2011 NFL mock drafts are becoming more interesting as we know the preliminary 2011 NFL Draft order. Though the draft isn’t going to take place until this spring, it is the best thing for many teams to look forward to at this point.
With only 12 teams in the NFL postseason, that leaves the fans of 20 NFL franchises hoping for better things to come in the next offseason. The best way to improve a team is through the draft, and that has raised the interest level in those mock drafts.
Over at ESPN, football analyst Todd McShay has revealed who he thinks will be the first five picks of the 2011 Draft, provided all of those players end up declaring themselves eligible for the draft. As we outlined in our NFL Draft order article, the Carolina Panthers will be selecting first in the draft. The expectation is that if Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck decides to enter the NFL Draft, he will become the first overall selection. This is something McShay agrees with, and differs from what analyst Mel Kiper had stated earlier in the college football season.
The early 2011 NFL mock drafts has Washington quarterback Jack Locker as the No. 1 overall selection, but now he doesn’t even make the top five list of ESPN’s new mock draft. Instead, Luck that over at the No. 1 spot, and then the second quarterback selected is predicted to be Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert with the No. 5 picks. McShay feels the Arizona Cardinals will take a flier on Gabbert, and his size could indeed end up making him a good NFL option. This could just be the start of several other quarterbacks getting selected early in the draft, including Locker, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett and Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
In this ESPN mock draft, the second selection will be Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, followed by LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, and then Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers. Those players would go to the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively. They are good predictions, with the potential for some changes coming depending on how the 2011 NFL Combine workouts go for those three defensive players.
Over at CBS, the prediction is that Peterson will come off the board second, and Buffalo will then go for Newton as a new quarterback option at No. 3. They also feel that wide receiver A.J. Green could move up to No. 4 overall (to the Bengals), and Mallett will be drafted way before Gabbert. With a deep field of quarterbacks available in this draft, it will be very interesting to see if the teams drafting early decide to fill out another position before they draft a quarterback, and it could cause some very good college quarterbacks to fall a long way in this draft.