Our regular discussion about the draft has resulted in my case, to an obsession with mock drafts. For the last week or so, I have been working on my own mock draft. It has been fluid throughout the period and will continue to evolve but I would like to present the current status.
I find this exercise fascinating and yet for someone who has not watched a lot of games and mocked many a draftnik in the past, this exercise is humbling. In creating this mock draft, I have relied on my eyes to some extent. However, I have largely depended upon the breakdowns and comments of draftniks that have impressed me. I have also relied on my understanding (probably not good) of what various teams need and would like to do. I am quite stunned so many draftniks out there that are able to do this without having multiple conversations with the respective coaches and GMs on teams. As you can imagine, this is a very fluid mock and perhaps even more so because there are so many uncertainties even within the top ten.
There is a sense of hype around the NFL Draft because the majority of these prospects will promise a lot and never come close delivering what was expected in the NFL. On the flip side, there will be one or two unheralded prospects that make the transition to the NFL and sometimes became stars for their teams. For me it remains another opportunity to learn more about this great sport. My 2 round mock follows and I have included a brief explanation for each pick in the first round. Appreciate your comments.
1. Carolina Panthers Cam Newton QB
Gun to my head, if I had to choose one of the QBs at #1 overall, I would briefly consider having my brains blown out. After giving it some thought I would decide that I can live with a busted #1 pick...just pick a name out of a hat.
Marty Hurney can probably live with a busted #1 too. Law of averages suggests that he is due a miss on a 1st round pick. Given his record, it could be argued that he is entitled a shot at Cam Newton.
2. Denver Broncos Marcell Dareus DT
Broncos' division rivals need to upgrade their offensive line, particularly the interior. If Marcell Dareus goes to the Broncos that will become a greater priority.
3. Buffalo Bills Von Miller OLB
Bills need a lot of help on defense and not just in one area. Patrick Peterson will also get serious consideration here.
4. Cincinnati Bengals A.J.Green WR
Bengals maybe considering a QB in early in this draft. However, QB evaluations this year are all over the place and I anticipate most teams with a 2nd round pick will choose to wait. Conversely, Green is way too good to pass on here.
5. Arizona Cardinals Robert Quinn OLB
Robert Quinn is a good bet to become a game changer at the next level. Cardinals will be confident he can fit in as a 3-4 OLB. The Cardinals could also consider a QB here but I imagine that Coach Whisenhunt would prefer to go after Kevin Kolb.
6. Cleveland Browns Julio Jones WR
Jones has great potential and would fit into the Browns scheme. DaQuan Bowers would also considered but the combination of medical concerns and some questions arsiing from his game tape could put him out of conention. Browns fans might like the idea of having both Peterson and Haden in the secondary but they would probably agree that the impact pick would be WR.
7. San Francisco 49ers Patrick Peterson CB
49ers are likely to have themselves a great pick here regardless what happens in the top 6. That said, this outcome would be the most exciting as far as 49ers are concerned.
8. Tennessee Titans Nick Fairley DT
QB would be a legit option here but Fairley has elite potential despite all the questions about his build/character.
9. Dallas Cowboys J.J.Watt DE
J.J.Watt or Cameron Jordan is likely to benefit from DaQuan Bowers' slide. Watt is an exceptional athlete with exceptional intangibles and fills one of the big needs for the Cowboys.
10. Washington Redskins Prince Amukamara CB
Amukamara is the best value at this position and would fit a great need. Redskins however may like one of the tackles or a QB ahead of Amukamara.
11. Houston Texans DaQuan Bowers DE
Given all their needs on defense, the Texans would have to pull the trigger on DaQuan Bowers if he is available here. Bowers could go as high as #2 to the Broncos if he checks out fine from a medical standpoint.
12. Minnesota Vikings Blaine Gabbert QB
New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will be able to use someone of Gabbert's skills effectively sooner rather than later.
13. Detroit Lions Tyron Smith OT
Tyron Smith is not a finished product but he could help combat the likes of Casey Matthews, Julius Peppers and Jared Allen in years to come.
14. St. Louis Rams Corey Liuget DT
If Julio Jones is not available here, the Rams are almost destined to go with Luiget.
15. Miami Dolphins Mark Ingram RB
The Dolphins have a lot of needs and don't have a 2nd round pick. Do they pass on an elite option like Ingram and take a shot at a Jake Locker or Christain Ponder? I would not be surprised either way.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars Cameron Jordan DE
Jaguards have maintained their desire to find a physically imposing end in the draft, presumably to play left defensive end. Cameron Jordan would be their best bet here.
17. New England Patriots Gabe Carimi OT
The Patriots would be happy to "reach" for Carimi who is likely to contribute early and eventually start in his rookie year.
18. San Diego Chargers Aldon Smith OLB
Chargers will be anxious to fill the void left by Shawn Merriman. Larry English has not worked and going after one of the top pass-rushers in the draft would be prudent.
19. New York Giants Anthony Castonzo OT
Castonzo is considered by some to be the best tackle prospect in this draft and he would mesh with the hard-nosed mentality of Tom Coughlin.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Adrian Clayborn DE
Buccaneers need to get more pressure on the QB in order to compete against the likes of Drew Brees and Matt Ryan in the division.
21. Kansas City Chiefs Phil Taylor DT
Rare physical specimen that 3-4 teams will lust after. I can't see the Chiefs pass on him here.
22. Indianapolis Colts Derek Sherrod OT
Popular notion is that the Colts would go with a tackle and for the moment I agree. I think Sherrod is just as good a prospect as Carimi or Castonzo.
23. Philadelphia Eagles Jimmy Smith CB
Jimmy Smith would go much earlier in this draft if it were not for character issues that he is likely to carry into the NFL. Has the potential to slide out of the first round.
24. New Orleans Saints Akeem Ayers OLB
The Saints (not unlike the Buccaneers) need to combat the passing attacks led by Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman within the NFC South.
25. Seattle Seahawks Mike Pouncey OG/C
Seahawks could take legit shot at Ponder here. This mock draft assumes that interior OL gets addressed first.
26. Baltimore Ravens Aaron Williams CB
The Ravens need help at corner and Aaron Williams is the best opton here.
27. Atlanta Falcons Ryan Kerrigan DE
More pass-rush would be the story for the NFC South (Panthers excepted).
28. New England Patriots Muhammad Wilkerson DE
Another case of BPA meeting need.
29. Chicago Bears Nate Solder OT
The Bears have no choice but to upgrade at OL. Solder makes a lot of sense in the scheme that the Bears run.
30. New York Jets Cam Heyward DE
Jets will need to add to the defensive line. Heyward is good pick at the bottom of the round.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers Danny Watkins OG
Instant upgrade at guard. Watkins, an ex-firefighter, would fit in well with the Steelers.
32. Green Bay Packers Justin Houston OLB
Houston has the tools to become an effective pass-rusher in the NFL and Packers will like him at this spot.
1. New England Patriots Jabaal Sheard OLB
2. Buffalo Bills Brandon Harris CB
3. Cincinnati Ryan Mallet QB
4. Denver Mikel Leshoure RB
5. Cleveland Stephen Paea DT
6. Arizona Ben Ijalana OT
7. Tennessee Christian Ponder QB
8. Dallas Ras-I Dowling CB
9. Washington Jake Locker QB
10. Houston Martez Wilson OLB
11. Minnesota Christian Ballard DE
12. Detroit Bruce Carter OLB
13. San Francisco Stefen Wisniewski C
14. Denver (from Miami) Rahim Moore S
15. St. Louis Torrey Smith WR
16. Oakland Marcus Cannon OG
17. Jacksonville Quan Sturdivant MLB
18. San Diego Jon Baldwin WR
19. Tampa Bay Davon House CB
20. New York Giants Marvin Austin DT
21. Indianapolis Drake Nevis DT
22. Philadelphia Jurrel Casey DT
23. Kansas City Rodney Hudson C
24. New Orleans James Brewer OT
25. Seattle Andy Dalton QB
26. Baltimore Brooks Reed OLB
27. Atlanta Lance Kendricks TE
28. New England Leonard Hankerson WR
29. San Diego (from NY Jets) Jarvis Jenkins DE
30. Chicago Titus Young WR
31. Pittsburgh Curtis Brown CB
32. Green Bay Ryan Williams RB