This is complete guesswork. As I have been doing this for a couple of years now, I have stumbled upon some fairly good rules to follow. Number 1, wait until after the combine to post a mock draft. Before the combine, your just wasting your time. Number 2, don’t try to guess what trades will happen. Other than knowing the Pats will trade, you don’t know with whom and to where, so don’t try. Number 3, put the players at the draft number they closest belong too. That is if the 3rd best WR is rated as the overall 24-30 best player, don’t have him being drafted at 14 because that team really needs a WR. That happens, but it’s becoming more and more rare, and almost impossible to guess. Heck, the Raiders have appeared to stop doing it, and if the Raiders have figured it out, you should have too. And number 4, forget all of this with respect to the QB position. You can’t win without one, and teams salivate at the chance of getting one. Also, drafting a QB will typically buy a new coach a couple of years in the job and that job security is something all coaches want.
OK, here it is.
1. Carolina Panthers Cam Newton QB Auburn
2. Denver Broncos Marcell Dareau DT Alabama
3. Buffalo Bills Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri
4. Cincinnati Bengals A.J. Green WR Georgia
5. Arizona Cardinals Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
6. Cleveland Browns Da’Quan Bowers DE Clemson
7. San Francisco 49ers Patrick Peterson CB LSU
8. Tennessee Titans Nick Fairly DT Auburn
9. Dallas Cowboys Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska
10. Washington Redskins Julio Jones WR Alabama
Some top 10 thoughts. There are probably 15 names being discussed as being drafted in the top 10. These picks are pretty safe. They may not be exact, but I wouldn’t expect to see Nick Fairly fall to far below the 8th pick. Also, I think this draft will be dominated by QB’s. Who will take them and when will become the number one story in the first round of the draft. The bottom half of this draft will confirm that the number 2 story of this draft will be the DE position, and you can see that with the Browns pick here.
11. Houston Texans Robert Quinn DE/DL North Carolina
12. Minnesota Vikings Jake Locker QB Washington
13. Detroit Lions Tyron Smith OT USC
14. St. Louis Rams JJ Watt DE Wisconsin
15. Miami Dolphins Mark Ingram RB Alabama
16. Jacksonville Jaguars Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue
17. New England Patriots Cameron Jordan DE California
18. SD Chargers Aldon Smith DE Missouri
19. NY Giants Anthony Costanzo OT Boston College
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cameron Heyward DE Ohio State
Some thoughts on the middle 10. The run on DE’s in now in full swing. Some draft experts, particularly Mike Mayok of the NFL Network, thinks this year there are possibly 9 DE that rate with a first round grade. We also see 2 teams take needs a little higher than the grades. I know I caution against doing this, but it’s so darn hard not to. The facts are the Vikings don’t have a QB on their roster and the Dolphins have both RB’s as pending free agents. Jake Locker and Mark Ingram both have first round grades, but typically not this high. Still, the team’s needs are so massive, it’s hard not seeing them address those positions with these picks. Overall, it’s a lot of lineman.
21. Kansas City Chiefs Stephen Paea DT Oregon Stat
22. Indianapolis Colts Nate Soldier OT Colorado State
23. Philadelphia Eagles Mike Pauncey G/C Florida
24. New Orleans Saints Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa
25. Seattle Seahawks Justin Houston DE Georgia
26. Baltimore Ravens Derek Sherrod OT Mississippi State
27. Atlanta Falcons Torrey Smith WR Maryland
28. New England Patriots Akeem Ayers DE/OLB UCLA
29. Chicago Bears Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin
30. NY Jets Muhammad Wilkerson DE/DT Temple
31. Pittsburgh Steelers Benjamin Ijaina OT/G Villanova
32. Green Bay Packers Rahim Moore S UCLA
Some thoughts on the end of the first round. There are 8 DE’s and 3 DE combination type players taken in the first round. Getting pressure on the QB is a top priority in the league and this year’s first round offers some upgrades to a lot of teams. I think the Ravens will trade their pick. However, if they stay and Tackle Derek Sherrod is available, they will think long and hard about taking him. At 6-5, 308 he could make the perfect bookend at RT for years to come for the Ravens. This solves a lot of their offensive line problems and GM Ozzie Newsome has not been afraid to take offensive lineman high in the draft (Ben Grubbs and Michael Oher). There are only 2 CB’s taken and I don’t think that’s realistic. However, the 3, 4 and 5 CB’s all have holes in their grades that should keep them in the second round. Some team will probably reach, but I can’t figure it out right now.