Warning: This content may cause your jaw to drop to the floor, or worse, force blood to shoot out of your eyes. But it also could bring teers of joy to stream down your face, and lead to jumping, hugging the people around you and even tossing up confetti.
1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, Quarterback, Auburn
Many are still skeptical on Cam Newton, myself included. That being said, Newton has clear potential to become a star in the NFL. The sky is the limit, and if anything, he brings tons of attraction and excitement to a new regime and a franchise on the decline.
2. Denver Broncos – Marcell Dareus, Defensive Lineman, Alabama
Nearly every NFL Draft analyst has projected Marcell Dareus to John Fox and the Denver Broncos. For the life of me, I can’t find any reason why I would disagree. Denver’s defensive line was atrocious last year. The absense of 2009 sack leader Elvis Dumervil was one of the main reasons.
Transitioning to a 4-3 Defense, the Broncos must acquire new personnel to fit the scheme. Marcell’s and Dumervil’s impact will be extremely severe and should deliver 20 combined sacks next year.
3. Arizona Cardinals (from Buffalo) – Blaine Gabbert, Quarterback, Missouri
Arizona Trades: 1st Round Pick (5th Overall), 3rd Round Pick, 3rd Round Pick (2012), 5th Round Pick
Quite the blockbuster trade in the top five right there, huh? I don’t know if this will unfold, obviously, but it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if it did.
The Cardinals cannot go with Derek Anderson or John Skelton at quarterback next year.
Larry Fitzgerald will consider leaving if he has a terrible quarterback trying to get him the ball.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green, Wide Receiver, Georgia
Cincinnati is going to seriously consider Patrick Peterson here, but wide receiver’s like A.J. Green don’t come around very often. Judging by what Calvin Johnson has done for the Lions, I know the Bengals will love taking Green.
5. Buffalo Bills (From Arizona) – Von Miller, Hybrid Linebacker, Texas A&M
The Bills should be thankful to get rid of the bust that is Aaron Maybin. There were talks that the Bills actually plan to release him once the NFL starts up again.
Von Miller is an extraordinary talent. He’s been compared to Clay Matthews of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. I believe I rest my case with that statement alone. For the super skeptical, check this out on Miller.
6. Cleveland Browns – Patrick Peterson, Cornerback, LSU
The team adds a bookend corner and versatile star returner to the roster. Patrick Peterson and Joe Haden could become the best duo in the league, before either of them reach the age of 23.
According to Cleveland.com, Joe Haden, who tied for fifth in the league last season with six interceptions, said, “If Patrick [Peterson] gets all the way to No. 6, for sure we should get him. “It would almost be a no-brainer. The more talent the better. He’s definitely a top-five talent. I’ve watched him and I really like him.”
7. San Francisco 49′ers – Robert Quinn, Hybrid Linebacker, North Carolina
I’ve had Prince Amukamara mocked to the 49′ers for months now, but I’m a big fan of Robert Quinn. Even with his tumor concern, he’s worth a Top 10 pick.
San Francisco’s pass rush is awful. Manny Lawson is a stud, but that’s about all the 49ers have to work with. Robert Quinn will make the 49ers one of the best linebacker groups in the league.
8. Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, Defensive Lineman, Auburn
Nick Fairley is sliding on almost every mock draft I’ve seen, but he’s definitely talented enough to be a Top 10 pick.
Tennessee is in need of some help on its defensive line. Jason Babin is a free agent and coming off a Pro Bowl season. If they can’t resign him, the Titans will be in big trouble.
9. Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith, Offensive Tackle, USC
The Cowboys are in love with Tyron Smith, it’s obvious.
There’s been a ton of buzz that Dallas plans to take him with the ninth pick, if he’s available.
It’t been 22 years since Dallas chose an offensive lineman in the first round. That’s long enough.
Tony Romo missed most of last year with an injury because his offensive line couldn’t get the job done. If the Cowboys want to finally have that successful dream season, they must protect their franchise signal-caller.
10. Detroit Lions (From Washington) – Prince Amukamara, Cornerback, Nebraska
Washington Trades: 1st Round Pick (10th Overall)
The Detroit Lions should look to trade up here to steal the prospect they’ve wanted all along—Prince Amukamara. He’s a high-calibar, low-risk, high-reward cornerback that they can’t afford to miss out on.
Alphonso Smith had a couple of decent games last year, but he’s far too inconsistent to be an every game starter. Prince should take over the reigns with Louis Delmas right away in the secondary.
11. Houston Texans – J.J. Watt, Defensive End, Wisconsin
J.J. Watt is a prospect on the rise, and he fits one of the Texans’ biggest needs. When the Texans hired Wade Phillips to be their defensive coordinator, he brought in a new 3-4 Defense.
Watt is a tremendous 3-4 defensive end. The Texans won’t have any trouble rushing the passer with Mario Williams and J.J. Watt on their defensive line. (While Michael has nothing against Watt, he probably has blood shooting out of his eyes with this decision, however.)
12. Minnesota Vikings – Aldon Smith, Defensive End, Missouri
It’s almost a guarantee that the Vikings will take a defensive end in the first round. The only question is which one. With J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn off the board, Minnesota should look towards Aldon Smith.
Smith has been compared to Jevon Kearse in terms of his freak-like athleticism.
13. Washington Redskins (From Detroit) – Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, Alabama
If Julio Jones is available when the Redskins pick, he will almost hands down be their choice. I think it would be one of the biggest surprises in draft history if they looked elsewhere.
There’s a good chance that Santana Moss will be with a new team next year. He certainly can’t feel too confident, considering Washington has no idea who will be their quarterback next season.
14. St. Louis Rams – Corey Liuget, Defensive Tackle, Illinois
Corey Liuget is another defensive lineman that is on the rise as of late. He’s been linked to the Rams for weeks now, and it makes perfect sense. St. Louis needs another pass-rusher outside of Chris Long and to upgrade next to Fred Robbins on the defensive line.
15. Baltimore Ravens (From Miami) – Cameron Heyward, Defensive Lineman, Ohio State
Baltimore Trades: 1st Round Pick (26th Overall), 3rd Round Pick (90th Overall), 5th Round Pick
It’s evident that the Ravens are seriously interested in Cameron Heyward, but can they risk him not being on the board when they pick 26th? Baltimore wants to improve its defensive line, which struggled at times last season. Cameron Heyward should pair nicely with Haloti Ngata on the D-Line.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Kerrigan, Defensive End, Purdue
Can you name both of the Jaguars’ starting defensive ends? I doubt you could, but I can’t blame you, for neither could I. The Jaguars failed miserably with Derrick Harvey, so it’s time to move on. Ryan Kerrigan makes the most sense for Jacksonville at the 16th slot.
17. New England Patriots – Cameron Jordan, Defensive Lineman, California
The Patriots suffered through many injuries last season, but thankfully they were able to make the most out of what they had. It seens like that is what New England often does anyways.
New England must address its defensive line, which wasn’t the same after Richard Seymour was traded to Oakland.
Cameron Jordan isn’t a good pass-rusher, but he will be able to take down the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage.
18. San Diego Chargers – Muhammad Wilkerson, Defensive Lineman, Temple
The Chargers are locked into taking a defensive lineman or a rush-linebacker. That being said, I doubt they’ll pull the trigger on Akeem Ayers, Brooks Reed or Justin Houston.
Muhammad Wilkerson has been on the rise for some time now, which means he’s a sure-fire first-rounder. He should replace Jacques Cesaire, who is now a free agent.
19. New Orleans Saints – Da’Quan Bowers, Defensive End, Clemson
New Orleans Trades: 1st Round Pick (24th Overall), 3rd Round Pick (72nd Overall)
New Orleans needs a defensive end, and with Da’Quan Bowers still on the board, the Saints will look to trade up from their 24th spot in the first round.
Da’Quan Bowers slides into the hands of New Orleans for injury concerns. Nevertheless, his knee issues couldn’t cause him to slip out of the first round all together.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Justin Houston, Defensive End, Georgia
For the first time since December, I don’t have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking Iowa Hawkeyes defensive end Adrian Clayborn with the 20th overall selection.
The word on the street is that the Bucs are targeting Justin Houston in the first round. Tampa Bay’s defensive line next year will look great with Gerald McCoy, Brian Price and Justin Houston anchoring it.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – Phil Taylor, Nose Tackle, Baylor
The Chiefs defense continues to improve each and every season, but one thing they haven’t been able to find is a nose tackle that can stop the running back in his tracks.
Phil Taylor is easily the best nose tackle in the draft. Scott Pioli wants his version of Vince Wilfork, and he will finally get it with this top-notch selection.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Anthony Castonzo, Offensive Tackle, Boston College
Everybody needs to put the “Andy Dalton to Indianapolis” rumors to rest. Peyton Manning isn’t hanging it up for at least another four years. By that time, Dalton will be almost 28 years of age.
Anthony Castonzo is my second highest rated tackle in this draft. Nate Solder is a close third, but I’m more sold on Castonzo for right now. Things could change soon, though.
23. Philadelphia Eagles – Gabe Carimi, Offensive tackle, Wisconsin
I thought about Jimmy Smith going here once again, but I believe the Eagles are serious about signing Nnamdi Asomugha this offseason. In my opinion, they’ll get it done. There are a few other available star corners in free agency, anyway.
Philadelphia needs to work on improving its mediocre offensive line. Gabe Carimi has been compared to Jon Runyan, who had many great years with the Eagles.
24. New York Giants (From New Orleans) - Akeem Ayers, Outside Linebacker, UCLA
Akeem Ayers’ stock is constantly going up and down, though I think he has first-round potential. Drafting Ayers will allow the Giants to move on from Keith Bulluck after one year.
25. Seattle Seahawks – Jimmy Smith, Cornerback, Colorado
There are definitely character concerns with Jimmy Smith, but many players have had character issues before and went on to achieve great success.
Seattle’s secondary is one of the worst in the league. Kelly Jennings, the Seahawks’ best cornerback, is going to be a free agent this offseason.
26. Miami Dolphins (From Baltimore) – Mike Pouncey, Guard, Florida
I know that many people love Mark Ingram, but I’m honestly not a big fan. He was constantly outplayed by Trent Richardson, which isn’t a good sign for Ingram. But more importantly, high-quality backs can still be selected later in the draft.
Miami should look to improve its offensive line. If they can keep Chad Henne on his feet for long enough, he will have an easier time making throws.
27. Buffalo Bills (From Atlanta) – Ryan Mallett, Quarterback, Arkansas
Buffalo Trades: 2nd Round Pick (34th Overall), 3rd Round Pick (69th Overall – From Arizona)
It was reported on April 9th that the Bills, Dolphins and Seahawks are spending a ton of time with Ryan Mallett. This leads me to believe a team is serious about trading up for him.
Ryan Mallett has many red flags, but he’s a great quarterback. With his tremendous size and strong arm, he will be a star in the NFL.
28. Minnesota Vikings (From New England) – Jake Locker, Quarterback, Washington
New England Trades: 1st Round Pick (28th Overall)
Minnesota Trades: 2nd Round Pick (43rd Overall), 2nd Round Pick (2012)
The Vikings, in one way or another, will get their hands on Jake Locker. No team has shown more interest in Locker than the Vikings, and Leslie Frazier has already expressed how much he likes the Huskie QB.
Minnesota cannot roll the dice on Joe Webb as their starter next season. The Vikings should sign a veteran (Marc Bulger), draft Locker and keep Webb on the roster.
29. Chicago Bears – Nate Solder, Offensive Tackle, Colorado
Unless you live under a rock or you just don’t pay attention to sports, you know the Bears have one of the worst offensive lines in NFL history. Exactly how many sacks were allowed last season? 60. ‘Nuff said.
Jay Cutler is a great quarterback, but he will never live up to his true potential if he can’t stay upright. I’m sure he already has trouble sleeping at night. The Bears need to find him some protection, which is where Nate Solder will play a key role.
30. Tennessee Titans (from New York Jets)- Colin Kaepernick, Quarterback, Nevada
Tennessee Titans Trade: 2nd Round Pick (39th Overall), 4th Round Pick (109th Overall), 3rd Round Pick (2012)
The Titans want Colin Kaepernick more than any other quarterback in the draft. If they don’t trade up, there’s a chance he won’t be there for them in round two.
The team is kidding itself if anyone in the organization belives Rusty Smith can be the starting quarterback next year. Give Kaepernick a year behind a veteran and he’ll be ready to unload.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Aaron Williams, Defensive Back, Texas
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ biggest target is Mike Pouncey, but he went off the board to the Dolphins, so the Steelers will be forced to look elsewhere.
But that’s not such a bad thing, because while Pittsburgh’s secondary isn’t terrible, it can use a lot of improvement. After all, Troy Polamalu has the tendency to miss time during every season and the Steelers haven’t had a nice track record as of late without him in the line-up. Aaron Williams is on the rise, reliable, versatile and should replace Ryan Clark very soon.
32. Green Bay Packers – Brooks Reed, Hybrid Linebacker, Arizona
Brooks Reed will give Green Bay the consistent starter its desired on the opposite side of Clay Matthews. The Packers’ defense just got even scarier.