Cam Newton will most likely be top pick.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
It’s April, and the NFL draft is just days away. It’s time for my annual mock
draft. Here is my analysis of what every NFL team might do in the first round of
the NFL draft:
1. Carolina Panthers-Cam Newton, QB, Auburn-
In my last mock draft, I had Gabbert being taken here, but I’ve heard reports
that the Panthers really like Newton.Their biggest need is quarterback and in a
draft unlike last year where there was a Sam Bradford, a team like the Panthers
could take a gamble on Newton who is a hyped player with a lot of athletic
ability and potential. Newton had a better pro day than his combine, and that
helped him a lot. Newton went 50 for 60 at his pro day. He threw four bad throws
that were uncatchable.
2. Denver Broncos- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Recently, I heard a rumor the Broncos might trade the second pick. That might
not be such a bad thing. They could package this pick for more picks later.If
they don’t trade this pick, I see them taking Dareus. He’s looked solid in his
workouts. With picking Dareus,
are improving their defensive line. It wasn’t very good last year, and Dareus is
big, strong, and is speedy coming off his end or tackle position. Dareus wrecked
havoc in college while playing at Alabama, especially two years ago. He is
powerful and can play off the run and pass. He has 11 sacks and 66 career
tackles over the past two years. Dareus was on Sports Science and did some
pretty incredible stuff.
3. Buffalo Bills- Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M-
Miller had a great senior season for the Aggies. Miller had
68 total tackles last year, 38 solo, and 30 assisted. Had 11 sacks as well.
Reminds me of Clay Matthews, although Miller is more highly regarded coming out
of college. There’s a chance the Bills take Gabbert. They do need a quarterback.
However, Newton is gone, and Coach Gailey coached Miller in the Senior Bowl and
know the type of player he is. I also read on SI Truth and Rumors, the Billls
are leaning toward Miller.
4. Cincinnati Bengals-A.J. Green, WR, Georgia-
The Bengals receiving corps are getting older and Green could be a Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss-type receiver. Not to
mention, he would give Carson Palmer an excellent vertical threat to stretch the
field. Green is very good, and most likely the top receiver taken in the
Cincinnati could take Gabbert, as Carson Palmer has said he want out. If they
were to take a quarterback, I believe it would be Andy Dalton, as Jay Gruden
5. Arizona Cardinals-Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU-
This is a tough pick to make. The Cardinals could take Blaine Gabbert, Robert
Quinn, or Patrick Peterson. I have Peterson chosen here for a couple of reasons.
Their biggest need is end or a rusher that is fearless or a corner. Peterson is
very capable of being chosen number one. He is a excellent cornerback that is
fast (ran a 4.34 at the draft), has great hands and great range. Peterson has
been compared to Charles Woodson. Peterson can tackle very well, intercept
passes, force fumbles, attack the quarterback, block kicks and even return kicks
and punts. The 49ers have a good defense and Peterson would only make them
better. He will start right away. He shut down Alabama receiver
Julio Jones earlier this season, and teams always need good cornerbacks to shut
down receivers. Arizona had 29th rated defense last year, and Peterson would
certainly boost that, especially with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the other
Gabbert is availible, but the Cards took a quarterback early last year, and it
didn’t like they hoped. I think they like Dalton as well. I read the Arizona
Republic and Ken Whisenhunt is unsure. However, this lockout might tempt the
Cardinals to take a quarterback as free agency is yet to begin or they can’t
trade for Kevin Kolb.
6. Cleveland Browns-Robert Quinn, DE-North Carolina-
This is a tough pick to make. Do the Browns go receiver to give Colt McCoy
more options or defense? There are three options here: Robert Quinn, Nick
Fairley, or Julio Jones? I have Quinn being picked here. Although, Quinn didn’t
play much this year,as he was suspended, a year ago, he wreaked havoc with 52
total tackles, and 11 sacks. Those are solid numbers. The only thing that might
hurt him is that he didn’t play in 2010.
I heard Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted the Browns could lean toward Julio
Jones, but I am not sure.
7. San Francisco 49ers-Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri-
The 49ers take Gabbert as they need a quarterback. The Niners have said they
like Alex Smith, but he just hasn’t gotten it done. It is time for change.
Gabbert falls, but the Niners are getting a pro ready quarterback. Gabbert left
Missouri after passing for 3,186 yards, throwing 16 touchdowns to nine
interceptions, and compiling a 127.03 quarterback rating, and completing 63.4%
of his passes. He is 6’5″ and 240 lbs. He is big, strong, but very mobile at the
Gabbert fell a little, but still remains in the top ten.
Gabbert knows the West Coast offense, which the Niners run as well.
8. Tennessee Titans-Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn-
Fairley’s draft stock dropped a ton since the National Championship game. I
have him being selected here as the Browns take best player available. During
the BCS title game, he was named MVP of the game. On the season, he had 24
tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, 36 total tackles, two forced and recovered
fumbles and one interception. He proved to be a beast during the 2010-2011
season, wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. He is 6’5″ and 298 lbs., but is
quick for a defensive lineman, as he ran a 4.83 in the 40 yard dash. Fairley is
the best option here. Gabbert could fall this low, but it would be a huge
9. Dallas Cowboys-Tyron Smith, OT, USC-
Offensive tackle is a better need for Cowboys, although I wouldn’t be shocked
if they take Amukamara from Nebraska. Smith is 6’5″ and 307. He is big and
athletic. He didn’t participate at combine due to injury but is a solid
offensive lineman to be taken this high.
**TRADE**10. St. Louis Rams-Julio Jones, WR, Alabama-
Julio Jones is the second receiver off the board. Jones combine performance
had scouts jaws drop. Jones ran a 4.39 forty, and 11 and three broad jump. Jones
fills a huge need for the Rams, as Sam Bradford needs a top target to throw
11. Houston Texans-Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri-
The Texans may have picked a cornerback in the first round last year, and
Amukamara is still on the board, but a pass rusher is more of a need.
12. Minnesota Vikings-Jake Locker, QB, Washington-
The Vikings have just one quarterback left on the roster. It’s Joe Webb. Yet,
Webb played solid toward end of last season, I doubt he is the future. With
drafting Jake Locker, the Vikings, get a quarterback that is accurate, big,
strong-armed, and mobile. He is also a hard-worker. Watching Jon Gruden on ESPN
lately with all the quarterbacks, I was most impressed with Locker.
If the Vikings don’t take Locker, well look for them to go defensive
13. Detroit Lions-Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska-
Last year, the Lions really boosted their defense by drafting Ndamukong Suh.
Now, their boost their secondary but getting Prince, a guy who they want
14. Washington Redskins-Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson-
The Redskins trade down with the Rams, as the Rams snagged Julio Jones. The
Redskins take Bowers here and get a risk, but can be a reward if he produces.
Last year, Bowers had 16 sacks, and 67 total tackles.
15. Miami Dolphins-Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida-
As seen last year with his brother with the Steelers, the Dolphis don’t waste
time and take this Pouncey. They need to protect Chad Henne, and Ronnie Brown.
Speaking of Brown, he could be a free agent if and when the lockout is dropped,
so they might be inclined to draft Mark Ingram. The Dolphins also like Andy
Dalton, so could take a gamble, or maybe trade down and get him later.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars-Ryan Kerrigan, DE,
The Jags love Kerrigan. Kerrigan was three year starter at Purdue, had a
solid season last year, and would fit well with Aaron Kampman on the line for
Jacksonville, and they need a solid defensive lineman because they may not know
how Kampman’s ACL will be.
17. New England Patriots-J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin-
Vince Wilfork is getting any younger, and Watt had a great year last year. He
is 6’5″ and 390, as he has great size, and is also very quick for his size. Had
61 total tackles and seven sacks last year.
18. San Diego Chargers-Cameron Jordan, DE, California-
The Chargers need a defensive lineman, and with J.J. Watt off the board, they
get the next best thing, Cam Jordan. He is 6’4″ and 287, so has solid size, and
ran a 4.78 40 at combine, so Jordan is quick. Jordan is also very aware.
19. New York Giants-Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin-
Carimi is 6’7″ and 314. Carimi is big, strong, and has very long arms. The
Giants need an offensive lineman and get a solid one here, as William Beatty is
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Adrian Clayborn, DT, Iowa-
With Watt and Jordan off the board, supposedly, the Bucs really like Clayborn
and Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia. Clayborn is better fit here, however. Pewter
Report said Clayborn met with the Bucs last week and discussed how he might fit
in as a defensive lineman with the Bucs. Pewter Report said sources told them
that there have been deep talks in drafting Clayborn. Clayborn’s numbers dropped
a little last year, as he had 52 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. Against Gabe
Carimi and Wisconsin, Clayborn had five tackles, one sack, and one forced
21. Kansas City Chiefs-Nate Solder, OT, Colorado-
The Chiefs need to fill a hole here at offensive tackle and Solder who
climbed draft boards a couple of weeks ago, is still high on big boards. Solder
is athletic and big.
22. Indianapolis Colts-Derrek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi
The Colts struggled with protection issues for Peyton Manning late last
season. With Sherrod, he is 6’6″ and 305 pounds, a huge tackle, and He is a
solid blocker with big arms and good footwork. Works hard, and is athletic.
23. Philadelphia Eagles-Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado-
The Eagles need an offensive lineman, but Carimi, Sherrod, Solder, and
Pouncey are all gone. Might be a reach to take Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor, too.
The Eagles go defense and nab Jimmy Smith. Smith has some character issues, but
has great athletic talent. One reason for Smith being drafted by the Eagles is
Ellias Hobbs retiring.
24. New Orleans Saints-Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia-
The Saints need help on the defensive line. Houston plays outside linebacker,
but will put plenty of pressure on quarterback as an outside linebacker. Last
year, Houston had 56 total tackles and ten sacks.
25. Seattle Seahawks-Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois-
Liuget dropped in my mock draft with the Rams trading up for Julio Jones.
This is a steal here for the Seahawks. Liuget will replace Brandon Mebane. The
Seahawks could take a late look at a quarterback or an offensive lineman with
this pick as well.
26. Baltimore Ravens-Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State-
Brian Baldinger said if Heyward is here, the Ravens are taking him, and he is
here. Heyward fits nicely here, as the Ravens improve their defense yet
27. Atlanta Falcons-Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame-
The Falcons could update their aging linebacker crew here, but took Sean
Witherspoon last year and can do so in later rounds. Tony Gonzalez isn’t getting
any younger, so they go with Rudolph. Brooks Reed is also a player to watch
28. New England Patriots-Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama-
There have been talks that the Patriots may take Ingram, and personally, I
think he would fit well. Ingram, Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis, and Danny Woodhead
could create a three headed monster for opponents.
29. Chicago Bears-Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina-
The Bears need a pass rushing threat on the other side of Julius Peppers.
30. New York Jets-Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor-
The Jets like him, and that’s all it takes, and improve their defensive
31. Pittsburgh Steelers-Aaron Williams, CB, Texas-
The Steelers takes the best player available and and need, as the Packers
hurt the Steelers secondary last year in the Super Bowl.
32. Green Bay Packers-Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona-
Reed’s motor, hard hitting playmaking ability and long blonde hair have the
Packers gushing. The Packers will most likely draft best player available and is
a great pick here.
There you have it, a full first round mock draft with analysis. Feel free to
comment. Tune into the first round of the draft Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN for
full draft coverage.