I have used Mel Kiper and Todd McShay's mock drafts and draft ratings to help fill out this mock draft. I am picking on what positions I think each team needs to address in this draft, maybe not the best possible player available. This is a defense heavy draft class, but surprisingly to myself, I have 4 quarterbacks going in the first half of the first round!
Oakland -> New England: Richard Seymour
- Carolina (2-14)-Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn- Carolina needs players in almost all positions. They take Fairley, who brings the tough inside presence they need to compete up front against the run. He is also a great pass rusher and punishes the quarterback anytime he gets the chance.
- Denver (4-12)- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU- Champ Bailey is getting older and his hall of fame career is coming to an end. Some say that Peterson has the talent to go number one but in this scenario he falls to the broncos who are happy to have him. He will immediately make an impact in the Bronco's secondary much like what Eric Berry did for the Chiefs this year.
- Buffalo (4-12)-DaQuan Bowers, DE, Clemson- He is another candidate to go number one. He has freaky athleticism and a great motor. He is a relentless pass rusher who knows how to get to the quarterback. He will be able to chase Tom Brady around next year in the AFC East.
- Cincinnati (4-12)-A.J. Green, WR, Georgia- Chad Johnson is at odds with Marvin Lewis and Ocho Cinco is said to be unhappy in Cincinnati. Also Carson Palmer is said to want out. I believe that they will cut their losses with Chad and try to retain Carson. If this is a case they will need a young wide out and A.J. Green has the potential to be a great one. He the has speed, height, leaping ability and hand eye coordination of some of the greats in the league today.
- Arizona (5-11)-Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri- Maybe Arizona should have kept Leinart, but he probably would have done just as poorly as the cast of quarterbacks Arizona had last season. They need a franchise QB and now that Luck has taken his name out and returned to Stanford Gabbert is the best in this class. He may be a good quarterback down the road but with the rest of Arizona's squad as it is expect him to struggle if he is thrown into the fire next year.
- Cleveland (5-11)-Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama- Cleveland scored big with Colt McCoy last year, and now they address the weak defensive front this year. Dareus is an explosive talent in the trenches who is good at both run defense and pass rushing. He will start and contribute immediately.
- San Francisco (6-10)-Cam Newton, QB, Auburn- San Francisco desperately needs a quarterback. They have players at all of the positions except QB. Newton is a stretch here, but he proved he can overcome adversity on and off the field. He is quick, mobile, and has a developing arm. Best case scenario I see a Donovan Mcnabb type player, worst case scenario is another mobile quarterback who can't throw with accuracy, A.K.A. Alex Smith.
- Tennessee (6-10)-Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina- Tennessee starts its new regime focusing on defense. Quinn is a great talent who had to sit out the season because of NCAA violations. He is a great talent and has great upside. It will have to be seen how much or how little taking the year off will hurt his progression on the field, I think it will have a very minimal effect.
- Dallas (6-10)-Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska- Dallas needs immediate help in the secondary. Terrance Newman still has talent and can still compete with anyone, but their other two young cornerbacks leave much to be desired. Prince has the talent to come in and take the second starting job right away. He is the second ranked CB in this class and could go much higher. Dallas will be lucky if they get him.
- Washington (6-10)-Jake Locker, QB, Washington- They need a quarterback and I think they really wanted Cam Newton. Donovan is out of there and Rex Grossman is a joke. They take a huge risk and take Jake Locker, who at the beginning of the season was ranked as the number 1 prospect in this draft. He had a horrible year and did not do much to impress scouts at the Senior Bowl. If he lives up to the hype he had this time last year the Redskins have a steal.
- Houston (6-10)- Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri- The Texans need somebody opposite of Mario Williams. Aldon Smith is a great competitor who is good against the run and pass. This will solidify an already strong Texans Defense.
- Minnesota (6-10)- Ryan Mallet, QB, Arkansas- Farve is gone, maybe, hopefully. That leaves the Vikings with Tavaris Jackson and the young Webb. If the Vikings do not go after a QB via free agency or trade, I expect them to take one here. Mallet is the best available, he is a huge player with a strong arm. He lacks mobility and will have to learn to step up and maneuver around the pocket.
- Detroit (6-10)- Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M- Mel Kiper has Von Miller ranked in his top seven players. If he turns out to be the player that Mel thinks he will then Detroit gets a huge upgrade at the linebacker position. He has a great work ethic and will be a great addition to the improving culture of the young lions.
- St. Louis (7-9)-Julio Jones, WR, Alabama- St. Louis and Sam Bradford exceeded every expectation for them last year. Bradford had a great rookie campaign and what was even more impressive was that his top three receivers were hurt for the majority of the year. Julio Jones improved tremendously this year cutting down the number of drops. He will be a physical target for Bradford.
- Miami (7-9)-Nate Solder, OL, Colorado- Miami needs to build their offensive line to try and protect whoever is playing quarterback, be it an actual quarterback or Ronnie Brown in the wild cat. Solder is the top ranked offensive lineman in the draft and his physical style would be a perfect fit for Miami's running attack.
- Jacksonville (8-8)-Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA- Jacksonville needs a pass rusher, they could also use an impact linebacker. Ayers is an athletic freak who can rush the passer, play the run, and play the pass. He could fill two voids for Jacksonville if he develops his skill set.
- New England - from Oakland (8-8)- Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama- The Patriots do not really need Ingram, but I cannot see him dropping into the Pats lap like this and not being picked here. He would be a superb back in the Pats' backfield rotation. He has shown at Alabama how explosive he can be with his mix of speed, power, and agile feet.
- San Diego (9-7)-Adrian Clayborn, DE, Missouri- The Chargers need a pass rusher and Clayborn is the best available at this point. He may not be an instant star but he has the skill set and intangibles to make a difference next year. I see him being a consistent contributer to a defense who disappointed last year.
- New York Giants (10-6)-Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida- Some how another Pouncey brother slips to the second half of the draft. From watching his brother in Steeler land I expect him to fill any void the Giants have on their Offensive Line.
- Tampa Bay (10-6)-J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin- Another big pass rusher to put next to McCoy on an improving Tampa Bay team. This pick could make Tampa Bay a run stopping machine.
- Kansas City* (10-6)-Cameron Jordan, DE, California- Kansas City has a young athletic defense who started to show up in some big situations last season. They add a defensive end who can get to the passer he would help out the defensive line.
- Indianapolis* (10-6)-Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon St.-Paea went down in the Senior Bowl with a torn mcl so it will have to be seen how this effects his work outs. Indiana could use a huge strong tackle like Paea to go with the speed on the ends. They could also go with a offensive lineman to help protect Manning.
- Philadelphia* (10-6)-Gabe Carimi, OL, Wisconsin- Carimi is huge and can help the Eagles protect the fragile Vick. He is great in pass protection and run blocking but it will be crucial that he is able to make adjustments on the fly while Vick is scrambling.
- New Orleans* (11-5)-Justin Houston, DE, Georgia-A trending theme in this draft is teams addressing their need at DE, the Saints do just this. Houston can play either the LB or DE. He is quick and can get to the QB off the edge. The Saints vill their void at DE in hopes of making it back to the super bowl next year.
- Seattle* (7-9)-Brandon Harris, CB, Miami- Seattle really wanted a QB in this draft with the aging Hasselbeck and the questions about Whitehurst, but all of the legit QB's are gone so they address another need at CB. Harris has the skills and the athleticism to succeed in the NFL.
- Baltimore* (12-4)-Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue- Last years pick Kindle never made it to the field and his career is reportedly in jeopardy of never taking off. They go for another DE this year in Kerrigan. The senior is consistent and will be able to contribute immediately on the already stout defensive front.
- Atlanta* (13-3)-Anthony Castonzo, OL, Boston College- Atlanta had a great year and just came up short in the end. The Packers tortured Matty Ice with Clay Mathews. The logical next step, draft a tackle to protect him. Castonzo is a big tackle who can help in this area.
- New England* (14-2)-Cameron Heyward, DT, Ohio State- The Patriots address the need of a young defensive lineman. Heyward didn't have the year many expected this past season but he could develop in the Pat's system. He can play either DT or DE which makes him a good fit for Belichick's system.
- Chicago* (11-5)-Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland- If Cutler is going to succeed in Mike Martz's system he needs more talented receivers. This year's receiving crop is not as talented as past class's but they could score big with Torrey.
- New York Jets* (11-5)-Muhammed Wilkerson, DT, Temple- The Jets need an insurance plan incase Kris Jenkins goes down to injury again.
- Green Bay* (10-6)-Mike Leshoure, RB, Illinois- The Packers made it all the way to the super bowl without a reliable running game. Ryan Grant will come back next year, but who knows how well he will rebound off of his injury. Leshoure will provide a back up plan.
- Pittsburgh* (12-4)-Tyron Smith, OL, USC- Pittsburgh really needs depth on their offensive line. They were ravaged by injuries this year, all the way up to the super bowl. Smith might not play next year if everyone remains healthy, or if things go like they did this year he could be an intricate part to their success next year.