In my 1st mock draft I just did a mock of what I think the teams should do as I felt it was 2 early in the process to have a mock draft with real accuracy before the pro days started. But Now that were in April and only a couple weeks away from the draft its starting to become clearer how thing might unfold. Although as in past drafts you never really know but i'll do my best to predict what will happen later 2day on Draft day as this Mock will be my prediction on what happens if no trades are made and the team picks at the spot there at now.
1. Carolina Panthers - QB - Cam Newton - Auburn
As much as I'm unsure about rather the Panthers should do this or not its looking more and more like a reality every day. Everyone including the front office knows Jimmy Clausen doesn't have what it takes to ever be a truly successful starting QB in the NFL. And with that in mind I guess that would make the QB position a more important need for the Panthers than DT. I will say this he has the POTENTIAL to live up to this pick but so did Jamarcus Russell and countless others. But the simple fact of the matter is Cam has the POTENTIAL to be the ultimate game changing QB and impact player. If Cam develops his game enough where he can dominate with his arm and legs like he did at Auburn the Panthers are gonna regret not taking him. even tho he's got a long way to go I believe he has the biggest upside in the draft after Peterson so this might not be such a bad pick after all. But Cam to me is the definition of a hit or miss prospect the Panthers BETTER hope they hit.
2. Denver Broncos - Marcell Dareus - Alabama
At number 2 I got Marcell Dareus. At the end of the season a lot of people had Nick Fairley as the best DT prospect and the 1st overall pick but after a not so impressive combine and character concerns combined with Dareus's impressive workouts his stock has fallen. The Broncos are switching to a 4-3 Defense this year and they'll need more lineman more suited to play that defense as their unit from last year was filled with bigger run stopping lineman more built for the 3-4. With Dumervil coming back from injury that gives them a outside pass rush so they'll want to sure up the inside pass rush with a pass rushing DT and Dareus fits the bill perfectly. Bowers could also get a look here if his knee is healthy but I think Dareus is the better prospect he should be the pick here
3. Buffalo Bills - OLB - Von Miller - Texas A&M
This is one of those picks that can go a lot of ways. They might address QB at this pick if they don't feel Ryan Fitzpatrick is a long term answer or select Fairly or Bowers to address their needs on the D-Line. But next best player in this draft next to Patrick Peterson is Von Miller and he also feels a need. Von Miller Stock is continuing to rise despite already being high. He is the best pure pass rusher in this draft and will probably be a double digit sack guy in this league for years to come. The bills play a hybrid defense that uses the 3-4 and 4-3 defense and although Miller is the ideal fit for a 3-4 outside LB he also has the skill set to get down as a end in the 4-3. Miller is the perfect player for a hybrid defense as the bills will be able to move him around all over the place creating pressure on the QB.
4. Cincinnati Bengals - WR - A.J. Green - Georgia
This pick is gonna come down to two positions WR and QB. Because of Carson Palmer's retirement threats a lot of people are thinking the Bengals will go with Gabbert or Newton if one of is still available here. However I'm not new to this, every year players make threats to try and get their way and I think thats what Palmer is doing. As long as Palmer is on there roster they should operate under the assumption he's their QB. Also Rumors have been brewing that once the lockout ends the Bengals will go after Kevin Kolb or Donavon Mcnabb. So it seems as if the Bengals are determined to address the QB position through either trade or free agency. Leaving their other biggest need to be filled, WR. I'm not high on taking WR high in the draft but A.J. Green definitely has the skill set of a WR worth taking here. He's big, tall, fast, and can run routes. He has great hands and is a absolute go getter when the ball is in the air. The Bengals won't resign Owens and all signs point to them trading Chad, which even if they don't he's in the last year of his deal and is aging this team needs an upgrade a WR and a potential superstar WR is sitting on the board they'll have no choice but to pull the trigger on Green.
5. Arizona Cardinals - QB - Blaine Gabbert - Missouri
Even though QB is a HUGE need for the Cardinals they the reports ever since the draft process started has been that they absolutely love Von Miller. If Von is still on the board here you can bet the Cardinals are gonna take him but since he's not they should address their biggest need which is QB. The cardinals QB's last year did not play well at all. This team HAS to get a new starting QB this year no matter what and with Miller gone and no need for Patrick Peterson they might as well take one here and get their potential franchise QB for the future. Gabbert is the highest rated QB in this class on almost everyone's board and to get him at 5 should be a good value for the Cards. He would be an instant upgrade to what they already have and unless they signed a veteran QB in free Agency he'd more than likely go into camp as the projected starter.
6. Cleveland Browns - WR - Julio Jones- Alabama
The Browns really need help at WR. They were very competitive last year played good on defense and had a solid running attack. Colt McCoy even showed signs that he might be a long term solution as the starting QB. However a lack of a big play receiving threat really hurt this offense last year. The Browns are really hoping that A.J. Green is still available here but in my opinion there isn't much difference between him and Jones, and even tho Green is clearly a little better at this point I think Julio has a little more upside than Green. Julio is slightly bigger than Green and more athletic he's not as polished of a route runner and his hands aren't as good as Green but Julio is a special Athlete as he ran 4.39 at the combine at a weight of 220 and height of 6'3 which is very impressive. And we all know he can jump and go get the ball. Julio has to potential to become a faster version of Larry Fitzgerald if he fully develops his game. The Browns also might address their need to get a pass rusher here. They'll give Robert Quinn a good look here and maybe even Da'Quan Bowers if his knee checks out.
7. San Francisco 49ers - CB- Patrick Peterson - LSU
Talk about a dream scenario for the 49ers. Here we are at pick number 7 and the best overall player is still on the board. Not only that he just happens 2 play a position that they really need 2 improve on so the 49ers get to address need and take the best player available with this pick which GM's love. Peterson is a special player who baring any major injuries I feel will be a Hall of Famer, which is something you NEVER just come out and say about a rookie. But Peterson is a special player he's 220 pounds and he ran a 4.3 40. Not only that he has really good coverage skills and great instincts. The CB position hasn't really panned out for them as they tried to take the free agent route a couple years ago when they paid Nate Clements 80 million over 8 years. Nate hasn't quite lived up to that contract as the 49ers had 1 of the worst defenses in the NFL last year in large part due to their inability to cover people. Peterson will instantly make their secondary better and their defense better. There is always a chance that a team would try and jump them and trade with the browns for that 6th pick but if everybody stays put and Peterson is still on the board here then this will be the easiest pick of the night.
8. Tennessee Titans - DT - Nick Fairly - Auburn
It wasn't to long ago that almost EVERYONE had this man going 1st overall to the panthers but with a combination of factors including a lack of faith in Clausen the rising stock of Marcell Dareus and his character flags and average work out his stock has fallen a little. But do not be fooled Fairly is a top 5 talent and still one of the best players in this class. He's the perfect DT as he's both a run stopper and a pass rusher. He still has the same talent he had a couple weeks ago when he was projected to be number 1 and he has no injuries which means if he is indeed available here the Titans are gonna get a number one overall calibar talent at number 8 which is a very good steal. The Titans to be picking here are actually a pretty solid team. There main need is QB and if Gabbert or Newton are available here I believe they'll pull the trigger on a QB. But if their not Fairly is the obvious pick as the Titans need to improve their interior defensive line and get a dominant DT to play along side Tony Brown and those talented DEs they have.
9. Dallas Cowboys - OT - Tyron Smith - USC
It was a disappointing season for the Cowboys last season as they finished 6-10 despite aspirations of playing in the Super Bowl. One of the main factors of their bad season was the injury to Tony Romo. The Cowboys Offensive Line is aging and they need a instant insertion of youth on it. Mark Colombo isn't the same player he was 2 or 3 years ago he's lost a step and is now more suited to play guard. The cowboys need to upgrade at RT and Smith has separated himself as the best Tackle in this class. He was already talented but the fact that he put on almost 20 extra pounds without losing any of his athleticism is really what has boosted his stock. Safety is the biggest need for the Cowboys but there isn't 1 worth taking and now that Smith has turned himself into a top 10 caliber player taking him here would not be a reach at all so there's no longer any reason to take Prince here as originally projected by most mock drafts. Although he will be considered for this pick as he is the best player on the board at this point.
10. Washington Redskins - DE/DT - J.J. Watt - Wisconsin
The Redskins are praying that 1 of the Receivers fall to them here at number 10 as they would obviously select Jones or Green if one fell to them. But in my current draft they are off the board and their aren't any receivers good enough to be taking this high left. The Redskins play a 3-4 Defense and they have good LBs and a good secondary. Where their Defense could use some improvement is on the D-Line. J.J. Watt is the perfect fit for a 3-4 defensive end and he has the ability to play 4-3 DT if they need him to. He reminds me of Richard Seymour a little with his ability to play the end spot in both the 3-4 and 4-3 and still be strong enough to play tackle in the 4-3 as well. Watt will be able to be moved all over the D-Line to create matchup problems for offenses and would really help this Skins defense. But to be honest if no WR is available here I fully expect the Skins to move up and get out of this pick.
11. Houston Texans - DE- Robert Quinn - UNC
With new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on the scene the Texans will be making a switch to the 3-4 defense which they really lack the personnel to run. No matter what happens with the first 10 picks you can almost guarantee the Texans are going defense here preferably the front 7 but Prince Amukamura is a special talent and maybe the best pure cover corner in the class so he will also draw serious consideration. But at the end of the day the main thing that makes the 3-4 work is the front 7 and their ability to create pressure. Wade has already said Williams will remain at end and their talking about moving Cushings to Inside Backer along with Demeco Ryans. Which would make the Texans biggest need a pass rushing outside LB and Robert Quinn fits the bill perfectly. Even if Bowers knee checks out and he's thought to be slightly better than quinn Bowers is more of a 4-3 end who probably won't be able to make the adjustment to OLB as well so if Quinn is on the board I'd think he'd be the obvious selection here.
12. Minnesota Vikings - DE - Da'Quan Bowers - Clemson
The Vikings are coming off a very disappointing season and on top of that they are going to lose 2 of their starting D-lineman DE Ray Edwards and DT Pat Williams. Losing two starters automatically makes those two positions the 1st order of business for the Vikings and the best player on the board on the D-Line is Bowers. Its been a rough off season for Bowers as coming into it he was in the running for the 1st overall pick and the seen as the best pass rusher in the class. But months have passed and now it appears his knew injury might be a concern which has his stock falling fast. If his knee checks out before the draft his stock could go back up and the Broncos could give him a serious look at number two but as of right now with his health being unclear he will most likely fall out of the top 10. Of course the Vikings won't mind they'll be more than happy to add a top 5 talent and a upgrade from Edwards (if healthy) at a discounted price.
13. Detroit Lions - CB - Prince Amukamara - Nebraska
The Lions had 1 of their best seasons in years as they were very respectable and competitive on the field this season. I personally feel that if Mathew Stafford had not missed the games he did the Lions could have been even better. The Lions have a somewhat explosive offense as they found themselves in a couple of shootouts last year. This team really needs to improve on the defensive side of the ball and they have two key need areas on that side of the ball LB and corner. OLB Akeem Ayers could draw some consideration here but with a talent like Prince on the board at 13 this pick should be a no brainier. With terrific cover skills and maybe the best instincts in the class look for Prince to be a shut down corner in the NFL which always makes a defense better. Heck of a find for the Lions at 13.
14. St. Louis Rams - DT - Corey Liuget - Illinois
The Rams biggest need is WR. Earlier mock drafts, before Julio boosted his stock in the combine, had the Rams taking him right here at 14 but now theres no way he makes it past the Redskins at 10 and there are no other WR worth taking this high so look for them to address another need their interior D-Line. Chris Long made strides this year to maybe living up to his high draft selection but the Rams have no impact players at DT so look for them to take the best one left on the board which is Liuget. Liuget is strong at the point of attack and plays both the run and pass pretty well. He'd be an instant upgrade on the rams interior D-Line. The Rams might also look to address OLB here or trade out of this pick.
15. Miami Dolphins - OG - Mike Pouncey - Florida
Running Back is a need for the Dolphins but its not as pressing as everyone thinks. The Dolphins will more than likely sign Ronnie Brown back and even if they don't you can get a decent back in the 2nd round or in free agency. I don't feel that Mark Ingram has just set himself apart to be taking in the middle of the 1st round. A bigger concern for the Dolphins is there interior O-Line. Pouncy is the best Guard in the class and if he plays anything like his brother did for the Steelers last year picking him here wouldn't be a reach at all to me. Mike isn't quite as good as his brother but he's still solid. Really good run blocker inside and he gets up 2 the next level quickly making the running game more effective
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE - Ryan Kerrigan - Purdue
The Jaguars had a ok season last year and look to bring back the majority of their roster from last year. The Jaguars biggest concern has 2 come at DE. The Jaguars desperately need a play making pass rusher that will help put pressure on opposing QB's especially having to play manning twice a year. Ryan Kerrigan can definately do that. Some people have Aldon Smith going here but I think Kerrigan has the better pass rushing skills and is more ready to contribute now where as Smith is more of a developmental project. Akeem Ayers could also get a look here to but look for the Jaguars to take the DE they have rated the highest on their board at this point and I'm thinking it'll be Kerrigan.
17. New England Patriots (From Raiders) - DE/DT - Cameron Jordan - Cal
The Patriots season didnt end like they wanted after having the best record in the NFL during the regular season. This is one of two of their 1st round picks in this years draft they'll use to try and tweak their roster to get back to the Super Bowl. The Patriots recently traded away DE Richard Seymour to the Raiders to get this pick and I think they'll use it to replace him by drafting Jordan. Jordan is a prototypical 3-4 end prospect as he can play the end or move inside and play tackle in the 4-3. He's also athletic enough to provide a little pass rush if he develops he should be a nice replacement for what Richard Seymour use to provide for them. Outside Linebacker is also a need for this team but I think they can address that later in the round Jordan is the best value for them at this pick.
18. San Diego Chargers - DT/DE - Muhammad Wilkerson - Temple
The Chargers had a disappointing season last year as they brought in yet another talented team on paper and failed to deliver. But if you watched the Chargers play last season its more than obvious there problems were on defense especially on the D-Line where there only real impact player is Louis Castillo. They could go with Phil Taylor here to address the Nose Tackle position but I think Wilkerson is the overall better prospect and he's more versatile as he can play end in the 3-4 and tackle in the 4-3. Despite being over 300 pounds Wilkerson is a very good athlete for his size and he's quite agile as he was a former basketball player. A athletic 300 pound versatile interior lineman would be just what the doctor ordered for the Chargers.
19. New York Giants - T - Anthony Castonzo - Boston College
The Giants would prefer if they could get Pouncy here but if they can't they'll settle for the Best O-Lineman left on the board in Castonzo. The Giants don't have a lot of holes their really a very solid team as usually the case with a 10-6 team. But their O-Line is old and they could use a talented youngster that can hold down a spot on the line for years to come and that's Castonzo. They could use him at either Tackle spot and some even believe he could go to guard if needed. He's one of the smartest players in the draft and has the best technique and footwork of any of the Tackles in this draft, he should step right in and make a impact for the Giants as a starter his rookie year.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE/OLB - Justin Houston - Gerogia
The Tampa Bay Bucs had a great run last year as they finished a surprising 10-6. But despite that they have one very huge need and thats DE. One could argue they should use 2 of their 1st picks on the position thats how big of need it is. But more importantly than just a DE the Bucs need a Pass Rusher which is why instead of taking the best overall end prospect in Aldon Smith I have them taking potential hybrid player Justin Houston. Justin is 6'3 and around 260 typical size for a good DE and he's the best pass rusher on the board left. Many people think he's more fitted to be a 4-3 end or 3-4 edge line backer cuz of his pass rushing skills and I think that'll make the Bucs decide on Houston.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - OLB - Akeem Ayers - UCLA
The Chiefs surprised a lot of people last year as the won the AFC west and made the playoffs. Matt Cassell played really well, their running game was unstoppable and they had good play on their offensive line meaning that there going to be looking to improve defense. The Chiefs have a good D-Line more importantly they have to top 10 picks on their D-Line that they drafted recently so the Chiefs will more than likely address the Linebacker position. Mike Vabrel is old and even if he doesn't retire this is most likely his last season so the chiefs should address that. Ayers is best fit for the 4-3 as he's not really a pass rusher but more of a traditional LB. He can cover, move sideline to sideline, and he covers well. Since they have a pass rushing backer in Hali they can use a fundamental LB kind of like the mold of Mike Vrabel.
22. Indianapolis Colts - OT - Nate Solder - Colorado
According to sources the Colts are really interested in Nate and understandably they need help on the O-Line as Manning saw more pressure in his face than he has in a long time. Also the Colts had no real running attack so it put more pressure on the hold team. Drafting Nate should improve the run and pass blocking for the Colts as they should get a potential starter at Tackle for the next decade.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - CB - Jimmy Smith - Colorado
Alot of people have the Eagles going tackle here and that is a need area but due to an injury CB Ellis Hobbs is reportedly going to retire and there is nobody else on the Eagles roster good enough to fill comfortable with starting next to Asante Samuel. Which is why they'll take the best corner available in Jimmy Smith. Jimmy Smith is a top 20 talent easily but due to character issues and being arrested twice there are serious questions about his character. But Jimmy Smith is really good and has shutdown corner potential. Meanwhile his rookie year he should be ready to step in start and be at the least a solid number 2 corner.
24. New Orleans Saints - DE - Adrian Clayborn - Iowa
The Saints as expected will look to address the defensive side of the ball as they are one of the best offenses in the league. Their biggest concern is on the D-Line. They addressed the DT position already when they signed Shawn Rodgers so that leaves the DE position and they could go with Aldon Smith here but I honestly feel like some of the experts have him ranked to high and that Clayborne is more ready to step on the field immediately. Clayborne is another one of those players that character concerns has pushed down the board. However playoff teams are the type of teams that are perfect to take the risk as they are already good and if the talent pans out Clayborne could be 1 of the missing pieces that gets the Saints back to the Super Bowl.
25. Seattle Seahawks - QB - Jake Locker - Washington
It was just a year ago when there was talk of Jake Locker potentially being a 1st overall pick in last years draft. A year has passed and after a not so good college season Locker stock fell. However I have to believe the skills are still there for him to develop into that QB everyone thought he could be last year and at pick 25 this late in the draft is the perfect time to get him where it would be much lower risk. Also QB is going to be a big need position for Seattle as Matt Hasselback is a free agent and might not be back. Even if he is back Matt's time is almost up and if you can get a potential franchise QB at pick 25 you can't turn that down.
26. Baltimore Ravens - CB - Brandon Harris - Miami
It was another typical year for the Ravens make the playoffs and then get put out. Not only that but by the Steelers who since Big Ben has came on the scene seems to have the Ravens number. It would go a long way to turn that luck around by improving on what is really there only weakness on defense and thats corner back. They essentially lost that game to the Steelers due to CB play. On that long play Ben converted towards the end of that game a corner just got beat on what appeared to be a go route just straight down the field. With that said they need to upgrade at corner and Brandon Harris is definitely that. Harris isnt the fastest as he only ran a 4.46 but he's really instinctive and just knows how to play the position. With a couple of years of development he should be ready to be a solid starting corner in the NFL.
27. Atlanta Falcons - OLB - Aldon Smith - Missouri
Its no secret that the Falcons want to add another pass rusher to not only take some of the pressure off of John Abraham but to eventually be his successor as he's creeping up there in age. Aldon Smith is the best DE on the board left and due to his potential he could go higher like to the saints at 24 or the Bucs at 20 I have a hunch he might fall and if he does he won't fall any further than this. Smith still has to get alot better against the run though which is why I think he could fall. He still can get after the QB and should be able to provide a decent pass rush for the Falcons and hopefully make up for Jamal Anderson who appears to be a bust.
28. New England Patriots - RB - Mark Ingram - Alabama
In all of the seasons Bill has coached this team they've never had that great running back. They had Dillion but he was at the end of his career and Maroney only had one real productive season where he showed signs of being a good back. The Pats have other needs they could address but I think its finally time for Bill to put more stock into the running back position and take a potential stud. Ingram is clearly the best back in the class and he's available at pick 28. If healthy Mark Ingram has to potential to be one of those backs you can count on for a 1000 yards year after year which is something they've never had. Also Brady is over 30 now and is starting to get older it would be a big help to him if they had a more dependent running game so they wouldn't have to rely on his arm so much to win games.
29. Chicago Bears - OT - Derek Sherrod - Mississippi State University
Sherrod's stock has been on the rise of late and he has seen himself rise to potentially being a 1st rounder. I believe he is the best tackle on the board left and the Bears are in desperate need of improvement on the O-Line as Cutler got decimated last season. It wasn't pretty at all for Cutler as he was even knocked out of a couple games. Sherrod is the ideal LT in both size in ability. He's 6'5 and 320 and has good feet. His strength is pass blocking and he's effective at keeping those fast edge rushers off the QB which would be very much appreciated in Chicago.
30. New York Jets - DT - Phil Taylor - Baylor
This pick is easy to me the Jets need a new Nose Tackle as they just recently cut Kris Jenkins. Phil Taylor is a beast and ready to come in and hold down that nose position immediately. He's 6'3, 330 and he has all the skills you want in a nose tackle. He takes on doubles, anchors the run defense, has a very effective bull rush and good active hands at the point of attack. This would be a great pick up for the Jets.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB - Aaron Williams - Texas
The defending AFC champions have very few needs as they have one of the most complete rosters in the NFL. Their one position that seemed to give them problems in the season was corner back. Ike Taylor did his job as he was one of the best in the league but McFadden and Gay struggled at times. To make matters worse Ike Taylor is a free agent and knowing the Steelers history of paying players he might not be back. Meaning the Steelers need to take the best corner available at this spot so that they don't have to worry about one of the most important positions on defense being a liability.
32. Green Bay Packers - DE - Cameron Heyward - Ohio ST.
The defending champion Green Bay Packers had a great season last year but will look to sure up the roster to put themselves in a position to win it again. I see only 2 real areas of concern for this team DE and OLB. Clay Mathews is a beast at OLB but there isn't much production coming from the other OLB spot and a upgrade could be helpful. Also they could use upgrade down on the line and Heywerd is a perfect fit for that 3-4 defensive end spot. He's 6'6 290 and brings a little bit of pash rushing skills to the table although he's not an elite pash rusher he's certainly an upgrade from most 3-4 end rushers. He Also is a very smart and intangible player as he uses good technique and skill to make plays on the line. He'd be a valued asset for a team thats trying 2 repeat.