Keep in mind this is a non-trade version of my latest mock draft because as usual in the last few years, there will be lots of trading back up in the 1st round looking for quarterbacks.
1. Carolina Panthers = Marcel Dareus DT Alabama
Popular VideoMiranda Lambert saw the sign a veteran was holding up at her concert, she immediately broke down in tears:
Popular VideoMiranda Lambert saw the sign a veteran was holding up at her concert, she immediately broke down in tears:
The Panthers can go any way here as all of the top prospects are in play due to the Panthers having needs just about everywhere. They will definitely look at QB here but I think that the Panthers brass will stick with Jimmy Clausen for at least one more year as there is no franchise QB in this year's class and the Panthers surely know that they won't be winning too many more games than in 2010 in 2011, so they will be drafting high again next year. Andrew Luck & Landry Jones will be in the 2012 draft so the Panthers could bring in a veteran QB to spell Clausen and if that doesn't work out then they could go QB next year. Defensive tackle has been a huge need since trading Kris Jenkins to the Jets and guys like Nick Hayden & Derek Landri aren't going to get the job done as starters so the Panthers will double down here and go for Dareus who according to sources they are extremely high on.
2. Denver Broncos = Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
Denver like Carolina has needs across the board but luckily for them it's mainly on defense which is loaded at the top at DL and excellent players like Miller at OLB and Patrick Peterson at CB. Champ Bailey re-upping with Denver was huge for them and took away some of the pressure from taking a CB here so they will mainly focus on the front seven here and with Denver going to a 4-3 defense now, Miller makes a ton of sense here as he is at his best as a pro as a SLB in the 4-3 defense rather than a outside rusher in a 3-4. Denver definitely needs some DT's in the draft but with D.J. Williams as your only OLB of substance, they gotta add some pass rush here and with a Miller/Elvis Dumervil combo on the strongside, that would be a huge problem for opposing offenses.
3. Buffalo Bills = Nick Fairley DT Auburn
Buffalo desperately needs help on the DL especially on the inside as they gave up almost 170 rushing yards a game and their pass rush in general was terrible so they will look at giving Kyle Williams some help here to ease up the pressure on their linebackers to make plays every snap. Buffalo will run a base 3-4 defense but new Assistant HC Dave Wannstedt has said that they will be going with multiple fronts so Fairley will have plenty of chances to play in the base 4-3 where he excelled in at Auburn. The Bills will definitely be intrigued with the thought of taking a QB here like Blaine Gabbert or Cameron Newton but that decision will be made by GM Buddy Nix or HC Chan Gailey and if they think that either of them is a true franchise QB for them.
4. Cincinnati Bengals = Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri
The Bengals won't trade Carson Palmer this year but they will definitely take his replacement and now that Jay Gruden is in the fold as the OC, I definitely see them going QB here now whether it's Gabbert or Newton will come to who they prefer for their system. Gabbert didn't throw at the combine but he had a very impressive pro day last Thursday in Columbia and multiple sources said that he sealed the deal as being the top QB selected in the draft with that performance. The Bengals could go other ways though as A.J. Green could fill a huge need at WR and they need help on their pass rush so Da'Quan Bowers could be in play as well.
5. Arizona Cardinals = Patrick Peterson CB LSU
Lots of factors will come into play here as the Cardinals would definitely look at QB here but they supposedly have an affinity for Kevin Kolb and if that doesn't work out then Marc Bulger's name which has been linked to them for free agency would come to the forefront to fill this need. The Cards surely needs help in their pass rush and Da'Quan Bowers is sitting here but with his injury concerns and the fact that he doesn't really fit in with what they do on defense also with Ray Horton coming in as the new DC, he would definitely look at a DB with different eyes than others. Peterson also would be a great value pick plus brings versatility where he may transform into a safety before it's said and done.
6. Cleveland Browns = Da'Quan Bowers DE Clemson
Cleveland is now going to a 4-3 defense and GM Tom Heckert has gone on record saying that they want to take a pass rusher very early in the draft so with Bowers who could very easily be the #1 pick if his knee checks out fine in the next 3 weeks at his pro day on 4/1 then a week later in front of NFL doctors in Indianapolis, would be extremely hard to pass up on here. A.J. Green is definitely an intriguing possibility here as Mike Holmgren wants a home-run hitter on offense but the need plus value is way too much here to pass up on.
7. San Francisco 49ers = A.J. Green WR Georgia
This is a simple case of the 49ers taking the best player on the board that fills a need although not one of their bigger needs and totally mirrors the Michael Crabtree selection from 2009. The Niners need help on their pass rush plus would look at a QB along with Prince Amukamara at CB as well but if Green slips past Cleveland then I totally could see this scenario happening. The Niners would also entertain trades here especially from teams in the 20's that would like to move up for Green (dare I say the Atlanta Falcons) so they could drop down and pick up extra picks and they would be players in the Kevin Kolb sweepstakes also.
8. Tennessee Titans = Robert Quinn DE North Carolina
The Titans is another team that needs a QB but I seriously doubt that Bud Adams and the Titans brass go for another Vince Young type in Cameron Newton here plus they like some of the other QB's a little bit later on. That leaves defensive end as the top need here as Jason Babin is headed to free agency after a 12.5 sack season so it's a question of whether they keep him which in the past they have let their top defensive linemen leave and then you have Dave Ball & Jacob Bell who is restricted and carries a 2nd round tender as free agents also so that leaves Derrick Morgan as your only DE on the roster. Quinn makes sense here and is a good value pick.
9. Dallas Cowboys = Cameron Jordan DE California
Cameron Jordan is one of the most intriguing players in the draft as he is a tremendous raw athlete running that 4.71 at the combine solidified his status as a high 1st round pick plus he brings great versatility to the line as he can play inside and outside in a multiple defense but is perfect as a 3-4 DE which is something that new DC Rob Ryan will definitely love. Jordan's DC at California last year was Clancy Pendergast who is close to Jerry Jones so that is an ace in the hole to watch out for Cameron here. Dallas also may look at moving down here as well to gather extra picks.
10. Washington Redskins = Julio Jones WR Alabama
Jones' performance at the combine is almost legendary now after the reports of his broken foot surfaced and sealed his fate I think as a Top 10 pick plus this fits a big need as with Santana Moss heading into free agency, Anthony Armstrong would become the #1 receiver on the roster. The Skins could easily go for a QB here but I don't think they are sold on Newton this high. Redskins could also go pass rush here as well so J.J. Watt is on the radar.
11. Houston Texans = Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska
The Texans would be ecstatic if Amukamara fell here and I think it would be a very easy pick to make even with the selection of Kareem Jackson in the 1st round last year. They want to move Grover Quin over to free safety so Amukamara would easily slide into his starting spot on the other side of Jackson giving the Texans a good set of cornerbacks which would help their pass rush in the new 3-4 defense. Texans would also look at Aldon Smith here as well to fill their need for a 3-4 rush linebacker.
12. Minnesota Vikings = Cameron Newton QB Auburn
The Vikings will take a QB high and they like all the major players at the position so if Newton is still here at this spot, I don't see any way that they pass him. Leslie Frazier has gone on record saying that they will take a QB and would look at bringing in a veteran to groom him and with new OC Bill Musgrave in the fold this position is a high priority.
13. Detroit Lions = Tyron Smith OT USC
Jeff Backus is getting long in the tooth and is getting ready to slide over to the right side so the Lions will have to look at grooming someone to be his replacement and Tyron solidified his position as the top tackle on the board after a solid effort at the combine. If the Lions want to keep Matthew Stafford off the IR they must get him some help in his protection.
14. St. Louis Rams = Aldon Smith DE Missouri
James Hall racked up 10.5 sacks last year but he is getting long in the tooth so the Rams would like to draft a pass rusher to compliment Chris Long on the other side. The Rams drafted George Selvie last year and they like him but they would like some competition and Aldon who has risen up the boards over the past couple of months after a good combine and a pretty solid pro day could be the force they need in their pass rush. They would love if Julio Jones somehow falls here but I don't see it happening.
15. Miami Dolphins = Mark Ingram HB Alabama
This has been the most obvious pick in just about everyone's mock draft so far and it's not changing here because this will end up being a huge need as both Ronnie Brown & Ricky Williams are free agents and at least one of them will be gone. The Dolphins could go in other ways but I think HB is a lock here whether it's Ingram or Mikel LeShoure unless they trade down.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars = Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue
The Jaguars sorely need help in their pass rush and has needed it for years thinking they got it when they drafted Derrick Harvey in 2008 but he has been a big bust to go along with Aaron Kampman's ACL injuries the past two years, this is elementary. The question is who do they prefer and sources say that Kerrigan is their favorite among the guys rated at this level of the draft plus it helps that he is compared to a young Kampman.
17. New England Patriots (through Oakland) = J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin
Watt is a tremendous athlete and brings versatility that the Patriots love in their multiple fronts plus it doesn't hurt that he has been called by Mike Mayock the best 5-technique defensive end he's ever scouted which is high praise from someone that is close to Bill Belichick. He brings the intangibles that the Patriots love as well as he is a great leader and a selfless player.
18. San Diego Chargers = Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa
The run continues here with Clayborn coming off to the Chargers who need pass rush help and there is an abundance of guys at this stage of the draft. Luis Castillo is locked in as a starter on one side but the other side is in question with Jacques Cesaire not performing up to par. The question with Clayborn is if he is ready to have an immediate impact as a 5-technique DE or will he have to learn it a little better because he is at his best in a 4-3 base defense.
19. New York Giants = Mike Pouncey OC/OG Florida
Lots of mocks lately have had Anthony Castonzo going here but Tom Coughlin has gone on record recently saying that the Giants would be looking at an interior lineman early in the draft and they really like Pouncey so the pick makes sense. Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert, & Adam Koets all have lower body issues they are coming back from so the Giants would like to add a young athletic guy to the interior of their line.
20. Tampa Bay Bucs = Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA
Barrett Rudd is a free agent and it may be tough to keep him because he will command some big money in the open market so this position was already a need before and even more now. Raheem Morris wants athletic and fast guys in his defense which Ayers is that thus being an almost perfect fit for the scheme. The Bucs would love though if one of the stud DE's fell to them here.
21. Kansas City Chiefs = Phil Taylor NT Baylor
The Chiefs have sorely needed a true nose tackle since going to the 3-4 defense two years ago and Taylor is the best true nose tackle on the board. The Chiefs have had stopgaps long enough at this position so they go for Taylor who is rising up draft boards.
22. Indianapolis Colts = Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College
The Colts brass would be elated to see Castonzo fall to them here because he is the prototypical LT that they like as he is an experienced elite pass protector which the Colts have been needing the past few years and something that could keep Peyton Manning healthy during the stretch run of his career.
23. Philadelphia Eagles = Jimmy Smith CB Colorado
Asante Samuel is solid one on side but the other side is in flux because of Ellis Hobbs' neck injury which leads to some uncertainty about him coming back which left Dimitri Patterson to man the other side and while he was servicable they seriously need to upgrade here to give them the stability they used to have when they had Lito Sheppard & Sheldon Brown as a tandem. Smith would be good value here as well because character issues have dropped him down some and even off of some teams' boards completely which doesn't bother the Eagles a ton because they have a history of taking guys with issues and it has turned out well for the most part.
24. New Orleans Saints = Cameron Heyward DE Ohio State
The stars align here as first this is a position of need as Alex Brown doesn't provide the pass rush needed opposite of Will Smith to give the Saints a solid tandem, then you have a recent history of the Saints taking Buckeyes in the 1st round with Smith & Malcolm Jenkins in recent years, and last but not least, Cameron's father the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward is a legend in New Orleans so the pedigree is there. This seems easy to me.
25. Seattle Seahawks = Corey Liuget DT Illinois
Seattle is one of the teams that will look at QB here but Pete Carroll admitted yesterday that they were very close to re-signing Matt Hasselbeck before the lockout plus they still like Charlie Whitehurst so the position may not be as big of a need as it looks. Brandon Mebane is a free agent and the Seahawks need someone to either compliment him or possibly replace him in the interior of their defensive line so Liuget who they are high on makes sense here.
26. Baltimore Ravens = Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin
Sure the Ravens drafted Michael Oher two years ago but the other side of the offensive line is a question mark because Marshal Yanda is headed for free agency and Jared Gaither's back injury could hinder him from coming back to a top level so the monster Carimi could be a great compliment for Oher making Joe Flacco happy.
27. Atlanta Falcons = Justin Houston DE Georgia
The Falcons sorely need a pass rusher to help compliment John Abraham & Kroy Biehrmann plus Houston gives them flexibility of being able to stand up when the Falcons go to their multiple fronts. Houston is high on the Falcons radar and if he is available here, it's hard for me to see them passing him up./
28. New England Patriots = Derek Sherrod OT Mississippi State
The Patriots OL is going through some massive changes as Matt Light is probably going to leave in free agency, Stephen Neal retiring, Nick Kaczur having serious back issues, & Logan Mankins having issues with being a franchise player, this is a big position of need. Pats want to get younger and more athletic here to help Tom Brady survive opposing defenses and Sherrod brings some needed size as well.
29. Chicago Bears = Nate Solder OT Colorado
It seems like offensive tackle has been a position of need for the Bears for 20 years since the heyday of Jim Covert & Keith Van Horne and with the Bears having some busts and free agency failures here, they take Solder who some believe is the best of the bunch at this position but there are question marks about him losing weight and his blocking ability. Solder is a really good athlete though and if he gets it all together then he could be a steal here.
30. New York Jets = Muhammad Wilkerson DE Temple
The Jets brass would be on cloud nine if Wilkerson fell to them here as they sorely need some help with the defensive ends and Wilkerson is a perfect fit for their scheme. Shaun Ellis is as good as gone so Wilkerson would be the right guy to fill his shoes. In all honesty though I don't see Wilkerson falling this far and could go as high as 15 picks higher.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers = Brandon Harris CB Miami (Fla)
The Steelers have avoided this position in the 1st round for years and it's time that changed because this is the biggest glaring need on their roster which was put on blast during the Super Bowl when Aaron Rodgers shredded the secondary on his way to victory. Ike Taylor who is their best cornerback also is a free agent so this is an even bigger need than before so they go with Harris here who Mike Tomlin was scouting heavily at the Hurricanes pro day.
32. Green Bay Packers = Brooks Reed OLB Arizona
Green Bay's linebacker corps last year was led by Clay Matthews who dominated the league but that was just one side as the other side was inconsistent after Nick Barnett suffered a season ending injury and his name has been mentioned in possible trade talks this offseason so the Packers definitely want to address this need early in the draft. Reed fits the Packers mold well as he excels as a stand up rusher in the 3-4 plus has very long hair.
33. New England Patriots (through Carolina) = Torrey Smith WR Maryland
34. Buffalo Bills = Jake Locker QB Washington
35. Cincinnati Bengals = Mikel LeShoure HB Illinois
36. Denver Broncos = Stephen Paea DT Oregon State
37. Cleveland Browns = Jonathan Baldwin WR Pittsburgh
38. Arizona Cardinals = Christian Ponder QB Florida State
39. Tennessee Titans = Ryan Mallett QB Arkansas
40. Dallas Cowboys = Danny Watkins OG/OT Baylor
41. Washington Redskins = Christian Ballard DE Iowa
42. Houston Texans = Rahim Moore FS UCLA
43. Minnesota Vikings = Aaron Williams CB Texas
44. Detroit Lions = Bruce Carter OLB North Carolina
45. San Francisco 49ers = Colin Kaepernick QB Nevada
46. Denver Broncos (through Miami) = Martez Wilson ILB Illinois
47. St. Louis Rams = Titus Young WR Boise State
48. Oakland Raiders = Davon House CB New Mexico State
49. Jacksonville Jaguars = Quinton Carter FS Oklahoma
50. San Diego Chargers = Marcus Cannon OT TCU
51. Tampa Bay Bucs = Allen Bailey DE Miami (Fla)
52. New York Giants = Greg Jones MLB Michigan State
53. Indianapolis Colts = Jernal Jernigan WR Troy
54. Philadelphia Eagles = Rodney Hudson OG Florida State
55. Kansas City Chiefs = Quan Sturdivant ILB North Carolina
56. New Orleans Saints = Ryan Williams HB Virginia Tech
57. Seattle Seahawks = Andy Dalton QB TCU
58. Baltimore Ravens = Brandon Burton CB Utah
59. Atlanta Falcons = Randall Cobb WR Kentucky
60. New England Patriots = Mark Herzlich OLB Boston College
61. San Diego Chargers (through NY Jets) = Jabaal Sheard OLB Pittsburgh
62. Chicago Bears = Marvin Austin DT North Carolina
63. Pittsburgh Steelers = Ben Ijalana OG Villanova
64. Green Bay Packers = Curtis Brown CB Texas
Top 5 available on the board
Kyle Rudolph TE Notre Dame
Stefen Wisniewski OC Penn State
Drake Nevis DT LSU
DeMarco Murray HB Oklahoma
Kendall Hunter HB Oklahoma State