The Mockiavelli 1.0: A.J Green goes No. 1 overall

If the Liberty Bowl is A.J. Green's last game at UGA, will he be remembered as the best receiver in school history? Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com

A.J. Green , of Summerville, S.C., won't have to travel far as the Carolina Panthers will select him No. 1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft. (Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com)

Here it is, the first Mock Draft of draft season.

Most of the teams have their draft boards set going into the combine, which starts on Thursday.

They are on targeted missions for more information on players and will adjust their boards accordingly after the combine.

The Falcons are all set, too.

“We just finished our February cross-check meetings and we have, through that process, really refined our position

stacks across our draft board,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We are starting to narrow down on potential draft picks going into the combine. We feel like we are right on track where we planned on being at this point.”

Miami linebacker Marcus Robinson (56) and defensive lineman Allen Bailey (57) bring down Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon in the second half. (By J. Pat Carter -- Associated Press)

Miami linebacker Marcus Robinson (56) and defensive lineman Allen Bailey (57) bring down Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon in the second half. (By J. Pat Carter -- Associated Press)

The Falcons could go a couple of different directions  in the first round, but given the depth at the defensive end position I have them taking Allen Bailey from Miami. More on him later.

“Those draft meetings in February are vital because we are able to move away from the generalize stack by position to a much more specific stack,” Dimitroff said. “At this point in the year, you get to a point were you feel that the pieces are really starting to come together.”

All righty then, on to Mockiavelli 1.0.

A.J. Green is the best player in the draft, so he’s going No. 1. It’s really that simple.

“The game that really caught my eye, was when he came back against Colorado,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike “On

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: The College Park native passed for 265 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 64 to lead the Tigers to their first national title since 1957 and a 14-0 season. The Heisman Trophy winner had a passer rating 182.05, while throwing for 2,854 yards and 30 TDs. Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: The College Park native passed for 265 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 64 to lead the Tigers to their first national title since 1957 and a 14-0 season. The Heisman Trophy winner had a passer rating 182.05, while throwing for 2,854 yards and 30 TDs. Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

the Money” Mayock said. “Colorado has got two NFL corners in Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown. He came out and he had like seven catches for 118, 120 yards and two touchdowns. He dominated the game.” Check the video.

Green will interview well with teams and that will help him rise to the top of the draft.

“He’s got the best combination of height, weight and speed and he can catch the ball,” Mayock said. “I believe he’s physical enough to get off of press coverage. If you are every going to look at a wide receiver and say this is a guy that’s going to fit any offense, A.J. is the guy.”

He’ll be the first of three Georgia Bulldogs going in the first round.

Offensive lineman Clint Boling is going to Chicago with the 29th pick and Linebacker Justin Houston is going to New York Jets with the 30th pick.

THE BOOK OF BAILEY: The “Book of Bailey” is not all good.

He was inconsistent at Miami and didn’t make plays to match his athleticism.

He will have to interview well in Indianapolis and more importantly defensive line coach Ray Hamilton will have to figure out if he can motivate this kid and turn him into a stud.

He’s going to be the biggest, fastest and strongest defensive end at the combine. With his athletic ability, Bailey should put on absolute combine show.

Mike Mayock has Missouri's Blaine Gabbert as the top rated quarterbackentering the NFL scouting combine. Gabbert throws a pass during his team’s Setp. 19, 2009, game against Furman in Columbia, Mo. (The Associated Press/L.G. Patterson)

Mike Mayock has Missouri's Blaine Gabbert as the top rated quarterbackentering the NFL scouting combine. Gabbert throws a pass during his team’s Setp. 19, 2009, game against Furman in Columbia, Mo. (The Associated Press/L.G. Patterson)

But there are some issues  . . . .

“He has all of the tools,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “It just hasn’t all come together yet. I think part of it is inconsistent effort. Sometimes you see him and he’s not going 100 miles an hour.”

OK, that’s going to be a big problem. But Hamilton can fix it.

“But I also think part of it is his instincts and consistently knowing what he wants to do in certain situations,” McShay said. “He’s played different positions. That could factor into it, that he hasn’t really settled into what he’s doing. He’s struggled sometimes getting off blocks.”

The Falcons will likely view him as a scheme fit at left end.

“I think he could be a good player in the NFL, I just don’t think its all come together,” McShay said. “He has to continue to work and be willing to pay the price in order to get there. If he does, he could wind up being a steal in the second round.”

He could be a steal at 27 in the first, too.

AJC’s 2011 Mockiavelli 1.0

Staff writer D. Orlando Ledbetter projects the first round:

1. Carolina: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia: They get Jimmy Clausen a weapon and look to trade Steve Smith.

2. Denver: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson: They go for the elite pass rusher.

3. Buffalo: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn: Chan Gailey elects to take on this disruptive force to anchor his defense.

4. Cincinnati: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: Bye-bye T.O. and OchoCinco. They can pair Jones with Jordan Shipley, Jerome Simpson and tight end Jermaine Gresham in the passing game.

5. Arizona: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama: Some have him rated over Fairley.

6. Cleveland: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: With Peterson and Joe Haden the Browns will have their best cornerback tandem since Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield.

7. San Francisco: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: The Alex Smith experience is officially over. Newton will face some scrutiny at the combine, but if he is frank with teams, he’ll be the top QB selected.

8. Tennessee: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin: “I’m very impressed with J.J. Watt from Wisconsin,” Mayock said.

9. Dallas: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M: The Cowboys get some help for their front seven.

10. Washington: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri:  “On the Money” Mayock has Gabbert rated as the top quarterback in the draft.

11. Houston: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska: They have to improve the worst secondary in the league.

12. Minnesota: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas: I can’t imagine the conversation between Bill Musgrave and Bobby Petrino over this one. Hey they are professionals and will work it out.

13. Detroit: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College: The Lions get quarterback Matthew Stafford some protection.

14. St. Louis: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina: It seems like the Rams have been drafting defensive linemen for the last decade.

15. Miami: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: They get Ingram to help the aging backfield.

16. Jacksonville: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa: They get a bookend for Tyson Alualu.

17. New England: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado: The Patriots’ line is starting to show come cracks.

18. San Diego: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA: Larry English (remember him) has been a bust.

19. New York Giants: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois: They fortify their defensive front.

20.  Tampa Bay, Cam Heyward, DE, Ohio State:  “Just put their bowl game,” Mayock said. “He dominated that game. He was phenomenal against Arkansas.”

21. Kansas City: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin: Their offensive line was not up to playoff standards last season.

22. Indianapolis: Tyron Smith, OT, UCLA: They get Smith in order to improve Peyton Manning’s protection. He took too many hits last season.

23. Philadelphia: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami: Harris will come up in run support and the Eagles are getting very thin at the position.

24. New Orleans: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue: He’s one of those super motor guys.

25. Seattle: Jake Locker, QB, Washington:  Matt Hasselbeck won’t play forever. The Seahawks go with the local legend who’ll eventually compete with Charlie Whitehurst for the starting job.

26. Baltimore: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado:  They address a need.

27. Atlanta: Allen Bailey, DE, Miami: See above!

28. New England: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri: They get some more help for the young defense.

29. Chicago: Clint Boling, OL, Georgia: Offensive line coach Mike Tice worked wonders with the offensive line last season.

30. New York Jets: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia: The Jets need another pass rusher as Jason Taylor is getting old and Vernon Gholston’s hasn’t panned out.

31. Pittsburgh: Mike Pouncey, G, Florida: He joins his brother and the twins anchor the line for the next decade.

32. Green Bay: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State: They always go with the biggest, baddest and meanest dude left on the board. That’s Paea, even though they have B.J. Raji.

ON THE FRINGE: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas; Marcus Cannon, OL, TCU; Christian Ballard, DE, Iowa; Titus Young, W,  Boise State;  Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland; Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame; Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor; Cam Jordan, DE, California; Martrez Wilson, LB, Illinois and Rahim Moore, S, UCLA.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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146 comments Add your comment

isproab

February 18th, 2011
8:11 am

I’ve thought this since A.J. Green decided to go pro. He is without a doubt a #1 overall pick. The QB’s available have too many questions in my opinion. Cam Newton, can he have the same success at the NFL level? Fairley seems to have come out of nowhere, so immediately I’m skeptical. Not saying those guys will not be good players, but A.J. Green is ready to step in and be somebody’s #1.

jg

February 18th, 2011
8:13 am

first and don’t care–go falcons!

Najeh Davenpoop

February 18th, 2011
8:22 am

If there has been one constant in the draft over the last ten years, it has been that if a QB doesn’t go #1 overall, there will be a damn good reason. Only twice in the last 15 years has a QB not gone in the top 3. Teams with high picks will find a reason to justify spending it on a QB whether or not that QB’s talent dictates he should be picked that high. I’d be really surprised to see Cam Newton slip past Arizona, and I really think he’s going to end up goin #1 overall unless he absolutely bombs at the combine.

SimpleDawg

February 18th, 2011
8:28 am

I don’t Allen Bailey as the first round pick. I’d rather have Justin Houston if we’re drafting a pass rusher.

Miami players with questionable desire and attitude are poison….kinda like Va. Tech players…..they’re usually more trouble than they’re worth.

BYRDDAWG

February 18th, 2011
8:28 am

GO AJ……WOOF WOOF WOOF

CJ

February 18th, 2011
8:28 am

Carolina used two 3rd round picks and a 6th round pick on WRs last year. I don’t see them doing it again, especially since they feel like they are set with Gettis and LaFell. They are definitely taking the DE from just up the road in Clemson, just like they took the Tar Heel DE first in 2002.

Any Mock Draft outside of this state wouldn’t have AJ Green going #1.

Sid

February 18th, 2011
8:31 am

I think Carolina goes QB, Falcons 3rd string, Billy Joe Wilson is better than Clausen.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 18th, 2011
8:32 am

Najeh: Delete. Not taking that madness from you. Had 27 of 32 first round picks last year.

SimpleDawg: I understand that. I think he’s a better system fit. That’s why I have Houston going to a 3-4 team.

CJ: I understand that rationale. After the combine, everybody will see the light on A.J. Green being the top pick.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

February 18th, 2011
8:34 am

I wish the falcons would take Pouncey and work on the defense with a free agent we don’t have much luck with 1st round D picks.

Travis McGee

February 18th, 2011
8:35 am

Enter your comments here

Wildgator

February 18th, 2011
8:35 am

This year’s number one pick is a real toss up, but I don’t think AJ Green is worthy of a #1 pick. I have seen him give up in several games over the years for uga, and I am a Gator fan. He is good, but he could have been great. Side note – I still think he got a raw deal about the jersey – when other school players, nevermind, GO GATORS! :-)

mountain_jim

February 18th, 2011
8:36 am

Deep draft in DE’s. Hope we finally draft a good one again!

Travis McGee

February 18th, 2011
8:38 am

Wow! Three Dawgs in the first round. And, a terrible season. So what does that tell you about the coaching staff?

steeldawg

February 18th, 2011
8:41 am

DOL, It sounds like Allen Bailey is already on the team. His name is Lawrence Sidbury. We need somebody that is ready to play, not another project.

Falcons Fanatic

February 18th, 2011
8:41 am

I agree that DE is a major need but I dont agree with going with that kid.I say we either take Baldwin, Young, or Smith for WR or if Rahim Moore is still available take him because he could play safety and corner.You have to be a fool if you think we would take him if he really hasnt produced in college.

3 1st round draft picks

February 18th, 2011
8:42 am

yet a 6-7 season. how does Richt do it?

AIRDAWG

February 18th, 2011
8:43 am

Just what we need a project.That was the old falcons.

jerry

February 18th, 2011
8:44 am

It would be nice to see a Falcon rival ,namely Carolina, draft Green and team him with Clausen. What a waste.

Trooper Taylor's Backwards Hat

February 18th, 2011
8:46 am

AJ never gave up in any game, wild gator. Unfortunately I’ve watched them all…

UGASlobberknocker

February 18th, 2011
8:51 am

After reading this, I guessed that it would take about 10 posts fro someone to try and hijack the subject matter and turn it into a Richt rant. I was wrong, it took 12.

BILLY JACK

February 18th, 2011
8:51 am

PLEASE DRAFT HOUSTON AND NOT BAILEY.

bjohnDawg

February 18th, 2011
8:54 am

SteelDawg….you are correct sir.

If there is not a DE ready now to play. Go to the OL side and get a Pouncey. Or trade up for a need.
But this team really needs to get away from a project player in the 1st round of this draft.

Sid

February 18th, 2011
8:55 am

Just one RB in the first round…………..?? If that premier RB is still out there @ #27 should we take him? I love Norwood but his being so prone to injury may not be worth the roster spot.

Check out this article on Allen Baily from when he was in high school.
http://tinyurl.com/4auoz2w

Fairly will be an NFL problem child, Haynesworth-esq……….., TO selfish. Meangelo ego maniacal.

Hmmmmmmm

February 18th, 2011
8:55 am

A J Green is NO number 1 pick….

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by twupsies, ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter, Travel News Feeds, billyhayes and others. billyhayes said: The Mockiavelli 1.0: AJ Green goes No. 1 overall: 1 overall in the 2011 NFL draft. (Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@a… http://bit.ly/g8NMlu [...]

The Ghost of Wally Butts

February 18th, 2011
8:58 am

Everyone who has used Mr. Green’s name in this article owes $1,000 bucks to the AJ Green Spring Break Foundation. Please log onto E-Bay Green dot com and provide your credit card info now.

CamJordan

February 18th, 2011
9:00 am

DOL. You may have have gotten 27 of 32 correct last yeat, but you will DEFINITELY miss by not having Cameron Jordan in the 1st round. In fact, he will be a top 20 pick. Allen Bailey may not even get drafted until the 3rd round. He is an incredible athlete, but only an average football player. I would take Jabaal Sheard, the other PITT DE, over Allen Bailey if both were available in the 2ND round. Allen Bailey is way overrated. I’m sure Mike Mayock would agree.

mike

February 18th, 2011
9:00 am

WR with a #1?? Too much $$$ unless a rookie wage scale comes into play. Also, name the last highly drafted DE to pan out in the NFL. I can only think of busts. Check out tampa bay and the jags success with that position. Fast in college is not fast in the NFL

RomeDawg

February 18th, 2011
9:04 am

If I were a GM, AJ Green would EASILY be the number 1 pick. He is going to dominate for years to come. Wait and see! Also, ever notice how players who don’t have the motor in college never work out too well in the NFL. Bailey would be a huge bust if taken in the first round. Dimitroff is too smart for that.

DC

February 18th, 2011
9:11 am

Hard for a Wide out to dominate if you dont have a QB…does a GT kid that got drafted by the Lions ring a bell…Great Wide out..but can’t shine unless you have a great QB

1eyedJack

February 18th, 2011
9:12 am

“He has all of the tools,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. “It just hasn’t all come together yet. I think part of it is inconsistent effort. Sometimes you see him and he’s not going 100 miles an hour.”

Sounds ominously like Aundray Bruce.

Tyler

February 18th, 2011
9:12 am

I’m not a Georgia fan but I think Green might be the best talent and safest pick in the draft. But Carolina needs someone to throw to him before they pick a WR high in the draft. I see them picking Bowers. If the first 26 picks of the draft play out like DOL thinks it will I see the Falcons picking Aldon Smith, Houston, Cam Jordan or maybe a WR before Bailey.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 18th, 2011
9:12 am

CAM JORDAN: There are going to 8 or 9 DEs go in the first round. Here’s Mike Mayock’s top 5.
DEFENSIVE ENDS:
1. Da’Quan Bowers – Clemson (CLEM) JR
2. Robert Quinn – North Carolina (UNC) JR
3. J.J. Watt – Wisconsin (WIS) JR
4. Adrian Clayborn – Iowa (IOWA) SR
5. Cameron Jordan – Cal (CAL) SR

AlphaDawg

February 18th, 2011
9:13 am

WildGator…I’ve watched every game AJ ever played in…which games did you see him give up in?

Musa

February 18th, 2011
9:13 am

Why would the falcons put themselves in a situation like they did with Jamal Anderson. We dont need anoth lineman that doesnt play hard ALL THE TIME. Get a guy that you know is going to WORK ALL THE TIME.

AlphaDawg

February 18th, 2011
9:17 am

#1 MUSA…Hayward or Jordan…damn, there maybe 3 Cam’s to go in the 1st round, 2 of which are GA boys and neither played for UGA

CamJordan

February 18th, 2011
9:18 am

DOL. I know about Mike Mayock’s top 5 DE list. Cam Jordan will definitely be 1 of the 8 or 9 DE’s drafted in the 1st round.

Mocking your Mock

February 18th, 2011
9:20 am

Did you just throw darts at names? Cam Jordan’s not a 1st rounder? The Falcons draft players with high character- not laziness. Mallet is not a first round pick. JJ Watt is not a top ten pick. Aldon Smith is a top 15 pick. Stephen Paea just blew out his knee, making him a middle 2nd rounder at best. Green Bay is likely to take an offensive lineman also. Lastly, I know DOB you are just trying to stir the pot with the Boling pick. He is more than likely a 3rd round pick.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

February 18th, 2011
9:20 am

CamJordan: No doubt. The 3-4 teams are going to jumble the board though.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

February 18th, 2011
9:21 am

By most accounte I have read Fairley or Bowers is going to Carolina so that is an interesting twist. It would help sell some tickets for the franchise also, bringing in a kid either way with some local ties, Bowers or Greene. My thought is though they go inside and take Fairley.

Also- with the seemingly safe routes the Falcons take when evaluating and drafting players with high charachter/work ethic wouldn’t you see that pick as a huge risk at a big time need for them? Could be Houston part II if it doesn’t play out right.

leestrenth

February 18th, 2011
9:21 am

The Falcons need to draft Titus Young WR from Boise State with the 27th pick…No Brainer!!!!!

oldmike

February 18th, 2011
9:21 am

DOL: Is there any scenario in which the Falcons trade up to get a better impact player for their O or D?

TheYankeesWin

February 18th, 2011
9:22 am

mike – the last DE to pan out would be Mario Williams to Houston #1 overall in 2006, Tamab Hali was #20 that same year and he has been decent. Chris Long from 2008 hasn’t lived up to #2 overall but he has been first round good.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

February 18th, 2011
9:23 am

—-Less the E after AJ. Guess I had David on the brain—–

Fish Bisch

February 18th, 2011
9:33 am

What is a Mockiavelli?

shaggy

February 18th, 2011
9:37 am

Betcha Cam Newton goes to Arizona or maybe Carolina takes him first and trades Clausen. He has too much talent and athleticism to stay around until SF.

WDE

February 18th, 2011
9:37 am

I’ll be honest, if I’m an NFL team I take Julio over AJ because he’s stronger, more physical, and a better blocker. The NFL is going to be putting a premium on blocking WR’s, and quite frankly the media guide lies tremendously about AJ’s weight. He’s fast and good on his routes, just not sure he’s as balanced as Julio. The only problem you can have with Julio is that he’s battled injuries, which is something to consider. But assuming he’s healthy, I’d take him.

JB

February 18th, 2011
9:39 am

Ya know, before the previous season started, there was a yellow maggot went by KP, maybe) who was saying that they’d not only beat us but that AJG wouldn’t be a top 10 pick. Oh well…

HBTD!!!

AlphaDawg

February 18th, 2011
9:52 am

WDE…you draft receivers in the top of the 1st round to catch the ball not block… and JJ drops a lot of passes…and AJ is decent enough blocking…as a receiver you don’t have to lay the wood like Ward to be an effective blocker all you have to do is get in the way. And i’ve meet AJ he’s every bit of 210 to 215 the media guide says. He’s 6′4″ or 6′5″ and nothing but lean muscle.

Wildgator

February 18th, 2011
9:54 am

@ AlphaDawg, and Trooper’s Taylor – AJ is good but not great. What’s the difference between him and Fred Gibson, or Reggie Brown, or Terrance Edwards. And a game in particular where I remember watching him give up (I was at the game) was in JAX 2 years ago. The game was early, and you all where still in the game. Stafford threw a interception at like Florida’s 20 to Haden, Green gave up on the play/chase and someone else pushed Haden out of bounce at UGA’s 10-15. After that play, he wasn’t the same in the game. What did he do in this/last years game as well? What about the Auburn game? Again, not trying to take anything away from him, he should go in the first round, but I don’t think he is #1 worthy. In tough matchups, he tends to fade away.