With the NFL still currently in a lockout, its season is still in jeopardy. The NFL Draft is the one NFL activity that is guaranteed to happen this year, however. In fact, this year’s NFL Draft takes place in just over a week on Thursday, April 28. On that night, the first round will take place. Rounds two and three are on the next night and Saturday holds the last four rounds of the draft. It’s always fun to do a mock draft and, for the purposes of this one, it will just be the first round. With all of that said, here is one of many mock drafts out there…
1. Carolina Panthers select Cam Newton (QB, Auburn)
With a new regime in Carolina, new coach Ron Rivera will look to move on with a new quarterback. He might not even be the best Quarterback in the draft, but he’ll surely bring some excitement to a franchise that needs to start over.
2. Denver Broncos select Marcell Dareus (DT, Alabama)
The Broncos need to get younger on defense and will build their new defense around arguably the best defensive player in the draft. It’s always best to build from the line out.
3. Buffalo Bills select Von Miller (OLB, Texas A&M)
The Bills desperately need a young pass rusher and Miller fits the bill. They also need a Quarterback so if Newton doesn’t go to Carolina first overall, I could see the Bills taking him with the third pick. If not, they’ll draft a QB in the second round.
4. Cincinnati Bengals select A.J. Green (WR, Georgia)
The Bengals offense is taking a huge hit this offseason. They need to build around the best offensive player in the draft and worry about getting a Quarterback (if Palmer indeed does not return) through trade.
5. Arizona Cardinals select Patrick Peterson (CB, LSU)
The Cardinals need an upgrade in the secondary and will take Peterson to do just that. They can’t afford to draft a Quarterback and upset Larry Fitzgerald. They need to get a veteran through trade.
6. Cleveland Browns select Julio Jones (WR, Alabama)
Cleveland needs to get young Quarterback Colt McCoy a weapon. If A.J. Green somehow fell to them, they’d be ecstatic. He probably won’t, so they’ll take the next best thing at the position in Julio Jones.
7. San Francisco 49ers select Blaine Gabbert (QB, Missouri)
I could see the 49ers drafting a lot of different guys here but with an offensive mind (and former Quarterback) now at head coach, Jim Harbaugh will want to find a franchise Quarterback. Gabbert may be the best Quarterback in the draft.
8. Tennessee Titans select Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn)
The Titans take a run stuffer in Fairley. He has some concerns but that’s never stopped Tennessee in the past.
9. Dallas Cowboys select Robert Quinn (OLB, North Carolina)
He’s not necessarily a need for the Cowboys but Dallas has never been the type to draft by need. He’s probably the best player available at this point and they’d take the pass rusher to make their defense even more dangerous.
10. Washington Redskins select Cameron Jordan (DE, California)
The Redskins panic here as the Cowboys have selected their man and they won’t draft any of the remaining Quarterbacks this high. They need help along the defensive line.
11. Houston Texans select Prince Amukamara (CB, Nebraska)
Houston breathes a sigh of relief as they get their man. Everyone knows that Houston needs a lot of help in the secondary and they need to take Prince if he’s there.
12. Minnesota Vikings select Tyron Smith (OT, USC)
Can Leslie Frazier afford to draft a Quarterback, like Jake Locker? I think the Vikings go with a bit of a safe pick and get a Quarterback through trade (Donovan McNabb anyone?).
13. Detroit Lions select Aldon Smith (DE, California)
With Tyron Smith gone, they go defensive line. Ideally they’d love to get a LT to protect Matt Stafford, but maybe that’s something they’ll get in the second round.
14. St. Louis Rams select Corey Liuget (DT, Illinois)
They’d probably like to get an offensive weapon for Sam Bradford but they’d be reaching at this pick. They are apparently linked to Liuget pretty heavily.
15. Miami Dolphins select Mike Pouncey (G, Florida)
Miami would love to trade down, but so would a lot of teams. Besides, you can’t predict trades here. Miami has a lot of holes on offense (OL, QB, RB) but can’t afford to take Mark Ingram here. They’ll take a safe pick in Pouncey.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars select Ryan Kerrigan (DE/OLB, Purdue)
With Aaron Kampman injuring himself again, the Jags need help here. He’s the type of player that the Jaguars love.
17. New England Patriots select J.J. Watt (DE, Wisconsin)
You know them, they’ll trade down. If they do make the pick, this one will be between a couple of guys. They’ll take Watt because he fits their system.
18. San Diego Chargers select Muhammad Wilkerson (DE, Temple)
They’d probably like Watt but, in this case, he’s off the board here. They’ll have a selection between a few guys here.
19. New York Giants select Anthony Castonzo (OT, Boston College)
The Giants would probably be thrilled if he was still here. They need to address the offensive line since it is aging quickly. They’ll spend most of the draft on defense after this.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Adrian Clayborn (DE, Iowa)
The Bucs will continue to address their defensive line as they build their young defense from the line out.
21. Kansas City Chiefs select Gabe Carimi (OT, Wisconsin)
The Chiefs need help along the offensive line. They may go with one of the pass rushers left on the board, as well.
22. Indianapolis Colts select Nate Solder (OT, Colorado)
They’ll go with one of the tackles. They’re always looking to improve their offensive line with depth.
23. Philadelphia Eagles select Derek Sherrod (OT, Mississippi State)
There go the tackles. Like Indy with Manning, Philly will draft O-Line to protect Vick.
24. New Orleans Saints select Akeem Ayers (OLB, UCLA)
The Saints could use another playmaker at linebacker and here’s one.
25. Seattle Seahawks select Jake Locker (QB, Washington)
You never know…this could be a steal. They need to groom a young Quarterback and here you go.
26. Baltimore Ravens select Jimmy Smith (CB, Colorado)
The Ravens are always looking to select defense and need help in the secondary. He has character concerns but has fallen long enough.
27. Atlanta Falcons select Justin Houston (DE, Georgia)
They need someone to go along with Abraham and eventually replace him.
28. New England Patriots select Cameron Heyward (DE, Ohio St.)
Once again, if they’re still here, the Pats will go defense.
29. Chicago Bears select Marvin Austin (DT, North Carolina)
The Bears would obviously love to address their offensive line but with the tackles gone, they address their other line.
30. New York Jets select Brooks Reed (OLB, Arizona)
Rex Ryan is always looking for a pass rusher.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers select Brandon Harris (CB, Miami)
Pittsburgh needs an upgrade here and goes with the best corner left.
32. Green Bay Packers select Danny Watkins (G, Baylor)
He’s older but that doesn’t mean much to a win-now team.
Yeah, I’m surprised I left Mark Ingram off of the first round, too.