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
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.
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