Billick: Here’s my Mock for tonight’s NFL Draft

April 28, 2011 | Brian Billick

It is important to note, this is a mock draft suggesting the picks that I would make if I were the general manager of each team.  I took into consideration the team needs, scheme, medical and/or character concerns, etc…and coupled that with my best available board.

There are differing approaches that clubs utilizing prepare for and during the NFL Draft.  For the Colts, general manager Bill Polian has the final say.  In New England, its head coach Bill Belichick.  For Baltimore, Ozzie Newsome uses are more collective approach.

Because each approach has yielded excellent results, it is very difficult to argue that each style is any better than the next.  No matter who has the final say during the draft process, there is always one thing in common each and every year.  It never goes exactly as planned….

  1. Carolina: Patrick Peterson – He has been the best player on my board since before the combine and nothing has dissuaded me of that.  Carolina has a need at virtually every position, so why not start with the best player in the draft.
  2. Denver: Marcell Dareus – Dareus provides instant improvement for the second worst rush defense in the league.  They automatically improve the pass rush with the return of Elvis Dumerveil.
  3. Buffalo: Blaine Gabbert – He is a potential franchise quarterback that can learn from Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he won’t help them win right away.
  4. Cincinnati: A.J. Green – With Green, both Owens and Chad Johnson are expendable, and Green is a future star. Maybe this will be enough to convince Palmer to play, if not, they address the quarterback vacancy through free agency.
  5. Arizona: Von Miller – The Cardinals would covet Blaine Gabbert here, but with him off the board, they will immediately upgrade their pass rush with Von Miller off the edge.
  6. Cleveland: Julio Jones – Cleveland may have the worst receiving corps in the entire league, and Jones gives them an immediate upgrade.  Jones runs the best intermediate routes in the draft and will be a tough over the middle option for Colt McCoy.
  7. San Francisco: Prince Amukamara – With Nate Clements and the addition of Amukamara, the 49ers will have bookend press cover corners.
  8. Tennessee: Nick Fairley – If they question his work ethic, Fairley’s former DL coach from Auburn is right down the hall.  If Tracy Rocker gives the thumbs up, this will be the obvious pick.
  9. Dallas: Anthony Castonzo – Smith’s potential may have a higher ceiling, but Castonzo gives them a consistent presence from day one.
  10. Washington: Cam Newton – Newton gives them instant playmaking ability and will probably win them some games with his legs. Three years from now, they realize they have no consistency and are back to where they started.
  11. Houston: J.J. Watt – With Wade Phillips’ transition to the 34 defense, either Cam Jordan or Watt make sense here.  I give them the bigger, stronger Watt.
  12. Minnesota: Robert Quinn – He is the best pass rusher in the draft from the defensive end position and Minnesota’s scheme will allow him to play his natural position.  CB is also a need, but as a cover-2 team, they find value in the later rounds of the draft.
  13. Detroit: Tyron Smith – Whether its Smith or Castonzo, Detroit needs to protect its franchise quarterback.  Whoever Dallas leaves on the board will be the pick in Detroit.
  14. St. Louis: Aldon Smith – St. Louis would love to see Julio Jones drop to them, instead, they will upgrade their pass rush with Aldon Smith.  The Rams will now have to address the WR position in the second round.
  15. Miami: Mark Ingram – All three running backs in Miami are free agents, and Ingram is the best RB in the draft.  Interior OL is an option here, but I like the Heisman winner with this pick.
  16. Jacksonville: Ryan Kerrigan – Kerrigan is scheme diverse and Jacksonville has played both a 34 and 43 defense over the last two seasons.
  17. New England: Gabe Carimi – Carimi could start immediately at right tackle, but could also be kicked inside to guard.  New England loves this type of versatility along the offensive line.
  18. San Diego: Cameron Jordan – Jordan is the most experienced 5-tech in the draft.  This card gets turned in quickly.
  19. New York Giants: Mike Pouncey – He can play guard immediately and provide the versatility to play center if needed.
  20. Tampa Bay: Adrian Clayborn – Bowers could be an option here, but his medical concerns are greater than that of Clayborn.
  21. Kansas City: Nate Solder – Kansas City could also go with a defensive lineman or a pass rusher opposite Tamba Hali, but Solder gives them better value with this pick.
  22. Indianapolis: Derrek Sherrod – Sherrod has the best finesse game of all the tackles in this draft.  He will be protecting Manning’s blind-side for the remainder of his career.
  23. Philadelphia: Corey Liuget – The value of Liuget here outweighs the need along the offensive line.
  24. New Orleans: Da’Quan Bowers – How does New Orleans justify taking the medical gamble in Bowers?  The same way they did with Drew Brees when few other clubs were willing.
  25. Seattle: Mohammad Wilkerson – With free agency looming, Seattle will shore up its defensive line with the versatile Wilkerson.
  26. Baltimore: Jimmy Smith – Reminiscent of the Chris McCallister era in Baltimore, John Harbaugh will rely on his senior leadership in the locker room to help Smith transition as a professional.
  27. Atlanta: Justin Houston – The hometown kid will provide a pass rush opposite the aging John Abraham, and then he eventually replaces him.
  28. New England:  Cam Heyward– Trading back is an obvious option here, but if they stay in this position, Cam Heyward provides them with depth along the front line.
  29. Chicago: Danny Watkins – Before they look to replace Tommy Harris, Chicago needs to upgrade their offensive line.  To do so, they take the best available offensive lineman, no matter if he’s a guard or tackle, and that leaves them with Watkins.
  30. New York Jets: Phil Taylor – Rex Ryan loves space eating defensive tackles, and he will draft one in Phil Taylor.  Taylor replaces the aging and oft-injured Kris Jenkins.
  31. Pittsburgh: Aaron Williams – Williams will be a better safety in the NFL, but he will play nickel immediately in Pittsburgh and give them instant depth in the secondary and push for a starting role.
  32. Green Bay: Mikel LeShoure – Outside linebacker is a real possibility here, but I grade LeShoure higher than Akeem Ayers.  They finally get a stable backfield with a healthy Ryan Grant and the addition of LeShoure.