
Gary Baxter CB Baylor
| Ronde Barber could leave via free agency.
|22 || || Indianapolis Colts 10-6 |
Marcus Stroud DT Georgia
| Roster looks solid everywhere but on defensive line.
|23 || || New Orleans Saints 10-6 |
* Robert Ferguson WR Texas A&M
| Would take pressure of emerging threat Joe Horn.
|24 || || Denver Broncos 11-5 |
Kyle Vanden Bosch DE Nebraska
| Already much better than Lester Archambeau.
|25 || || Philadelphia Eagles 11-5 |
Chris Chambers WR Wisconsin
| Quick, rangy target for McNabb to throw to downfield.
|26 || || Miami Dolphins 11-5 |
Jeff Backus OT Michigan
| Could replace Webb at LT if he leaves via free agency.
|27 || || Minnesota Vikings 11-5 |
Fred Smoot CB Mississippi State
| Vikings need lots of help in secondary.
|28 || || Oakland Raiders 12-4 |
Hakim Akbar S Washington
| Big hitter that would look perfect in Silver and Black.
|29 || || Tennessee Titans 13-3 |
Steve Hutchinson G Michigan
| Ancient guard Matthews can't play forever.
|30 || || New York Giants 12-4 |
* Todd Heap TE Arizona State
| Sure-handed TE would supplant Mitchell as starter.
|31 || || Baltimore Ravens 12-4 |
Marques Sullivan OT Illinois
| Ravens obviously don't need to work on their defense.
|* -- Underclassman|
(1) -- From Dallas in Joey Galloway trade