Commentary

Defensive players lead latest mock

Teams could reach for QBs early and make a run on OTs in the teens

Originally Published: January 19, 2011
By Todd McShay | ESPN.com

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft has come and gone, and the 2011 draft board is undergoing plenty of shuffling as the college all-star season gets underway.

That means it's time for Scouts Inc.'s second mock draft of the year, which features a new No. 1 after Stanford QB Andrew Luck decided to return to school. Defensive players, including a pair of dominating defensive linemen, make up three of the top five and six of the top 10.

Things will surely change as the all-star circuit plays out and prospects take part in the NFL combine and personal workouts, but here's how we see things at this early stage in the pre-draft process.


Carolina Panthers

Record: 2-14

Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

The Panthers made no secret of the fact that they would draft Stanford QB Andrew Luck if he were available, but with Luck off the board they turn their attention to their need for a pass-rusher. Bowers is the best available with his explosiveness, and he also has the strength to hold the edge against the run.

Denver Broncos

Record: 4-12

Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

Denver needs to overhaul its defensive front, and while new coach John Fox has not yet named a defensive coordinator, Fairley has the versatility to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 front. Fairley is quick, disruptive and plays with an edge, and he could not be blocked by one man during the college season.

Buffalo Bills

Record: 4-12

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

The Bills are in need of a franchise quarterback, and with Luck not on the board, Gabbert is the best available signal-caller. He has the physical tools and football smarts to become a very good NFL QB once he makes the full transition to a pro-style offense.

Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 4-12

A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

The Bengals need to find the heir apparent to Carson Palmer at some point but won't find him in this scenario. With Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco likely on their way out of town, Green would be an ideal replacement. He is very smooth for his size and plays the ball better than any receiver in the 2011 class.

Arizona Cardinals

Record: 5-11

Another team with a quarterback need but no signal-caller worthy of its pick available, the Cardinals turn their attention to their next-biggest need. Peterson has a freakish combination of size and athleticism, plays the ball well and can also contribute in the return game.