The college football season kicks off tonight, and I think that means the time is ripe for a mock draft. Yes, that’s how I roll. Previously when I did a quasi-mock/draft preview, I didn’t try to predict the draft order. But now that the NFL season is almost upon us, I’m ready to guess how teams may finish. Coupled with the fact that I’ve watched quite a bit of tape of many of these top prospects during the summer, I’m ready to throw out the first real mock draft of the year. An asterisk (*) indicates an underclassman.
1. Buffalo Bills – QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas*
His big arm is probably going to wow some scouts.
2. Cleveland Browns – QB Jake Locker, Washington
Fits better in the West Coast system that Holmgren will likely want to install next year.
3. St. Louis Rams – WR A.J. Green, Georgia*
Bradford needs a go-to weapon.
4. Seattle Seahawks – DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina*
The Seahawks need to find a way to generate some pass rush.
5. Tampa Bay Bucs – RB Mark Ingram, Alabama*
A good running game could take a lot of pressure off Josh Freeman.
6. Detroit Lions – CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
He’s a lot better than Chris Houston.
7. New England Patriots (from Oakland) – DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
Finally find a suitable replacement for Richard Seymour.
8. Kansas City Chiefs – OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA*
Athletic pass rusher to help out their poor defense.
9. Arizona Cardinals – QB Christian Ponder, Florida State
A better prospect than either Leinart or Anderson.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – CB Patrick Peterson, LSU*
Big, athletic corner that should help their secondary.
11. Denver Broncos – DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
Adds some needed youth and athleticism up front for them.
12. Washington Redskins – RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech*
Explosive back is a very good fit in Shanahan’s offense.
13. Chicago Bears – WR Julio Jones, Alabama*
They hope a big play target like Jones can get Cutler out of his funk.
14. Houston Texans – DT Jurrell Casey, USC*
Should give them a good interior pass rusher to tag team with Williams.
15. Carolina Panthers – DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama*
A good interior presence that should help out their line.
16. Cincinnati Bengals – ILB Don’ta Hightower, Alabama
Perhaps he’s as good as McClain.
17. Tennessee Titans – CB Aaron Williams, Texas*
They need some help in their secondary.
18. New York Giants – OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
Gets them back to pounding the rock.
19. Philadelphia Eagles – CB Brandon Harris, Miami*
Athletic corner should be a good fit opposite Samuel.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers – OG Orlando Franklin, Miami
Big guy that can play either guard or tackle for them.
21. New York Jets – S Rahim Moore, UCLA*
Gives them a ballhawk in the secondary.
22. Minnesota Vikings – OC Mike Pouncey, Florida
Potentially as good a center as his brother.
23. San Francisco 49ers – QB Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State*
He’ll be groomed behind Alex Smith for a few years.
24. Miami Dolphins – RB Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
Big back that can be a more durable version of Ronnie Brown.
25. Atlanta Falcons – TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame*
If Gonzalez retires, he’ll try and fill his shoes.
26. Baltimore Ravens – CB Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech
Desperately need to improve their cornerback position.
27. San Diego Chargers – NT Jarvis Jenkins, Clemson
Massive defensive tackle should replace Jamal Williams in the middle.
28. Green Bay Packers – OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
Gives them another pass rusher opposite Matthews.
29. Indianapolis Colts – OT DeMarcus Love, Arkansas
Hope he can secure their left tackle spot.
30. Dallas Cowboys – S Mark Barron, Alabama*
Gives them a big, physical presence in the secondary.
31. New Orleans Saints – DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson
Athletic pass rusher that quite hasn’t lived up to his potential.
32. New England Patriots – WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh*
Big wideout that is good replacement for Moss.