After some consideration, I decided to revise my mock draft, change the format and throw in a few curves. I hope that you like the changes I made, including comments on picks to give you some insight as to what my reasoning is. My previous mock was a full seven rounds and indicated where I thought players should be drafted. This draft will indicate where I think the players will be drafted. The two are not always walking in step with one another. So, what that said, let’s get started.
1 CAROLINA PANTHERS: Cameron Newton – QB – Auburn
The Panthers front office believes that they need to make a splash in order to get more fans in the seats. Many people are falling over themselves when they look at Newton’s physical attributes – which are off the charts. However, what scares the crap out of me is what’s between this kid’s ears. Translation: ten million dollar body, ten cent head. I don’t think that he’s worthy of a top ten pick, let alone the first overall pick; but information seems to indicate that this is the Panthers’ choice. The real problem with the selection of Newton is that, if you’re going to run a pro style offense, he won’t be ready to start behind center at least until sometime in the 2012 season – mand maybe not until 2013. So, if you’re looking for an initial return on your investment with Newton, you’ll get nothing and like it.
2 DENVER BRONCOS: Marcell Darius – DT – Alabama
The best DT in the draft doesn’t last long, as John Fox wants to solidify the defensive line. It’s plausible that Denver could just as easily take LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, but Fox will likely rebuild the defense from the inside out. Roll Tide!
3 BUFFALO BILLS: Von Miller – OLB – Texas A&M
It comes down to either Miller or LSU CB Patrick Peterson. If they do opt for Miller, they openly admit that the selection of Aaron Maybin is officially a bust. And with that, all I can say is, “I told you so.”
4 CINCINNATI BENGALS: AJ Green – WR – Georgia
The Bengals are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Carson Palmer has already said that will not return, Terrell Owens is already gone, Chad Ochocinco Johnson is playing soccer, their secondary could lose a top-notch corner or two via free agency and last season’s pass rush was virtually non-existent. Other than that, the Bengals are a pretty good football team. Mike Brown takes the highest rated WR in hopes that Carson Palmer can be persuaded to return for at least one season.
5 MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Blaine Gabbert – QB – Missouri
(Trade with Arizona) Although the Cards are still looking for Kurt Warner’s replacement, they don’t want to draft a QB. John Skelton played like a rookie would be expected to play, but still has talent. The Vikings, on the other hand, are looking to draft a franchise QB, and see an opportunity to get one of the top two available in the draft (allegedly). The Cards receive Minnesota’s first (#12) and second (#43) round picks in exchange for giving up their first (#5) and fifth (#137) round picks.
6 DETROIT LIONS: Patrick Peterson – CB/RS – LSU
(Trade with Cleveland) The Lions desperately need a cover corner and realize that the only way for them to get one in this draft is to trade up. The Browns weigh their options and consider who would be available, then pull the trigger. In exchange for the sixth overall pick, the Browns receive the Lions first (#13) and second (#44) round picks.
7 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Robert Quinn – DE/OLB – North Carolina
Both of the consensus top quarterbacks and the top OLB are already off the board, so what do the Niners do? They take the pest player available regardless of position that can come in and start from day one. Quinn’s combination of size, speed and strength will allow the Niners to stand him up and rush the QB from the edge. Medical concerns are prevalent with Quinn and his benign brain tumor, but the Niners brass is sufficed with the medical information. Considerable thought should also be given to either Da’Quan Bowers or JJ Watt to anchor a DE spot, as well as Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara.
8 TENNESSEE TITANS: Nick Fairley – DT – Auburn
Does anyone remember how the Titans defense suffered from the departure of Albert Haynesworth? I do, and they haven’t found a replacement for him yet. Although I have my reservations about taking Fairley this early; one positive is that (in Tennessee) he’ll be reunited with his former college D-line coach, who knows how to keep him motivated.
9 ST. LOUIS RAMS: Julio Jones – WR – Alabama
(Trade with Dallas) The Rams recognize the need to match up Sam Bradford with a top notch receiver; and they’ll need to move ahead of Washington to secure him. Jerry Jones is more than willing to oblige the Rams. The Cowboys receive the Rams first (#14) and second (#47) round picks in exchange for the Cowboys first (#9) and fourth (#110). Roll Tide!
10 WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Ryan Mallett – QB – Arkansas
Mike Shanahan shocks the world and takes the QB that he thinks will lead his team for the next decade. In spite of his off the field issues, Mallett is the most NFL ready quarterback coming out of college.
11 HOUSTON TEXANS: Prince Amukamara – CB – Nebraska
Somehow the Texans get lucky and one of the top two corners falls to them. Sometimes life is good.
12 ARIZONA CARDINALS: Da’Quan Bowers – DE – Clemson
(Trade with Minnesota) Although he’s still recovering from knee surgery, Bowers is still worthy of a first round selection. In Bowers the Cards get a DE that can play three downs in their hybrid 3-4 defensive scheme.
13 CLEVELAND BROWNS: Cameron Jordan – DE – California
(Trade with Detroit) President Mike Holmgren and GM Tom Heckert both know that their only proven NFL D-lineman of value is Ahtyba Rubin. The switch to a 4-3 defensive scheme makes their selection of a top notch D-lineman or two a must.
14 DALLAS COWBOYS: Tyron Smith – OT – USC
(Trade with St. Louis) If the Cowboys have any hopes of being a playoff contender this season, then Tony Romo needs to stay on his feet and off his back. They also get the same player they would’ve picked at ninth without having to fork out as much money.
15 MIAMI DOLPHINS: JJ Watt – DE – Wisconsin
Until recently, I had Alabama RB Mark Ingram in this spot, but the Fins will be able to get a quality RB later in the draft. In Watt, the fins get a true five technique that can play either DE position, defend against the run and rush the opposing QB with equal effectiveness.
16 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Aldon Smith – DE/OLB – Missouri
Smith is another DE that can both play the run and rush the passer as a three down lineman. He can also stand up and do a number of things to confuse the opposing offense.
17 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Ryan Kerrigan – DE/OLB – Purdue
The Hoodie will have Kerrigan stand up and rush the opposing QB from the edge, and occasionally drop back into coverage. Perhaps they’ll address the O-line with one of their next two picks.
18 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Muhammad Wilkerson – DT/DE – Temple
If Wilkerson can prove that he can play the five technique in a two-gap system, then he could go here. Otherwise, the Bolts might have to address the O-line or even reach to fill another need.
19 NEW YORK GIANTS: Nate Solder – OT – Colorado
The Giants need to keep Eli Manning on his feet and off his back, so protecting his blind side is critical.
20 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Adrian Clayborn – DE – Iowa
The Bucks need to improve their pass rush from the edge.
21 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Gabe Carimi – OT – Wisconsin
The Chiefs are still looking to solidify their O-line. And though Carimi is considered by many a true RT at the NFL level, he’s certainly a first round talent.
22 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Derek Sherrod – OT/OG – Mississippi State
Peyton Manning needs better protection than that which the Colts have been able to provide last season. There are “sexier” picks out there, but hardly any more important.
23 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Mike Pouncey – OG – Florida
The interior of the O-line needs a mean, physical and athletic guard for the West Coast offense, and that’s exactly what they get in Pouncey.
24 New Orleans Saints: Corey Liuget – DT – Illinois
There will be plenty of debate between Liuget, RB Mark Ingram (Alabama) and OLB Akeem Ayers (UCLA). There are other RB’s in this draft that will fit the Saints offensive scheme, and thus the selection to address the D-line.
25 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Jake Locker – QB – Washington
While I think he’s a bit of a reach here, Locker does have some skills that could eventually make him a franchise quarterback.
26 BALTIMORE RAVENS: Jimmy Smith – CB – Colorado
Although he’s had some off the field issues in the past, I think there’s no better place for Smith than the Ravens locker room to learn how this game is played at the highest level.
27 ATLANTA FALCONS: Akeem Ayers – OLB – UCLA
The Falcons get an outside backer that can rush the passer from the edge. Other options could include Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph and Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo.
28 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Anthony Castonzo – OT – Boston College
The Pats don’t have to go far from Foxboro to find their next LT to protect Tom Brady’s blind side.
29 NEW YORK JETS: Justin Houston – DE/OLB – Georgia
The Jets pas rush was almost non-existent. This selection should help spice things up a bit.
30 CHICAGO BEARS: Stephen Paea – DT – Oregon State
‘Da-Bears get a replacement for the often injured Tommy Harris that played college close to home.
31 PITTSBURGH STEELERS – Aaron Williams – S/CB – Texas
I could give the Steelers an O-lineman here. However, the defensive backfield needs significant help as well.
32 GREEN BAY PACKERS: Danny Watkins – OG/OT – Baylor
The Packers need to add youth to their aging O-line.
33 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Mark Ingram – RB – Alabama
The value is just too great for the Hoodie to pass on Ingram. He does everything well and is a consummate team player – the kind of player that Hoodie likes. Roll Tide!
34 BUFFALO BILLS: Phil Taylor – NT – Baylor
The Bills continue to address a defense that was at or near the bottom at nearly every statistic. Taylor should help plug the middle of the trenches.
35 CINCINNATI BENGALS: Andy Dalton – QB – TCU
Having already gotten a top flight receiver, the Bengals land their QB of the future – regardless of whether Carson Palmer returns or not.
36 DENVER BRONCOS: Kyle Rudolph – TE – Notre Dame
This is a match made in heaven. The Broncos need a TE and Rudolph is the best one in the draft.
37 CLEVELAND BROWNS: Cameron Heyward – DE – Ohio State
The Browns are fortunate to get a quality pass rusher here, but sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Heyward was a beast in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, and had Tommy John surgery in the off-season. His prognosis is evidently good and will be ready to go before the start of the season. O- H!
38 ARIZONA CARDINALS: Brandon Harris – CB – Miami (FL)
The Cards take the BPA and fill a need in the process.
39 TENNESSEE TITANS: Christian Ponder – QB – Florida State
New head coach Mike Munchak and company will want to take either a QB or WR here. With Vince Young on the outside looking in, this pick is almost a no-brainer.
40 DALLAS COWBOYS: Rahim Moore – S – UCLA
The Cowboys will need to address their defensive secondary somewhere in this draft.
41 WASHINGTON REDSKINS: Torrey Smith – WR – Maryland
The retirement of Chris Samuels left a huge hole in the Redskins’ O-line, but taking one here would be a reach. The Skins decide to get their new franchise QB a weapon and hope to find a solid O-lineman later in the draft.
42 HOUSTON TEXANS: Jabaal Sheard – DE – Pittsburgh
Since I gave them Amukamara in round one, I can address the D-line here.
43 ARIZONA CARDINALS: Randall Cobb – WR/RS – Kentucky
(Trade with Minnesota) I’d give them an OG or OLB; but it would be a reach. Instead I give them a playmaking receiver that can also return kicks.
44 CLEVELAND BROWNS: Marvin Austin – DT – North Carolina
(Trade with Detroit) Suddenly I see the Browns greatest weakness as a team strength. With Jordan and Heyward on the edges and Rubin clogging the middle with Austin, the Browns seem to have solved the problem with the front four.
45 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Leonard Hankerson – WR – Miami (FL)
The Niners need a quarterback, but it’s too early to take Colin Kaepernick. Instead, they take a burner to line up opposite Michael Crabtree.
46 DENVER BRONCOS: Ryan Williams – RB – Virginia Tech
Williams is a great fit for the way the Broncos typically run the football.
47 DALLAS COWBOYS: Martez Wilson – LB – Illinois
(Trade with St. Louis) Rob Ryan gets another piece in his 3-4 defensive scheme.
48 OAKLAND RAIDERS: Rodney Hudson – OG – Florida State
The pick should either go towards a CB or an O-line. Maybe they’d be better off trading down a few slots.
49 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Ras-I Dowling – CB – Virginia
Pass defense needs to be a high priority in Jacksonville, and giving them a CB here is only a slight reach.
50 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Jonathan Baldwin – WR – Pittsburgh
Once free agency eventually comes, the Chargers can lose up to two of their receivers. Baldwin seems to fit the mold for the Chargers offense – big and strong with some big play ability.
51 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Brooks Reed – OLB – Arizona
It’s all about the pass rush when you play the Tampa two.
52 NEW YORK GIANTS: Christian Ballard – DE – Iowa
You knew the Giants would address the front seven somewhere in this draft, and this is as good a place as any.
53 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Mikel LeShoure – RB – Illinois
Peyton Manning is licking his chops by now.
54 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Marcus Cannon – OT – TCU
With two O-linemen secured, the Eagles can take the rest of the draft and focus on the defense.
55 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Allen Bailey – DE – Miami (FL)
The Saints aren’t finished addressing the front seven.
56 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Titus Young – WR – Boise State
Young is arguably a BPA selection, and it gives Matt Cassel another weapon.
57 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Orlando Franklin – OT – Miami (FL)
The O-line still has some holes in it.
58 BALTIMORE RAVENS: Jerrel Jernigan – WR/RS – Troy
This is a BPA pick for the Ravens. Fortunately for them, it addresses a need.
59 ATLANTA FALCONS: Sam Acho – DE – Texas
Sooner or later they need to bring in an heir apparent to John Abraham.
60 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Jarvis Jenkins – DT – Clemson
The D-line just got a warm body for the rotation.
61 CHICAGO BEARS: Will Rackley – OG – Lehigh
Although the O-line play improved as the season progressed, they still need a lot of help.
62 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: James Carpenter – OT – Alabama
The O-line gets some depth. Roll Tide!
63 PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Clint Boling – OG – Georgia
The Steelers O-line needs serious help. Unfortunately for the Steelers, Boling by himself may not be enough.
64 GREEN BAY PACKERS: Curtis Brown – CB – Texas
They have to inject some youth into their secondary as well to keep fresh legs out on the field.
65 CAROLINA PANTHERS: Jurrell Casey – DT – USC
The Panthers need to find someone to fill up the middle of the trenches defensively.
66 CINCINNATI BENGALS: Kendall Hunter – RB – Oklahoma State
Without a pass rusher worth taking, the Bengals continue to improve the offense.
67 DENVER BRONCOS: Ben Ijalana – OT/OG – Villanova
Head coach John Fox will likely try and build up the roster from the inside out.
68 BUFFALO BILLS: Davon House – CB – New Mexico State
The Buffalo defense last year was at or near the bottom of the league in practically every statistic. Something has to change if they’re going to rise from the bottom of their own division.
69 ARIZONA CARDINALS: Brandon Burton – CB – Utah
The secondary needs some help.
70 CLEVELAND BROWNS: Dontay Moch – OLB – Nevada
Dick Jauron gets his wish in rounds one, two and three. The offense will just have to wait.
71 DALLAS COWBOYS: Johnny Patrick – CB – Louisville
The Cowboys land a corner for their ailing secondary.
72 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Daniel Thomas – RB – Kansas State
Eventually the Saints will need to take a RB, and this is a pretty good value pick.
73 HOUSTON TEXANS: Quinton Carter – S – Oklahoma
The back end of the defensive secondary gets some more help.
74 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: Colin Kaepernick – QB – Nevada
The Hoodie hired Bernie Kosar as a consultant to help find a QB for the future. It looks like they may have found him.
75 DETROIT LIONS: Quan Sturdivant – LB – North Carolina
Their front seven needs some more help, even after making this selection.
76 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Kenrick Ellis – DT – Hampton
Ellis will help plug the middle of the trenches with his mammoth girth.
77 TENNESSEE TITANS: Greg Little – WR – North Carolina
The Kenny Britt incident made this selection almost imperative.
78 ST. LOUIS RAMS: Stefan Wisniewski – OG/OC – Penn State
Sam Bradford needs better protection as well as more weapons.
79 MIAMI DOLPHINS: DeMarco Murray – RB – Oklahoma
Do you honestly think that the Fins will re-sign both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown? I certainly don’t.
80 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Marcus Gilchrist – S – Clemson
The Jags’ secondary is almost as bad as Houston’s. This one is almost a no-brainer.
81 OAKLAND RAIDERS: Drake Nevis – DT – LSU
The front four needs some help.
82 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Terrell McClain – DT – South Florida
The middle of the Charger defense gets a shot in the arm.
83 NEW YORK GIANTS: Chris Carter – OLB – Fresno State
This is a nice fit for both Carter and the Giants.
84 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Edmond Cates – WR – Abilene Christian
This pick gives Josh Freeman another target, and he’s a real burner.
85 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Shareece Wright – CB – USC
It’s about time to give the defensive backfield another body.
86 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: Greg Jones – LB – Michigan State
The Saints are making a concerted effort to improve their play along the front seven.
87 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Lance Kendricks – TE – Wisconsin
It’s still debatable whether the Chiefs have a replacement for Tony Gonzalez.
88 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Colin McCarthy – ILB – Miami (FL)
If McCarthy can stay healthy, he’ll help bolster the LB group.
89 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: Mason Foster – LB – Washington
Maybe they’ll move him inside for more productivity.
90 BALTIMORE RAVENS: Marcus Gilbert – OT – Florida
Although the Ravens need an OT, I’m not certain that Gilbert is the answer.
91 ATLANTA FALCONS: Luke Stocker – TE – Tennessee
Tony Gonzalez he’s not, but he is a good TE.
92 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS: John Moffitt – OG – Wisconsin
The Hoodie gets more protection for Tom Brady and the running game as well.
93 NEW YORK JETS: Tandon Doss – WR – Indiana
How likely is it that the Jets re-sign both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards?
94 CHICAGO BEARS: KJ Wright – LB – Mississippi State
I wanted to address the O-line twice this draft.
95 PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Kelvin Sheppard – LB – LSU
James Farrior looked OLD last season.
96 GREEN BAY PACKERS: Greg Salas – WR – Hawaii
Sometimes the rich just keep getting richer.
97 CAROLINA PANTHERS: Shane Vereen – RB – California
One of their RB’s may leave via free agency.
98 CAROLINA PANTHERS: Chimdi Chekwa – CB/S – Ohio State
I like Chekwa better as a safety, but he could play the nickel corner for starters. O-H!
99 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Kelvin Sheppard – LB – LSU
The Seahawks still need to address the front seven.
100 BUFFALO BILLS: Ricky Stanzi – QB – Iowa
Sooner or later the Bills need to draft a QB of the future. I’m just not so sure that Stanzi is the answer.
101 CINCINNATI BENGALS: Pernell McPhee – DE – Mississippi State
I honestly thought they would address the D-line sooner.
102 CLEVELAND BROWNS: Austin Pettis – WR – Boise State
The Browns need to add talent to this position. I’m just not sure that Pettis will be there when the Browns are on the clock for this selection.
103 ARIZONA CARDINALS: Virgil Green – TE – Nevada
Whoever wins the starting QB job in Arizona, he’ll have a nice receiving TE to go with an arsenal of receivers.
104 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Jaiquawn Jarrett – S – Temple
Safeties seem to be a little thin in this draft, so you need to grab one while it’s a good value pick.
105 HOUSTON TEXANS: Ahmad Black – S – Florida
You’ve got to get them while they’re hot.
106 MINNESOTA VIKINGS: Lee Ziemba – OG/OT – Auburn
Without a second or third round pick, the Vikings are unable to land a D-lineman after acquiring their new franchise QB. The nest step is to try and solidify the O-line and protect their investment.
107 DETROIT LIONS: James Brewer – OG/OT – Indiana
The Lions make a move to get Matthew Stafford some protection.
108 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Jalil Brown – CB – Colorado
If they don’t take Amukamara early, they may have to wait this long before taking a corner.
109 TENNESSEE TITANS: DJ Williams – TE – Arkansas
This may not be a huge need, but it’s a good value pick.
110 ST. LOUIS RAMS: Tyler Sash – S – Iowa
He’s not the most gifted player physically, but he knows how to play the game.
111 MIAMI DOLPHINS: DeAndre McDaniel – S – Clemson
Sooner or later they’ll take a QB; just not now.
112 ST. LOUIS RAMS: Jordan Cameron – TE – USC
Sam Bradford is smiling at this selection.
113 OAKLAND RAIDERS: DeMarcus Van Dyke – CB – Miami (FL)
Al Davis drafts a lot by the stopwatch – insomuch that he could take Van Dyke even earlier than this.
114 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Casey Matthews – LB – Oregon
This is an interesting pick because Casey isn’t as highly touted as his older brother was when he went to Green Bay.
115 SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: Pat Devlin – QB – Delaware
Does anyone honestly think that the new regime is going to just hand Alex Smith the starting job? I certainly don’t.
116 TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: Jason Pinkston – OT – Pittsburgh
The O-line can also use some help.
117 NEW YORK GIANTS: Jerrell Powe – DT – Mississippi
The “G-men” are always looking to bolster the D-line.
118 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Nate Irving – LB – North Carolina State
I know; two linebackers in the same round? They’ll see if one of them can move outside.
119 KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Akeem Dent – LB – Georgia
Twelve more picks to go, and then I’m done.
120 INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: Lawrence Guy – DT – Arizona State
I’m pretty sure that the Colts will make a move to get D-line help earlier, but I just don’t know where.
121 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: Jordan Todman – RB – Connecticut
Not a big need, but it’s a good value pick.
122 BUFFALO BILLS: Chris Hairston – OT – Clemson
The Bills have to improve their play along the O-line.
123 BALTIMORE RAVENS: Curtis Marsh – CB – Utah State
The corner position is so bad that I had to double up on the position.
124 ATLANTA FALCONS: Jah Reid – OT – Central Florida
This pick is a steal if Reid lasts this long. The kid has textbook form when pass blocking.
125 SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Joe Lefeged – S – Rutgers
Six to go and counting down.
126 CHICAGO BEARS: Niles Paul – WR – Nebraska
I had to send someone to WR hell, so why not this guy?
127 NEW YORK JETS: Rashad Carmichael – CB – Virginia Tech
I had to give them a DB sooner or later.
128 PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Bruce Carter – LB – North Carolina
His injury will likely sideline him for his rookie season, but this kid has ability.
129 GREEN BAY PACKERS: Ian Williams – DT – Notre Dame
This selection is a perfect fit because he can take a year to develop while working his way into the D-line rotation.
130 TENNESSEE TITANS: DeMarcus Love – OG/OT – Arkansas
If anyone can make this kid a pro bowl player, it’s Mike Munchak.
131 GREEN BAY PACKERS: Mark Herzlich – LB – Boston College
This kid has the heart of a champion, so don’t underestimate him.
Well, that’s it for now, folks. Your questions and comments are always welcome, and you can contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again to dawgbones.com owner/administrator Jim Giles for allowing the madness to continue.