Although I finished the Mock Draft Primer this past weekend, in truth that was essentially a mock draft I had started back in early March. Several things have happened since then, that now it’s time to start a completely new mock.
1. Carolina Panthers – QB Cam Newton, Auburn
Previously for many of my mocks I had the Panthers taking Gabbert. But it seems that many insiders report that the Panthers don’t really like Gabbert all that much, and would prefer to take the guy with higher upside at the quarterback position. I don’t really blame them, and it’s true that Newton has that sort of upside.
2. Denver Broncos – DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
While personally I do think Patrick Peterson is the smarter choice since he is the best player in this draft class, I could also see the Broncos taking Dareus here at the No. 2 position to shore up their defensive line.
3. Buffalo Bills – OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
If Newton and Dareus are off the board, then I see the Bills taking Miller. Those are the three players I think most likely to land in Buffalo, and thus I think that they will be happy to settle for a pass rusher like MIller.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – WR A.J. Green, Georgia
I’m not sure drafting a wide receiver makes a ton of sense this high in the draft, but there’s no doubt that the Bengals need help at the position. And the Bengals aren’t well known for making the smartest draft day decisions. Mike Brown is a stubborn owner, and while the Bengals probably do realize they need to get a quarterback in this draft, I doubt they use their top pick on him just under the hope that Carson Palmer backs down and comes back.
5. Arizona Cardinals – QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
With the Panthers passing on Gabbert, that makes the Cardinals extremely happy because they’ve been looking at a way to get the young passer from Mizzou. Gabbert should be a solid fit in Arizona’s offense going forward and probably takes them out of the Kevin Kolb sweepstakes.
6. Cleveland Browns – DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
Cleveland needs to take a defensive lineman with their top pick, and due to the questions surrounding Da’Quan Bowers, I think Fairley is probably the safer choice.
7. San Francisco 49ers – CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
It’s really hard to imagine Peterson not being a Top 5 pick, and frankly I would be shocked if that is not the case. But since he is the player that I’m sure the 49ers covet the most, then it makes the most sense for him to land here.
8. Tennessee Titans – DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson
I don’t think the Titans want to use a second consecutive top pick on a defensive end, but they cannot deny the value. And if Morgan and Bowers are healthy, then it certainly should pay dividends as they try to pressure the likes of Peyton Manning and dethrone the Colts in the AFC South.
9. Dallas Cowboys – OT Tyron Smith, USC
A little high for Smith, but I think the Cowboys are committed to improving their offensive line and seemingly aren’t in love with other options like the defensive ends or Prince Amukamara. That makes Smith a good fit to play right tackle immediately in their lineup.
10. Washington Redskins – WR Julio Jones, Alabama
I honestly might have the Redskins taking Jones just because if not here, then he starts to drop in the draft. And with all the buzz currently surrounding him, it’s hard to not see him being a Top 10 pick. I think the Redskins might be partial to a pass rusher like Robert Quinn, but if that’s not the case, then they will happily upgrade their passing attack with a player like Jones.
11. Houston Texans – OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina
The Texans need to bolster their pass rush, and a pickup like Quinn makes too much sense for them.
12. Minnesota Vikings – OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
The VIkings want to bolster their offensive line, and Castonzo is a good fit to play and develop behind McKinnie.
13. Detroit Lions – CB Patrick Amukamara, Nebraska
The Lions love the fact that they get their man at cornerback.
14. St. Louis Rams – DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
THe Rams want to get help in the interior of their line. He’s no Ndamukong Suh, but he’s a really solid nose tackle prospect.
15. Miami Dolphins – RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
The Dolphins have a major need at running back and Ingram makes too many sense.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
Reportedly, the Jaguars really like Watt and want to get a bigger defensive end because the Jags are secretly gearing their personnel to move to a 3-4 scheme down the road.
17. New England Patriots – DE Cameron Jordan, California
The Patriots are in a good position to wait and see who is here with Watt and Jordan to bolster their defensive end position and finally replace Richard Seymour up front.
18. San Diego Chargers – OLB Aldon Smith, MissourI
The Chargers believe in having a three-man rotation on the outside, and will definitely need to add someone to bolster that group beind Philips and English. Smith makes a lot of sense here.
19. New York Giants – OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA
The Giants need help at linebacker, and while Ayers has some question marks around him, he has the potential to be a major playmaker in their aggresssive scheme.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
The arrest of Aqib Talib could have them looking at cornerback, but probably not a good value at this point in the draft. So they take a pass rusher like Kerrigan.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – DT Phil Taylor, Baylor
I really have no clue what the Chiefs are going to do with this pick. They seemingly like Phil Taylor, and he does fill a major need at nose tackle. So they could make that pick here.
22. Indianapolis Colts – OT Nate Solder, Colorado
The Colts need to upgrade their offensive line, and a good athletic technician like Solder fits well.
23. Philadelphia Eagles – OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
The Eagles want to protect Michael Vick, and Carimi is the type of physical blocker that the Eagles will draft and move him around to play guard.
24. New Orleans Saints – DE Justin Houston, Georgia
The Saints bolster their pass rush by adding Houston to the mix and he gives them a good speed rusher off the edge opposite Will Smith.
25. Seattle Seahawks – CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
I don’t think the Seahawks want to use their top pick on a QB like Jake Locker, and would much rather address their weaknesses around the quarterback position. They upgrade their secondary with a player like Smith.
26. Baltimore Ravens – DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
Wilkerson fits well in the 3-4 at defensive end where they will now potentially have the line of Ngata, Terrence Cody, and now Wilkerson.
27. Atlanta Falcons – DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
The Falcons get their pass rusher in Clayborn and hope that his junior year is representative of his potential.
28. New England Patriots – OG Mike Pouncey, Florida
The Patriots need a guard, and Pouncey is a good fit because he’s the superior athlete.
29. Chicago Bears – OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
The Bears will probably address their offensive or defensive lines, and without having a strong defensive tackle candidate, then they get an offensive tackle in Sherrod.
30. New York Jets – DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
The Jets need to beef up their defensive line, and Heyward is as good as they are going to get at this point in the draft.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – CB Aaron Williams, Texas
Everybody wants the Steelers to address their offensive line, but they can shore up depth later. Getting a good corner makes more sense.
32. Green Bay Packers – OG Danny Watkins, Baylor
The Packers get a guard to replace Colledge at left guard and solidify their offensive front.