2011 NFL mock drafts now have Da’Quan Bowers and Nick Fairley leading the way after Andrew Luck bowed out. The 2011 NFL mock draft that most people pay attention to is that of Mel Kiper at ESPN, and he now has the first quarterback coming off of the board at No. 8 overall. That is much further down than before, and Kiper really doesn’t feel that his prediction about Jake Locker going No. 1 overall at the beginning of the season will even be close to being correct.
According to Mel Kiper’s new 2011 NFL mock draft, the No. 1 overall selection will be defensive end Bowers from Clemson. Bowers had a very impressive Junior season for the Clemson Tigers, ending the year with 16 sacks and an interception. He had 67 total tackles, quite a high number for someone playing on the defensive line, and 41 of them were solo tackles. He is now a huge defensive option that the Carolina Panthers could look to when selecting first in the 2011 NFL Draft.
The second overall selection is predicted to be Nick Fairley (of Auburn), but he definitely has the chance to move up into that first spot with a great performance at the BCS National Championship Game. He has a second chance at the NFL Combine in late winter, a place where the NFL scouts often decide who the best players are going to be based on their scores in a series of drills. Playing defensive tackle puts him on the same page as Bowers, and with much more size, that could actually lead to Fairley sliding into that No. 1 pick at a later date.
It is interesting to note that there are now six defensive players projected to be drafted in the first seven slots by Kiper, a huge change in the way he has been predicting the 2011 NFL Draft for months now. First it was Jake Locker of the University of Washington that he predicted to go No. 1, and then most recently, it was Stanford’s Andrew Luck who he thought would be drafted first. Locker had a disappointing season for the Huskies, Luck decided to come back and play another year of college football, and then Kiper had to decide what the new landscape of the 2011 NFL Draft might look like in the first round.
Not all of the 2011 NFL mock drafts agree with what Kiper has to say about the class of quarterbacks, as he predicts the first one drafted will be Blaine Gabbert at No. 8 overall. He then has Cam Newton of Auburn at No. 12 and Ryan Mallett of Arkansas at No. 16. Locker still holds on to a top 25 ranking down at No. 24 in the first round. To show how other sites are disagreeing with Kiper, CBS has two college football analysts, with Rob Rang predicting cornerback Patrick Peterson of LSU going No. 1 and Chad Reuter agreeing with Bowen at No. 1, but placing Peterson second overall.
It’s going to be quite interesting how the 2011 NFL Draft further shapes up after the 2011 BCS Championship Game and 2011 NFL combine takes place. Will Mark Ingram move up the boards? Will a quarterback slide into the top few picks again? Just don’t be surprised if the projected No. 1 pick is still a mystery when we get closer to the 2011 NFL Draft taking place.
More From Associated Content: