The 2011 Arrowhead Pride NFL Mock draft begins with ChiefsFan90s picking for the Carolina Panthers at No. 1....
With so many holes, and no clear cut number one in this draft there are many ways that the Panthers could go with the first pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. Let's begin with what we know about the Panthers and their 2010 season.
The Carolina Panthers were flat out horrible in John Fox's final season finishing with the dead last on offense in total points and yards thanks to the conservative play-calling of former offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson and the arms of rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen and career backup Matt Moore that finished last in passing yards and passing touchdowns with only 9 while giving up the eighth most interceptions with a horrendous 21 interceptions.
However, after using their first pick of the 2010 NFL Draft on Jimmy Clausen out of Notre Dame do the Panthers really want to give up on him after only one season? To be fair, he was a rookie quarterback playing on a roster with one of the worst receiving corps and all-around rosters in the NFL. With a weak rookie class at the quarterback position it would make sense to give Jimmy Clausen at one more season; especially with the risk of a shorten 2011 season that would hurt the growth of a rookie quarterback. Plus if Jimmy Clausen were to succeed in 2011, Ron Rivera and Matt Hurney would look like geniuses for realizing that there was still potential in him; while if he were to stink they could put the blame on the previous coaching staff. Despite this, Quarterback is a need (Potential #1 Picks: Blaine Gabbert, Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett).
With Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, and Mike Goodman in the backfield, this team was able to still finish in the top 15 of the NFL in rushing despite being handicapped by a horrid passing game. DeAngelo Williams might be moving during the Free Agency Period if it ever starts in 2011, but the Panthers are in great position at runningback. With a weak runningback group, this is not a need (Potential #1 Picks: Mark Ingram). Everyone wants to put the blame on the quarterbacks as the reason why the Panthers were so horrible in 2010 because they have Steve Smith. Who is else do they have at the position? Nothing! Now with Steve Smith potentially out, the Panthers might be left with noone to build around at the position, and even if he is to stay in Carolina the team still needs to find that second starter they have not have since Muhsid Muhammad. In addition to the wide receivers, there is not much at the tight end position for receiving either since John Fox was interested in his tight ends blocking abilities, but he could not have cared less about their receiving abilities. The end result of that was a tight end corps that did not know how to catch. Both wide receiver and tight end are a need but there is not a tight end worth taking this early, but Kyle Randolph is the closest thing (Potential #1 Picks: A.J. Green, Julio Jones).
The Panthers were sacked a disastrous 50 times in the 2010 NFL season. However, since I am not a Carolina Panthers' fan nor do I live anywhere near North Carolina I was unable to see what was the cause of these 50 sacks. So stole this from. So there is definitely an issue there, but Ron Rivera seems to think that this group is a strength of the team, and has good reason to believe to some extent as the group contains two Pro Bowlers in Ryan Kalil and Jordan Gross. There is a need here, but there may not be anyone worth taking here with the first pick (Potential #1 Picks: Nate Solder, Gabe Carimi, Tyron Smith, Anthony Costanzo).
As was usually the case during the John Fox era, the Panthers performed better on defense than they did on offense in 2010. However that did not translate to that much more success. The defense allowed 400+ points in a season the first time ever during the John Fox era finishing 26th in scoring, in comparison the most the Panthers ever allowed between 2002-2009 was in 2007 when they allowed only 341 points or only 5 more than our AFCW Champion Kansas City Chiefs allowed.
In addition, they finished 18th and total yards given up. In defensive coordinator Sean McDermott will continue the 4-3 defense, but we should expect a more aggressive defense than we have seen from the Carolina Panthers in the past during Jack Del Rio's (2002), Mike Trgovac's (2003-2008), or Ron Meeks' (2009-2010) tenures as defensive coordinator for Fox's Panthers.
However, the team must first fix some major problems on the defensive side of the football before can expect to be successful, and that starts on the inside of the defensive line where the Panthers ranked 23rd in rushing yards allowed and next to last in rushing touchdowns allowed. Definitely a need (Potential #1 Picks: Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus). The Panthers have found a hidden gem in Charlie Johnson for a pass rusher, but there is noone else to get after the quarterback. Yes, they did use a 6th round pick in 2010 on Greg Hardy who was expected to go higher, and still has time to develop into a solid starter, but the Panthers cannot risk it. They need to find a sure pass rusher to pair with Charlie Johnson.
There is a need (Potential #1 Picks: DaQuan Bowers, Von Miller). Finally, the defensive backfield is actually a strength of the Panthers. There is not much of a need here but Peterson could be the best player in the 2011 NFL Draft (Potential #1 Picks: Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara). Without anymore waiting...With the 1st pick in the 2011 NFL Draft select...
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Gabbert was a name not many were familiar with outside of the state of Missouri, and especially not considered a top pick. So it was a huge surprise to everyone when he declared the NFL Draft early. However understandable, because he was afraid of playing the Kansas Jayhawks another season: Poor, poor pussy cat.
Anyways, while I personally believe that the Carolina Panthers would be better off selecting A.J. Green, Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus, DaQuan Bower, or Patrick Peterson rather than taking a quarterback, and allowing Jimmy Clausen another season show what he can really do. Yes, he had an awful rookie season in 2010, but the rookie part of that statement cannot be understated. However, history shows that quarterbacks are the normal choice for the number one overall pick, and even though the argument of this being a horrible draft class for quarterback; that argument seems to be brought up almost every season, but still quarterbacks are regularly being taken at the top of the draft. In addition, this year there will not be as much invested in Blaine Gabbert as there was in busts like J.P. Losman, Alex Smith, Vince Young (If you want to count him as a bust.), Matt Leinart, Jamarcus Russell, or Brady Quinn thanks to the rookie salary cap coming into effect.
Now some might wonder why Blaine Gabbert over quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Jake Locker, and Ryan Mallett? Does anyone actually think that Ryan Mallett even has a chance with his immaturity issues? Question marks with Jake Locker's inconsistency have taken the potential #1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft out of the running. So that leaves Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert.
While Cam Newton has the physical skills that makes scouts' drool he also had a lot of garbage from his playing days at not one but two NCAA colleges, Florida and Auburn. The leadership in Newton is there, but so does Gabbert. Blaine Gabbert has the maturity Mallett does not, the consistency Locker does not, the clean record that Newton does not. He also has great size at six foot and five inches, is physically imposing in his own right, and good arm strength though not elite. If there is any fault in him, it is that he needs to learn how to read defenses coming from Gary Pinkell's spread offense. That is where Jimmy Clausen's new role comes in. He will be called upon until Blaine Gabbert is ready to take over, and if he does a great job Jimmy Clausen would make good trade bait to a quarterback hungry team; if not, good thing Ron Rivera got his franchise quarterback in Blaine Gabbert.
That does it for the Panthers in the 2011 Arrowhead Pride Mock Draft. Next up, the Denver Broncos.
Full Schedule And Results:
1. Carolina Panthers (ChiefsFan90s) - Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert
2. Denver Broncos (craig in calgary) - Weds. March 23rd
3. Buffalo Bills (Arrowdread) - Weds. March 23rd
4. Cincinnati Bengals (Dirty South Chiefs Fan) - Thursday March 24th
5. Arizona Cardinals (tmurawsk) - Thursday March 24th
6. Cleveland Browns (H2E) - Thursday March 24th
7. San Francisco 49ers (Another Successful Tedford QB) - Friday March 25th
8. Tennessee Titans (ejr58) - Friday March 25th
9. Dallas Cowboys (Royals Time) - Friday March 25th
10. Washington Redskins (nmchief) - Monday March 28th
11. Houston Texans (FalconMF27) - Monday March 28th
12. Minnesota Vikings (Raven Hawk) - Monday March 28th
13. Detroit Lions (Matt Hays) - Tuesday March 29th
14. St. Louis Rams (Sam D) - Tuesday March 29th
15. Miami Dolphins (YerganFlurgan) - Tuesday March 29th
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (GenericBrand) - Wednesday March 30th
17. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Wednesday March 30th
18. San Diego Chargers (Chiefscafan58) - Wednesday March 30th
19. New York Giants (flowers 24) - Wednesday March 30th
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PSUkegreen) - Thursday March 31st
21. Kansas City Chiefs (Matt_Grbac) - Thursday March 31st
22. Indianapolis Colts (saskwatch) - Thursday March 31st
23. Philadelphia Eagles (OnlyKCFanNVA) - Friday April 1st
24. New Orleans Saints (The Other Patrick Allen) - Friday April 1st
25. Seattle Seahawks (Simon from KC) - Friday April 1st
26. Baltimore Ravens (Ben S) - Monday April 4th
27. Atlanta Falcons (stagdsp) - Monday April 4th
28. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Monday April 4th
29. Chicago Bears (KillaCity107) - Tuesday April 5th
30. New York Jets (bradelli58) - Tuesday April 5th
31. Pittsburgh Steelers (scottchief) - Tuesday April 5th
32. Green Bay Packers (Aesthetist) - Wednesday April 6th
33. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Wednesday April 6th
34. Buffalo Bills (Arrowdread) - Wednesday April 6th
35. Cincinnati Bengals (Dirty South Chiefs Fan) - Thursday April 7th
36. Denver Broncos (craig in calgary) - Thursday April 7th
37. Cleveland Browns (H2E) - Thursday April 7th
38. Arizona Cardinals (tmurawsk) - Friday April 8th
39.Tennessee Titans (ejr58) - Friday April 8th
40. Dallas Cowboys (Royals Time) - Friday April 8th
41. Washington Redskins (nmchief) - Monday April 11th
42. Houston Texans (FalconMF27) - Monday April 11th
43. Minnesota Vikings (Raven Hawk) - Monday April 11th
44. Detroit Lions (Matt Hays) - Tuesday April 12th
45. San Francisco 49ers (Another Successful Tedford QB) - Tuesday April 12th
46. Denver Broncos (craig in calgary) - Tuesday April 12th
47. St. Louis Rams (Sam D) - Wednesday April 13th
48. Oakland Raiders (mushin) - Wednesday April 13th
49. Jacksonville Jaguars (GenericBrand) - Wednesday April 13th
50. San Diego Chargers (Chiefsfaninca58) - Thursday April 14th
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PSUkegreen) - Thursday April 14th
52. New York Giants (flowers 24) - Thursday April 14th
53. Kansas City Chiefs (Matt_Grbac) - Friday April 15th
54. Indianapolis Colts (saskwatch) - Friday April 15th
55. Philadelphia Eagles (OnlyKCFanNVA) - Friday April 15th
56. New Orleans Saints (The Other Patrick Allen) - Monday April 18th
57. Seattle Seahawks (Simon from KC) - Monday April 18th
58. Baltimore Ravens (Ben S) - Monday April 18th
59. Atlanta Falcons (stagdsp) - Tuesday April 19th
60. New England Patriots (averagegatsby) - Tuesday April 19th
61. Chicago Bears (KillaCity107) - Tuesday April 19th
62. New York Jets (bradelli58) - Wednesday April 20th
63. Pittsburgh Steelers (scottchief) - Wednesday April 20th
64. Green Bay Packers (Aesthetist) - Wednesday April 20th