Commentary

Projecting late first-round picks

Here's a look at how the 2011 NFL draft could look, from the top teams down

Updated: January 3, 2011, 11:05 AM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Julio Jones & Gabe CarimiUS Presswire, Icon SMIIf you think the Patriots are tough now, imagine them with Julio Jones and Gabe carimi after Round 1.

Every Friday, Mel takes a look at the NFL through the prism of the draft.

A couple weeks ago, I took a look at how the Top 10 could shake out, based on the at-the-time records of those teams. That's a particularly interesting subject right now because of the uncertainty surrounding Andrew Luck. With the teams sitting at the top of the draft, one thing was clear: unsettled quarterback situations dotted the picture. Nine of the worst 13 records in the league, by my count, had a quarterback situation probably best defined by putting a question mark at the top of the depth chart.

Looking at the bottom of the first round, the opposite is true. Quarterback situations in New England, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore and on down into the middle of the first round are solid in almost every case. But these teams aren't without holes. Even the Patriots have clear needs, and fortunately (and traditionally), a ton of picks. So let's stack the "Bottom 10" in the first round, with a few added because of tied records.

The draft order below is based on current records, with one game left. Pick ideas are based on the current Big Board, which as you all know will change a lot as juniors decide on draft entry and the workout process.


To read more about how the first round could shake out if we drafted today, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst