Every week we get closer to the Draft season. This week the East/ West Shire bowl kicked off and next week we will see the start of the Senior Bowl practices. Also with the NFL playoffs winding down we are getting a more complete look at the final draft order. Below you will notice that Cam Newton is not in my 1st round and while I feel someone will select him I think it will involve a trade. I fully expect a Tim Tebow like trade of a team back into the first round to select Newton. With that being said I still have major questions about his ability to develop into an effective starter in the NFL. Please be sure to check out DCsports report for a great mock draft database.
Nick Fairley- DT- Auburn
New coach Ron Rivera stated that the Panthers will stick with their 4-3 alignment and that makes Fairley and Da’Quan Bowers prime candidates for the #1 pick. I feel that a penetrating defensive tackle like Fairley is what this defense is missing. There are some whispers about Fairley being a character concern but I like my defensive tackles w/ a nasty streak. A lot has to play out before April but as it sits now it appears to be a battle of defensive linemen.
Da’Quan Bowers- DE- Clemson
John Fox was the coach when the Panthers drafted Julius Peppers and he will be looking to bring in a similar prospect this year. It appears likely that the Broncos make the switch from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 so it would be wise for them to get a versatile defensive en that can play opposite of Elvis Dumervil. Bowers fits that bill because he can rush the passer and also hold strong against the run.
Patrick Peterson- CB- LSU
Talent, talent is what this Buffalo Bills team needs and that is exactly how you would describe Peterson. The Bills have some serviceable corners on the roster but none with the skills of Peterson. His ability in coverage as well as the return game will allow him to make an immediate impact.
AJ Green- WR- Georgia
It appears that the Ochocinco and TO era is finished in Cincinnati which means that there is a hole at the receiver position. Green could come in and fill the shoes of both of those players with his big play ability and not to mention some baggage of his own. While Green has had some issues in the past I dont consider him a character concern.
Blaine Gabbert- QB- Missouri
My gut tells me that the Cardinals have to go with a quarterback at this position. There are zero options on the roster right now and the free agent market only offers a temporary solution. While I feel that Gabbert’s talents are best suited for the middle of the first round. We all know that this is a quarterback driven league so they need to make this position a priority.
Robert Quinn- DE/OLB- UNC
The whispers around the league is that the Browns will be making the switch to the 4-3 defense and that makes finding a rush defensive end a must. Quinn has exceptional pass rushing skills but might need to bulk up some to hold strong against the run.
Prince Amukamara-CB- Nebraska
Jim Harbaugh is going to have to resist the urge to select a quarterback early because there just isnt anyone worthy of the #7 pick. He might be better suited looking at someone like Christian Ponder in the 2nd round. I know that he is also aware of the need in the secondary and Amukamara is a elite cornerback prospect.
Marcel Dareus-DT- Alabama
The Titans defense hasnt been the same since Albert Haynesworth left for Washington. Dareus is a similar player in that he is capable of penetrating the pocket and holding strong at the point of attack. This would be an ideal situation for the Titans because it would curb their urge to select a quarterback.
Tyron Smith- OT- USC
This pick is a combination of Smith’s talent and the lack of talent in this draft class. I have Smith ranked #10 on my big board and feel he has the skills to develop into a top tier left tackle. The Cowboys really need help along the offensive line so Smith would be a good choice.
Ryan Mallett- QB- Arkansas
Mallett has seen his stock drop some but I still feel that he is capable of being a good NFL quarterback. There are some concerns about his footwork and decision making but he is still developing. Coach Shanahan loves strong armed quarterbacks and didnt shy away from the questionable character of Jay Cutler. At this point I see Mallett as a mid 1st round talent but the need is great here for the Redskins.
Von Miller- OLB- Texas A&M
Wade Phillips has been brought in to fix the Texans porous defense which also means a switch to the 3-4 scheme. Phillips is going to need players to fill his needs and Miller provides them with a good option for the rush outside linebacker position.
Drake Nevis- DT- LSU
I am going to admit that this is pretty high for Nevis but he should impress during the draft process. The Williams’ wall appears to be breaking up and Nevis would be a nice fit as a 3 technique. When the Vikings defense was very good they were able to create pressure with their front four and pressure is an area where Nevis excels.
Akeem Ayers- LB- UCLA
Last offseason the Lions rebuilt their defensive line and this year they focus on linebackers. Ayers is a very versatile linebacker that has the speed to cover a lot of ground. The Lions could use help in the secondary but Ayers meets need and player value.
Julio Jones- WR- Alabama
Jones is a top 10 talent that falls to a team that desperately needs a playmaker on the outside. Jones and Bradford will make a great team for years to come as they develop together.