2011 Beat Writer’s Mock Draft: Falcons land Akeem Ayers

UCLA's Akeem Ayers played defensive end and linebacker for the Bruins. (Associated Press)

UCLA's Akeem Ayers played defensive end and linebacker for the Bruins. (Associated Press)

BIRDLAND – Early in the draft week, the annual beat writer’s mock draft is a must read. Over the years, it’s been the most accurate mock out there is a world that has become full of mindless mocks.

Over the last few days, the beat writers have been sharing  information about what their teams are going to do. I cut out most of that background data and will just present you all with the facts. Another key mock to monitor is the Sporting New Mock. Click here!

In this mock, the Falcons end up with UCLA’s Akeem Ayers, who played linebacker and defensive end for the Bruins. When they select on Thursday, they will be picking from Ayers, Miami cornerback Brandon Harris, Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith and Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod. It’s starting to look like Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward and  Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn will be off the board.

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton responds to a question during a news conference during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton responds to a question during a news conference during the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Here’s the 2011 Beat Writer’s Mock draft:

1. CAROLINA (eight picks, no second, two thirds): Needs: QB, DT, CB. The pick: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn.

2. DENVER (seven picks, no fourth, no fifth and two sixths) Needs: DT, DE, LB, S, TE, RB. The pick: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M.

3. BUFFALO. (9 picks; 2 in 4th, 2 in 7th). Primary needs: Front 7 (DE, OLB, ILB), OT. Secondary needs: QB, CB.  The pick: Marcel Dareus, DL, Alabama.

4. CINCINNATI (8 picks; 2 in 7th). Primary needs: QB, WR, S, O-line. Secondary needs: RB, CB. The pick: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia.

5. ARIZONA (8 picks, 2 in the seventh round). Needs: OLB, QB, ILB, G, WR. The pick: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU.

6. CLEVELAND. – (8 picks, 2 in the 6th (they’ve got Denver’s). Needs: Defensive ends, defensive tackle, No. 1 playmaking receiver, 3rd-4th cornerback, developmental offensive tackle, developmental quarterback. The pick: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama.

7. SAN FRANCISCO (12 picks, two in the fourth round, two in the sixth round, four in the seventh round). The pick:

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)

Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri.

8. TENNESSEE — 9 picks total. Needs: QB, DT, DE, LB, S. The pick: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn.

9. DALLAS – Eight picks, including a compensatory pick in the seventh. Needs: 1. DE. 2. OT. 3. S. Strong safety. The pick: Tyron Smith, OT, USC.

10. WASHINGTON. Six picks (no third — traded to Saints for OT Jammal Brown or fourth — traded to Eagles for QB Donovan McNabb) including a compensatory in seventh. Needs: QB, NT, OLB, CB (if Carlos Rogers doesn’t re-sign), WR (if Santana Moss doesn’t re-sign, OT (if Brown doesn’t re-sign). The pick: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina.

11. HOUSTON: Picks: 8, 2 in the seventh round, including Mr. Irrelevant (compensatory pick). Needs: OLB, CB, FS, SS, WR. The pick: Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri.

12. MINNESOTA (9 picks; 0 in third, 2 in fifth, 2 in sixth, 2 in seventh. Extra 5th is from Giants for Sage Rosenfels; Extra 6th and 7th are compensatory picks) Needs: QB, S, CB, DE, DT, and OL could use an upgrade. The pick: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson.

13. DETROIT. Six picks – one in every round except the sixth. The pick: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska.

14. ST. LOUIS (7 picks–1 pick in first 5 rounds; none in Round 6; two picks in round 7. TEAM NEEDS (WR, DT, OLB, RB, CB, S, DE). The pick: The pick: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois.

15. MIAMI. (8 picks; none in the second round, three in the 7th). Primary needs: The offense, all of it is in need. (RB, C, QB, WR, TE.), Secondary needs: OLB, G. The pick: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida.

16. JACKSONVILLE (7 picks, two fourths, no 7th, one in rest of the rounds.) Needs: DL, S, LB, CB, G-C, WR, QB. The pick: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue.

Arkansas' Ryan Mallet could be to the second round of the draft.  (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Arkansas' Ryan Mallet could be to the second round of the draft. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

17. NEW ENGLAND (9 picks; 2 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 thirds, no sevenths) Needs: Defensive end, pass-rusher, guard, running back. The pick: Cameron Jordan, DE, California.

18. SAN DIEGO: Eight picks. (18 in the first. 50 and 61 in the second. 82 and 89 in the third. No fourth or fifth. 183 and 201 in sixth. 234 in seventh.) The pick: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin.

19. NEW YORK GIANTS: (8 picks, one each in rounds 1-4, none in round 5, three in round 6 (including 2 compensatory picks) and one in round 7. The pick: Anthony Castonzo, T, Boston College.

20: TAMPA BAY: Picks: Eight total, two in the seventh. Needs: DE, MLB & SLB, RT, CB. The pick: Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona.

21. KANSAS CITY. (8 picks; one each round except the fifth when they have two picks) NEEDS: LBs, WR, NT, OG-C, OT, QB. The pick:  Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin.

22. INDIANAPOLIS. (6 picks, one in each of the first six rounds. Needs: OT, DT, S, WR, G. The pick: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado. (Note: In the previous 24 drafts Bill Polian has run with the Colts, Carolina and Buffalo, he’s taken only three offensive linemen in the first round; none since Blake Brockermeyer in 1995.)

23. PHILADELPHIA. 10 picks (one in 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2 in 4th, 2 in 5th, 0 in 6th and 3 in 7th). Needs: CB, OT, DE, WLB. The pick: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa.

24. NEW ORLEANS. (6 picks, 1, 2, 3, 3, 7, 7).Needs: OLB, DE, DT, RB, TE, C, OT, S. The pick: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple.

Adrian Clayborn of Iowa takes down Penn State QB Daryll Clark during the 2008 season. (Associated Press)

Adrian Clayborn of Iowa takes down Penn State QB Daryll Clark during the 2008 season. (Associated Press)

25. SEATTLE: Eight picks – First round (No. 25), second (No. 57), no third, fourth (No. 99), two fifths (No. 156 and 157), sixth (No. 173) and two sevenths (No. 209 and 242). The pick: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado.

26. BALTIMORE: Nine picks: First (26th overall), Second (58th), Third (90th), Fourth (123rd), Fifth (164th and 165th, both compensatory), Sixth (180th and 191st) and Seventh (225th). Needs: CB, DE-OLB, WR, OT, C. (Note: The Ravens haven’t used a first-round pick on a defensive player since Haloti Ngata in 2006.) The pick: Cameron Heyward, DE-OLB, Ohio State.

27:  ATLANTA. (9 picks – 1, 2, 3, 4,5, 6, 7 (three). Overall – 27, 59, 91, 124, 158, 192, 209, 228, 229. Needs:  DE, WR, CB, backup OT, CB, speed RB and backup QB.  The pick: Akeem Ayers, DE/LB, UCLA.

28. NEW ENGLAND (9 picks; 2 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 thirds, no sevenths) Needs: Defensive end, pass-rusher, guard, running back. (Note: The Patriots are serial traders when it comes to the draft, and this year’s edition will be no different.) The pick: Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor.

91205 Atlanta, Ga. -- Alabama running back Mark Ingram (22) leaps over a teammate as Florida cornerback Joe Haden (5) looks to make the tackle in the first half of the SEC Championship game Saturday afternoon at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., December 5, 2009. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

91205 Atlanta, Ga. -- Alabama running back Mark Ingram (22) leaps over a teammate as Florida cornerback Joe Haden (5) looks to make the tackle in the first half of the SEC Championship game Saturday afternoon at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., December 5, 2009. Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com

29. CHICAGO: (6 picks, one in each round except 7th) Needs: Offensive tackle, Defensive tackle, Linebacker, Tall receiver, Cornerback. The pick: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State.

30. N.Y. JETS. (six picks; no pick in second round): Needs: NT, LB, WR, S. The pick: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor.

31. PITTSBURGH. (7 picks, one each round). Needs: CB, OT, DL, WR. The pick: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas.

32. GREEN BAY. (nine picks, extra D4 compensatory for Aaron Kampman, extra D7 from Carolina in 2009 trade for LS J.J. Jansen): Needs: DE, OLB, T, G, WR, RB, maybe QB, KR. The pick: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama.

NOT IN ROUND ONE: OAKLAND: Raiders picks: 48 (Round 2), 81 (Round 3), 113 (Round 4), 148 (Round 5), 181 (Round 6), 219 (Round 7), 241 (Round 7) — The Raiders don’t have a first-round pick this year, thanks to the Richard Seymour trade with New England two years ago.

THE BEAT WRITERS

1. Carolina Panthers: Darin Gantt.

2. Denver Broncos: Jeff Legwold.

3. Buffalo Bills: Mark Gaughan.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Reedy.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Kent Somers.

6. Cleveland Browns: Tony Grossi.

7. San Francisco : Matt Barrows.

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2009, file photo shows Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis (9) being sacked by North Carolina's Robert Quinn (42), left, and Zach Brown (47) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., The NCAA declared defensive end Robert Quinn permanently ineligible, the team said Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2009, file photo shows Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis (9) being sacked by North Carolina's Robert Quinn (42), left, and Zach Brown (47) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Chapel Hill, N.C., The NCAA declared defensive end Robert Quinn permanently ineligible, the team said Monday, Oct. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

8. Tennessee Titans: Jim Wyatt

9: Dallas Cowboys: Charean Williams.

10. Washington Redskins: David Elfin.

11. Houston Texans: John McClain.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Mark Craig.

13. Detroit Lions: Mike O’Hara.

14. St. Louis Rams: Jim Thomas.

15. Miami Dolphins: Armando Salguero.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Vito Stellino.

17. New England Patriots: Ian Rapoport.

18: San Diego Chargers: Kevin Acee.

19. New York Giants: Bob glauber

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Roy Cummings.

21. Kansas City Chiefs: Randy Covitz.

22. Indianapolis Colts: Mike Chappell.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Paul Domowitch.

24. New Orleans Saints: Mike Triplett.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Danny O’Neil.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Jamison Hensley.

27. Atlanta Falcons: D. Orlando Ledbetter.

28. New England Patriots: Ian Rapoport.

29. Chicago Bears: Sean Jensen.

30. New York Jets: Gary Myers.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Ed Bouchette.

32. Green Bay Packers: Bob McGinn.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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60 comments Add your comment

JoeCool24

April 26th, 2011
5:13 am

Yeah, he’s going to look like a real winner in the falcons garb.

JoeCool24

April 26th, 2011
5:13 am

Wooooooooooo

Marcus

April 26th, 2011
6:14 am

Interesting….if he is a hybrid, I guess that means he has the versatility to fit both needs, and if we see a good (natural) DE drop to our 2nd round pick (Jabal Sheard or the like), does Ayers become the Mike Petersen’s heir apparent?

TommyP

April 26th, 2011
6:19 am

This would not enthuse me one bit. I’d want Dimitroff to trade back if this is the pick.

The way it’s looking, however, trading back might be more fruitful this year than ever with all of these QBs sitting out there.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 26th, 2011
7:28 am

Marcus — I think they like him as an Abraham clone at D.E. They’ll get Peterson’s replacement later. I pretty sure Sheard will be long gone by the 59th pick.

TommyP – I think he’s holding onto the pick. But if the QBs start slipping, the 27th pick could be in play.

BirdDog

April 26th, 2011
7:39 am

What is Ayer’s size? And, is he a big-time pass rusher?

kudzu

April 26th, 2011
7:42 am

A.J. Green to the Bengals = Perfect. He will fit right in. They have a nice legacy of mal-contents and goofy players.

coachx

April 26th, 2011
8:05 am

Ayers will be a dud. We don’t need a 3-4 OLB in a 4-3. Come on D-Led your better then that.

The only 2 guys I absolutely do not want are Clayborn and Ayers.

coachx

April 26th, 2011
8:09 am

Houston, Sherrod and Harris will be better players then Ayers.

Big Dawg

April 26th, 2011
8:13 am

Sounds like kudzu is a lifetime Bengal.

The Real Falcon

April 26th, 2011
8:16 am

We need a pass rusher that can handle the run as well.
This is not it.

Sid

April 26th, 2011
8:57 am

Are you frickin’ mockin’ me……………..?

Sid

April 26th, 2011
9:00 am

I think there is going to be a lot of teams moving up and down the board in that first round DLed. Any of those beat writers give you a heads up?

Leeman Bennett

April 26th, 2011
9:01 am

It seems like Justin Houston would be more appealing to the birds than Akeem Ayers.

Big Ray

April 26th, 2011
9:19 am

OLB two years in a row, eh? Don’t know if I believe that one or not. Interesting that Kyle Rudolph is no longer in the conversation….

Big Ray

April 26th, 2011
9:22 am

D. Ledd ,

What’s with the somewhat chilly opinions on J. Houston these days? I could live with Ayers as the pick, I reckon. We could do worse. I could also live with Brandon Harris or Torrey Smith, though I’d rather have Leonard Hankerson than Torrey Smith (I think). I’d rather not have to spend a first round pick on a CB, but who knows. Been a lot of noise about how much the Falcons like Chris Owens, so unless they’re blowing smoke, I don’t see Harris as the pick.

Sherrod…nah. I don’t think they like him that much.

BEVO

April 26th, 2011
9:41 am

If sportswriters pick the pick, then BANK on it to be wrong.

d_costa

April 26th, 2011
9:58 am

There’s been a lot of talk that Bowers is dropping faster and further than anyone in recent memory because of his knee. If he’s there @ 27, should the Falcons grab him even though they are aware of this potential knee problem.

I just don’t see any team taking him in the top 15 picks as this mock states, and there’s a chance he could fall to the latter half of the 1st.

Joey

April 26th, 2011
10:12 am

Oh crap. Justin Houston just threw away a fortune if this Fox Sports report is true:

Multiple sources told FOXSports.com that Georgia outside linebacker/defensive end Justin Houston and Iowa defensive lineman Christian Ballard failed drug tests at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. Both players tested positive for marijuana, the sources said.

Peadawg

April 26th, 2011
11:48 am

No way Ingram lasts that long…

SIMP

April 26th, 2011
12:04 pm

Am I the only guy that watched Ayers play this past season? The kid can ball! He will definetely help the Birds.

Drug User

April 26th, 2011
12:13 pm

You can be an alcoholic crackhead and pass a drug test after two days. But not marijuana…nooooooo!

Richham

April 26th, 2011
12:19 pm

I would take Sherrod long before I take Ayer’s. Ayer’s is a second round talent.

Tallcarl

April 26th, 2011
12:25 pm

No way Greenbay use their first for a running back. I think they found theirs in the last few games last year. They will go for a D-line or O-line pick.

Dr. Warren

April 26th, 2011
12:31 pm

A cornerback would surprise and please me. Can’t have enough of those.

Greg

April 26th, 2011
1:14 pm

Yet ANOTHER under-weight pass rusher to join the 3 or 4 we already have??? That’s not getting the job done against stout O-lines (just check the tape of the Green Bay game for confirmation of this). Surely TD & Smitty have learned this by now. Ayers? No Way.

gs

April 26th, 2011
1:24 pm

Why not Ingram at that pick?

Keith

April 26th, 2011
1:25 pm

D-Led, Taylor Smith thinks you would make an excellent GM. ‘Nuff said.

Walker, Texas Ranger

April 26th, 2011
1:32 pm

If you can’t get a top De, then get a top CB cause your going to need it

CJ

April 26th, 2011
1:43 pm

Just solely looking at his stats and his build (because I along with everyone else in the southeast haven’t seen a UCLA game all year), he certainly doesn’t appear to be an answer at DE, but could be a playmaking LB.

Gwinnett Fred

April 26th, 2011
1:46 pm

This may have been covered, but I haven’t seen it.

With the lockout lifted (at least for now), can teams trade players again, or are all trades still draft picks only??

william

April 26th, 2011
1:48 pm

Since coy Wire is the player rep, the selection of Ayers would kill two birds with one stone.

Gwinnett Fred

April 26th, 2011
2:05 pm

@william

Or in other words, a different meaning to “Bird on a Wire”

Big Ray

April 26th, 2011
2:15 pm

….alrighty then….

cg

April 26th, 2011
2:37 pm

watch the highlites on this guy. EXACTLY what we need.

Falcons Chic

April 26th, 2011
2:40 pm

Please end the madness. Let Thursday come quickly. I cannot process all of this. How do y’all have enough time in your day to sort through all the guys that went through the combine AND do your jobs? (Clearly, I have the wrong job.)

QB/DB

April 26th, 2011
3:11 pm

NO to Ayers, not in the 1st or the second! The move is to trade Falcons 1st round pick to TD’s buddy at the Patriots for their 2 second round picks then the FALCONS will have 3 second round picks, then pick whichever DE Allen Bailey, WR Jerigan from TroySt. and McDaniel CB from Clemson. In 3rd take TE D. Williams from ARK in the 4th take OT L. Ziemba from Auburn. and get in the 5th Anthony Allen from GT, Wesley Sanders TE from So. Car. in 6th and D. Gamble and Kris Durham from the DAWGS in the 7th then the FALCONS will have a GREAT DRAFT!

I Must Be Crazy

April 26th, 2011
3:23 pm

Justin Houston is my pick over Ayers and I’ m Tech fan. I’ve disagreed with Dimi’s pick’s the last 2 years. He really misses on alot of guys when you think about all the hype he gets as a draft guru. Through out the yrs. the Falcons have passed on alot D line players from UGA and lived to regret it. If Houston is not available then Acho from Texas. Rd. 1 Houston/Acho Rd. 2 Jerrigan/Cobb Rd.3 Gilchrist/Ras-I-Dowling Rd.4Todman/Rogers Rd.5 Jordan Cameron Rd.6 Lee Ziemba Rd.7 Eddie Jones Texas DE Rd.7 Dent Rd.7 Johnny Patrick cb Louisville. If Dimitroff drafts like the last 2 yrs. these selections will be better than his picks.

John

April 26th, 2011
3:27 pm

It is not going to happen and he will be gone before the Falcons pick in the second. However, the Falcons should take Randall Cobb. He might not have all the perfect measurables, but the guy dominated game in and game out with little talent around him. Everyone knew he was going to get the ball and he would produce. He is one of those guys that plays with a chip on his shoulder because he has been doubted all along. By the way, I am not an Alabama fan, not UK. So many of these DEs never amount to anything. The same goes with WRs but I think Cobb is a fairly safe pick.

Need a Playoff win!

April 26th, 2011
4:30 pm

What is this obsession with DEs by everyone ,the bottom there not going to be a great impact defensive player at that 27th spot. We should go with a playmaker somebody who will help our team stretch the field….we had some guys make the pro-bowl on offense, but we are just to vanilla on offense…teams know our scheme offensively.I think we could still get value at 59 & get a serviceable DE at that spot, most draft experts claim there are at least 18 decent DEs in this draft. Maybe I might be wrong,but I just don’t see that many young guys coming in at that position & making major impacts all over the league. Take the best player that is not off the board no matter their position.

FalconsFan284

April 26th, 2011
5:02 pm

If we have to pick between Ayers and the remaining talent at other need positions, I would have to pass on Ayers. If the Falcons were switching to a 3-4 I would be all over him but he doesn’t fit the scheme. At 27 the Falcons should be able to get Kyle Rudolph (TE), Jonathin Baldwin (WR), Torrey Smith (WR) or Gabe Carimi (OT). Any of these players would be a better scheme fit for Atlanta. However, if we are destined to take a tweener than Ayers might have to be the guy.

cwltank

April 26th, 2011
5:46 pm

I agree Ayers will not go in the 1st round. After the 1st 2 highlights I stopped watching. He is no the answer that the Falcons need. I will be hughly disapppointed if they chose him.

GHunt

April 26th, 2011
6:46 pm

Ayers is a steal at #27. His versatility makes him the type of talent Smitty craves. He plays the run, the pass or rush the passer with equal aplomb. However, I still prefer Heyward or Houston as the pick.

Nathan Darling

April 26th, 2011
6:51 pm

I think that justin houston would be more exciting but a good pick. I just want Titus Young WR in the 2nd round.

GHunt

April 26th, 2011
6:53 pm

DOL, at pick #91 who has the best chance of being available to Atlanta out of Jerrell Jernigan, Randall Cobb and Greg Little?

BJR

April 26th, 2011
7:05 pm

I would rather have Marvin Austin in the Rd.1 and follow with either Demarco Murray or Bruce Carter in Rd.2 get a speedy receiver in Rd.3 and T.E. in Rd.4

BJR

April 26th, 2011
7:07 pm

Heyward does not have a quick twitch he’s just like J.A.98

TD has No clue

April 26th, 2011
7:42 pm

TD will screw it up as usual. Check all his picks. No great players among them.

cwltank

April 26th, 2011
8:36 pm

Ayers has size but a 4.8 in the 40 is not what we need. Unless that is an error we should pass.

MR.true fan

April 26th, 2011
9:08 pm

Ayers is a great pick i want him in atlanta he could make a impact right away