By Tucker Wyatt
April 26, 2011

The 2011 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday! Here are my predictions for the first round…

 

1 Carolina Panthers
Panthers
CAM NEWTON, QB, Auburn
No one is quite sure about QB Jimmy Clausen, the Panther’s second-round pick last year. So in a division with Matt Ryan, Josh Freemen, and Drew Brees, Carolina just can’t afford to pass on a speedy, quick QB with great vision. The Panthers need a defensive lineman as well.
 
2 Denver Broncos
Broncos
MARCELL DAREUS, DT, Alabama
This 6’4,” 316-pound powerhouse is the real deal. The reconstructed Broncos have recently switched back to a 4-3 defense and Dareus is new team president John Elway’s man to plug up the middle.
 
 
3 Buffalo Bills
Bills
BLAINE GABBERT, QB, Missouri
The Bills need a long term fix for their offense. I think this young quarterback from Missouri might be what they’re looking for. There has been controversy over Gabbert’s ability to go from Missouri’s spread offense to an NFL passing offense but, let’s be honest, that’s what they say for everyone. He’s a little rough around the edges but with some coaching he will be the Bills’ long-term solution.
 
 
4 Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals
PATRICK PETERSON, CB, LSU
Peterson is a shutdown corner, which is exactly what the Bengals need.
 
5 Arizona Cardinals
Cardinals
VON MILLER, OLB, Texas A&M
Arizona linebackers Clark Haggans and Joey Porter are both 34 years young and just can’t deliver the pressure that the Cardinals’ defense needs. That’s where Miller comes into play. This Texas A&M superstar should give the quarterbacks in the NFC West a run for their money.
 
6 Cleveland Browns
Browns
JULIO JONES, WR, Alabama
Jones is one of the most athletically gifted receivers in the draft, and his amazing athletic ability also comes with size. That’s right. This top NCAA performer is going to hook up with Colt McCoy and take the Browns to the playoffs one day.
 
7 San Francisco 49ers
49ers
NICK FAIRLEY, DT, Auburn
Look for this lineman not only to contain the outside in Candlestick Park, but to get in the backfield and push the opponent backwards.
 
8 Tennessee Titans
Titans
TYRON SMITH, OT, USC
Tennessee’s experiment with Vince Young is coming to an end, which means they’re likely to have an inexperienced QB behind center. How do you set up a new QB for success? You give him good blocking so he has time. That’s why I think Tyron will make a great Titan.
 
9 Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys
AKEEM AYERS, LB, UCLA
Dallas has a 3-4 defense, which means they’re looking for one more linebacker. Ayers is their best bet.
 
10 Washington Redskins
Redskins
A.J. GREEN, WR, Georgia
Green is an incredibly gifted receiver with natural route running abilities. He should help the ‘Skins out of their slump.
 
11 Houston Texans
Texans
PRINCE AMUKAMARA, CB, Nebraska
Prince has the size, speed and awareness to be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
 
12 Minnesota Vikings
Vikings
JAKE LOCKER, QB, Washington
With the Brett Favre era finally ending, the Vikings are trying to start fresh with a new QB.
 
13 Detroit Lions
Lions
MARK INGRAM, RB, Alabama
Ingram is an incredible playmaker; he just seems to find the holes. He should give the Lions another offensive option and make Matthew Stafford look great.
 
14 St. Louis Rams
Rams
ROBERT QUINN, DE, North Carolina
Quinn is a big boy who can get in the backfield and make plays.
 
15 Miami Dolphins
Dolphins
MIKE POUNCEY, G/C, Florida
The Dolphins had a lot of injuries on their offensive line last year, and Pouncey should be their cornerstone for rebuilding.
 
16 Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars
J.J. WATT, DT/DE, Wisconsin
The Jaguars had a lot of close games last year. Watt should take “getting pressure in the back field” off of coach Del Rio’s list of thing to worry about.
 
17 New England Patriots
Patriots
ANTHONY CASTONZO, OT, Boston College
Anthony will help Tom Brady break even more records.
 
18 San Diego Chargers
Chargers
PHIL TAYLOR, NT, Baylor
Taylor will be the best pass lineman in San Diego.
 
19 New York Giants
Giants
RANDALL COBB, WR, Kentucky
Cobb showed his playmaking abilities at Kentucky last year. And let’s face it, that was Kentucky. If you put this kid on a winning football team he will be dangerous.
 
20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs
DA’QUAN BOWERS, DE, Clemson
With this pick, the Bucs will get the pass rushers they have long been waiting for.
 
21 Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs
GABE CARIMI, OT, Wisconsin
Last year, this team had a memorable 10-6 finish. They are looking to build on that by adding a solid offensive lineman like Carimi.
 
22 Indianapolis Colts
Colts
DEREK SHERROD, OT, Mississippi State
Protecting the passer is one of Sherrod’s best assets. And let’s be real, Peyton Manning wouldn’t be Peyton Manning if nobody blocked for him.
 
23 Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles
NATE SOLDER, OT, Colorado
No coach in the NFL likes to throw the ball more than Andy Reid. And who is better to help him protect the passer than Solder?
 
24 New Orleans Saints
Saints
RYAN KERRIGAN, DE, Purdue
The Saints love to blitz, and I think that Kerrigan is going to help them do just that.
 
25 Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks
MARVIN AUSTIN, DT, North Carolina
The Seahawks, like many others in the NFL, are trying to rebuild their D-Line. Austin is a very good start.
 
26 Baltimore Ravens
Ravens
TORREY SMITH, WR, Maryland
Smith would give the Ravens a deep threat while Anquan Boldin works the inside. That could make them really dangerous.
 
27 Atlanta Falcons
Falcons
KYLE RUDOLPH, TE, Notre Dame
The young tight end out of Notre Dame would hook up with Matt Ryan. Those two alone could do great things.
 
28 New England Patriots
Patriots
RYAN WILLIAMS, RB, Virginia Tech
Williams isn’t the fastest back in the draft, but he sure can find the holes.
 
29 Chicago Bears
Bears
CASEY MATTHEWS, LB, Oregon
Casey is the brother of half man/half beast Clay Matthews of the Packers. He’ll follow in his brothers footsteps and should help the Bears.
 
30 New York Jets
Jets
JONATHAN BALDWIN, WR, Pittsburgh
Not only is he one of the best wide outs in the draft, but he is also twice as big as every other receiver in the draft.
 
31 Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers
AARON WILLIAMS, CB, Texas
The Steelers are looking to get younger, and Williams is the best fit at cornerback.
 
32 Green Bay Packers
Packers
CAMERON HEYWARD, DE, Ohio State
The Packers will most likely pick the best defender left in the draft, and Heyward is exactly that. When you put him on the line, it’s the equivalent of building a brick wall.

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