I just thought this would be a different take and maybe it’ll be a little fun. Even though it’s obviously not possible of happening, ever. I’ll just throw this out there while I start working on an official mock draft and while I finish working on our final big board as well.
1. Green Bay Packers-Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
I’ve been adamantly opposed to the notion that the Panthers would consider taking Patrick Petereson because the positional value is not great enough for a cornerback to warrant the #1 overall pick. But the Packers don’t suffer from the same problem the Panthers do, which is a lack of talent. Patrick Peterson would not only make the Packers pass defense incredible as either a CB or safety (and be the eventual replacement for Charles Woodson), but he could also help improve the dreadful Packers special teams unit, the one easily identifiable weakness.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers-A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Mike Wallace is a nice player and the Steelers are developing some very good young players, but Hines Ward is 35 years old and Randel El is going to be 32 years old. A.J. Green is arguably the most impactful player in the draft and would instantly add another dimension to the Steelers offense. In any other year, the Steelers would grab the most valuable offensive linemen here at this spot.
3. New York Jets-Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
The Jets biggest need is clearly a pass rusher on defense. Von Miller is a dynamic pass rusher and would really help out their defense, but if they get to choose between Von Miller and an explosive linemen like Nick Fairley, they should choose the explosive defensive linemen. The Jets can’t generate pressure with their defensive line either and Fairley could be a player that helps the Jets defense become a dominant defense.
4. Chicago Bears-Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Like the Steelers their biggest need is arguably along the offensive line, but could you imagine the defense they could have if they were able to pair Peppers with Da’Quan Bowers. Yikes! That would be the most feared duo in the league.
5. New England Patriots-Marcel Dareus, DL, Alabama
Again, Miller makes sense here as an explosive pass rusher, but the Patriots generally prefer to grab linemen early in the draft and they could use some help along the defensive line and some depth. Miller is tough to pass up here though.
6. Atlanta Falcons-Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
I considered Robert Quinn and Von Miller here, but went with another weapon for Matt Ryan. Julio Jones is big, strong, and fast and would be an excellent addition to the Falcons offense. Jones plays like a bigger faster Anquan Boldin, which comes with injury risk because he plays so physical, but players like Boldin and Nicks can dominate games (look at Nicks numbers this year top 5 per game in yards, touchdowns, and plays over 20 yards) and are tough to come by.
7. Baltimore Ravens-Von Miller, Texas A & M
Suggs and Miller could be as fearful for opponents as the Harrison and Woodley pairing that is deployed by the rival Steelers. Miller also makes a lot of sense because the Ravens will soon have to find a future replacement for Terrell Suggs, who can’t play forever.
8. Seattle Seahawks-Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
The only team in the playoffs that really needs a QB moving forward. The Seahawks would be the biggest winner in this situation because they would come away with a potential franchise Quarterback they might not be able to find at 25th overall this year.
9. New Orleans Saints-Robert Quinn, North Carolina
Perhaps the easiest pick to make in the new reverse order in the top 10. The Saints really have a big need at Defensive line and Robert Quinn has great potential. Need matches value=easy pick.
10. Philadelphia Eagles-Prince Amukamara-CB, Nebraska
Another easy pick as the Eagles desperately need someone to play across from Asante Samuel and Amukamara could be that guy. Offensive linemen is also a possibility here.
11. Indianapolis Colts-Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Nate Solder has enormous potential and has been impressive every step of the way in the pre-draft process. In this scenario the Colts choose the player who has more LT experience as the guy who will protect Manning’s blindside. Though even in this impossible hypothetical scenario I still think they might prefer Anthony Castanzo to all of the players.
12. Kansas City Chiefs-Ryan Kerrigan, OLB, Purdue
I considered the intriguing Tyron Smith here, but decided to go with a player I think the Chiefs front office will love as a productive hustle player who maximizes his ability. I considered Cameron Jordan here who might be a better player, but .with Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey the Chiefs feel satisfied with Jackson and Dorsey so opt for the OLB help. Kerrigan is up over 270 pounds now so he’s not a 3-4 rush candidate, but the Chiefs want a guy who can rush some opposite Tamba Hali, but really be a force in the run game.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal
The Buccaneers might need more of a pure pass rusher like Aldon Smith more than they need Cameron Jordan, but how can they pass on Jordan’s versatility, strength, production, and all around game. Early on the draft process Jordan was considered a “Tyson Alualu/Tyson Jackson prospect” as someone who might come out of nowhere and be drafted early in the first round, but he’s been dominant in the pre-draft process to go along with his great tape during the year and is now that would be shocking to see fall past New England at 17 (in the regular order not this crazy order).
14. New York Giants-Tyron Smith, OT, USC
In the real draft the Giants are hoping that three quarterbacks and a ton of defensive linemen are drafted before they pick (which is possible) so that they can have a player they have high on their board fall into their laps (I assume they will have Tyron Smith, Jimmy Smith, Mark Ingram, Akeem Ayers, Martez Wilson, Anthony Castanzo all high on their board).
15. San Diego Chargers-J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
The Chargers need help at DL and other than Mark Ingram and Brandon Harris/Jimmy Smith Watt is the best player available here so again value meets need and makes this an easy pick. The Chargers have shown they put a nice value on drafting CB early so Harris and Smith are options here as well.
16. New England Patriots-Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
The Patriots need help at OLB and Aldon Smith has fantastic potential as a rush olb because of his size and athleticism. Smith fills a huge need for the Pats here and provides good value, though Anthony Castanzo is tempting here.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars-Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn
Usually with so many teams at the top of the draft board needing quarterbacks one of the top defensive linemen falls to this spot, but what’s left on the board here are good Offensive linemen, Running backs, Brandon Harris, Jon Baldwin and Jimmy Smith. The Jaguars have spent the past two years refining their OL and have two OT already. They are also stacked at running back. Brandon Harris makes a lot of sense here, but Jon Baldwin and Jimmy Smith have a ton of ‘baggage’ which could scare away the Jaguars. Cam Newton would be perfect in a place like the Jaguars where they could develop him for two years behind a veteran quarterback while he learns to play football. I know he also comes with baggage, but I haven’t mocked the Jaguars a QB yet so I will in this mock which doesn’t make a difference since it’s not anything that could happen.
18. Miami Dolphins-Anthony Castanzo-OT-Boston College
The Dolphins need help along the offensive line and Castanzo is the best player available here. Castanzo can play LT or RT (RT for the Dolphins). Mark Ingram and Ryan Mallett are more probably options here, but I haven’t give the Dolphins an OL in a while so I will here.
19. St. Louis Rams-Stephen Wisnewiski G/C Penn State
This is a pick that won’t happen in the real draft, but the Rams have talked a lot about adding interior guard help in the early part of the draft and it’s much better to do that at 19th overall than 14th overall. Wisnewski is a real first round talent and the better player even though Pouncey gets a lot more buzz because of how successful is brother was, I figure. The Rams are not hinting at taking an OL early, they are saying it’s probable. Don’t be surprised if the Rams try to move down and grab Wisnewski or Pouncey if they can’t get Jones or a Defensive player they love at 14th overallI prefer Wisnewski to Pouncey, especially at center, but Pouncey seems to be the favorite among N.F.L. people.
20. Detroit Lions-Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
I’ve been against the Lions taking Ayers at 13th overall, but I like it at 20th overall. Ayers didn’t have a great combine, but that’s not a problem because he plays Much faster than he times. He’s got gigantic arms and great fluid hips. He’s not real instinctive and not a punishing tackler for a man his size, but he’s great in coverage and a true play maker. He has pass rush potential and is good in coverage and is solid value here. If not for a herniated disk Martez Wilson might be here instead.
21. Minnesota Vikings-Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Russ Lande of SN mocked Liuget to 8th overall to the Titans. And there are a lot of people who feel he is a first round talent. I like him more in the second round, but he is big strong and pretty athletic and is fine value here at 21st overall. The Vikings need to find the future replacement for Pat Williams. Gabe Carimi and Derrick Sherrod are also options here.
22. Houston Texans-Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
I don’t think it’s out of the real of possiblity that the Texans consider Taylor at 11th overall so I don’t know how they would pass on him at 22nd overall. The Texans really need a nose tackle and at 22 Taylor is solid value, esecially considering there aren’t a ton of pass rusher options left here.
23. Washington Redskins-Jake Locker, QB, Washington
I keep reading/seeing that the Redskins prefer Locker over Mallett/Ponder and the others. Locker is very talented, but has a few accuracy issues. Still there’s no questions about his work ethic or leadership and a good offensive mind like Shanahan will think that he can maximize the talent of Jake Locker.
24. Dallas Cowboys-Brandon Harris, CB, The U
Harris is one of my favorite underrated prospects. He’s dropping out of the first round in a lot of mock drafts, which is possible. He doesn’t have elite speed (but he’s still fast), size or strength so he doesn’t scream 1st round prospects, but that’s not why I love him as a prospect anyway. He’s a competitor, as a short memory, and has such fluid hips that he can mirror players in man coverage. He deflects a ton of passes (doesn’t intercept them though) and has had some bad game in his career, but I think he’ll be a good N.F.L. player.
25. Tennessee Titans-Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
The Titans really need a QB, and other than Cam Newton Mallet has the most pure talent at the QB position in the draft. He’s got a rocket for an arm and has been productive in college. He’s another player that will rely on his interviews to slot him in the draft.
26. San Francisco 49ers-Jabaal Sheard, OLB, Pittsburgh
We’ve been talking about how we expect that Sheard could be a surprise player in the first round (Russ Lane SN even said “he’s put himself into the top 20″, so here I”m putting my money where my mouth is. Sheard has an explosive first step and good size and is a perfect candidate as a 3-4 OLB. The 49ers really need CB help, QB, and a pass rusher. In this scenario all the top four QB are gone, and Jimmy Smith has the dreaded character concerns. Sheard is good value and could be the player they never got with Manny Lawson (a good pass rusher…Lawson’s a good solid player, but not a pass rusher).
27. Cleveland Browns-Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
I’m not sure what kind of draft philosophy the Browns will use this year, but at this point Baldwin is good value if they liked him in the interview process and gives McCoy a big target to throw the ball too who can move after the catch. The Browns really need a WR and Baldwin has the size/speed ratio that teams will love. Plus he was productive enough at college.
28. Arizona Cardinals-Derrick Sherrod, OT, Mississipi State
The Cardinals have one of, if not The worst offensive lines in the league. Sherrod lacks the potential Tyron Smith or Nate Solder does, but he’s versatile, solid and can play LT or RT and has ability as a run blocker and a pass blocker. I think he’s very solid and the safest OL prospect in this draft class. (Castanzo is pretty safe as well).
29. Bengals-Gabe Carimi, T, Wisconsin
The Bengals struggled to run the ball last year effectively and as a result so their win total drop drastically. Carimi is a punishing run blocker, the kind of OL the Bengals need to compete vs the Ravens and Steelers moving forward. They could consider Christian Ponder here as well, but Carimi is safer and maybe they can convince Palmer to play after all.
30. Buffalo Bills-Kyle Rudolph, TE, Norte Dame
Rudolph is a good prospect who’s had trouble staying healthy. He doesn’t get a lot of love as a first round prospect, but for the Bills at 30th overall would be a good fit. The Bills have terrible tight ends and at this point the good DL, pass rushers and QB are all of the board so there’s no point in reaching for one of those players, though Justin Houston is possible.
31. Denver Broncos-Justin Houston, DE, Georgia
The Broncos need to upgrade their DL and while they may need more help in the inside because Dumervill and Ayers will move to DE, Houston represents good value here and teams can never have too many pass rushers. Houston was considered a 3-4 OLB prospect a lot before the draft, but now is getting a lot of looks as a 4-3 DE, which might be a better position for him. Muhammad Wilkerson is a possibility here.
32. Carolina Panthers-Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
The Panthers are desperate to improve their defensive line and go with the big bodied Wilkerson here, Though his best position might be 3-4 DE he can play inside in the 4-3 in most systems. Also Ron Rivera has run the 3-4 too as well and it’s possible they’ll slowly transition to a 3-4 defense and if that’s the case Wilkerson has the versatility that can be attractive. One thing that could change this in the real draft is Muhammad Wilkerson seems to be getting consideration for in the top 20.