Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mock Draft

Panthers shock everyone and take the Alabama DT
I love the draft. I really do. And this year is extra fun because there is no consensus number 1 pick. The year of the defensive lineman, here's my guess at how I think the draft could go.

1. Carolina — Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Carolina shocks the world! I just don't think they are sold on Cam Newton being the franchsie. Though I could eat my words come Thursday. If they could trade down to say, 4 or 5, they might.

2. Denver — Von Miller, OLB, Texas
The Broncs are sad. The guy they wanted and thought were getting, gets plucked right in front of them. But since they need defense in any way possible they go for the best defensive guy on the board.

3. Buffalo — Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Well, maybe Newton isn't a sure thing, but for a franchise that hasn't been relevant in over a decade, with one foot in Toronto and in need of a impact player, they can't pass up the guy who could revitalize the franchise and fan base.

4. Cincinnati — Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
The Bengals cannot, repeat, can freakin not, go into the season with Dan LeFevour and Jordan Palmer as the only QBs on the roster. And I don't think the Bengals would go after some of the available QBs (McNabb, Kolb). So I think they take the new face of the franchise and let him take his growing pains this season.

5. Arizona — A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Ken Whisenhunt really wanted Von Miller. Sorry, Ken. And it's too early for OL help, so A.J. Green comes in to help Larry Fitzgerald and whatever QB they end up getting.

6. Cleveland — Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Colt McCoy needs help. Seriously, the Browns haven't had a dynamic playmaker since Jim Brown. Mike Holmgren starts to get the offense he wants.

7. San Francisco — Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
The Niners could not be happier. Arguably the best player in the draft falls into their lap. And he fits a real need. Perfection.

8. Tennessee — Robert Quinn, DE. North Carolina
No, Quinn is not the most motivated player in the world, but there are goo-gobs of talent somewhere in there. And the Titans need someone to rush the QB.

9. Dallas — Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
The was a tough, tough pick. Tyron Smith makes a lot of sense. But the Cowboy pass defense was The Boys could trade up to the end of round 1 and get Gabe Carimi, Nate Solder or Marcus Cannon. The Prince is too good to pass up.

Castonzo is the best, most ready LT in the draft
10. Indianapolis — TRADE (Washington trades the no. 10 pick to the Indianapolis Colts for their 1st round pick, their 2nd round pick and a conditional 2012 pick) 
Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Washington can get their QB down further. This is way too high for the next QB to go. So they trade with the Colts who need a left tackle they can rely on. Bill Polian hardly ever makes trades, but the core group isn't getting younger—Manning is 35. Tyron Smith may be more gifted, but has never played the left side at all. Castonzo can come in right away and start on the blind side.

11. Houston — J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
Wade Phillips is installing the 3-4 in Houston and gets the perfect player to anchor the DE spot.

12. Minnesota — Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Too early to take a QB and they could probably pick one up in the 2nd round. That's of course, assuming Donovan McNabb isn't in town. In any event, Nick Fairley—a one-time Top 2 pick—wins the Slippery Slider Award and gets plugged into the spot Pat Williams is leaving.

13 Detroit — DaQuan Bowers, DE, Clemson
It seems like the entire planet has the Lions taking an OT here. But I have a gut instinct that Jim Schwartz wants to build the defense more. DaQuan Bowers, the best rush end falls into their lap—it's just too good to pass up for old Jim. Pairing him with Suh. A dream.

14. St. Louis — Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
The Rams gave up 4.5 yards per carry. Spags does not like. Also, Liuget is a quick penetrating tackle, perfect for Spags style of defense.

15. Miami — Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Everyone has the Dolphins going with Ingram. And they are right. Makes too much sense not to take him here. Strong, smart, sophisticated back with nice shifts and power to pass-block. Helps the Fins immediately.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars — Alden Smith, DE, Missouri
The Jags only had 26 sacks last season, 2nd worst in the league. They get the best pure pass rusher left on the board to drop onto their D-line.

17. New England — Tyron Smith, OT, USC
The frickin' rich get richer. Sitting still at 17, the Pats get the most athletic OT in the draft. Damn Belichek.

18. San Diego — Muhammed Wilkins DT/DE, Temple
Too early to take a WR—probably will try to sign Braylon Edwards or someone else to fill that need. Instead they take the perfect D-lineman for them. Wilkins can play anywhere along the line and is strong, strong, strong. A lot of mocks have them taking a rush LB. Not sure why, the Chargers had 47 sacks last season—2nd best in the league.

19. New York Giants—Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida
The G-Men should have taken an OL guy last year. Diehl, O'Hara and Seubert are dinged up and all on the wrong side of 30. Mike Pouncey, taking over the LG spot could give the line a jolt of youth and punch.

20. Tampa Bay—Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Like their Florida brethren, the Jags, the Bucs are looking for pass rushing. Ryan Kerrigan's teammates called him Superman—he ran a 4.67 (.5 seconds off the best DE) and benched 31 reps (second best for DE after Watt). Kerrigan joins the Bucs young defensive tackles and can help the pass rush.

21. Kansas City — Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Strong, tough and athletic. Would fit either on right side or possibly the left side for the Chiefs o-line. OC Bill Muir will appreciate Carimi immediatly.

22. Washington — Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Washington needs help everywhere. Really. The interior of their O-line is awful—the 3rd worst run game and 46 sacks. After Orakpo, the next best sacker on the team had 2.5 sacks—The Andre Carter Show has mercifully been cancelled. But Shanahan needs a QB to coach. Locker probably reminds him a bit of Jake Plummer. Locker is not an immediate starter, but Shanahan probably feels he's the guy to get Locker on the right track.

23. Atlanta — TRADE (Atlanta trades their 1st, 3rd, and 5th round picks to the Philadelphia Eagle for the 23rd pick.) 
Cameron Jordan — DE, California
Cameron Jordan has slipped a bit. But no more. Atlanta leapfrogs their rival Saints to grab the most complete DE left on the board.

24. New Orleans — Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Saints shrug towards the Falcons trade and grab the Iowa product who can do it all. A slightly disappointing senior year drops Clayborn down a bit, but the Falcons will love his motor.

25. Seattle — Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Local boy Jake Locker might have been a nice story for the Hawks, but the truth is they need O-line help more. The Seahawks had a putrid 3.7 yards per carry last season and seemed to enjoy watching Matt Hassleback get pounded. Danny Watkins is a possibility, but Solder is too athletic and promising for the Hawks to pass up.

26. Baltimore — Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Ravens really need a WR and a CB. There is no WR worth this spot, but CB Jimmy Smith is a possibility. But the truth is the Baltimore pass rush is not what it used to be. After Terrell Suggs no linebacker had more than 2 sacks. Ayers is fluid and quick off the snap, and while not the fastest burner, he knows how to make plays behind the line. Ayers also has 6 INTs and had 7 forced fumbles.

27. Philadelphia — Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
The Eagles will look hard at Danny Watkins—the Eagles gave up 49 sacks last season—but truth is defenses are gonna sack Vick—just a fact. And Ellis Hobbs retired and Asante Samuel just turned 30. It's time for the Eagles to restock the corners—Smith is the consensus 3rd best corner and a nice pick for the Eagles. Texas's Aaron Williams is a possibilty as well.

28. Dallas — TRADE ( Dallas trades their 2nd round pick and the 2012 1st rounder for New England's 28th pick)
Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi
The Boys need to leapfrog the Bears who are sure to grab Sherrod with the next pick—they absolutely need to. Their O-line is aging and they need to protect the Romo-franchise. So they take a veteran LT who blocked in the SEC for 3 years. He can move the 320-lb Doug Free to his more natural RT spot and protect Romo for the next 10 years.

29. Chicago — Danny Watkins, OG/OT, Baylor
The Bears need a OT like my baby needs a clean diaper...which is to say, they really need an OT. They gave up 56 sacks last season and averaged 3.9 yards per carry. The overaged Danny Watkins is tough and played LT at Baylor. Only 6'3", Watkins isn't the ideal LT, but he won All-Big 12 honors and graded out high as a LT. And the Bears can't be picky right now.

30. Houston — TRADE (Houston trades it's 2nd round pick, it's 4th round pick and a conditional pick in the 2012 draft to the New York Jets for the 30th pick.)
Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
Houston needs a CB desperately. Kareem Jackson was a disappointment last year and the other corner is Glover Quin. Ooof. Aaron Williams is a tall, fast CB/S that can fill in multiple positions in the sad Houston secondary. The Texans jump the Steelers who needed a CB for themselves. The Jets reclaim a 2nd round pick and can get the defensive help they need later in the draft.

31. Pittsburgh — Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
The Steelers look at Brandon Harris and Ras-I Dowling, but remember they need to repair an aging front 3. Casey Hampton is 33 and has been taking a pounding in the middle of the pile for a long, long time. Taylor can come in, learn from the best and take over in a year or 2.

32. Green Bay — Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
2 blonde long-haired barbarian looking dudes trying to smash opposing QBs. It's too good to pass up. Reed, big, fast (1.54-second 10-yard split) takes the other side from Clay Matthews and gets the keys to the quarterback. Justin Houston and Cameron Heyward are potentials as well and Kyle Rudolph is a dark horse, but Reed, the complete package at OLB makes the most sense.

And that's the first round. And one last thing. The guy you see below is Mark Herzlich. A sure 1st-round pick 2 years ago, this kid got cancer...then kicked its ass. Herzlich worked out constantly as he was going through chemo—that word again was "chemo" and the other words were "worked out while going through"—and came back to start for the BC Eagles last year. Somebody has to take this kid. If he can sack cancer, he can sack opposing QBs.

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