Mock Draft 3.0, the final one before the draft
This one is Isaac and Isaac only. I’m going to do this exactly how I believe this will play out. This includes trades. Let’s get to it:
1. Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton, quarterback – After hearing Cam’s interview/session with Jon Gruden, I am in firm belief that nobody should take Cam unless they have an ability to groom him as a true project quarterback. However, all signs point to Newton at #1 and I’m going for full accuracy here, not for what I think is right.
2. Denver Broncos – Marcel Dareus, defensive tackle – The Broncos will thank the Panthers for choosing Newton as they’ll be able to get their run stopper at #2. Dareus is talented and disruptive, and that’s what John Elway is looking for.
3. Buffalo Bills – Patrick Peterson, cornerback – Chan Gailey and the Bills front office have no real plan for this team. And while Peterson will be an excellent pick, they have more pressing needs. But until all of those people who have desks are gone, they will do questionable picks like this. But Peterson will give them an awesome secondary once paired with Leodis McKelvin.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green, wide receiver – A lot of people have the Bengals taking a quarterback here, and I do think the Bengals will take a QB in this draft, but A.J. Green solves another issue: getting a wide out. Green is a playmaker in the true sense of the word and he’ll be a new rookie QB’s best friend right off the bat.
5. Arizona Cardinals – Von Miller, outside linebacker – The Cardinals will be doing everything possible to make Larry Fitzgerald happy, and Fitz said don’t draft a QB. While I think the Cards will take one later in the draft, they do have a glaring hole at OLB. Joey Porter is crazy and old and Clark Haggans is old. Von Miller dropping this far would be a dream and they’ll probably take 0 seconds to make this decision.
6. Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones, wide receiver – Anyway you look at it, the Browns receivers are pretty poor. Robiskie and Massaquoi are not very good and unreliable. Julio Jones is a serious talent and this is something Pat Shurmur will love.
7. San Francisco – Blaine Gabbert, quarterback – San Fran has a pretty big issue right now: if they bring back Alex Smith, how much quicker will they lose the fan base? Troy Smith isn’t the answer either. The real question at this point is do they draft a QB this year or do they wait until next year and make a huge play for Andrew Luck.
8. Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, defensive tackle – Fairley’s coach from Auburn Tracy Rocker is now with the Titans. The Titans need a spark on the D. Fairley’s motor’s been questioned (which is weird because everyone said soon after the National Championship game that he had the best motor of of the defensive players), but I don’t think that the Titans pass this up.
9. TRADE – Detroit Lions – Robert Quinn, defensive end – The trade happens because I think the Lions will smell the Vikings or Houston looking to take Quinn. And the Lions are looking to do some more overhauling of their defensive line and Quinn will provide a solid anchor. Suh and Quinn will be scary.
10. TRADE – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Prince Amukamara, cornerback – The Bucs have an issue right now with Aqib Talib looking to get an orange jumpsuit here soon and the Redskins will be looking desperately for a trade partner to accumulate more picks and to more safely draft a certain QB prospect. If Prince goes to #10, and it’s possible he might, the Bucs may trade up to get this.
11. Houston Texans – J.J. Watt, defensive end – With Robert Quinn gone and with the Bucs trading up to get Prince Amukamara, the Texans will go with the absolute best available player for the 3-4. Watt will fit in ideally with Wade Phillips 3-4 design and be a cornerstone as they work towards getting a respectable defense.
12. Minnesota Vikings – Tyron Smith, offensive tackle – This will be a dream come true for the Vikings. Their offensive line is a group of older dudes and Phil Loadholt who was bad last season. Since they’ll be doing a lot of running next season because they have a giant hole at the QB position, shoring up the line to allow AP to do his thing will be a priority.
13. TRADE – Dallas Cowboys – Anthony Costanzo, offensive tackle – The Cowboys are rumored to want to move back in the draft, which is what we have them doing here so they could take Costanzo over Tyron Smith. Jerry finally quits ignoring his most glaring need and gets Romo some protection here with Costanzo.
14. St. Louis Rams – Aldon Smith, defensive end – The Rams will be looking to pair someone with Chris Long and Aldon Smith played at Missouri, giving him an already familiar fan base. Two pass rushers will make this team scary.
15. Miami Dolphins – Mike Pouncey, offensive guard – The Dolphins will be looking for a running back and may end up taking Mark Ingram here, but they also need to find some interior beef to go with their bookend tackles in Jake Long and Vernon Carey. Perhaps getting some additional blocking will ensure that Ronnie Brown won’t go down to injury so often.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Kerrigan, defensive end – The Jags need someone to compliment/replace Aaron Kampman who has had two ACL injuries in two years. Kerrigan has good speed and strength and is one thing that Jack Del Rio loves to draft other than terrible wide receivers: a defensive lineman.
17. New England Patriots – Cameron Heyward, defensive end – The Patriots will get their replacement for Richard Seymour here at the #17 spot. This will begin allowing Ty Warren to return to form and help with their mediocre run defense.
18. San Diego Chargers – Cameron Jordan, defensive end – Jacques Cesaire is a rotational player only and the Chargers need to find a way to make it so Shaun Phillips can do more damage. Jordan will be efficient at the end spot, further improving on their run defense.
19. New York Giants – Gabe Carimi, offensive tackle – The Giants are set at receiver and quarterback. All they need is a line that is a little bit younger and Eli will be able to efficiently get the ball to his talented group. Enter Carimi who is a true right tackle, and their second biggest need behind center. Eli will do less Eli face with Carimi on this team.
20. TRADE – Washington Redskins – Jake Locker, quarterback – Shanahan loves himself some athletic quarterbacks. Look at the success he had even with a little-confidence, weak armed Jake Plummer. With McNabb heading out the door and with Rex Grossman being a horrible option, Locker is a good fit for the Skins. They have more pressing needs, namely at everything other than tight end, left tackle, and safety, but Shanny needs to get his man early.
21. TRADE – Baltimore Ravens – Jimmy Smith, cornerback – The Ravens will trade a couple spots ahead of the Eagles to take Smith. They have two corners on the open market where there are several corner-needy teams out there. Unless Smith joins up with the Barksdales (The Wire reference), Smith should be fine in Maryland. Plus he’ll have Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs looking after him.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Nate Solder, offensive tackle – Peyton Manning looked ordinary when his line could barely block for him. The Colts already hate themselves for passing on budding star Roger Saffold who went to the Rams, so if any other position is selected here other than an offensive line man, the Colts aren’t as smart as they let everyone believe they are. And Manning may not sign that contract.
23. TRADE – Cincinnati Bengals – Christian Ponder, quarterback – They got AJ Green with their first pick, so they’ll trade back into the first to get their quarterback. Ponder is an intriguing prospect and the Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is really high on him. With Jimmy Smith gone and not that many intriguing offensive linemen here, the Eagles will look to accumulate value picks and hit up the second round. That is Andy Reid’s style.
24. New Orleans Saints – Da’Quan Bowers, defensive end – The Saints need some power added to their pass rush. With Will Smith getting all of the attention and no true blitzing OLB, they’ll be looking at anything/everything to upgrade their QB attack. Bowers at one point was the top rated prospect and he might even still turn into a great pro. But if he’s available at #24, the Saints will take him.
25. Seattle Seahawks – Corey Liuget, defensive tackle – With Brian Mebane looking like less of a priority, the Seahawks may look to fill that void with Liuget out of Illinois. A quarterback could be taken here as well, but I think the Seahawks will bide their time and hope Dalton or Mallett fall to them in the second round. However, I would be more proactive in finding their Hasslebeck replacement.
26. TRADE – Kansas City Chiefs – Derrick Sharrod, offensive tackle – The Chiefs need to find a compliment to Brandon Albert and also find a way to make their line younger. Brian Waters and Casey Wiegman are old. Their right tackle is horrible. Sharrod is the best available, ergo, he will be selected.
27. Atlanta Falcons – Adrian Clayborn, defensive end – John Abraham is getting aged. And football players aren’t like fine wines. Jamal Anderson is a failed project and is a free agent and they’ll need someone who can get to Drew Brees and Josh Freeman if they want to win the NFC South again. Clayborn is the best available at this point, and he can get to the QB. Motor is good too.
28. New England Patriots – Mark Ingram, running back – The former Heisman winner will be the first back off the board this late. And the Pats could use an actual big name player at the RB position, allowing Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis to go to more complimentary roles. Plus, having a true running threat will open up the passing game for Brady and the Pats.
29. Chicago Bears – Muhammad Wilkerson, defensive tackle – Tommy Harris is gone, and while the Bears need to improve their offensive line, they need beef at the DT spot. This is still a good move overall, but unless the Bears trade up, they will miss out on any of the ideal offensive line talent, but still win with this pick. And Jay Cutler really, really needs offensive line help.
30. TRADE – Arizona Cardinals – Andy Dalton, quarterback – The Cardinals do need an upgrade at quarterback. And while Fitzgerald, as stated earlier, told them not to draft a QB, they can’t wait around for Andrew Luck next season. Once they get on the field together, Fitz will really like this kid. Perhaps the first red headed quarterback superstar is Andy Dalton.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Aaron Williams, defensive back – The Steelers look ordinary when Polamalu isn’t playing. This is mainly because Ryan Clark is ordinary and Polamalu is amazing. While Polamalu throws himself around with reckless disregard, they will eventually need to replace him and Williams will at the very least be able to provide his cover skills.
32. Green Bay Packers – Mikel Leshoure, running back – Ryan Grant is not a guarantee to return to form next season. And while John Kuhn (a true fullback) and James Starks showed some life during the post season, they could use a true feature back. Leshoure doesn’t have the greatest experience in the world, but he does have skills. And if you pair a good running game with Aaron Rodgers pass attack, you have another reason to be very scared of this Packers team.
We’ll see what happens tonight.
Isaac Rickert, NFL Enthusiast.