UPDATED — To reflect Von Miller moving up to the No. 2 and Marcell Dareus moving down to No. 3. 9:32 a.m.
BIRDLAND – Here’s the final Mock Draft.
If the Falcons retain the 27th pick in the first round of the NFL draft, they should be on the clock around 11 p.m. Thursday.
While their options likely will include Miami cornerback Brandon Harris, Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed, Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith and Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod, look for them to select UCLA defensive end/linebacker Akeem Ayers.
Here’s a look at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s final 2011 mock draft.
1. Carolina: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn. Newton will get a chance to join the elite quarterbacks of the NFC South in New Orleans’ Drew Brees, the Falcons’ Matt Ryan and the up-and-coming Josh Freeman in Tampa Bay.
2. Denver: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M. Word leaking out of Denver is that John Fox loves Miller. He could be a force rushing opposite of Elvis Dumervil.
3. Buffalo: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama. The Bills gave up 169.6 yards rushing last season, which was last (32nd) in the league. Dareus would have an immediate impact at improve that number.
4. Cincinnati: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia. The Bengals are re-tooling at receiver, and Green and Jordan Shipley would make a nice tandem.
5. Arizona: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt was intensely studying Newton at Auburn’s Pro Day, but will hitch his offense to Gabbert.
6. Cleveland: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama. The Browns have to surround quarterback Colt McCoy with some weapons.
7. San Francisco: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU. The 49ers are looking for secondary help.
8. Tennessee: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn. Tracy Rocker is Tennessee’s new defensive-line coach. He coached Fairley at Auburn.
9. Dallas: Tyron Smith, OT, USC. The Cowboys want to fortify their line.
10. Washington: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina. Quinn is considered the best pure pass rusher in the talented group of defensive ends.
11. Houston: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska. The Texans must improve their secondary, which gave up 267.5 yards passing per game last season, last in the NFL.
12. Minnesota: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. The Lions decide to get some value. Once considered the top pick in the draft, Bowers’ stock is sliding because of a knee injury.
13. Detroit: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas. The Lions continue to improve their secondary with this pick. Williams is solid in coverage and is a good at blitzing from the corner.
14. St. Louis: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri. He could develop into a force in coach Steve Spagnuolo’s system.
15. Miami: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida. The Dolphins get someone to anchor their line for the next decade.
16. Jacksonville: Cam Jordan, DE, California. His father, Steve Jordan, was a six-time Pro Bowler at tight end for the Vikings.
17. New England: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College. The Patriots elect to get some protection for Tom Brady, who’s not getting any younger.
18. San Diego: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin. The former Badger, who spent time in the programs at Western Michigan and Minnesota, is considered a prototypical 3-4 defensive end.
19. New York Giants: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado. The Giants bring in some offensive-line help.
20. Tampa Bay: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue. The Bucs drafted defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price last season. This year they try to get some help at defensive end.
21. Kansas City: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin. The Outland Trophy winner projects as a right tackle in the NFL. He played left tackle for the Badgers.
22. Indianapolis: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois. The Colts draft a disruptive force for the middle of their defense. He was a wrestler in high school.
23. Philadelphia: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado. He is rugged with his hands in press coverage. He is a tall corner at 6-foot-2 3/8. He has some character issues, but the Eagles believe he could flourish in the right environment.
24. New Orleans: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa. Clayborn’s “stock has dropped,” according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, because he has Erb’s Palsy in his right arm. It’s a condition suffered during birth, and his right arm is weaker than his left.
25. Seattle: Jake Locker, QB, Washington. He will get a chance to watch Matt Hasselbeck for a year or two. Locker is athletic, but needs to work on his accuracy.
26. Baltimore: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami. He was a three-year starter for the Hurricanes. The Falcons held a private workout for him in Miami.
27. Falcons: Akeem Ayers, DE/LB, UCLA. He had 14 sacks and 29.5 tackles for losses over his career.
28. New England: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State. He’s a perfect scheme-fit for the Patriots’ 3-4 defense.
29. Chicago: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State. The Bears look to improve their offensive-line play with this pick. Sherrod is athletic and could anchor the left side for the next decade.
30. New York Jets: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia. The Jets will count on Houston to develop into a big-play artist in their 3-4 scheme.
31. Pittsburgh: Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona. He started 34 games for the Wildcats.
32. Green Bay: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama. The Packers look to improve their rushing attack.
On the fringe: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas; Andy Dalton, QB, TCU; Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech; Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor; Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State; Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland; Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple; Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois; Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh; Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog