It has been a long time since I did a full 1st round mock draft. A lot has changed since the last time I mocked. Bowers has knee concerns, Minnesota is interviewing every quarterback it possibly can, and Marcel Dareus might have passed Nick Fairley as the top DT in this draft. With all the changes, it’s comforting to know that something hasn’t changed: The Chiefs are still going to draft Phil Taylor. Let’s get right to it.
1. Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton, QB from Auburn
Let me just preface this pick by saying I do not like Cam Newton and I do not think he is going to be a good quarterback in this league. With that being said, it would be stupid and irresponsible for me to not mock Newton to the Panthers because of how I feel. Ron Rivera might believe Newton is “his” guy.
2. Denver Broncos- Marcel Dareus, DT from Alabama
Marcel Dareus has replaced Nick Fairley as the top DT. How? Dareus performed very well at the Combine, has interviewed well, and teams have become more concerned about Nick Fairley’s character/work ethic questions. Dareus is a run stuffer who fits the a desperate area of need for the Broncos. Just a side note, if the Panthers do take Newton at #1, there is a decent chance the Broncos can trade there pick to Arizona, SF, Tennessee, or Minnesota.
3. Buffalo Bills- Patrick Peterson, CB from LSU
Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the future of the Bills, but I don’t believe Gabbert is either. If Buffalo wants a franchise QB, they should wait a year and try and get Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, or Landry Jones. For now, they pick up the best talent in the draft.
4. Cincinnati Bengals- Blaine Gabbert, QB from Missouri
Cincinnati is not going to trade Carson Palmer. There tone may change if they decide to take Gabbert. They literally have nothing at QB if Carson is not there. Gabbert gives the Bengals a new QB with a rocket arm to try and force passes to their receivers.
5. Arizona Cardinals- Von Miller, LB from Texas A&M
Arizona is going to run a 3-4 without any 3-4 pass rushers if they do not draft an OLB. Miller gives them a ferocious pass rusher who could be a perennial pro bowler if he reaches his full potential. He’s got the look of a leader and will surely help the Cardinals bad defense.
6. Cleveland Browns- Julio Jones, WR from Alabama
What? Jones over Green? Yup. The last two years the #2 receiver was drafted before the #1. Add that to Julio Jones’ disgustingly athletic showing at the Combine and this pick is entirely possible. It comes down to which receiver the Browns think will help Colt McCoy the most. Jones may be that guy.
7. San Francisco 49ers- Prince Amukamara, CB from Nebraska
The biggest question about Prince was his top end speed. He ran a 4.43 40 at the Combine so that should answer those questions. There are some who question his technique and lack of big plays, but he’s a very talented corner who helps San Francisco’s secondary.
8. Tennessee Titans- Nick Fairley, DT from Auburn
Tennessee let go of one headache of a DT a couple years ago. Now, they are about to get another one…maybe. Fairley has all the tools to be an elite DT. He could be as good as he wants to be. The key is how good does he want to be? Time will tell, but his talent is undeniable. Titans are getting quite a bargain here.
9. Dallas Cowboys- Tyron Smith, OT from USC
The Cowboys reportedly have quite a bit of interest in Smith. He’s a very athletic tackle who has a lot of upside. I’ve seen lots of D’Brickshaw Ferguson comparisons. Dallas could really use Smith protecting the blind side of Tony Romo.
10. Washington Redskins- AJ Green, WR from Georgia
Washington is in a very ideal situation here. They badly need WR talent and they have a good chance of snagging Jones or Green here at 10. It depends on what Cleveland and the Titans do. Those two teams are the only ones that I think could take a WR this high. In this mock, Redskins get the most talented WR in the draft. If only they had a QB to throw him the ball…
11. Houston Texans- Robert Quinn, OLB from North Carolina
Quinn has definite questions. He has a brain tumor that is giving teams pause as well as his character questions. However, he is a highly athletic player with loads of potential. He has natural pass rush ability and should thrive with Wade Phillips defensive mind.
12. Minnesota Vikings- Da’Quan Bowers, DE from Clemson
Bowers falls this far because there are concerns about his knee as well as the amount of 3-4 teams ahead of the Vikings. Bowers had an insane year in 2010. He has elite pass rush ability from the 4-3 DE position. Vikings get a real bargain at this spot.
13. Detroit Lions- Mark Ingram, RB from Alabama
WHAT?! Yup. Surprise Surprise. Look, I know that the Lions only have 5 picks. I know they have needs at CB, DT and OT. However, there are no players at those positions that fit this draft spot. Jimmy Smith, Cory Liuget, and Nate Solder/Gabe Carimi would all be reaches here. They traded up to draft Jahvid Best last year, but he is not going to be able to carry the load by himself. The NFL is quickly becoming a 2-back league and the #2 RB on the Lions is Maurice Morris. Ingram does not match the Lions need, but he is an elite talent who gives Detroit a heck of a running game. Besides, Stafford can’t get hit from his blind side if they run the ball all the time.
14. St Louis Rams- Cory Liuget, DT from Illinois
The Rams would love to get a WR for Bradford. However, it is unlikely that Jones or Green fall this far. So the Rams look at Liuget to upgrade their DT position. He’s a big, athletic DT with good strength and penetration. He further reinforces the Rams D-Line.
15. Miami Dolphins- Mikel Leshoure, RB from Illinois
A lot of people think Leshore will slip to the 2nd round. However, I think Leshoure is an extremely talented player and could give Ingram some competition as the best RB from this class. He’s a very big, well put together back who has drawn a lot of comparisons to Stephen Jackson.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars- Ryan Kerrigan, DE from Purdue
The Jaguars are a team that looks for high character guys. They also are likely to go BPA. I know quite a few Jaguars fans who want Ponder in a trade down. For this mock, I’m giving them Kerrigan who fits the mold of a guy they want as well as a position of need.
17. New England Patriots- Cameron Jordan, DE from Cal
New England is the luckiest team in this scenario. They stay put and get arguably the best 3-4 DE in the entire draft. Jordan has an excellent blend of size and speed that will make him very dangerous. It’s the rich getting richer for New England.
18. San Diego Chargers- JJ Watt, DE from Wisconsin
AJ Smith was reportedly watching Watt at his pro day as closely as humanly possible without being charged for assault. Watt is a high character, high motor player who fits an area of need for the Chargers. As much as I hate to admit it, I think Watt will be an elite player for the Chargers.
19. New York Giants- Akeem Ayers, LB from UCLA
The Giants number one need is linebacker followed closely by OL and CB. Ayers’ biggest concern was his speed, but he reportedly ran in the high 4.6′s at his pro day which should ease some concerns. I like what the guys at NFLN said “Put him at 4-3 Sam and let him rush the passer on nickel situations”.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Adrian Clayborn, DT/DE from Iowa
This pick is becoming just like the Dolphins picking Ingram. Nearly everyone has it. I flirted with the Bucs picking up Carimi, but I just couldn’t sell myself on that pick. Clayborn had a down year, but he was constantly double teamed and dealt with injuries. He’s a dominant player who could very easily out play his draft spot.
21. Kansas City Chiefs- Phil Taylor, NT from Baylor
Kansas City needs a NT very badly. Phil Taylor is the best NT in the draft. It’s an easy match. I will be very surprised if the Chiefs do not pick him.
22. Indianapolis Colts- Derek Sherrod, OT from Mississippi St.
There is no way the Colts are leaving the draft without a blind side protector for Peyton Manning. Sherrod is a tall, long armed tackle who has all the makings of a franchise left tackle. He has some technique issues to fix, but the Colts are finally going to protect Manning.
23. Philadelphia Eagles- Jimmy Smith, CB from Colorado
Jimmy Smith’s stock appears to be falling due to character concerns. There are some serious concerns about how Smith will behave once he gets into the league. However, the Eagles are a veteran team who could be able to keep him under control. Smith is big and fast and could be a lock down corner if he wants to be.
24. New Orleans Saints- Aldon Smith, DE from Missouri
The Saints need to upgrade their DE’s if they want to retake the NFC South. Aldon Smith is a terrific player who has been mocked all over the 1st round. I’ve seen him mocked as high as top 12. He is a player with a lot of upside and will help the Saints quest in beating the Falcons this year.
25. Seattle Seahawks- Nate Solder, OT from Colorado
Nate Solder has fallen behind several tackles after a less then stellar showing at the Senior Bowl. He’s an athletic monster with tons of upside, but he has a lot of technique issues to fix. With proper development, he would be a fantastic pairing with Russel Okung.
26. Baltimore Ravens- Muhammad Wilkerson, DE from Temple
The Ravens have already showed interest with Wilkerson and it makes sense. Wilkerson is a guy who has enormous upside and the Ravens are not desperate for his help. He can sit back and develop a bit before he is thrust into the Ravens lineup.
27. Atlanta Falcons- Justin Houston, DE from Georgia
This is an excellent pick for the Falcons. Not only is Houston a great talent, but he tremendous value here too. He has nice size and speed. He is going to help the Falcons get after the quarterback. They were just 20th last year in sacks.
28. New England Patriots- Mike Pouncey, G from Florida
The Patriots Stephen Neal retired leaving the team with a void in their o-line. Pouncey comes in and can start from day one. He is a big, tough player who is a very good run blocker, but make no mistake. He is not his brother. In all likelihood, the Pats will trade this pick.
29. Chicago Bears- Ben Ijalana, OT from Villanova
The Bears desperately need to protect Jay Cutler. He was abused for a great portion of last season and he will not make it another season taking the same abuse. Ijalana is a very good athlete with impressive physical tools. A bit of a reach? Maybe, but the Bears can’t afford to wait to the late 2nd to address their o-line.
30. New York Jets- Martez Wilson, LB from Illinois
The Jets came close, but just couldn’t beat the Steelers. Now, they are stuck with a bunch of “to be” free agents. Wilson is an interesting prospect. He has some medical concerns, but he could be a sleeper as a 3-4 OLB.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers- Brandon Harris, CB from Miami
Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow, Black and Yellow. You know what it is. In all seriousness, the Steelers need help along the OL, but all the top prospects are gone. So they take the best player available who also happens to fill a need. Harris excels at man to man coverage and has good athleticism. I sure hope he likes Wiz Khalifa.
32. Green Bay Packers- Danny Watkins, G from Baylor
Danny Watkins is a fantastic guard prospect, but he is going to be 26. That is very old for an NFL rookie. However, Green Bay is in win-now mode and Watkins is a player they can plug in at guard and still compete.
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