The odds of winning the Georgia Powerball can be mathematically computed like this: There are six balls drawn, numbered from one to forty-nine. They are chosen at random without allowing any repetition of numbers. The odds of picking all six numbers correctly is 1/ (49 x 48 x 47 x 46 x 45 x 44), or approximately 1/10 trillion. If we were to assume that there were only 49 possible first round players (which is somewhat realistic), the odds of guessing all 32 of them correctly, in order are, well... slightly less than the odds of hitting a shark with a butterfly net into a golf hole placed 12 miles away... on the fly.
Of course, as a writer, I couldn't possibly let the draft start without squeezing out every last word I can. And with that begins my final exercise in futility. Yup, this is my final first round mock draft of the 2011 NFL draft. I threw in a couple of trades to spice things up, too. Here it is:
1) Carolina Panthers: Marcell Dareus, DT. The risk is just waaay to great to justify taking Cam Newton. There are well-documented legal issues, character concerns, and the fact that he couldn't even name one play in Auburn's playbook. Without a 2nd round pick, it would be suicide to take Cam. Instead, they'll take the closest thing to a "sure thing" pick there is in this draft, Dareus.
2) Cincinnati Bengals (from the Denver Broncos): Cam Newton, QB. The Bengals are not a team to beat around the bush. Carson Palmer is being serious, the Bengals want Cam Newton, and I think they’ll be willing to trade up just to be sure they can get him. My system for guessing who will take Newton is a team that is both desperate and stupid. No offense to the people of Cincinnati, but I think the Bengals meet those requirements. They’ll get him a receiver later… Poor Bengals.
3) Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, OLB. Well, now the Bills’ decision is easy. Newton is off the board, so that temptation is out of the way. There is Patrick Peterson still, but the Bills need people in the front seven. They allowed as much rushing yardage per game as pass yardage, and Miller can do absolutely anything you could ask of him.
4) Denver Broncos (from the Cincinnati Bengals): Patrick Peterson, CB. This is a dream scenario for the Broncos. They pop down a couple of spots, add a pick at the Bengals’ expense and still come away with the guy they wanted anyway. Having a shut-down corner frees up the other 10 guys on your defense to do a lot. Imagine what the Broncos could do with two of them?
5) Arizona Cardinals: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB. Is QB a need for the Cardinals? Absolutely. But their leading sack man was a DT last year. Quinn is an incredible athlete who is smarter, faster, and stronger than most anyone at his position. He might be second only to Chuck Norris in awesomeness. The Cardinals will have other chances for getting a QB, and Larry Fitzgerald said point blank that he would prefer to catch passes from a free agent QB and not a rookie.
6) Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR. A.J. Green is a stud wide receiver if I’ve ever seen one. He’s Calvin FitzMoss, meaning everything you could ask for in a wideout. The Browns will jump on the opportunity to add a weapon like Green to their offense.
7) San Fransisco 49ers: Blaine Gabbert, QB. A new coach in Jim Harbaugh means a new start in San Fran. That defense is solid and still pretty young, so all they need is someone to make that offense run. I’m not fully sold on Gabbert, but Harbaugh will make him the pick.
8) Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT. If this is starting to look like some other mocks you've seen, I apologize, but this just makes sense. The Titans haven’t been the same since Heynesworth left, and they’re losing a couple of key guys on their D-line to free agency. I wouldn’t rule out Da’Quan Bowers here, either.
9) Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith, OT. What do you think Jerry Jones is gonna say? "No thanks, I think I’ll pass on a future pro-bowler at a premium position because there’s a shiny wide receiver still on the board in Julio Jones"? I don’t think so. That team is built around the passing game, and what’s more important to a passing team than protecting your QB? The defense wasn’t bad last year, it just took someone to whoop them into shape.
10) Washington Redskins: Jake Locker, QB. I gave Washington Julio Jones at this point in the BCC Community Mock, but they meet my requirements for taking a QB (desperate and stupid). Seriously though, how do you make a big impact with only a few picks (they don’t have a 3rd or 4th rounder)? Take a QB. Locker has really proven himself to me recently, and it’s not so unreasonable of a pick. They’re gonna get rid of Donovan McNabb soon, and they sure don’t want Rex Grossman behind center all year.
12) Minnesota Vikings: Da’Quan Bowers, DE. Mallett stock has plummeted, and the Vikings are geriatric along their D-line. Put Bowers at LDE across from Jared Allen, and that defense is gonna mess some people up. 12th isn’t unreasonable for a guy who was thought of as potentially the best overall player only 3 weeks ago, and again, there are some options in free agency at QB. (Vince Young?)
13) Detroit Lions: Julio Jones, WR. The Lions have been a BAP team of late, and Jones is a top 10 talent.
14) St. Louis Rams: Corey Liuget, DT. Have you seen any tape on Liuget? He’s an absolute beast. The Rams missed out on the WR and CB options, so they’ll take a stud DT instead. I’m not sure an offensive tackle offers enough value for the Rams to pass up Liuget.
15) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from the Miami Dolphins): Ryan Kerrigan, DE. There’s a lot of love for Kerrigan in Tampa and there are three teams looking for pass rushers between 15 and 20. The Bucs are really hoping for a pass rusher, and they think Kerrigan will be gone by 20 so they’re being proactive. As for the Dolphins, I’m convinced that nothing would make them happier than to move back and pick up an extra pick or two. They want an offensive lineman or a RB, and neither of those is going anywhere soon… or so they think.
16) Jacksonville Jaguars: Aldon Smith, DE. Smith has a unique combination of agility and strength, and he's got Tiger blood, Bro! (Get it? Cuz he played for Mizzou...) He’s a little rough around the edges, and a little bit lighter than you’d like at around 265, but put 15 pounds on his frame and let him work with Joe Cullen for a year or two, and my mouth is watering already. The Jags want a "developmental" QB, and you don’t take a developmental guy at 16 overall. Plus, Smith probably the best fit for the Jags attacking D-line.
17) New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE. Watt had the misfortune of playing in a system that had him as a 4-3, downhill rusher. He won’t be an exceptional pass rusher at the NFL level, and he had very little chance to show his run-stuffing skills in college, so I'm not convinced he's going to be good in the NFL. Still, people are pretty high on him, and the Pats will probably make this pick.
18) San Diego Chargers: Cameron Jordan, DE. Jordan has experience in the 3-4 already from his time at Cal, and really played very well against the run while still generating pressure. The Chargers need a DE and they get probably the best 3-4 End in the draft at #18.
19) New York Giants: Mike Pouncey, C/G. There’s no question that the Giants would take Pouncey if he lasts until 19. They’re really high on him in New York, and their line has gotten old in the middle. This team should really invest in a lineman since with protection Eli Manning is a Super Bowl MVP, and without protection Eli is a turnover machine.
20) Miami Dolphins (from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Mark Ingram, RB. Sh*t! The Giants snagged the Dolphins’ guy just one pick before the Dolphins can get on the clock to take Pouncey. They needed the extra pick, so it’s not the worst thing in the world but they’re not happy at all. Well, they do need a running back, too. And they were seriously considering Ingram at 15, so… yeah, the Dolphins wanted Ingram all along. (sly glance)
21) Kansas City Chiefs: Phil Taylor, NT. I was hesitant to make this pick. Chiefs fans are pretty high on Sherrod, as am I, but the smart teams get big guys early, and Scott Pioli is S-M-R-T smart. Wait… Taylor is as big as they come, and while he didn’t wow me when I watched tape of him against Oklahoma, he’s certainly tough enough to demand double teams at the NFL level. He'll have to put in some work, but the next best nose tackle is a good way down the board.
22) Indianapolis Colts: Adrian Clayborn, DE. It pains me to see my man-crush going to the enemy, but if Clayborn falls this far, the Colts will snap him up. The Colts need an OT, but come on, how many years have we been saying that? It hasn’t slowed down "the five-head" yet, so why would they bother? Plus they’re pretty gun shy about taking linemen early after their Tony Ugoh pick busted. Clayborn offers surprising agility for a guy his size, and he’s my highest rated defensive player left. Yes, I am aware that Akeem Ayers is still out there.
23) Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith, CB. The Eagles’ offense is stacked, but they could use one more guy in the secondary on D. Some think Smith has the talent to go in the teens, I haven’t seen enough to know for sure. The Eagles like to jam people at the line, and that’s somewhat of a specialty of Jimmy’s. He’ll fit well across from Asante Samuel.
24) New Orleans Saints: Justin Houston, DE/OLB. Houston is a great player with the versatility to stand up or put his hand on the ground. Ideally, he’d wind up on a 3-4 team in need of a pass-rusher, but he could go either way. Overall, I think blitz-master Gregg Williams can find something to do with Houston…
26) Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Harris, CB. The Ravens are old at linebacker and could take Ayers, but they’re old and slow in the secondary, so Harris makes more sense. It’s a pass-happy league folks, and corners will only get more valuable as time goes on.
27) Atlanta Falcons: Derrek Sherrod, OT. It’s BAP all the way for the falcons here. Sherrod is a mauler, and for a running team like the Falcons, it wouldn’t hurt to have too many good linemen. A secondary player would be better, and Kyle Rudolph is a possibility, but BAP says Sherrod, and the Falcons ain't complaining.
28) Minnesota Vikings (from the New England Patriots): Christian Ponder, QB. Surprise! The Vikings make the Pats an offer they can’t refuse to go and get a QB. I’m thinking it’ll be something like the Vikings’ 2nd and their 2012 2nd, maybe even their 2012 1st… Admit it, you wouldn’t be surprised at all if this happened. The Vikings play fast and loose with their draft picks (Jared Allen) even though they shouldn’t, need a QB like nobody's business, and the Pats will find a way to get great value out of this pick.
30) New York Jets: Akeem Ayers, OLB. The Jets weren’t the same team on defense last year that they were two years ago. They were very good still, but they’d certainly be happy to add Ayers to their front seven. They’ve gotten pretty old at the linebacker position.
31) Pittsburgh Steelers: Aaron Williams, CB/S. Williams is a bigger, more physical secondary player, so my guess is the Steelers will love him. Their secondary is on the older side and are oft-injured. It never hurts to have a backup plan who could potentially play anywhere in the secondary.
32) Green Bay Packers: Brooks Reed, DE/OLB. How about that pass rushing tandem? I’m already thinking of nicknames for Reed and Matthews: The Packer Sackers? The Hair Pair? Probably it’ll be something much better than that. The Packers will be getting back a bunch of offensive weapons off the IR. They'll add a defensive player first before coming back to address their offensive line.
I'm looking forward to looking back at this next year and laughing at how wrong I was. Enjoy the draft everyone.