If there’s one thing I’ve learned about NFL Mock Drafts, it’s that they’re pretty much useless after the fourth overall pick. After that trades are likely to start occurring and/or some stud who caught everyone’s attention at the NFL Combine isn’t as high on team’s boards as perceived.
There were quite a few surprises, starting with Atlanta’s trade with Cleveland. A record 12 defensive linemen were selected and Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers wasn’t one of them.
Four quarterbacks were selected in the first twelve picks and our Philadelphia Eagles are assigning a 26 yr old ex-firefighter to help keep Michael Vick healthy.
Pick by pick, here’s my take on the first round….
1. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton-QB (Auburn); All of the discussions of Newton’s character and scandals should be used as motivation for him. He has the ability to turn the Panthers around and be their franchise QB for quite a while.
2. Denver Broncos: Von Miller-LB (Texas A&M); For a team switching to a 4/3 defense, Marcell Darreus would’ve been a better for the Broncos plans.
3. Buffalo Bills: Marcell Dareus-DT (Alabama); Dareus was a solid pick for the Bills. He can contribute in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green-WR (Georgia); I honestly thought Carolina would shock everyone and go with Green. This likely means “Adios Ochocinco”, but it’s still anyone’s guess who will be throwing him the ball.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson-CB (LSU); I’m not buying the rumors of trading Kevin Kolb for Peterson. The Cardinals simply took the best player available.
6. Atlanta Falcons [trade w/Cleveland]: Julio Jones-WR (Alabama); It’ll take another article to discuss everything the Falcons gave the Browns to move up 21 spots. One elated individual right now is Matt Ryan.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Aldon Smith-DE/OLB (Missouri); Blaine Gabbert or Prince Amukamara was supposed to be drafted here. Not only does this help the Niner’s pass rush, but this is also a sign that Jim Harbaugh is really considering re-signing Alex Smith.
8. Tennessee Titans: Jake Locker-QB (Washington); This is the first “reach” of the draft. Looks like Kerry Collins will be back at least a year to tutor the former Husky.
9. Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith-OT (USC); With the talented skill players he’s invested in, Jerry Jones had not choice but to address the offensive line early. Tony Romo and his collarbone are very thankful right now.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars [trade with Washington]: Blaine Gabbert-QB (Missouri); The Jags gave up their 16th and 49th overall picks to acquire Sunshine from “Remember The Titans”. Gabbert is in a good place here, getting to sit and learn behind David Garrard at least one season before he takes over.
11. Houston Texans: J.J. Watt-DE (Wisconsin); This was one of the best selections in the first round. With the Texans switching to Wade Phillips 3-4 defense, J.J. Watt should contribute up front immediately.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder-QB (Florida St.); This seems like a huge reach. Ponder isn’t going to be ready to start in 2011. One the new league year begins, can you say Donovan McNabb?
13. Detroit Lions: Nick Fairley-DT (Auburn): There was a time when Fairley wasn’t going to make it past pick No. 2. Now he’ll line up with last year’s No.2 pick, Ndamukong Suh. Those two, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril could be the NFL’s best front four next year.
14. St. Louis Rams: Robert Quinn-DE (UNC): With wideouts Green and Jones long gone off the board, coach Steve Spagnuolo addressed what he knows best which is rushing the passer.
15. Miami Dolphins: Mike Pouncey-G/C (Florida): After long speculation that the Dolphins would draft running back Mark Ingram, they chose to address the offensive line. Their next RB should find comfort in knowing he’ll have Pouncey blocking for him.
16. Washington Redskins: Ryan Kerrigan-DE (Purdue): The Skins added a Day 2 draft pick and a pass rusher who actually won’t mind playing in their 3-4 scheme. This may be the smartest transaction I’ve seen Washington make in recent memory.
17. New England Patriots: Nate Solder-OT (Colorado): When you make your future Hall of Famer the highest paid player in the league, it only makes sense to keep him upright. Can’t get much better than a 6’8”, 319 lb guy to block his blind side.
18. San Diego Chargers: Corey Liuget-DT (Illinois): Last season’s No. 1 overall defense just got younger up front. .
19. New York Giants: Prince Amukamara-CB (Nebraska); As an Eagle’s fan part of me believes the Giants drafted Prince so Philly couldn’t get him. Regardless, DeSean Jackson and the Eagles’ receiving corp. have another physical corner to contend with.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn-DE (Iowa); The Bucs have quietly put together a pretty potent defensive line the past two draft.
21. Cleveland Browns [trade with Kansas City]: Phil Taylor-DT (Baylor); After the trade with the Falcons, Cleveland could afford to give up a 1st and 3rd to move up from No. 28. Taylor looks like a prototypical nose tackle.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Constanzo-OT (Boston College); Like the Patriots and Brady, the most important thing for the Colts is keeping Peyton Manning upright and comfortable in the pocket.
23. Philadelphia Eagles: Danny Watkins-OG (Baylor); Danny Watkins?? Really?? The Eagles addressed a huge need but was Watkins the best player available. I’ll say this: When you draft a 26 year old in the first round, he HAS to be able to start from Day 1. He HAS to help reduce the sacks allowed statistic.
24. New Orleans Saints: Cameron Jordan-DE (California); The Saints needed to address their D-line. At 6’4”, 290 lbs Jordan should be able to step in immediately at LDE
25. Seattle Seahawks: James Carpenter-OG (Alabama); The Seahawks addressed the guard position for the same reason the Eagles did. Stacy Andrews is not the answer!
26. Kansas City Chiefs: Jonathan Baldwin-WR (Pittsburgh); Matt Cassel has to be happy. Baldwin can contribute immediately across from Dwayne Bowe and add firepower to the Chiefs offense.
27. Baltimore Ravens: Jimmy Smith-CB (Colorado); Any Eagles wondering how Reid could pass on Smith can refer to the footage of him and agent Drew Rosenhaus while waiting for his name to be called. He should flourish in B-More. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed should provide good leadership.
28. New Orleans Saints[trade w/New England]: Mark Ingram-RB (Alabama). Who Dat Nation has reason to celebrate this pick. Ingram should provide the Saints with an excellent running game to complement Drew Brees
29. Chicago Bears: Gabe Carimi-OT (Wisconsin): Carimi and his run blocking should be able to start at right tackle during his rookie year.
30. New York Jets: Muhammad Wilkerson-DT/DE (Temple); At 6’4:, 315 lbs Wilkerson looks a 3-4 DE. He should be able to contribute quickly.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cameron Heyward-DE (Ohio State): This is how you get six Super Bowl titles. The Steelers addressed a position which is in dire need of a youth movement.
32. Green Bay Packers: Derrick Sherrod-OT (Mississippi St): Adding Sherrod to last year’s first round pick of Brian Bulaga give Aaron Rodgers and the Super Bowl Champs bookend protection for the next decade.