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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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