Evan Silva

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Draft 2011: NFL Mock 2.0

Sunday, March 06, 2011

11. Texans: Robert Quinn, linebacker, North Carolina.

Quinn's Combine performance has been described as "just average," but he's still a shoo-in for the top-12 selections. The Texans are currently relying on former backup defensive end Connor Barwin to be their lead pass-rushing outside linebacker. Barwin has 4 1/2 career sacks.

12. Vikings: Jake Locker, quarterback, Washington.

Clued-in Minneapolis Star-Tribune beat writer Judd Zulgad's "gut feeling" is that the Vikings are high enough on Locker to draft him in round one. Defensive line and safety are big needs for Minnesota, but when Joe Webb is atop your current depth chart, quarterback trumps them all.

13. Lions: Tyron Smith, offensive tackle, USC.

Our last mock had the Lions taking a tackle, and we don't see that changing barring a draft-day slide from one of the top-two cornerbacks. Boasting 36 3/8-inch arms and the most impressive feet of all offensive linemen available, Smith has overtaken Nate Solder and Anthony Castonzo.

14. Rams: Aldon Smith, defensive end, Missouri.

G.M. Billy Devaney will be disappointed when Julio Jones goes off the board in front of him, but quality fallback options are plentiful. A local favorite, Smith showed at the Combine that his best position is defensive end in a 4-3, and current Chris Long bookend James Hall recently turned 34.

15. Dolphins: Mark Ingram, running back, Alabama.

Ingram's stock wasn't affected by his lackluster 4.62 forty at the Combine because all NFL scouts already know he isn't a burner. The fact that he beat out top running back sprinter Da'Rel Scott in the ten-yard split indicates that Ingram's short-area burst is elite and worthy of a top-20 selection.

16. Jaguars: Christian Ponder, quarterback, Florida State.

Ponder is gaining steam as a first-round prospect after big Senior Bowl and Combine performances, and word out of Big Cat Country is that G.M. Gene Smith "likes him a lot." David Garrard recently turned 33, is due $25.4 million over the next three seasons, and isn't a true franchise quarterback.

17. Patriots: J.J. Watt, defensive end, Wisconsin.

Five-technique defensive ends don't go early in drafts unless it's the Chiefs reeeaching for Tyson Jackson. But Watt projects as a borderline double-digit sack guy ala Justin Smith, with the ability to also be a high-impact run defender. At this point in the draft, Watt should be atop the Pats' board.

18. Chargers: Cameron Jordan, defensive end, Cal.

Like Watt, Jordan is unlikely to be drafted before the teens unless a 4-3 team deems him capable of playing strong-side end. Throw out Jackson, and in the last five years the highest a true "five technique" has been selected was Jared Odrick at No. 28. San Diego is desperate for end help.

19. Giants: Anthony Castonzo, offensive tackle, Boston College.

We mentioned in Mock Draft 1.0 Castonzo's connection to Giants assistant line coach Jack Bicknell, as well as New York's aging, thinning offensive line. Those concerns were not eased by G.M. Jerry Reese's recent comments about Shawn Andrews' chronic back problems, details of Rich Seubert's major knee surgery, and Shaun O'Hara's forthcoming Achilles' procedure.

20. Buccaneers: Ryan Kerrigan, defensive end, Purdue.

After bringing up the NFC rear in sacks, the Bucs are desperate for pass-rushing production. Kerrigan fits that role as well as anyone in the draft after generating 56 tackles for loss and 32.5 sacks in his final three college seasons while tying the NCAA record for forced fumbles (14).

21. Chiefs: Derek Sherrod, offensive tackle, Mississippi State.

Kansas City needs a better right tackle than Barry Richardson if they're going to continue to lead the NFL in rushing. Sherrod comes from a college program that posted a 619:288 run-to-pass ratio last season, and is considered this year's most consistent tackle prospect in some circles.

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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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