This is my final mock draft before the real thing Thursday night. I will be submitting this to The Huddle Report to see where it ranks amongst the mock draft community’s best. Last year my mock scored a mediocre 38 and I’m looking to score over 40 this year. Hopefully this mock will do the job.
Posted: April 28th, 1:28 am EST
1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton – QB – Auburn
This is pretty much a lock barring a major curve ball Thursday night. The Panthers need to win games and Newton is a winner. They have a lot of needs but you can’t build a successful team without a franchise QB. Jimmy Clausen looked lost and was the opposite of a great leader last year. Cam Newton is. Shout out to Shawn Zobel at http://draftheadquarters.com/Â who was one of the first to report Cam Newton being the Panthers pick as well as many other draft rumors.
2. Denver Broncos – Patrick Peterson – CB – LSU
For awhile Marcell Dareus looked to be the pick here but some sources have said Patrick Peterson is likely to be the pick. Either pick makes sense and the Broncos can’t go wrong with two great prospects. John Elway is ultimately going to be the guy pulling the trigger for the Broncos on draft day and he has had nothing but praise for him. John Fox also called Peterson a “special talent”. Take it for what its worth, but he’s my pick to the Broncos.
3. Buffalo Bills – Marcell Dareus – DT/DE – Alabama
The Bills are very high on Cam Newton but likely won’t have a chance to draft him. The second player on their board would be Marcell Dareus which would give their defense a huge boost. Von Miller is also a possibility here but I can only see him being the pick if Dareus was gone.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green – WR – Georgia
The Bengals offense is a mess. Palmer wants out and Ochocinco and Owens’ times are up. Blaine Gabbert could be the pick here but I don’t think they will pass up on an elite talent at a position of need. Gabbert can be aÂ franchiseÂ QB, but you either like him or you don’t. I’m going to say they pass on him.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Blaine Gabbert – QB – Missouri
I wrestled with this pick for awhile. I couldn’t make up my mind between Gabbert and Von Miller. Both are options here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go either way. I ultimately went with Gabbert because the Cardinals have nothing at QB. They will have to get a young quarterback eventually. Also, they have only shown interest in the top quarterback prospects of the draft. This could indicate that they are set on taking one early as opposed to one of the middle round quarterbacks.
6. Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones – WR – Alabama
The Browns would love to trade down here and I think they will on draft day. Receiver is a big need but some will wonder if Jones is worth the 6th overall pick. Regardless, the Browns have to get a top-tier receiver for their young quarterback. It’s essential for McCoy’s growth so it’s the right move. If they don’t go with Jones I can see Robert Quinn being the pick here.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Von Miller – OLB – Texas A&M
The 49ers are in a good spot here because they will likely get one of the elite players in the draft. I think Miller has a good chance of falling to 7 for the 49ers. OLB is a need and they have shown interest in Miller this off-season. One thing of note is that the 49ers are interested in hardworking blue-collar type players and Von Miller certainly fits the bill.
8. Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley – DT – Auburn
The Titans are apparently very interested in Nick Fairley. They’ve never fully replaced Albert Haynesworth but they may get the chance to do so with the 8th overall pick. Oddly enough both are capable of being dominant and have some questions about their character and desire on the field.
9. Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith – OT – USC
There’s a lot of rumors going around about who this pick will be but I still think it’s Tyron Smith. I’m not buying that Smith’s stock is falling because of his knee. He is fine and he has the potential to be an elite left tackle in this NFL. I think this pick is almost a lock barring a trade.
10. Washington Redskins – Jake Locker – QB – Washington
There are a lot of reports connecting Locker with the Washington Redskins. To make it even clearer there we’re reports the Redskins we’re high on Locker last season before Locker returned for his Senior year. It makes a lot of sense since McNabb will be traded away.
11. Houston Texans – Robert Quinn – OLB – North Carolina
The Texans have to re-tool their defense to make the switch over to the 3-4 so they need players that can play in the 3-4. Quinn is a very fluid athlete who would fit as a 3-4 OLB. He’s also probably the best player on the board. The Texans currently don’t have anyone at OLB other than Connor Barwin.
12. Minnesota Vikings – Mike Pouncey – OG – Florida
The Vikings we’re rumored to be interested in a defensive end but now are showing interest in Pouncey. I don’t know what to believe but I know for a fact Pouncey’s stock is really high and I’ve read reports consistently saying he will go in the 10-20 range. With so many teams interested in him someone might take him earlier than they should to make sure they get him.
13. Detroit Lions – Prince Amukamara – CB – Nebraska
The Lions have to love Amukamara. He is exactly the type of player they are looking for. Senior, smart and a high character player. They would love to draft another Cornhusker with their 1st pick. If Amukamara isn’t on the board they will strongly consider Anthony Castonzo to be their left tackle of the future.
14. St. Louis Rams – Corey Liuget – DT – Illinois
Liuget’s name is heating up and a lot of teams are reportedly interested in him. One that has been consistently coming up in these rumors is St. Louis. They would love to get a receiver for Bradford but Jones is gone and I can’t see them taking Torrey Smith here if they are in love with Liuget.
15. New York Jets (From Miami) – Aldon Smith – OLB – Missouri
The Jets are trading up because they are desperate for a pass-rushing OLB. They aren’t afraid to trade draft picks away to get the guy they want (see Mark Sanchez) and I can see them trading up again this year. Aldon Smith can play OLB for the Jets and would be a good pick up for them. They might also elect to take Akeem Ayers if they think he is a better fit.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Kerrigan – DE – Purdue
This has been my pick for months and months and it’s not going to change for my final mock. It makes so much sense. Kerrigan fills a need while also being the blue-collarÂ type player the owner wants. It’s a perfect match. I wouldn’t rule out Torrey Smith though who is a similar type of player and would fill the void left by Sims-Walker.
17. New England Patriots (from Oakland) – Cameron Jordan – DE – California
This is a tough pick because I couldn’t decide between Jordan or Watt. They are both really good prospects and the Patriots could very well go with either one. I decided on Jordan because according to my Team Interest list the Patriots haven’t had anyÂ publiclyÂ made contact with JJ Watt, but they have with Jordan. It’s a long shot but I’m going with it.
18. San Diego Chargers – J.J. Watt – DE – Wisconsin
Yes, these picks could very well be flip-flopped on draft day. J.J. Watt fills a big need and the Â Chargers are rumored to be targeting a defensive lineman with this pick. It makes sense. For what its worth the Chargers showed interest in both Jordan and Watt.
19. New York Giants – Anthony Castonzo – OT – Boston College
The Giants want Pouncey but it doesn’t appear that they will be able to draft him. Instead they will have to take Anthony Castonzo who is a potential left tackle prospect in the NFL. The Giants do need help on the line and the Giants like to take players from big schools. What’s bigger than the offensive lineman factory Boston College?
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Da’Quan Bowers – DE – Clemson
Bowers’ stock has taken a hit this offseason with the rumors surfacing about his bad knee. He recently came out and said that those rumors we’re not true. I don’t know what to believe but I think he still can go in the first round. The Buccaneers need a defensive end and will likely take the best end on the board. That has to be Bowers right? I guess it all depends on what Tampa’s doctors think about Bowers’ knee.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – Gabe Carimi – OT/OG – Wisconsin
It’s interesting because I heard the Chiefs we’re interested in drafting an offensive lineman for awhile. It started with rumors that they we’re interested in Castonzo at the Senior Bowl but he is no longer on the board. However, Mayock was talking about how the Chiefs want a guy like Watkins because he’s tough and nasty and can play right tackle and then eventually move inside to guard. Does that not also perfectly describe Carimi? The Chiefs are known to reach for a need and if they want a RT or a guard, they will draft a RT or a guard. I would have to think Carimi is higher up on their board than Watkins.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Nate Solder – OT – Colorado
The Colts have to get a tackle to protect Peyton Manning. The Colts don’t shy away from drafting offensive players in the first and tackle, while not a sexy pick, is still on the offensive side of the ball. Despite their needs on the defensive side, Solder makes more sense. He has the potential to play left tackle and you have to protect your franchise player, especially when he’s getting older and more fragile.
23. Philadelphia Eagles – Jimmy Smith – CB – Colorado
Two Colorado players back-to-back. Definitely not something you see in most drafts. The Eagles are desperate for a corner after they we’re routinely torched last season. They have shown a lot of interest in Smith and he is a perfect fit for their scheme. They are also known to take gambles on players who aren’t exactly model citizens.
24. New Orleans Saints – Phil Taylor – DT – Baylor
The Saints need help on the defensive line and can either tackle a tackle or an end here. There really isn’t a defensive end worth taking this high unless they really like Clayborn. They have shown interest in Taylor on the other hand. While they did sign Shaun Rogers that’s only a temporary fix and Phil Taylor would be the long-term solution. It makes a lot of sense too. Taylor and Rogers are similar players and Taylor is raw. He could learn a lot from Rogers.
25. Seattle Seahawks – Marvin Austin – DT – North Carolina
The Seahawks would love to trade down here and there might be a team looking to trade up for a quarterback. I am really not buying the rumors of Dalton going in the first round and I will probably chuckle if a team does take him in the first. There is no reason Dalton belongs in the first round. If he pans out I will eat my words but so be it. That said the Seahawks have a need at defensive tackle and if they can’t get out of this pick, they could gamble on Marvin Austin. Muhammad Wilkerson is also an option.
26. Baltimore Ravens – Brandon Harris – CB – Miami
I think this pick comes down to Brandon Harris and Torrey Smith. We’ve heard all off-season about the Ravens wanting to get faster at receiver and Torrey Smith is plenty fast. However, they also really need a cornerback and Harris is great value here. Well, he’s great value to some and a reach according to others. His stock is all over the place and I have himÂ currentlyÂ ranked 11th on my big board. I think he will be a star. If the Ravens like him as much as I do, they will pull the trigger.
27. Atlanta Falcons – Torrey Smith – WR – Maryland
As a Falcons fan I know our biggest need is defensive end but look at the board. Which defensive end left would come in right away and significantly help our pass-rush? I don’t see any. The Falcons would love to land Kerrigan but he will be long gone. The whole off-season has been surrounded by the words “explosive play-makers” and Torrey Smith fits the bill. Not to mention he is a hard worker and a standout human being. Before you say the Falcons don’t draft Juniors, they have drafted 2 juniors before and Torrey Smith has graduated and has earned his degree. Something both of the two other Juniors the Falcons Â drafted did as well.
28. New England Patriots – Mark Ingram – RB – Alabama
I have a tough time imagining this pick happening but someone has to take Ingram right? He’s an outstanding value this late in the draft and the Patriots are smart to know this. With Ingram they will finally have a dependable full-time starter at running back.
29. Chicago Bears – Derek Sherrod – OT – Mississippi State
The Bears are looking for offensive and defensive line help here and they could very well trade down. I know they are interested in Marvin Austin but he may be gone and they haven’t shown much interest in Wilkerson. They did show interest in Sherrod however and he will fill a big need with the potential to play left tackle.
30. Miami Dolphins (From New York Jets) - Ryan Mallett – QB – Arkansas
The Dolphins traded down because Pouncey was off the board. I think they are targeting a quarterback and they have shown a lot of interest in Ryan Mallett. Is he a reach at 15? Some would say he is a reach at 30, but I think if they are going after one quarterback in this draft it’s Mallett.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Aaron Williams – CB/S – Texas
The Steelers are looking to add talent on the offensive line but they also draft for value. There isn’t a tackle worth taking this high. Meanwhile there is a very talented corner/safety on the board who the Steelers are high on. This is almost a lock in most mocks, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they went in a totally different direction. I don’t know what that would be though so I’m sticking with Williams.
32. Green Bay Packers – Danny Watkins – OG – Baylor
The Packers draft based on value and Watkins name is heating up to go in the first round. There is no denying his talent, the only concern is his age. He’s a perfect fit for the Packers though and is good value at this point in the draft if rumors are true. I don’t see a lot of other prospects that could be the pick here so Watkins it is.