2011 Backward NFL Mock Draft
Last update: Friday, April 22, 2011.
This is what it sounds like: What would the 2011 NFL Draft look like if the order were reversed? Whom would the Packers take with the first pick? My annual Backward NFL Mock Draft is listed below.
Go here for my 2011 NFL MOCK DRAFT.
Green Bay Packers: Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
If the Broncos ran a 3-4, Von Miller might be the favorite to go No. 2 overall. Some have Miller as the top player in this class, so the Packers would not hesitate to draft him atop this fictional draft. Can you imagine Miller and Clay Matthews on the same defense? Opposing quarterbacks would be crapping their pants the entire week leading up to the game.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
No cornerback has ever been taken in the top two, but that certainly wouldn't be the case if the best teams were drafting first every year. The Steelers don't have many glaring needs, so they can address one of their few holes with arguably the best player in the 2011 NFL Draft class.
New York Jets: Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama
The Jets are looking for front seven personnel to get after the quarterback. With Von Miller off the board, Marcell Dareus becomes the easy choice.
Dareus would replace Shaun Ellis, a 33-year-old free agent.
Chicago Bears: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
There's no offensive lineman worth taking this high, but the Bears would be able to secure a No. 1 receiver they've lacked on offense for a very long time. I actually think I had Chicago picking Green in one of my very first 2011 NFL Mock Drafts.
New England Patriots: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
When the Patriots acquired the Raiders' first-round pick in the Richard Seymour trade, I imagine they were hoping they'd be drafting this high. Unfortunately for them, Oakland didn't cooperate.
In this make-believe backward 2011 NFL Mock Draft, New England gets the blue-chip pass-rusher it was perhaps aiming for when dealing with the league's undead owner.
Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Like A.J. Green, Julio Jones' spot is identical in both the real and backward 2011 NFL Mock Drafts. That's the case here because the Falcons are in dire need of a talented receiver across from Roddy White. Plus, Jones would make a huge impact in the running game because of his blocking ability.
Baltimore Ravens: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
The Ravens and Steelers both come away with potential shutdown corners in the 2011 Backward NFL Mock Draft. Prince Amukamara is a fine consolation prize for a team with most of its cornerbacks set to hit free agency.
Seattle Seahawks: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
I don't think the Seahawks will draft a quarterback at No. 25 because doing so wouldn't necessarily give them an upgrade over Charlie Whitehurst. However, if the draft order were suddenly flipped, Seattle would probably take Cam Newton because of his immense upside.
New Orleans Saints: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
The Saints are looking for help on the defensive line, so they wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on Nick Fairley despite his work ethic concerns.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
It's weird that this pick stays the same, but I'm pretty sure that the Eagles love Jimmy Smith and Prince Amukamara. Andy Reid could trade up for Smith on Draft Day, so getting him here would allow him to save one of his Day 2 selections.
Indianapolis Colts: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
It doesn't matter where the Colts are drafting - they're going to find someone to block for Peyton Manning. The only difference here is that they're able to land a tackle with a lot more upside than Derek Sherrod or Gabe Carimi.
Kansas City Chiefs: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri
The Chiefs don't have anyone to rush the passer outside of Tamba Hali. That would certainly change with Aldon Smith, who is drawing some comparisons to DeMarcus Ware.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
The Buccaneers are looking to trade up for Robert Quinn, Ryan Kerrigan, Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt (not Aldon Smith). They won't have to surrender a second-round pick to land Kerrigan, Jordan or Watt in this backward mock. I have Jordan rated higher than Kerrigan and Watt, so he's the pick.
New York Giants: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Like the Colts, the Giants have to improve the offensive line for their Manning. Tom Coughlin lands his Boston College buddy without having to worry about Bill Belichick selecting him two picks earlier.
San Diego Chargers: J.J. Watt, DE/DT, Wisconsin
J.J. Watt is San Diego's choice in both mock versions since there isn't much of a difference between picking 18th and 15th. The middle selections aren't very fun in the backward mock.
New England Patriots: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple
The Patriots nabbed their rush linebacker. Now, they get their five-technique. Cameron Jordan and J.J. Watt are off the board, but that's OK because Muhammad Wilkerson might be a better fit in Bill Belichick's defense than both of them.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
As I wrote in my 2011 NFL Draft Team Big Board page, if Ryan Kerrigan is available and the Jaguars don't pick him, I will fall out of my chair.
Miami Dolphins: Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
Miami makes the same pick in both versions. As I said, the middle selections in the backward mock are boring.
St. Louis Rams: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, another identical pick. Let's move on to some exciting backward mock selections...
Detroit Lions: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Finally, something different. Da'Quan Bowers' potential arthritic knee makes him a very risky selection at No. 13. That's not really the case at No. 20.
The Lions' M.O. is taking the best player on their board. Even considering Bowers' knee, I'd find it difficult to believe that Bowers wouldn't be listed atop their chart in this scenario.
Minnesota Vikings: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Yay, the Vikings don't have to reach for a quarterback! Some may question whether or not Blaine Gabbert is worth a top-10 pick, but there's no doubt that he would be a good bargain at No. 21. Lacking a legitimate starting signal-caller, Minnesota wouldn't hesitate if Gabbert were still on the board.
Houston Texans: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
Taking Phil Taylor at No. 11 is way too early, but he's definitely in the range at No. 22. The Texans don't have a legitimate nose tackle on the roster, so this one is a no-brainer, especially with the top rush linebackers off the board.
Washington Redskins: Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
There's a belief that Mike Shanahan likes Jake Locker, but as I've said multiple times, Shanahan is really tight-lipped when it comes to the NFL Draft. He didn't even work out Jay Cutler prior to drafting him.
Andy Dalton would be a great fit in Shanahan's offense. He can roll out of the pocket like Locker, but he also has the accuracy that Locker lacks.
Dallas Cowboys: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
I have the Cowboys taking a right tackle with upside in my real 2011 NFL Mock Draft. Well, I also have them getting a right tackle with upside in my backward mock. The difference is, as Emmitt would say, Smith and Solder have "different alphabet" in their names.
Tennessee Titans: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Taking Jake Locker at No. 8 is way too early, but at No. 25, the Titans can land the quarterback they've met with several times.
San Francisco 49ers: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
These teams - the 49ers, Titans, Redskins, Vikings - could be making their picks here in the real 2011 NFL Draft. It'll be interesting to see what the going rate for these late first-round picks will be. I fully expect the Patriots to walk away with at least one extra first-rounder in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Cleveland Browns: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
The Browns have a ton of options here, ranging from defensive ends (Justin Houston, Adrian Clayborn), to wide receivers (Titus Young, Randall Cobb) to right tackles (Gabe Carimi, Derek Sherrod). I gave them Carimi because he's the best player on my board out of everyone I listed. Plus, they have to protect the fragile Colt McCoy.
Arizona Cardinals: Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia
The poor Cardinals have to downgrade from perhaps Von Miller to Justin Houston. Still though, Houston is a good selection here because he fills a huge need and is one of the top players available.
Cincinnati Bengals: Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
Colin Kaepernick is not ready to start in a West Coast offense, but his upside is too immense for the Bengals to pass up on at No. 29.
Buffalo Bills: Cameron Heyward, DE/DT, Ohio State
The only quarterback remaining is Ryan Mallett, but he doesn't possess the mobility that Chan Gailey likes. The Bills would pass on Mallett in this scenario, focusing instead on their woeful defensive line with Cameron Heyward.
Denver Broncos: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
The Broncos have a huge need at defensive tackle, and some would say that Marvin Austin is a first-round lock. I personally don't think so, but he's one of the better prospects remaining on the board.
Carolina Panthers: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
I'm not going to talk about whether or not Ryan Mallett blew off the Panthers after a night on the town. It's unclear what happened, but the fact remains that Carolina has shown interest in the troubled Arkansas signal-caller.
New regimes mean new quarterbacks, and unfortunately for the Panthers, that means that they have to settle for Mallett instead of Cam Newton in this 2011 Backward NFL Mock Draft.