Tuesday, 27 April 2010

2011 Mock Draft

By Rob Staton
Let's make this clear right away - this isn't a serious attempt to try and predict what will happen in 12 months time. Events during the 2010 college season will almost certainly make most of this redundant by the time we begin to seriously try and guess what will happen in the 2011 draft. In what could be a strong year for quarterbacks, there's about 4-5 prospects who could legitimately make big moves up a draft board by the end of the year. What I've written below is merely for the purpose of being able to look back a year from now and see how just how things changed or if any of this actually came true. I decided the draft order randomly. Without further ado, here's my premature 2011 mock draft:

#1 Buffalo: Ryan Mallett (QB, Arkansas)
If the Bills are picking first overall, they'll almost certainly draft the top ranked quarterback. Mallett has a cannon arm and retains a lot of his weapons in Arkansas. With an extra year's seasoning, he could be #1 material in 12 months time.

#2 Tampa Bay: Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin)
If the Buccs are picking this high, we might see big changes within the organisation. If this is the start of another rebuild, they might invest in the top offensive lineman.

#3 Kansas City: Jake Locker (QB, Washington)
If the Chiefs are picking this high, they could cut Matt Cassel (his contract has an easy get out after 2010). Finding a long term answer at quarterback is a must for Kansas City.

#4 St. Louis: Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU)
Taking a top defensive lineman could be an alternative, but Peterson really impressed me when watching LSU last year. If he can develop into more of a playmaker, he could easily be a high pick next year.

#5 Cleveland: Adrian Clayborn (DE, Iowa)
This guy is fun to watch. Whether Cleveland sticks with a 3-4 or move to a 4-3, he fits either scheme. Off the field issues could push him down the board, but talent is worthy of a top pick.

#6 Detroit: Prince Amukamara (CB, Nebraska)
We'll soon find out just how good Nebraska's existing defensive talent really is now that Ndamukong Suh is in the NFL. Amukamara had five picks last year and looked very good, but how much was down to pressure up front with Suh and Crick?

#7 Seattle: Jonathan Baldwin (WR, Pittsburgh)
Baldwin is big (6'5", 225lbs), he gets downfield, he has strong hands and he can make spectacular catches. For me, this is the #1 receiver prospect to keep an eye on in 2010. He fits what Seattle is looking for in a #1 receiver.

#8 Denver: Allen Bailey (DE, Miami)
The Broncos have moved prime veterans on and drafted potential replacements. It might take a while to come together. Bailey would play as a 3-4 five technique which will probably be a big need area for Denver next year.

#9 Jacksonville: Jerrod Johnson (QB, Texas A&M)
If the Jaguars don't improve upon last year, they're another team who might make big changes. Quarterback would probably be a target area and Johnson has the potential to put himself in a strong position if he continues his development.

#10 Pittsburgh: Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama)
The Steelers could have a bad year. Roethlisberger's suspension and a tough division could lead to a top ten pick. Ingram is a Pittsburgh type of football player, but he might lose some snaps to talented sophomore Trent Richardson next year.


Charles said...

unless clipboard jesus becomes more than his namesake, I would be very disappointed if we took a WR in the first round with no solid plan at the QB position. It might be the right move, but it would still be a year or two after we DID eventually get a new QB and got him acclimated before we'd acheive anything noteworthy again.

Rob Staton said...

The thing is Charles, Whitehurst may not get a chance in 2010. I put Seattle at #7 because I wanted to include them in this discussion, but we have no idea what will happen during the season. Whitehurst could be the untested 2011 starter if they really believe in him and then getting a legitimate #1 weapon would make sense. In this scenario listed here - which is far too premature to seriously discuss - the top two QB's had already gone.

Charles said...

You have to think from history alone that Hasselbeck will get injured at some point this year and let Whitehurst get some game time. It may not be much, but should at least give the coaches more of an idea of what he offers. Also I'd like to be able to draft a QB and have him sit on the bench for at least a year behind another QB. Especially with a Rookie Pay Scale being introduced, there won't be as much pressure to get your top pick (who's being paid more than season productive veterans) to play right away.

I realize in this scenario we are picking later and would have to most like have a worst record than we did this year to be in the top 3 which is where you have the top 2 QB's going. So I guess it's either make the pick or trade down and get a QB where you can get him for value. Trading into the top 10 shouldn't be as prohibitive anymore because there won't be as big of a contract garunteed anymore.

D said...

HA, this cracks me up. Mock Draft 2011 less than aweek after the 2010 draft. It will be intresting to see how it holds up.

We might very well be looking at WR or DE next year. If we go through one more season of not preassuring the QB there will be desperation time...

Anonymous said...

If we stay healthy (unlike the last two years) we can win the west and be picking in the late teens or early twenties. If injuries happen and we are in the top 10, we need to trade up for Locker (otherwise our fan base will get smaller and smaller with 3 terrible seasons in a row).

E in F

Pierre said...

And thus the mighty Sisyphus wipes his brow and puts shoulder to boulder for another year....

Thanks Rob - and Kip and many others - for the all the work and a great site!

cysco said...

"Whitehurst could be the untested 2011 starter if they really believe in him"

This is exactly why I've been thinking the best thing to do would be to throw Whitehurst into the fire and have him start all season with Matt backing him up.

We need to know sooner rather than later if the guy is legit. The only way that's going to happen is to get playing time.

It could be rough to watch, but would probably be the best thing for the team long-term.


Anonymous said...

Do you think Jonathan Baldwin is above AJ Green, Julio Jones, and Michael Floyd? I though AJ Green is the consensus number 1 receiver next year, although he doesn't have to declare I am sure he would. If it is between Green and Baldwin who do you think the Hawks prefer?

Anonymous said...

Oh..., I just cringe when I see a WR in the 1st round. According to an ESPN article, WR have the highest bust rate. If we really are picking this early, I would rather pick in the early 2nd for a WR because my impression of this draft is that it's deep at QB (relatively), DBs, and WRs. This is not a deep draft for the two lines or RBs.

As such I would focus on the DL (area for greatest improvement) as any legit talent would be off the board in the 1st round. Specifically, a 3 tech or maybe a DE depending on how this year goes. I hear Marvin Austin is the best DT. I wonder if he is an option?


Charles said...

Hey Rob do you know if any team ever signed Tony Washington the OT from Abirlene Christian? I haven't heard anything, and it seemed like he was a quality tackle talent wise that went undrafted...

Louis said...


Why Mallet #1 and not Jake Locker?

Rob Staton said...

Annonymous - I think Green (like Jones and Floyd) has a lot to prove. He wasn't outstanding last year, although the bad QB situation didn't help. But he's at a point now where he either takes a huge step and becomes the top ten pick he can be, or if he just has another 800 yard season with a handful of TD's. Jones drops way too many passes for my liking and he needs to decide whether he wants to be great or not. Floyd needs to stay healthy. Baldwin had the best year last season and seems to me to fit everything the Seahawks want in a receiver.

Alex - I think it's well publicised that receivers have a high bust rate. However, the top... top guys in the NFL right now (Fitzgerald, A. Johnson, C. Johnson) were all high picks and because other guys have busted in the past never has a direct influence on whether the next guy will. There's a lot of DLiners who bust too.

Charles - nobody has signed Washington as far as I'm aware. Teams seemingly don't want to deal with the issue that comes with him in the locker room. What happened is quite unique and I don't think teams are truly aware how to handle it.

Louis - I have Mallett at #1 because I've seen a lot more of him and know what he can do. Simple as that. I won't pretend I know enough about Locker. I know Mallett has major pro-tools, great size and he got better as the year went on in 2009. He retains his weapons which are good and I think Arkansas will challenge next year. In that division, he'll get a lot of attention. He just needs to become more consistent and find some touch. But really, this isn't a legitimate projection as such, it's a bit of fun. I went with the guy I know more about. I think he can go #1 if he performs as people hope in 2010. But then again, we said that about Jevan Snead.

Anonymous said...

I think my point is that the WCO can still operate without a #1 receiver. Is it ideal? No. But it can still operate. The Seahawks during their playoff years never had a #1 receiver and was still pretty explosive. You mainly need playermakers should can get YAC (Golden Tate) and good route runners.

Couple that fact with the our team's DL holes (particularly the 3 tech if Mebane is at the 1 tech), I think we should go with DL.

Basically, I think WR in the 1st round is a bigger gamble or I should say DL is a safer pick. A WR pick would be a bigger gamble than DL because of its relatively higher bust rate. If WR is the only problem that we had and there really is that projected "next Andre Johnson", then I would throw it. But knowing that we have deficiencies in the DL, I wouldn't ignore it especially when it could be the last piece (a penetrating 3 tech can free up everyone).

Lastly, as I said, I thought the WR, DBs, and QBs groups are deep, but the DL and OL is weak the 2011 draft. You might find a potential #1 WR in the 2nd round, but you won't find a good 3 tech in the 2nd round. That's why I would advocate a 3 tech in the 1st round then a potential #1 WR in the 2nd round.

Speaking of which, cbssportsline says Marvin Austin is the best DT in the next class. I would if that's an option for us?


Anonymous said...

Hawks should do all they can to move up and get Locker.

I don't care how much we invested in getting Whitehurst, Locker is the real deal...

Get it Done!

Rob Staton said...

Alex - some very valid points. However, I think there's a lot of subtle differences between the Holmgren system and what will be used now with Carroll/Bates/Gibbs. There will be greater reliance on getting bigger, faster downfield guys who can jump up and get the ball. They'll value size and speed combo's. They'll make having a #1 wide out a focal point of the offense I think.

Holmgren's was a timing system based on precise routes and guys who can execute regardless of size. You could often plug in well coached guys who didn't necessarily own the top ten talent. It helped also in the SB run that Seattle had a QB in his prime behind an other wordly offensive line with a NFL MVP running back.

Baldwin's one to keep an eye on though, even if not for the Seahawks.

Guilherme said...

Rob, and all about the Locker case? Why would or why wouldn't the Seahawks be interested on him, and what are the trading up scenarios? Last question: how much is Carroll familiar with him? Thanks, and congratulations for the great job at the 2010 NFL Draft, be sure I'll keep reading all your posts through this and the next year!

Matthew Baldwin said...

I would love a 6' 5" 225lb WR that can stretch the field; Tate would run wild over the middle and Housh is a great posession WR. An insane WR corps.

BUT, it's no good without a QB and I'll be furious is Hawks don't trade up to get Locker.

Assuming he progreses as we assume, he'll be an elite QB in the NFL.

A-R-N-F said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A-R-N-F said...

As someone from Bellingham (10 minutes from where he grew up) who knew people who knew Locker's parents, I can tell you Carroll really wanted him at USC. Word was, as I recall, Pete was pretty miffed when he declared for UW. I was told he said something to Locker along the lines of "if you go to Washington, you're going to play us (Trojans) every year and we're going to crush you". Add that to the heaps of praise Carroll has given Locker during his stay at UW (I believe he called him the best QB he had every seen), and I assume Pete and John won't hesitate to sell the farm to get him.

Anonymous said...

You guys should really check out "Run Ricky Run". It is part of ESPN's 30 for 30 campaign. It was one of he best documentaries I have seen and a real glimpse into Ricky's life.

Anonymous said...

Rob: I haven't seen Denver play in a while, but isn't Bates' offense and Holmgren's offense pretty close?

Mike Holmgren is THE successor of Bill Walsh. His West Coast Offense is as pure and original as it gets.

Jeremy Bates first worked under Jon Gruden who in turn worked under Mike Holmgren during the Green Bay years. Later, Bates went to the Jets for a year and then went to the Broncos. The Broncos for a while had Mike Shanahan call plays until he handed it over to Dennison in 07 (I believe who is now the OC of the Texans after Kyle Shanahan left). It's publicized that Bates, as the QB coach, called the plays in 08. I would assume that Bates, who worked under Shanahan, would use a West Coast Offense that is pretty close to the original stuff (timing, playmaking, route running).

Don't forget Shanahan was the OC of the 49ers after Holmgren left for the Packers in 91. So I would assume Shanahan's offense is pretty close to the original stuff as well (maybe with more run game).

Basically, the main influences to Bates should be Shanahan and Gruden who I believe both ran a slightly varied version of the WCO.


Rob Staton said...

Guilherme - Carroll has been very positive about Locker and he's a QB who seemingly would fit Seattle's system. It's way too early to try and suggest whether the Seahawks would move up for him. I'm sure it's a subject we'll discuss a lot over the next 12 months.

Rob Staton said...

Alex - as far as I understand it, there's quite a lot of differences. I don't think a pure west coast exists anymore, just a lot of guys that have come from that tree and branched off. There's likely going to be more reliance on getting the ball down field, needing a QB who can run a good boot leg and move around. It won't necessarily be about crisp, precise timing and route running ala Holmgren.