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The '15 Minutes' mock...

April 27, 2011 - Ray Eckenrode

#1 Carolina Panthers select Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

The skinny: Another year and another example of how having the first pick provides the exact opposite of the competitive boost it’s supposed to provide. Instead of a surefire talent that immediately boosts competitiveness, teams are backed into a corner by the salary structure and usually wind up taking an uber-athlete with a decent probability of flaming out, which is exactly what is about to happen to the Panthers.

#2 Denver Broncos select Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

The skinny: In the deepest D-Line draft in recent memory, the Broncos get the prized pick.

#3 Buffalo Bills select Vonn Miller, LB, Texas A&M

The skinny: Just two years after being burned badly by taking a pass-rushing linebacker too high, the Bills will repeat that mistake. Although Miller will be a better player than Aaron Maybin, he will never provide third-overall value.

#4 Cincinnati Bengals select A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

The skinny: For once, the Bungles can’t go wrong. If they think Jonathan Joseph plans to leave via free agency once the season calendar begins, they could take Patrick Peterson here. If not, Green is a dramatic upgrade over Ocho Stinko.

#5 Arizona Cardinals select Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

The skinny: A lot of experts think the Cardinals are not going QB here but Ken Whisenhunt’s mama didn’t raise no fool. If you’re picking in the top 5, you look QB or left tackle. Are you listening Chan Gailey?

#6 Clevleland Browns select Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

The skinny: We’re going against the conventional wisdom that says Robert Quinn here, reasoning that this pick has double value, adding a can’t-miss wide receiver and showing your young QB that he’s your guy.

#7 San Francisco 49ers select Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

The skinny: The Niners want a quarterback but this is a pretty nice consolation prize in the form of the guy who will end up being the best player to come out of this class.

#8 Tennessee Titans select Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

The skinny: With questions about maturity and work ethic, Fairley is anything but a sure thing, but like another enigmatic defender, Albert Haynesworth, he has the ability to control football games.

#9 Dallas Cowboys select Tyron Smith, OT, USC

The skinny: In a draft loaded with projected right tackles, the best left tackle prospect played right tackle in college. Got it? No one’s stock has risen as far in the postseason workouts than Smith’s has.

#10 Washington Redskins select Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

The skinny: The Skins would love a QB but won’t reach here, mostly because Quinn, an explosive pass rusher, provides too much value to bypass.

#11 Houston Texans select J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

The skinny: Intrigue starts between 11 and 20 where a slew of 4-3 teams pick over a big crop of pass rushing linemen.

#12 Minnesota Vikings select Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

The skinny: The Vikes make it two Big Ten players in a row.

#13 Detroit Lions select Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

The skinny: The Lions put the cap on what now might be the best DLine in the game.

#14 St. Louis Rams select Cameron Jordan, DE, California

The skinny: No surprise here as Steve Spagnuolo goes defense.

#15 Miami Dolphins select Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

The skinny: Dolphins were not planning on Amukamara still being on the board and jump at him.

#16 Jacksonville Jaguars select Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

The skinny: Jack Del Rio hangs onto his job for one more year, but he’s got to improve his pass rush to keep it.

#17 New England Patriots select Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

The skinny: After all The Hoodie’s smoke screens, the Pats stay close to home and invest in keeping Tom Brady upright.

#18 San Diego Chargers select Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA

The skinny: Ayers gets his bets chance to success by remaining on the West Coast.

#19 New York Giants select Mike Pouncey, G, Florida

The skinny: Again, the Giants jump on a guy they thought would be gone.

#20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

The skinny: The Bucs need secondary help but steer clear of talented but troubled Jimmy Smith to take a character guy from ... The U?

#21 Kansas City Chiefs select Gabe Carimi, T, Wisconsin

The skinny: To contend again, Chiefs must solidify their offensive line.

#22 Indianapolis Colts select Cory Liuget, DT, Illinois

The skinny: This is a pick that could heavily influence the Steelers as the Colts really want to go OLine but with Carimi and Castonzo off the board they’re faced with a potential reach.

#23 Philadelphia Eagles select Nate Solder, T, Colorado

The skinny: Did someone say reach?

#24 New Orleans Saints select Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple

The skinny: This is a true wild card pick as the Saints might know who they want, but no one else does. If you’re scoring at home, that’s Temple 1, Penn State 0.

#25 Seattle Seahawks select Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

The skinny: Troubled player. Pete Carroll. Perfect together.

#26 Baltimore Ravens select Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

The skinny: The Ravens have to vanquish the specter of Ben Roethlisberger and they start here.

#27 Atlanta Falcons select Cam Heyward, DT, Ohio State

The skinny: Another important pick for the Steelers are Falcons could go corner here.

#28 New England Patriots select Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

The skinny: The Hoodie drops his bomb.

#29 Chicago Bears select Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

The skinny: You might have heard the Bears have a temperamental QB whose ego needs a little soothing.

#30 New York Jets select Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor

The skinny: The heir apparent to Kris Jenkins.

#31 Pittsburgh Steelers select Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

The skinny: The Steelers swallow hard here with Danny Watkins still on the board, but with the Bungles and Browns both taking top-flight wideouts, this is the right choice.

#32 Green Bay Packers select Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

The skinny: The champs decide not to try and win back-to-back titles without a running game.

We’ll be back Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings with post-draft analysis and we’ll also grade the Steelers 2008 draft next Monday.

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