2011 NFL Mock Draft 2.0

Well, perhaps I’m the only guy here still clinging to NFL news and Mock Draft stories like Tom Hanks clung to Wilson, but Mel Kiper Jr. trotted out his latest Mock Draft and I figure it’s as good of an excuse as any to start a new thread.

In addition to the Mock 2.0, ESPN has restarted it’s First Draft Podcast featuring Kiper and McShay which I always enjoy. Listen here. I especially enjoyed the time they spent discussing the Illini draft prospects Martez Wilson, Corey Liuget and Mikel Leshoure.

In this Mock there are some drastic changes. Insiders can see it here. As usual, if you want details and want me to post them let me know.

Instead of posting the first few picks like I did in the last thread I’ll comment on the big movers.

First, Kiper has elevated Da’Quan Bowers, McShay’s first overall pick, from #4 to #2 going to Denver.

The biggest story is Cam Newton, Kiper elevated him from #10 to #3 now going to the Bills.

This is a similar thought to one that I shared in a recent comment in that first thread.

In the First Draft podcast McShay pointed out that 9 of the top 12 picks are teams that could be looking for a QB, echoing the case I made and they also speculated that with the rookie wage scale trades might become more common at the top. I suspect that once the Combine comes around and teams get a chance to interview these kids drafting Nick Fairley at the top will become much less appealing, on the field he had a lot of Albert Haynesworth in him, both good and bad.

Kiper has Patrick Peterson, the CB out of LSU, falling way down to #7 from #2 to the 49ers.

If Kiper is right that CB isn’t a position in demand at the top Peterson could be our green room casualty this year.

Similarly, Marcell Dareus falls from #3 to #8.

A couple of big climbers are Von Miller and J.J. Watt. #8 to #5 and #17 all the way up to #6.

Kiper was sleeping on Corey Liuget the first time around leaving him outside the first round entirely last month but has him going #14 to the Rams now.

The back end of the draft is now decided and Kiper has the Bears going in a completely different direction and I really dislike his thought here.

I agree that OT is where I want them to go, but I think that Carimi is the must have here but Kiper has him going 6 picks earlier to the Eagles. Ijalana reads to me like Chris Williams 2.0. An undersized marshmallow who is experienced and a high character guy with good feet and hands, that’s Williams exact scouting report. In reality he’s a pussy who can’t run block for shit and isn’t athletic enough to adjust to NFL blitzes. Hopefully with Tice in the fold the Bears won’t make the same mistake twice.

One scary thought was a comment made by Kiper in the First Draft Podcast regarding the Green Bay Packers, he mentioned that Torrey Smith would be a great fit and something the might consider. Kiper has him coming off the board before the Packers pick here.

But he mentioned that the Packers need help in the return game and with Driver aging Smith could be a way to revitalize the position and give Rodgers a weapon for years to come. Frankly, I think it’d be a brilliant move. There won’t be an OT available in this scenario and I don’t see any scenario where one’s available with the last pick. I’m not sold on Smith’s ability, he looks really sloppy in the film I’ve watched, and he’s a bit undersized but if the scouts are right about him he’d be a dangerous player in the NFC North. His return skills alone would make a big impact and he looks a lot like Greg Jennings which would make a scare 1-2 punch downfield with Rodger’s arm.

PFT also released it’s first official Mock Draft today too. you can see it here. It’s free for everyone to view but there are some interesting similarities and departures in that Mock.

The highlights are Cam Newton going #3 to the Bills, echoing Kiper’s thoughts.** Nick Fairley** sliding to #4 on the back of character concerned, echoing my thoughts. That that would put him with the Bengals is high comedy. SenorBeef gets a new man crush to replace Jerome Harrison in** A.J. Green**.

The Titans turn the page on Vince Young and give Kenny Britt a hand with Blaine Gabbert. The overrated, IMNSHO, Prince Amukamara goes to the worst pass defense I’ve ever seen in Houston. PFT holds form with just about everyone else sending the top RB in the draft, Mark Ingram, to Miami to replace Brown and Williams.

The biggest surprise I see is the Seahawks rolling the dice in the first round with another QB in Colin Kaepernick, I haven’t seen him in anyone’s first round. That said, I’d be shocked if just 2 QBs go in the first round so it’s probably a reasonable call. Maybe it’s notable that he sees Seattle preferring him to Jake Locker who’s outside of the first round entirely.

He’s got the Patriots rolling the dice with Jonathan Baldwin. Makes sense based on need and upside, but after the Randy Moss experience I’m not sure Belichick would draft a guy in the 1st round who’s red flags pretty much mirror those of Moss. Weak across the middle, only good at running deep, takes plays off, sense of entitlement, bad blocker, etc.

He’s got the Bears taking the guy I want in Gabe Carimi which is heartening and he’s slept completely on my guy Corey Liuget, leaving him on the outside looking in. I suspect Liuget ends up a top 10 pick when it’s all said and done.

I like him having the Rams take Akeem Ayers at 14 if Julio jones is off the board. I think that is a good fit and good value for the Rams. I have also seen Mocks give them Corey Liuget there, but unless he blows up at the combine he may be a stretch there. He might be worth trading down for, if there are any suitors and they could use the picks.

I’m right here with you Omni on the draft stuff. Like ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted a little while ago, the draft is the only show in town right now with the CBA negotiations stalling any real free agency talk.

My only problems is I don’t really know much about college football players. I don’t watch and I can’t follow the sport with its ludicrous and hypocritical championship system.

The Eagles are in the most bizarre position coming into a draft that I can remember a team being in recently. Their roster is damn near complete for a stretch of championship caliber football for the next five years, but the holes they have are glaring. The good news is the holes are so defined it’s easy to figure out what to do and who to target. The problem is this CBA thing is going to seriously screw the Eagles over… this is possibly the worst timing for this imaginable.

They still have Kevin Kolb under contract for another year at an incredibly friendly price of just under $2 million for 2011. Every indication is that they’ll not only consider moving him, but will actively try to move him. But without a CBA in place, they can’t trade him for picks, so essentially, they can’t trade him at all. If the CBA isn’t ready by the draft, they have only two options from what I can tell: let him walk after 2011 for nothing or trade him for picks in 2012 (I don’t know if this is even possible but I’ve heard it mentioned and will assume it can be done). Generally teams dislike trading for future picks and value them substantially lower, and for a championship caliber team looking to get over the hump, future picks make even less sense. For Buffalo or Cleveland, it might make sense to punt a season to build up assets for the season after. For Green Bay or Pittsburgh, you’ve shown you can make a Super Bowl, so why not stick with what you have and plan years down the road? For a team like Philly who is almost there but not quite, you have to do something now.

Personally I think if you’re a piece or two away from collectively making the leap, and knowing that windows of opportunity in the NFL are brief, I would think the best move to make would be to trade Kolb for a bounty of picks in 2012 or 2013. You can roll the dice with other potential ways of improving the roster for a run this season, and you substantially lengthen the opening of that window in future seasons by accumulating more and more deferred assets. Then again, it isn’t as if my job or allegiance to the team might suddenly end after 2011, so I don’t see the problem here. Andy Reid, maybe he does.

I saw a short on SportsCenter that had Kiper and McShay both pretty high on Kaepernick and calling him a potential first rounder, for what it’s worth.

I’m excited for the draft this year. I think everyone is curious to see where Cameron Newton will go. I always think its funny to see how high (or how low) the Heisman Trophy winner goes every year.

If it was the draft lab, I think you might be confusing him with Andy Dalton. Both guys liked his upside a ton and though he was a great late option for teams that didn’t want to pay top dollar for Gabbert or Newton. Neither guy has Kaepernick in their top 5, so I doubt they considered him going in round 1.

This may sound profoundly stupid. And God knows I can’t stand the dogkiller. But doesn’t Vick run a greater chance of getting injured than your run of the mill QB? (he missed Weeks 5-7 due to injury) So, when your backup would be Mike Kafka(?!), why would you trade Kolb when you don’t have to? Or is the idea that you can do better with the picks from trading Kolb + then acquiring a so-so veteran replacement QB, than you would by just keeping Kolb?

(A really counter-intuitive idea would be to trade Vick. I mean, his stock is as high as it’s ever going to get, right? And Kolb is at least competent, isn’t he? What could Philly get for Vick, absent the CBA issues? Cutler-level? More?)

I think you’re right about that, I think I did have them confused. Whoops!

I agree. If I’m the Eagles I only trade Kolb if I can make a trade before the draft and get a 1st and 2nd round pick in the deal so I can draft players who will impact the team immediately. If there’s no CBA I hang onto Kolb through the draft and just content myself to having the best backup in the game for the games most fragile starter. They can then franchise/transition Kolb next year and force a team to give up picks for him in 2012. If there’s no tag in the new CBA then you might consider making a midseason move to a team like the 49ers or Cardinals who feel they are a veteran arm away from the playoffs.

It’s gonna be tricky and if the Eagles play hardball and insist on getting a Cutler type deal for him they’ll be left holding the bag. The real issue IMHO for the Eagles is the Vick contract situation. They need to get him locked up to a long term deal before they do anything to move Kolb. If they trade Kolb Vick suddenly gets huge leverage, as it is now they could threaten to trade Vick if his contract demands are too high and go with Kolb instead for a more modest deal.

I don’t agree with taking Newton as high as 3. With the 3rd pick, at that salary, you can’t afford to miss. You really can’t afford to miss at the QB spot where you almost have to invest 2-3 years with him as your starter. IMHO you need to see a franchise level, almost sure bet, level of talent. Someone who has run a fairly complex offense in college, demonstrated the ability to make reads, has the size, and has the arm. It’s so much better to build the lines, get a pass rushing OLB, or a lock down corner.

I agree with this, but you’re talking about a team who drafted a running back with their 1st round pick last year when they already had two pretty good ones.

A big highlight you didn’t mention is Pouncey falling all the way to the Steelers. I think all Steeler fans would love that, but from what I’ve been reading, I don’t see him falling that far. Kind of cool if he does.

Other than the Steelers, the Cam Newton watch will be fun. I don’t see him going at 3, and if he does, it won’t be to Buffalo.

The Bills have missed horrendously on first round QB selections ever since Jim Kelly. Anyone remember JP Losman? If I remember correctly, they traded up to get Losman too, costing them draft picks.

I’m not high on Newton, but part of that may be my dislike of both Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell coming out of college. I’m not high on any of the QB’s this year, so maybe Newton is the one to take. I keep reading that Newton can’t be expected to start in year 1 and probably not year 2. So, he’s going to learn behind Fitzpatrick?

More likely he would be thrown to the wolves by mid-season. Taking him that high would guarntee that the ownership would be under a lot of presure tostart him a.s.a.p. ready or not.

I’m not going to come on here and pretend that I’m some draft guru or advanced scout or anything like that, so everything I say here take with the requisite grain of salt. Good? Okay, good.

I remember seeing Vince Young in college and feeling wowed by his athleticism, but really unimpressed with him whenever he threw the ball. There’s an “it” factor that every outstanding QB has when they throw, even in college. I remember thinking Drew Brees would be a stud our of Purdue solely because I watched a single game and was stunned by his passing ability. Vince Young never had that “it” factor to me. Same with Russell, who I thought looked even worse. In the limited times I got to see Young and Russell play, they both seemed to lack the delivery/mechanics/smoothness of a future star QB. And Russell to me just looked big, not even exceptionally athletic (saw him very, very infrequently, though). I compared him once to Akili Smith, though I don’t think on these boards. Maybe that’s hindsight talking, but Young and Russell never seemed to deserve the hype, to me.

Cam Newton, however, honestly looks legit to me. In what I’ve seen him this last season, he not only wowed with athleticism and size, but his throws to me looked unbelievably crisp and refined. I remember seeing one play in particular where he threaded the needled on a deep post/in route that I just don’t think very many QBs in the pros could make. It was a laser. He has “it,” to me, unquestionably. He passes the eye test. The only thing that could possibly prevent him from being a future stud at QB is his work ethic/ability to grasp and evaluate defenses on the fly. I have no indication either way if he’s capable or incapable of doing that. At this point, he seems a lot like a Donovan McNabb type to me, at minimum, and if you’re getting that with the 3rd pick or higher? You’re laughing your ass all the way to the bank.

I know I’ve posted on this board that the Eagles should have traded Vick and kept Kolb, and I’ve posted several times that Kolb is even better than he might seem, considering his performances and his relative inexperience. There are a couple problems with what Omni suggest though. You can’t really extend Vick (which is going to happen the minute a CBA is finished, I’m certain) and franchise Kolb. Doesn’t franchise tag pay a player an average of the top five players at his position? You’d then be paying your QB position roughly 35-40 million, which is obscene and impossible. I’m not sure anyone would make a move to sign Kolb away from the Eagles knowing the Eagles couldn’t possibly keep both anyway.

The Eagles have tons of leverage to trade Kolb right now because of his contract status. They also have tons of reasons to keep him, because of that same status. Unfortunately, the CBA will likely make it impossible to trade Kolb before the draft, and NFL teams are so stupidly averse to trading for future picks that I think Kolb probably sticks around another season and the Eagles get nothing for him when he leaves after 2011. A nightmare scenario.

The Vick contract situation probably will not make too much of a difference. Vick feels honest loyalty and attachment to the Eagles for giving him the chance to come back into the NFL, and he’s very much going to play the good soldier in contract talks. He’ll get paid and not make a huge fuss about it. He’s already basically proven this with his uncharacteristic eager acceptance of the franchise tag, which players typically hate.

The Eagles are free to do whatever they can with Kolb without fear from Vick, I think. Their biggest hurdle, by far, is the inability to trade players before a CBA is agreed to, and they’re likely to get screwed by timing and circumstance with regards to Kolb. Then again, this wasn’t exactly a surprise and they should have known last season that Vick was back, better than ever, and that they needed to trade Kolb then before the CBA expired. That they didn’t do so shows a lack of foresight, or courage, or both, on the Eagles’ part.