This is the post-combine edition of my 2011 NFL Mock Draft. I’ll do at least one more heading into the draft. Until then, here are mock draft picks 6-10 heading into the combine.
Cleveland Browns 1st Round, 6th Overall Mock Draft Pick
Many options here. The Cleveland Browns have options aplenty for restructuring their defensive line. The Browns and Pat Shurmur will be looking to build around Colt McCoy, and A.J. Green or Julio Jones are bound to be around. I had Green in Cincinnati, but Jones should be available at #6.
The Browns would be a perfect trading partner for the Houston Texans. The Texans need a cornerback, but they’ll have to trade past San Francisco (#7) for a good chance at Prince Amukamara. Even if Jones was taken before #11, the Browns could find immediate help at the eleventh pick while improving their depth with additional draft choices. Additionally, they’ll save $ by sacrificing a few draft positions.
Option #1: Trade Down to #11; Houston Texans select CB Prince Amukamara – Nebraska
Option #2: WR Julio Jones – Alabama
Option #3: DT Nick Fairley – Auburn
San Francisco 49ers 1st Round, 7th Overall Mock Draft Pick
Unless Jim Harbaugh has a fascination with Jake Locker from his Pac-10 coaching days, I don’t see the 49ers taking a quarterback here. Newton doesn’t strike me as a West Coast quarterback, and the 49ers could probably trade into the first round if they admired Ryan Mallett, Blaine Gabbert, or even Locker for that matter.
Prince Amukamara seems like the ideal choice for the 24th ranked passing defense. Amukamara would be the eventual shutdown replacement to Nate Clements and could start immediately. However, the Houston Texans could throw a wrench in their problems if they trade up (as previously suggested). The 49ers may need to trade up if they’re serious about Amukamara or Peterson.
I don’t think they’ll trade up. Instead, they’ll go with one of the remaining solid defensive players. Robert Quinn is an enticing addition alongside Patrick Willis in the 3-4 or 4-3. Don’t think they’d consider Fairley unless they transition to a complete 4-3.
Option 1: DE/LB Robert Quinn – North Carolina
Option 2: Trade Up – Draft CB Prince Amukamara – Nebraska
Tennessee Titans 1st Round, 8th Overall Mock Draft Pick
The Tennessee Titans radar should have Nick Fairley, Da’Quan Bowers, Marcel Dareus, Patrick Peterson, and Prince Amukamara as potential candidates (not in that order). I wouldn’t expect a DE because Derrick Morgan (2010 first round selection) is still awaiting his debut.
But this is the Titans. This could easily be like the Tyson Alualu selection from 2010… who? Just like when the Titans announced Chris Palmer as the offensive coordinator… folks went “Who,” remembered his Browns coaching career (5-27), his UFL coaching stint (3-5), and “who” became “whoa.” Not necessarily bad, but completely unanticipated.
Option 1: DL Nick Fairley – Auburn
Option 2: “Expect the Unexpected in Tennessee”
Dallas Cowboys 1st Round, 9th Overall Mock Draft Pick
Jerry Jones enjoys making a splash, but he needs to improve the offensive line, primarily Alex Barron. The Dallas Cowboys offensive line is getting old and Tony Romo was knocked out of the season prematurely. In a division with the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, the offensive line must be solid.
But who? That’s anyone’s guess. The Cowboys have recently preferred larger offensive lineman. Marcus Cannon (6’5, 358) is a versatile offensive lineman who’ll probably transition to guard. However, #9 is too early for the TCU project. Nate Solder’s projected value was damaged after 21 bench reps.
Anthony Castonzo has size, strength (28 bench reps), and a history of success from previous Boston College recruits. Overall, Castonzo had a solid combine. Castonzo is somewhat vulnerable in pass protection, however. #9 is also a tad early. With Tyron Smith weighing in over 300 and having a good combine, Smith could be the Cowboys top choice.
Cameron Jordan can play DT, DE, and potentially some LB in a 3-4 defense. Tyson Alualu had a splendid rookie campaign with Jacksonville as the tenth overall pick, and Jordan could find himself as the Golden Bears second defensive lineman selected in the top ten in consecutive seasons.
Option 1: OL Tyron Smith – USC
Option 2: DL Cameron Jordan – California
Option 3: OL Anthony Castonzo – Boston College
Washington Redskins 1st Round, 10th Overall Mock Draft Pick:
The Washington Redskins have a plethora of holes to fill. They need speed on defense and a franchise quarterback. Rex Grossman could be a short-term solution, but it won’t build the confidence of the fan base. With Michael Vick in the division, the Redskins need a speed rusher like Quinn and should considering trading up.
If the four main defensive linemen are off the board, I believe the Redskins will look for their franchise quarterback. Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett are too early, and Gabbert won’t bring the immediate excitement that Newton would.
Option 1: QB Cam Newton – Auburn
Option 2: WR Julio Jones – Alabama
Panthers – Trade Down or DL Da’Quan Bowers
Broncos – CB Patrick Peterson
Bills – DL Marcel Dareus
Bengals – WR A.J. Green
Cardinals – LB Von Miller
Texans (Via Browns) – CB Prince Amukamara
49ers – DE/LB Robert Quinn
Titans – DL Nick Fairley
Cowboys – OL Tyron Smith
Redskins – QB Cam Newton
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