2011 NFL Draft

Position-by-position breakdown

  • Offense
  • Defense

Quarterback

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Cam Newton, Auburn 6-5, 250 Some wonder if the Heisman Trophy winner is NFL-ready as a passer but say his physical skills are overwhelming. Could go first overall to Carolina.
Blaine Gabbert, Missouri 6-4, 242 Some regard him as the top QB available, ahead of Newton. There is speculation he could go to Buffalo with the draft’s third pick.
Jake Locker, Washington 6-2, 231Could be the third QB to go in the top 10.
Christian Ponder, Florida State 6-2, 227Some believe he will be taken late in the first round.
Andy Dalton, TCU 6-1, 215 Questions have been raised about his size and athleticism but he was a proven winner in college.
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada 6-4, 230 Only player in NCAA history to throw for more than 10,000 yards and run for more than 4,000 yards.
Ryan Mallett, Arkansas 6-6, 238 Scouts adore his size and arm strength but some analysts worry that that he is a high-risk, high-reward selection.

Others to Watch: Ricky Stanzi, Iowa; Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech

Running back

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Mark Ingram, Alabama 5-9, 215 Thought by some to be the only RB with a chance to be taken in the opening round.
Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech 5-9, 207 Contender to come off the board after Ingram.

Others to Watch: Daniel Thomas, Kansas State; Mikel Leshoure, Illinois

Wide receiver

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
A.J. Green, Georgia 6-3, 212 May be the best overall offensive player in a draft that’s top-heavy with defensive talent. Possible top five choice.
Julio Jones, Alabama 6-4, 220 Other standout WR of this draft. Could go in the top 10. Drop-off at the position after him is considerable.

Others to Watch: Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh; Torrey Smith, Maryland; Randall Cobb, Kentucky

Tight end

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame 6-5, 266 Regarded as a reliable receiver who had 90 catches in 29 career games for the Irish.

Others to Watch: D.J. Williams, Arkansas; Luke Stocker, Tennessee; Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin

Offensive tackle

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Tyron Smith, USC 6-5, 307 Could go to Dallas with the ninth overall selection.
Nate Solder, Colorado 6-8, 319 Not only big and towering, but a superb athlete who was a tight end and middle linebacker in high school.
Anthony Castonzo, Boston College 6-7, 311 Started all 54 games he played in college and appears to be solidly entrenched as a first-rounder.
Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin 6-7, 314 Thrived after succeeding current Browns standout Joe Thomas in 2007 as the school’s starter at left tackle.

Others to Watch: Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State; Ben Ijalana, Villanova

Guard/center

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Mike Pouncey, Florida 6-5, 303 Likely first-round pick like his brother and former teammate, Maurkice, chosen last year by Pittsburgh.
Marcus Cannon, TCU 6-5, 358 Played left tackle last season but probably will be a guard or right tackle in the NFL.
Danny Watkins, Baylor 6-3, 310The former firefighter didn’t play football until junior college but replaced Jason Smith as Baylor’s left tackle, and now is projected to play guard.

Others to Watch: Orlando Franklin, Miami; Rodney Hudson, Florida State; Clint Boling, Georgia

Defensive end

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson 6-4, 277 Do media reports of teams’concerns about his knee indicate a potential draft plummet? Or are they part of the
usual pre-draft subterfuge?
Cameron Jordan, California 6-4, 287 His father, Steve, was a six-time Pro Bowl selection in 13 seasons as a tight end for the Vikings.
Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue 6-4, 263 Totaled 25 sacks over the last two seasons and caused 12 fumbles.
Robert Quinn, North Carolina 6-5, 268 Ruled ineligible last season but some regard him as the top player available at the deepest of all positions in this draft.
J.J. Watt, Wisconsin 6-5, 290 Played tight end at Central Michigan before transferring to Wisconsin and moving to defense.
Adrian Clayborn, Iowa 6-3, 287 Had only 3 sacks last season after getting 11 in 2009.
Aldon Smith, Missouri 6-4, 258 Could be a candidate to play outside linebacker for a team with a 3-4 defense.

Others to Watch: Cameron Heyward, Ohio State; Brooks Reed, Arizona

Defensive tackle

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Marcell Dareus, Alabama 6-2, 308 Could be top overall choice if the Panthers decide against taking a QB.
Nick Fairley, Auburn 6-4, 298 Well positioned to be the second DT taken after Dareus.
Phillip Taylor, Baylor 6-3, 337 Gwynn Park High product began his college career at Penn State.
Corey Liuget, Illinois 6-2, 300 Had 4 sacks and 12 tackles for losses last season.

Others to Watch: Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple; Stephen Paea, Oregon State; Marvin Austin, North Carolina; Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson

Linebacker

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Von Miller, Texas A&M 6-2, 237 Possible top-five pick and one of 10 named plaintiffs in NFL players’ antitrust lawsuit against team owners.
Akeem Ayers, UCLA 6-3, 255 Started at outside linebacker but also lined up at DE in pass-rushing situations.

Others to Watch: Justin Houston, Georgia; Bruce Carter, North Carolina; Martez Wilson, Illinois

Cornerback

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Patrick Peterson, LSU 6-0, 219 Likely top-10 choice and clearly the top CB available.
Prince Amukamara, Nebraska 6-0, 206 An RB in high school, he was moved to defense at Nebraska and now seems likely to be the second CB taken after Peterson.
Jimmy Smith, Colorado 6-2, 205 The question is whether a third CB will make it into the opening round and, if so, whether it would be Smith, Williams or Harris.
Aaron Williams, Texas 5-11, 204 Some speculation he could be moved to safety in the NFL.
Brandon Harris, Miami 5-9, 191 Started 32 of 39 games in three seasons at Miami.

Others to Watch: Rasi-I Dowling, Virginia

Safety

Player, SchoolHt, WtComment
Rahim Moore, UCLA 5-11, 202 Had 14 interceptions in three seasons, including 10 in 2009.
Ahmad Black, Florida 5-9, 184 Had three career TDs on interception returns and averaged 27.9 yards per return on 13 interceptions in college.

Others to Watch: Quinton Carter, Oklahoma; Tyler Sash, Iowa

By Mark Maske - The Washington Post. Published April 24, 2011.