The Panthers have one of the toughest decisions to make in a long time for a team with the number one spot. In the end, the Panthers get a guy who quite possibly could be the next Julius Peppers. Ever since Peppers has left, the Panthers have not been the same team. They have a chance to get back to the basics and concentrate on defense with Bowers. The QB position is in flux as well, but there just is not a QB worth the first pick of this draft. The Panthers, without a 2nd Round choice, will need to make a splash with this pick and better know exactly what they are getting.
Denver Broncos-Robert Quinn, North Carolina
Now that John Fox is aboard, the Broncos will not be a team that other teams pad there stats with – Fox will add some fight to this team. With a guy like Robert Quinn, the Broncos can build around him like he is cornerstone figure in what they want to do there. Fox is no dummy, and will implement a 4-3 that will be playoff worthy in two or three seasons. Patience right now is the motto in the mile high city.
Buffalo Bills-Cam Newton, Auburn
The Bills’ have not been known for their genius draft picks the last three years. Aaron Maybin has been a complete bust from the OLB position. Another player who was a head-scratcher was the drafting of C.J. Spiller of last year’s draft. I just don’t get it – they have the best running back that no one has heard in Fred Jackson, not to mention that they spent a 1st rounder four years ago in Marshawn Lynch. I don’t think they know what they are doing up there, but they have to get a franchise QB, and that will be a start.
Cincinnati Bengals-Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
It looks like Carson Palmer is serious about his threat to be traded or retire. He has his house in Cincy on the market as we speak. With all that going on, the Bengals have no other choice but to prepare for next season without a starting QB. Blaine Gabbert could be just what they need in Cincy. We all know that Carson Palmer was not getting the job done anyway, so the organization could already be planning life without Palmer. IMO this is the best move for Cincy right now.
Arizona Cardinals-Tyron Smith, USC
I am actually going out on a limb with this pick, but think about it. Donavan McNabb lives in Arizona so why would he not play for the Cardinals? If this happens, I could see a reach here for a future LT. Levi Brown just has not lived up to his billing as a 1st round pick from a couple of years ago. Tyron Smith got injured at the combine, but all his intangibles are there. He weighed in at 307, has a crazy wing span, and 11 inch hands. The Cardinals are in dire straits to find an LT.
Cleveland Browns-A.J. Green, Georgia
Finally the Browns have a QB. For years the Browns have been trying to get out of the shadow of Bernie Kosar, and that day might be here. Colt McCoy helped the Browns with some surprising victories last season. Once the Browns get him some weapons to throw to, he may have a story book career in Cleveland. Green fits what the Browns need right now. He will be able to come in and play from day one, and IMO make a immediate impact on the field.
San Francisco 49ers-Patrick Peterson, LSU
The 9ers will need to find a QB in the later rounds because in my mock I have them going with the ultra talented CB in Peterson. Peterson fills a need, but not an immediate need. However, the new regime will need to draft somebody who can make an immediate impact. A guy like Peterson could be that franchise player that the 9ers need. I also think the QB position will be addressed through a trade after the new CBA has been signed. Maybe a guy that plays for Philly now. Hmmm…
Tennessee Titans-Marcell Darues, Alabama
The Titans also need a QB, but the value for one at this pick just isn’t there, so like the other teams will be forced to do something in the 2nd round of the draft or via free agency. IMO they need to sign Kerry Collins to a deal and just let him be the QB. After all, he isn’t that bad. With the Titans selecting Dareus, they can now get over that hangover that is Albert Haynsworth. Darues is a beast and the Titans could use him in several different ways.
Dallas Cowboys-Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
The Cowboys’ were terrible against the pass last year, so with their first pick in this draft I could see a guy like Prince come in and contribute immediately. This guy is multi- talented and can be used as a CB or as a FS. Either way, it is a huge upgrade to what they have now. Jerry Jones is a slickster so he may move this pick up and down depending on who he likes the most. LT could also be addressed with this pick.
Washington Redskins-Nick Fairley, Auburn
The Redskins are jumping up and down if this scenario plays out because they just got a player who was at one time everybody’s number one pick. Fairley fell this far because of his work ethic, and he is just a one year wonder. What happened to the other years? Anyhow, the Redskins are thrilled to get him here at 10 and now can start building a very good defense again. QB is just not going to be used here with the first two guys off the board.
Houston Texans-Von Miller, Texas A&M
The Texans are kind of in the same boat as their Texas brother, the Cowboys. The two Texas teams were absolutely terrible against the pass last year. Von fills a need, but it could have waited until the 2nd round. With the Texans hire of Wade Phillips, the defense will be changed from a 4-3 to a 3-4, which Wade has mastered over years as a coach in this league. IMO Von Miller is the purest pass rusher in this year’s class of players.
Minnesota Vikings- J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
The Vikings are one of those teams who may reach for a QB with this pick or perhaps trade down. For the time being, I have them taking the very talented Watt out of Wisconsin. One thing that is a constant in this league is that defenses better be able to rush the passer or they will get torched in today’s NFL. Watt gives you that youth that you need to go with a guy like Jared Allen who can mentor him to be as dominant as Allen once was. A QB like Locker or Mallett could be used here, but I think it is way too early.
Detroit Lions-Jimmy Smith,Colorado
The Lions are actually a team to watch out for next year. Jim Schwartz has made some very good moves in past drafts that he has been apart of. The trend continues this year as well. In order for the Lions to contend for their division, they will need to make an upgrade at the CB position. Chris Houston is not too bad, but there is no one opposite of him that the Lions can depend on. Jimmy Smith is a very physical CB who will give an immediate boost to a bad secondary.
St. Louis Rams-Julio Jones, Alabama
The future looks bright in St. Louis because they have, IMO, a future MVP in Sam Bradford. With the recent hire of Josh McDaniels, the Rams will be looking to open it up a bit. Julio fits a real need for the Rams. He will be their number one wideout, and as the draft progresses I look for the Rams to do everything in their power to find Bradford a stock of weapons.
Miami Dolphins-Mike Pouncey,Florida
The Dolphins IMO are in a lot of trouble if they do not find an answer for the QB position. It appears if they just do not trust Chad Henne who hasn’t played that bad, but also has not lit anyone up either. QB is a glaring need, but at this point in the draft it is just to risky to draft a guy like Mallett or Locker. In my mock, the ‘Phins make the right choice and select the OG out of Florida, Mike Pouncey. Pouncey is unique because his brother has really made a statement with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A lot of teams will be lined up to get Pouncey.
Jacksonville Jaguars-Nate Solder, Colorado
The value of Solder here at the 16th pick is just too much for the Jags to pass on. Solder will be an immediate starter for the Jags from day one. A TE just three years ago, Solder has grown to be one of the best OT’s in the nation. The Jags will also be looking for a QB during the offseason although their position is not as bad as some other teams. Solder can be a stable force for the Jags for 10-12 years.
New England Patriots-Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
The New England Patriots will be looking to upgrade their offensive line in this draft. Carimi is a prime example of what the Pats are looking for. Carimi is a true RT and a mauler. He is a great run and pass blocker.
San Diego Chargers-Akeem Ayers, UCLA
Akeem Ayers IMO is one of the best values in this draft. With the Chargers drafting Larry English last year whom did not have the type of season the Chargers were looking for, Ayers could be that guy for them. Ayers is great against the pass and also has some pass rushing skills. This guy will come in day one and start for Norv Turner and the San Diego Chargers.
New York Giants-Anthony Castanzo, Boston College
Eli Manning was responsible for a total of 30 turnovers last year. In order to get back to the championship, the G-Men will need to correct this problem. I am not putting all the blame on Eli; his offensive line is also responsible for this as well. So, I have the Giants selecting Castanzo with their first pick.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
The Bucs were a surprise last year in many people’s eyes. In order for the Bucs to build off that momentum, they will need to find a pass rusher whose motor never stops. Ryan Kerrigan fits that mold. With Kerrigan, maybe the Bucs can get more sacks than the little number they put up last year. Kerrigan can flush the QB’s up in the pocket where the Bucs Gerald McCoy and Brian Price can clean up the mess. I look for an exciting year in Tampa.
Kansas City Chiefs-Aldon Smith-Missouri,
The Chiefs were the surprise of the league last year making it all the way to the playoffs.In order for the Chiefs to make it back to the playoffs they will need to find someone to rush the passer with Tambi Hali. Aldon Smith fills that void. With Smith on one side and Hali on the other the Chiefs will now have a dynamic duo to get after the passer.
Indianapolis Colts-Mark Ingram, Alabama
In order for the Colts to get back to the promise land, they will need to do something about the running game. Mark Ingram just might be the answer they are looking for. Ingram is a compact little guy who is a load to tackle and never fumbles the ball. Ingram will come in and steal the starting running back position from Donald Brown. Brown has proven to be a bust in this league.
Philadelphia Eagles-Cameron Jordan, California
Cameron Jordan is one of the most under-rated athletes coming out in this year’s draft. Jordan can play in 3-4 or the 4-3. The Eagles run a 3-4 which Jordan should thrive in. The eagles will need to look at some LB’s in this draft, but with the first pick they go with Jordan.
New Orleans Saints-Corey Luiget, Illinois
The Saints have been looking to upgrade the DT next to Sedrick Ellis for some time now. Luiget fills that need. The Saints always seems to struggle on defense while their offense is clicking on all cylinders. The defense will need to be addressed on several different areas at some point in this draft.
Seattle Seahawks-Jake Locker, Washington
Matt Hasselback will likely resign with the Seahawks, but he is a short term solution. The Hawks will need to address the QB position at some point in this draft and I have them addressing it in the first round. Locker is a gifted athlete that has some concerns as far as his accuracy, but that will come in time.
Baltimore Ravens-Brandon Harris, Miami University
The Ravens were absolutely scorched in their playoff loss. The secondary has been a weakness for some time now and it finally caught up with them. Harris is a great athlete, and I look for him to play from day one at the CB position.
Atlanta Falcons-Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
John Abraham is turning 33 this year and in the NFL that is old, so I could see the Falcons using a first round pick to bring in someone who will be able to step in when the time is right. Clayborn is a powerful DE who uses his power to bull rush. He will be a welcome addition to the Falcons.
New England Patriots-Muhammed Wilkerson, Temple
Wilkerson is a powerful 3-4 DE. I am looking at him to replace Richard Seymour who the Pats traded last season. Wilkerson is an ideal fit for the Pats and the 3-4 they run up there.
Chicago Bears-Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
The Bears were knocked out of the NFC Championship game by the Green Bay Packers because of one thing: the Bears could not protect the QB and then he got hurt and was unable to play in the second half. The Bears will use a 1st or 2nd rounder to help protect Jay Cutler.
New York Jets-Rahim Moore, UCLA
The Jets are one of those teams whom every single free agent is going to want to play for, so this pick was difficult. But in the end, I have them taking the FS from UCLA. Rahim Moore is a ball hawk, and no matter what tape you watch of this guy he is always around the football. The Jets need an upgrade at the S position.
Pittsburgh Steelers-Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
Heyward played in a 4-3 in college so moving to the 3-4 might be the reason Heyward fell to 31. But, the Steelers are glad he did because they need a DE for their 3-4. Heyward fits that mold. The Steelers have a bad taste in their mouth after the Super Bowl loss, so I look for them to be angry for next season.
Green Bay Packers-Justin Houston, Georgia
The Packers have the luxury of watching these other teams move up and down the draft board. Someone will make an error and a great player will be there for the Pack to snag. Houston is that guy. They already have a stable LOLB and now they can get some rush from the ROLB. Teams will have a hard time dealing with both of these OLB’s.
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