Quite often, attempting to predict the NFL DRAFT is about as useful of an activity as putting faith in the Bengals. Between trades, leaps of faith and just completely not knowing what GM’s are really thinking, it can be quite pointless even after a few picks.
At any rate, this is a mixture if what makes sense to me, some rumors that are just too prominent to deny and some leaps of faith by me. I don’t agree with all of them (especially at the QB spot), but I don’t want to deny the obvious.
Here is my complete take on round one, with a second pick after the analysis of what could be the top second option that is still available. Tomorrow I will recap what actually happens tonight, and how much of a hit or miss I make in this effort below.
Welcome back to the real kick off of Football season….I think.
1. PANTHERS-CAM NEWTON-QB-Auburn: There are a lot of red flags that are getting waved around him, but what else is new? Concerns about a major system change, production approach, being a underclassman and well-known character issues are all out there. But also is the fact that he plain out makes plays happen, and when your entire team manages only 16 touchdowns a year ago, you have to address that problem immediately. Carolina knows this, and while Newton isn’t a day one starter, having him on-board says there is at least a catalyst available now. Drafting for inspiration here. (Marcel Dareus)
2. BRONCOS-MARCEL DAREUS-DT-Alabama: Every level of the Bronco defense has to improve, and Dareus can plug the run with the equal ease that he pressures the pocket with. Combine the fact that he could potentially help on the outside of the line as well, and you get a perfect match in need and talent here. (Patrick Peterson)
3. BILLS-VON MILLER-OLB-Texas A&M: They’ve gotten basically nothing from their pass rush in recent years, especially from the linebacker spot. Miller is the needed spark required on two levels to improve one of the most unproductive front seven in the game. Could be a close call though between this a QB fix. (Blaine Gabbert)
4. BENGALS-A.J. GREEN-WR-Georgia: With much turnover happening on their offense overall, snatching a potential cornerstone play maker at wide receiver is a definite upgrade to the future of the club. He could be the most talented overall player available, and is a steal at 4. (Julio Jones)
5. CARDINALS-ROBERT QUINN-DE-North Carolina: The Cardinals are in need of a number of things, and while QB may make the most sense, a rookie one does not. Quinn helps improve a porous defense that needs to get younger and quicker virtually everywhere. A plus is that he can potentially play stand up linebacker as well. (Blaine Gabbert)
6. BROWNS-JULIO JONES-WR-Alabama: A go-to option has been needed here badly, and Jones is the quick, yet physical target needed that can fight for passes all over the field. This is exactly what a young Colt McCoy needs, a target he can develop confidence in. (Nick Fairley)
7. 49ERS-PATRICK PETERSON-CB-LSU: The Niners have equal need at QB and corner, but there is no equal to the talent and ability of any player available at this point of Peterson. He is a potential shutdown corner that can also a be threat in the return game as well. (Blaine Gabbert)
8. TITANS-BLAINE GABBERT-QB-Missouri: With the Vince Young era over, the Titans have to start over under center. Gabbert is far from a certain thing, but if given the proper time to adjust to the game, he gives a clear future to an offense that needs some diversity, if just for the sake of extending Chris Johnson’s legs. (Nick Fairley)
9. COWBOYS-TYRON SMITH-OT-USC: If you’ve seen the catastrophe that is the Cowboys’ pass protection, this pick is a gimme. There are better players available, and Dallas could trade back, but taking an athletic tackle that can line up at either tackle is the smart pick. (Prince Amukamara)
10. REDSKINS-J.J. WATT-DE-Wisconsin: It seems to be that the Skins are committed to Watt, especially with no QB or WR worth this high of a pick on the board still. In a defense that got shredded basically every way it could a year ago, anything helps at this point, and Watt is the best 3-4 option available. (Jake Locker)
11. TEXANS-ALDON SMITH-DE-Missouri: This pick could go a number of different ways, as the Texans need a very specific type of player to boost their defense. The temptation could be to go cornerback for a second consecutive year in round one, but Smith fits a double need, as his versatility allows him to help at either DE or outside linebacker. (Prince Amukamara)
12. VIKINGS-NICK FAIRLEY-DT-Auburn: A bit of a surprise pick, simply because of his availability still. But his sliding stock could be the Vikes big gain, as he would give them a plug-in to their aging, yet still highly effective defensive tackle group. A bit of a luxury pick, but his upside makes this far from a reach. (Anthony Castonzo)
13. LIONS-PRINCE AMUKAMARA-CB-Nebraska: A perfect scenario for Detroit, who have maybe the biggest need of any team at corner. They get a day one starter, and continue to improve their team quickly via the Draft at need positions. (Jimmy Smith)
14. RAMS-DaQUAN BOWERS-DE-Clemson: Rumored as a top pick candidate for months, he has fallen due to knee concerns. He would be the perfect pick for what Steve Spagnuolo likes to deploy from his pass rush, and after the success the Rams had with a rehabbing George Selvie a year ago, they’ll have no fear pulling the trigger on a more talented prospect here again. (Corey Liuget)
15. DOLPHINS-MARK INGRAM-RB-Alabama: Another perfect pick for a club in need. Ingram fits right in to a Miami backfield that deploys multiple attacks, similar to the matching he ran at Alabama. The Fins get a youthful boost to their backfield and replace the likely departed Ricky Williams as well. (Mike Pouncey)
16. JAGUARS-CAMERON JORDAN-DE-Cal: For the second year in a row the Jags turn to Berkeley to improve their defensive line (Tyson Alahu in ’10). Jordan is a hot riser right now, the type of guy teams will try to trade up for. But if he is still available it is a major boost to the Jags longtime search for an impact outside pass rusher. (Jake Locker)
17. PATRIOTS-ADRIAN CLAYBORN-DE-Iowa: The Pats have to get in on the lot of defensive line talent in this draft. Clayborn is a great fit for NE, with his great balance and burst, giving them a productive front line presence they’ve needed since Richard Seymour was dealt away, which is who they got this pick for ironically. (Anthony Castonzo)
18. CHARGERS-RYAN KERRIGAN-DE-Purdue: SD needs a high energy, ready to play lineman, and thats exactly what Kerrigan is. They have needed a true disruptor to the pocket since Shawne Merriman lost his steroid connect, and no one is a better value or fix than Kerrigan here. (Akeem Ayers)
19. GIANTS-ANTHONY CASTONZO-OT-Boston College: The Giants need to reshape their offensive line, and bring in a big presence to watch Eli Manning’s back. Costanzo is a steal this late, and is the most ready to play left tackle in the draft. He helps the Giants in an immediate way. (Gabe Carimi)
20. BUCS-JIMMY SMITH-CB-Colorado: Tampa needs help in the pass rush, but are showing up for that party a bit late. Instead, they get a big coverage help in the 6’3 Smith, who is an immediate fix for the recently released Aqib Talib. (Akeem Ayers)
21. CHIEFS-GABE CARIMI-OT-Wisconsin: The Chiefs were the most improved club in the game a year ago, and a lot of guys stepped up to erase a good number of needs they had. Offensive tackle is one of the new areas they still need to improve, and they fall into a great fit here. Carimi is tough as hole opener and will be a plus RT. (Nate Solder)
22. COLTS-NATE SOLDER-OT-Colorado: Peyton is still the most productive QB in the game, but is getting older regardless. Extending that production by keeping the heat off him, and improving an uninspired run game, is a must for the Colts. Solder does both of these things, and is a good value this late. (Corey Liuget)
23. EAGLES-MIKE POUNCEY-G-Florida: The Eagles need help across their line, and snagging Pouncey give them the ability to upgrade at either guard or center. His twin brother became Pro Bowler as rookie a year ago after being taken in this same range and high quality interior linemen are a definite plus. (Aaron Williams)
24. SAINTS-COREY LIUGET-DT-Illinois: They need more help at defensive end, and very well could reach here for one, but defensive tackle is a relevant enough need also, and Liuget may be the steal of the draft at this point. (Muhammad Wilkerson)
25. SEAHAWKS-JAKE LOCKER-QB-Washington: It’s very difficult to say what they do here, and predicting Locker to go here is a crap shoot simply because someone could have traded back into the first by now to take him, but if he remains this long I think the Seahawks could overlook other needs to take their potential QB of the future now, a round early. (Derek Sherrod)
26. RAVENS-AARON WILLIAMS-CB-Texas: This is basically a must pick for the Ravens. They have had a need at corner for at least three years now, but have consistently overlooked it. Now they have to pay attention to it, especially with their All-Universe safety net Ed Reed aging and floating retirement annually. (Cameron Hayward)
27. FALCONS-MUHAMMAD WILKINSON-DE-Temple: The Falcons should make a move to better their defensive line opposite of John Abraham, and land one of the better late first rounders available here. (Akeem Ayers)
28. PATRIOTS-AKEEM AYERS-OLB-UCLA: If they keep both first rounders (which we all know is virtually impossible to predict from the Pats front office), they can aggressive address the multiple issues they have on the front seven of their defense with Ayers. He gives them the tackling machine they desperately need, and could quickly make this unit a strength once a again for Belichick. (Danny Watkins)
29. BEARS-DEREK SHERROD-OT-Mississippi State: This answers a long time need for the Bears in pass protection, as they really have to hope to find a fix here that Chris Williams couldn’t give them a few years ago. Safety and receiver could just as easily be the move here, but Sherrod is the best option of any need position. (Jonathan Baldwin)
30. JETS-JUSTIN HOUSTON-OLB-Georgia: With the Vernon Gholston mega-flameout finally acknowledged, and Jason Taylor being basically an antique with only name value now, taking Houston is a good benefit to a team that already has a surplus of blitzing weapons. He’ll be well deployed in Rex Ryan’s constant blitzing attack. (Phil Taylor)
31. SETTLERS-BRANDON HARRIS-CB-Miami: They were able to reach Super Sunday despite featuring a cornerback group that was still prone to be torched over the top, which was exactly what sunk them the year before. Hopefully they take the hint and select Harris, who is solid coverage man that can play the type of physical game Pitt believes in. (Cameron Heyward)
32. PACKERS-CAMERON HAYWARD-DE-Ohio State: The Champs need more pressure to be brought from their front three, and Heyward is a high motor guy that can add that needed punch. Good value pick to fall to a championship team with a clear need. (Brandon Burton)
Don’t see what you think your squad needs? Somebody overrated or underrated? Later on there will be a brief 2nd round mock as well, where you those concerns may be addressed based on what’s left to go from or the potential sleepers that reveal themselves…
As usual, follow me on Twitter for an extensive live Draft Tweet up and more at @CheapSeatFan.