Mock Draft 4.0
Here is an updated version of my Mock Draft.
1. Carolina – Da’Quan Bowers, DE – Clemson * (No. 1 overall)
I still believe despite the injury concerns that Bowers is the No.1 prospect in this draft. I know that deciding on whether or not they need a QB is the main choice, but Im not sold on either Gabbert or Newton as the number 1 pick at this point. I think they have to go defense with the pick, along with Bowers – Nick Fairley and Marcell Dareus will be in contention.
2. Denver – Patrick Peterson, CB – LSU * (No. 2 overall)
Yes, Champ Bailey resigned, but he isnt getting younger and Peterson would be better than any other CB on the roster. It would be tempting for Denver to go with a defensive lineman (Fairley, Dareus, Robert Quinn), but Peterson is too good to pass on. After a great showing at the combine, he solidified himself worthy of this pick, plus he has an ability to possible play S if needed.
3. Buffalo – Marcell Dareus, DT/DE – Alabama*(No. 5 overall)
In my last Mock, I had the Bills going with Cam Newton (he has fallen in my ratings) and even though I think QB is still a possibility Dareus has jumped due to an excellent combine. I actually still have Fairley ranked as the top DT, but I think Dareus fits the Bills scheme better with ability to play DE or DT in the 3-4. They lost Stroud to the Patriots and need defensive help.
4. Bengals – Nick Fairley, DT – Auburn (No 3 overall)
A lot will argue that this is low for him, but with the rise of other prospects I wouldnt be surprised to see him fall to as low at 6th – but nonetheless, Fairley is too good to pass up. Cincinnati has a lot of concerns this offseason and while DT may not be the most glaring need, Fairley is a special force. AJ Green could be a strong possibilty, as well as any of the before mentions players. QB is becoming a more realistic option here as well, I’d think Blaine Gabbert over Newton.
5. Arizona – Von Miller, OLB/DE – Texas A&M (No. 6 overall)
This could be a pick that shapes the next few to follow because the Cardinals have many options, especially if Peterson would fall. They could go QB, WR, CB, or any of the defensive players. I like the Von Miller fit, especially with Joey Porter all but gone. Robert Quinn and Prince Amukamara could be options under this scenario, but Miller is a physical specimen.
6. Browns – AJ Green, WR – Georgia * (No. 4 overall)
The Browns seem committed to Colt Mccoy and have made it known they need a playmaker – well, there isnt a better one than Green in the entire draft. Im not sold anymore, on the fact that NFL teams think WRs are worth the risk of drafting high due to past failures – but Green is different. If Green is gone, Julio Jones could become an option after a great combine but would be a reach. I think Cleveland needs defensive help, anyone in the front 7, as well as a CB to pair with Joe Haden.
7. 49ers – Prince Amukamara, CB – Nebraska (No. 8 overall)
With the possibility of Nate Clements being released, on top of a need at CB even if he was on the team – I think Prince makes the most sense. He showed comparable numbers to Patrick Peterson at the combine and some claim he is a better lock down CB. The 49ers have options, including taking a QB – Gabbert is my top QB choice and I could see San Francisco taking him, or even Robert Quinn.
8. Titans – Blaine Gabbert, QB – Missouri * (No. 9 overall)
I dont think they can pass on Gabbert if he is here. Newton would be more of a risk, too similiar to Vince Young – so if it isnt Gabbert they’d go defense. Robert Quinn would make a lot of since at this spot, or one of the above mentioned players if they are available. Gabbert makes sense for Tennessee because they wont have many options come free-agency, or maybe they trust Rusty Smith’s development and take a CB or a player to play DE.
9. Dallas – Nate Solder, OT – Colorado * (No. 13 overall)
This is a bit of a reach, especially with two players like Quinn and JJ Watt sitting there. I think the Cowboys like JJ Watt (he’d be a Chad Hennings type, but better) and would love Quinn to replace Spears opposite DeMarcus Ware (he’d be similar to Greg Ellis but more athletic). Solder is the best OT, which is the Cowboys top priority and while its a slight high for him now – I think he’ll move higher as the draft comes. Solder had a great combine is a massive left tackle, hard to miss out on.
10. Redskins – Robert Quinn, DE/OLB – UNC * (No. 7 overall)
Im not sold they want a QB, not one similiar to Jason Campbell, so them passing on Cam Newton will be hard, but I think shouldnt surprise anyone. Robert Quinn is a freak, and should be selected before this position, but for Washington its a steal. He missed last season, but will be perfect for the Skins 3-4 as a DE and he could also play OLB is needed. Him and Orakpo would form one of the best pass rush duos in the league. Julio Jones will also be considered.
11. Texans – Julio Jones, WR – Alabama * (No. 10 overall)
He has the most impressive combine of anyone, and although it would seems a reach for a WR – its not for someone like Jones who can compliment Andre Johnson. Jones would line up across from Johnson with Walters in the slot, Jacoby Jones is a free-agent, and form nice threat with Arian Foster in Houston. If they dont go with Julio Jones, they’d be tempted to stick with the theme of the draft and go defensive with a front 7 guy. With Newton available it could be a trade spot for a team wanting him.
12. Vikings – Cam Newton, QB – Auburn * (No. 11 overall)
I think he could go as high as 3rd overall, a high risk – high reward player. I think teams will ultimately not take the risk because he has a lot of question marks and was a ‘one hit wonder’. On potential, this is too low for him but I think it’s a good fit for Minnesota who can let Tavaris Jackson play and ease Cam in. They’d play similiar and it’d be a nice transition. If a QB is not available, the Vikings will probably look at a defensive player. Julio Jones if available may be a sleeper with Sidney Rice and Berrian possibly gone.
13. Lions – Anthony Castonzo, OT – Boston College (No. 21 overall)
A bit of a surprise, and even more of a reach – but with Solder gone and their need for an OT (Backus getting older) it makes sense. Castonzo is actually my 3rd rated OT behind Solder and Tyron Smith but I think he is more established and an immediate starter who can play either tackle spot. Castonzo had a good combine, and should be a good NFL tackle for years to come. I think the Lions are in a prime spot to trade if Solder is gone, or they could take a risk with CB Jimmy Smith or Brandon Harris – a player like Akeem or Ayers or Aldon Smith could get a look too.
14. Rams – JJ Watt, DE/DT – Wisconsin * (No. 12 overall)
The Rams need offensive help, weapons for Bradford – but they do have a need for a DE or OLB. At this point, most figure Watt could be gone but is good value for St.Louis. He can play DE, or move inside to DT. A player like Aldon Smith, or if Quinn falls would be a more ideal fit – but Watt has good value and versatility at this point. If Julio Jones if available he’d be the obvious pick.
15. Dolphins – Martez Wilson, MLB – Illinois * (No. 26 overall)
I think Wilson will move higher and higher as the draft nears, he is an excellent athlete and had impressive numbers at the combine. The popular pick here would be Mark Ingram, but I think they’ll pass and try to resign Ronnie Brown and bring in a veteran to replace Ricky Williams (they also like Lex Hilliard). Miami would be a great place for Cam Newton, good front office and wouldnt have to play right away – so look for them to make a move for him. Wilson, Karlos Dansby and Channing Crowder would form an elite LB unit.
16. Jaguars – Aldon Smith, DE/OLB – Missouri * (No. 15 overall)
The Jaguars can go a variety of ways here – CB, another DE, or a QB – but they must resolve the pass rush. Derrick Harvey hasnt panned out, and while they have two good young DT’s – I think A.Smith is a smart pick. Adrian Clayborn, Cam Jordan, and Ryan Kerrigan could also get consideration, but Smith is a freak and offers the ability to play OLB. I’d also like Martez Wilson as a fit here seeing that Morrison and Durant are Free-Agents.
17. Patriots (From Oakland) – Brandon Harris, CB – Miami (FL) (No. 20 overall)
New England hit a home-run with McCourty last season, and while it may not seem like CB the best choice since they have Butler and Bodden – I still think the Patriots draft for depth. The offensive line is a concern (S.Neal retired, Matt Light is a FA) so they could pull the trigger on Pouncey or T.Smith at this point, but with so many picks they can address than later – same goes for defense (they signed M.Stroud) and with good depth in draft can get help later. Harris could be this years McCourty, a good skilled cover corner.
18. Chargers – Cameron Jordan, DE/DT – California (No. 14 overall)
I personally like Jordan much higher (he could be a top 10 player) – so San Diego is getting a steal. They need an edge rusher or inside backer also so if Aldon Smith or Martez Wilson are available they’d be good options. Jordan is physical and athletic, and will sure up the pass rush. Cesaire is a FA so he could fill that role, or play inside in the 3-4 scheme and add much needed depth.
19. Giants – Mark Ingram, RB – Alabama * (No. 18 overall)
If Ingram is taken earlier, I think the Giants will go offensive line – but will need to address the the RB spot, especially with the Brandon Jacobs situation. Ingram would be a nice compliment to Bradshaw. I could also see New York looking at Mike Pouncey, Tyron Smith, or Anthony Castonzo if available. Ingram isnt the fastest, but gets the job done – most people forget his talent since he was injured some last season.
20. Tampa Bay – Akeem Ayers, OLB/DE – UCLA * (No. 17 overall)
He was a DE is college, but will play OLB in the NFL – Ayers could go higher, but I think this is a good fit for him. The Buccaneers have Ruud and Black as free-agents so LB is a must, and could also use a DE to help with pressure off the edge. Adrian Clayborn could be an option here as well.
21. Chiefs – Corey Luiget, DT/DE – Illinois * (No. 22 overall)
I’d also say Phil Taylor and Muhammad Wilkerson are options, as well as Clayborn. Kansas City runs the 3-4 scheme, so I like Luiget here – he is a bit underrated. Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith are FA’s so I think it a safe bet the Chiefs take a defensive lineman, or may even consider OLB Justin Houston.
22. Colts – Tyron Smith, OT – USC * (No. 16 overall)
I have Smith rated much higher,and I think he could go higher – but regardless, Indy needs help along the offensive line so they’ll take the best available lineman (Pouncey, Carimi, Watkins, Sherrod). Peyton Manning needs to be protected, and while Smith is a bit raw, he has tremendous upside.
23. Eagles – Mike Pouncey ,C/OG – Florida (No. 30 overall)
The Eagles could opt to take CB Jimmy Smith, or even offensive lineman Gabe Carimi here, but I think it’s Pouncey. Philly has has injuries along the line, and C Nick Cole is a FA so Pouncey could start right away or provide valuable depth.
24. Saints – Adrian Clayborn, DE – Iowa (No. 19 overall)
Clayborn seemed to have slipped a bit in my Mock, but I like the fit. The Saints signed DT Shaun Rogers, but they still need a DE. He has a good motor and ability to get to the QB. New Orleans could consider Muhammad Wilkerson or Cameron Heyward, as well as Ryan Kerrigan or Houston with a need at OLB.
25. Seattle – Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT – Temple * (No. 24 overall)
With Jimmy Smith available its hard to see the Seahawks pass him up, but I think they’ll try to re-sign Kelly Jennings. Seattle needs help with the stopping the run. Wilkerson, in my opinion, could be gone higher – but he played as a smaller level school and is somewhat raw, but has good versatility. Cameron Heyward could be an option here as well.
26. Ravens – Jimmy Smith, CB – Colorado (No. 23 overall)
He has the ability to be taken as high as 13th overall, but he has a lot of question marks. He is a steal for Baltimore who pieced together a secondary last season. The Ravens could also use a WR (Torrey Smith or Baldwin) and could stand to get younger in their defensive front 7.
27. Falcons – Torrey Smith, WR – Maryland * (No. 36 overall)
I think Jon Baldwin will challenge Smith for the 3rd best WR, and dont be surprised if Titus Young is a sleeper here. Roddy White solidified himself as one of the best WR’s in the NFL, but Atlanta needs someone to take pressure off of him. Smith has great speed, and could be used in the return game. The Falcons could also use help at TE, OL, and DE.
28. Patriots – Gabe Carimi, OT/OG – Wisconsin (No. 25 overall)
I think it’d be a steal if Carimi is still available here. A smart player who plays all along the line – he is a better run blocker. If Carimi is gone, the Patriots may target Derek Sherrod or Danny Watkins here. They could also draft for best available, or go RB, WR, or defensive front 7.
29. Bears – Phil Taylor, DT/NT – Baylor (No. 33 overall)
Taylor is one of those prospects who could sneak his way up boards into the mid-first round area. He is massive, and the Bears cut Tommie Harris. Justin Houston or Ryan Kerrigan will also be very tempting for Chicago at this point.
30. Jets – Justin Houston, OLB/DE – Georgia * (No. 29 overall)
I think this is a perfect fit. They cut Gholston and Jason Taylor. They also could go with a defensive lineman line Cam Heyward or Paea since Shaun Ellis is a free-agent and Kris Jenkins was cut. They could also use a WR.
31. Steelers – Aaron Williams, CB – Texas (No. 31 overall)
They need offensive line help badly, so Sherrod could be an option. Williams is big, and better than anyone they can line-up opposite Ike Taylor (he is even a free-agent). I think they can wait, and get a solid offensive lineman in the 2nd round. Pittsburgh will also probably want to get younger on the defensive line.
32. Packers – Cameron Heyward, DE/DT – Ohio State (No. 32 overall)
He has good pedigree, and I just cant see him falling out of the first round. I think Derek Sherrod fills a more important need, but Heyward is too hard to pass up. Cullen Jenkins is a free-agent, as well as Howard Green and Justin Harrell so Heyward would be a good fit for their 3-4 scheme.
This is the 1st round of my Mock Drat 4.0, I’ll be posting more draft related information in the days leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft.