Anthony Fasano, Martellus Bennett, Gavin Escobar. All 2nd round TE picks of the Cowboys, all failed to produce for them. There's so much bad luck involved with that string, I think they've learned to stay away from this combination.
New England Patriots: Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
I initially mocked the Patriots a running back, but I'm just going to give up in giving the Pats offensive skill positions early in the 2011 NFL Draft - until I'm wrong and Bill Belichick actually does it. I think the plan for the Pats is to build up the offensive line and defense, then just rely on Tom Brady to get things done - and it's not a bad strategy. Miller is a freak athlete and someone I've been a fan of all year. He has an elite first step and excellent closing speed. He's a tenacious pass rusher and perfect as a rush linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.
San Diego Chargers: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Jordan has outstanding hands, a good motor and functional playing strength. He can get off blocks at will and is the five-technique you want on your line. The Chargers need more consistency and could improve their run defense by taking Jordan.
New York Giants: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
Ayers would bring the Giants more playmaking at the strongside linebacker spot. He can stack and shed and is a very competitive football player. He's a smooth athlete with sideline to sideline range. As a pass rusher I feel he is overrated, but as a SAM backer I love his fit into any 4-3 scheme.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Bucs are desperate for defensive end help and this need is far and away the No. 1 need for this team. They generated absolutely no pressure from the outside in the 2010 season. The only other position I could see Tampa draft here is outside linebacker with someone like Akeem Ayers or more likely Bruce Carter. Clayborn saw a lot of double teams this year, but he could be one heck of a left defensive end and generate a lot of pressure with Gerald McCoy and Brian Price creating havoc inside for Tampa.
Seattle Seahawks: Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
The Seahawks lack a playmaking, penetrating defensive tackle on the interior. Nevis is a high-energy, athletic linemen who gets off the ball quickly and is always around the football. I think he's going in the first round - and much higher than most expect.
Kansas City Chiefs: Derrek Sherrod, T, Mississipp iState
Sherrod is the top tackle in the 2011 NFL Draft and the Chiefs need a left tackle. With Charlie Weis gone, I think this offense is going to lose a lot in terms of play calling and offensive tactics.
Indianapolis Colts: Nate Solder, T, Colorado
The Colts offensive line is in shambles. Solder is a highly athletic left tackle, though I have major concerns with him being too tall (6-9) and being too lean in his build. He is vulnerable to a bull rush, but there is no doubt he can pass protect and cut off the edge.
Philadelphia Eagles: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
Carter would present a big upgrade at weakside linebacker for the Eagles. He is very fast with terrific range and simply makes plays all over the field. The Eagles need more leadership on the defensive side and Carter fits the scheme.
Green Bay Packers: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Ryan Grant can't stay healthy, and Brandon Jackson is a pitiful running back. Ingram gives the offense some life it desperately needs in the running game. Ingram can play on third down and do it all. He has come under a little fire for not having elite speed, but at this point in the first round he's a good value. Ingram is a tough back who has excellent balance and instincts. He can catch the football and is a terrific pass blocker. Green Bay needs a back like this to make a Super Bowl run in 2011 or 2012.
New Orleans Saints: Muhammed Wilkerson, DT, Temple
The Saints are going to continue to build on the defensive side of the football, and they obviously won't select a defensive back. This is a very weak linebacker draft, and so they will be stuck here with taking the best defensive lineman on the field in all likelihood.
New York Jets: Allen Bailey, DE, Miami
Bailey was a little inconsistent for Miami this year, but he was out of position at defensive end in the 4-3 (i.e. six- and seven-technique). He needs to be head on against the opposing offensive tackle at five-technique to truly be most effecient, and his best fit is in the 3-4. I think the Jets can get the most out of a player like Bailey. He could be a pass rushing 5-tech in the league.
Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Burton, CB, Utah
Burton is a little inconsistent, but he has the size and speed you look for. He put together some amazing performances this season.
Chicago Bears: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Harris doesn't fill a huge need for Chicago, but he's without a doubt the best player on the board. I'm a huge fan of his. He's a great cover corner who plays with textbook technique, and he can run with anybody. He isn't much of a ballhawk, but he can definitely start in this league and make plays.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida
The Steelers are always looking for that elite corner who can shut down an opposing receiver, which gives them more blitzing possibilities both against the run and pass. Jenkins is a tough, physical corner who stays low in his backpedal and has great instincts for the game. He doesn't look the part, but he's a football player.
Atlanta Falcons: Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State
Todd McClure is not an elite center, and Wisniewski can play both guard and center. That versatility is so valuable in this league. The Falcons can afford to make a luxury pick here, but they need a player like Sean Weatherspoon to develop on defense in order to make a pick like this.
New England Patriots: Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia
I love Justin Houston, and it just wouldn't shock me if he went in the top 20 when it's all said and done. He is a very explosive athlete who can dip and rip. He knows how to get to the quarterback and has a consistent motor. Of course, it also wouldn't shock me if the Pats ended up with six picks in the second round and a couple future first-rounders - never even drafting in the first round. And quite frankly, they don't need to a first-round pick to win 12 games next year.