Thursday, April 28, 2011
Sifting through six 2011 NFL mock drafts
By Mike Sando
I've gone through several updated mock drafts to put together a chart showing how analysts expect the first round to fall for NFC West teams.
A few notes:
- There's a growing sense Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert could be the choice for the San Francisco 49ers at No. 7. Not long ago, conventional wisdom said Gabbert would land in Arizona if he made it past the first four picks. What to make of the shifting opinions? Not much. It's easy to over-think these things.
- Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget is not quite a consensus choice for the St. Louis Rams at No. 14, but he is a popular one. Every selection listed here has the Rams taking a defensive lineman under the assumption receivers A.J. Green and Julio Jones will not be available. That makes sense.
- The Arizona Cardinals should have multiple attractive options at No. 5. There's been talk of the Cardinals trading back, but this team also needs difference-makers. Getting the top-rated player at a position should have appeal.
- It's very difficult projecting what might happen for the Seattle Seahawks at No. 25. Trading the pick is one plausible scenario. No one seems to know how the team will value the quarterbacks. Mike Mayock's projection of Marvin Austin is intriguing, but some reports see Austin as a high-risk prospect. The same goes for cornerback Jimmy Smith, who is not listed but could appeal if he remains available late in the first round.
- The chart's final row contains my projections, based mostly on perceived value and fits. I'll yield to the growing feel that Von Miller will not be available for Arizona at No. 5, so let's plug in LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. I'll fight the growing Gabbert talk in relation to the 49ers by sticking with North Carolina's Robert Quinn, although a cornerback could make sense in that slot as well. I went with an offensive lineman for Seattle, one of several viable options making the Seahawks difficult to project.
The link to the Scouts Inc. selections take you to a seven-round mock draft. That is Insider content, as are the mocks for Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. I wanted to include a link to an updated mock from Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki; if you find one, please pass it along. Thanks.