AJ takes his first crack at projecting the first round in the NFL Draft…
1. Carolina Panthers- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
People with more inside information than me seem to think Carolina is leaning towards a QB and a “face of the franchise,” Cam Newton would be both
2. Denver Broncos- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Another rumor floating around is that John Elway would love to draft a QB at this spot, but I don’t see that happening if Newton is picked #1overall. Dareus is a disruptive player that any team would love to have.
3. Buffalo Bills- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
I don’t think I need to tell anyone how bad the Bills were against the run last year, they need an anchor for that new 3-4 they implemented, and Von Miller isn’t good enough against the run to warrant this pick.
4. Cincinnati Bengals- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
If I am a Bengals fan, and thank god I’m not, I would be praying they take Green in this pick instead of Julio Jones. Green a natural born route runner who could provide an immediate impact. He also has the best first name in the draft.
5. Arizona Cardinals- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Cardinals need to get their QB situation together; John Skelton might be a good story out of Fordham, but Larry Fitzgerald deserves better than him.
6. Cleveland Browns- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Haden and Peterson at the corners? Scary.
7. San Francisco 49ers – Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
If I’m Von Miller I am not happy about dropping this far but this would give the 49ers a very good and young linebacker core, which they could build off of.
8. Tennessee Titans – Robert Quinn, DL, North Carolina
The Titans would obviously love for one of the top two QB’s to drop to them, or maybe they think about trading up, but at this point, they should pick the best player available, which is exactly what Robert Quinn is
9. Dallas Cowboys- Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida
Pouncey Tweeted that he would be surprised if he weren’t a Cowboy next season after he visited with the team. Hey, I’ll go to the Looney Bin with you bro.
10. Washington Redskins – Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
The Redskins have more holes than Augusta and should be happy to pick up a quality receiver here at #10.
11. Houston Texans – Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Once considered a top 5 pick, Bowers’ draft stock has taken a hit because of questions about his knee coming off surgery. But he’s got the talent, and a combination of Bowers and Williams would have Peyton Manning shaking in his boots.
12. Minnesota Vikings – Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Jordan has great ability and with the Vikings most likely set to lose DE Ray Edwards, they are going to need someone to fill his role immediately
13. Detroit Lions – Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
The Lions have been doing a funny thing lately, drafting quality players, they will continue the trend this year by drafting Amukamara who is flying under the radar a bit because of super-prospect Peterson.
14. St. Louis Rams – Corey Liuget, DL, Illinois
The Rams two biggest needs are probably WR and DL. They aren’t going to pick up Green or Jones, but should be very happy to pick up Illinois’ Corey Liuget who is good against both the run and pass
15. Miami Dolphins - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
This has been a popular pick for sometime now, Ingram is the type of hard runner that Tony Soprano loves, but I mostly put Ingram here because I don’t want to think about him going to the other division rival with one of their two picks
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
Aldon Smith is the physical lineman Jack Del Rio is looking for to solidify his defensive front. Smith could potentially transition to an outside linebacker, but the Jags would try to use his athleticism with his hand in the dirt.
Kerrigan is known around the league as a pretty safe pick. While his ceiling is not as high as some of the other prospects at the DE position, he is a proven football player who is smart on the field and was productive throughout his collegiate career.
18. San Diego Chargers – J.J. Watt, DL, Wisconsin
J.J. is flexible enough as a defensive lineman to play the 3 and 5 technique. A true Big Ten guy, Watt is a smart and high energy player who always seems to be around the ball.
19. New York Giants – Tyron Smith, OT, USC
The Giants get an absolute steal here with Tyron Smith, while they would love to get an interior linemen like Mike Pouncey, Smith is the best lineman available in the 2011 draft and at this point cannot drop any further, the Giants get a gem here and will find a place for him on the field.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Muhammed Wilkerson, DL, Temple
If you followed my Prospect Watch at all you know that I really like this guy and I think he should be at the top of the Jets wish list for this draft. Unfortunately it probably won’t happen as his stock has been steadily increasing since the draft season began.
21. Kansas City Chiefs – Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Another prospect out of Offensive Line U (BC) Castonzo is considered NFL ready. The Chiefs had a surprise season last year and they will attempt to form a foundation for future consistent success, and there is no better way to do that than sure up your OL.
22. Indianapolis Colts – Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Carimi and Castonzo could flip flop these picks but either way, the Colts are going to have to improve a line that has been in steady decline for the last couple of years. The Colts will hope Carimi can improve a Colts run game that struggled all last year.
23. Philadelphia Eagles – Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
After a dormant first half of the draft OL lineman are coming off the board fast in the meat of the 1st round. The Eagles will want to make sure they protect Mike Vick as much as they can or he will only be around for one or two more years.
24. New Orleans Saints – Adrian Clayborne, DE, Iowa
Like the Jets, the Saints ran into problems getting to the QB without blitzing last year. Clayborne comes from a great program in Iowa and it shows in his discipline during the games and on the practice field. He drops a little because of a medical condition restricting movement in his arm, but it didn’t seem to bother him too much in college and he should be prime for a productive pro career.
25. Seattle Seahawks- Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Locker has had to work his behind off after having a sub-par season at Washington. The Seahawks’ QB problems are well documented, Hasselback belongs in a retirement home and the Whitehurst trade was one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. A training camp competition between Locker and Whitehurst could be good for both players.
26. Baltimore Ravens- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
Smith could be a great fit for Baltimore, he has great speed and a high ceiling, with some teaching from a veteran Ravens defense, he could really shine in years to come
27. Atlanta Falcons- Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
Ayers has dropped in this draft and it is very possible that if he slides this much a team could trade up and grab him. Nevertheless, the Falcons are looking for a future replacement for John Abraham and someone who could take some reps from him immediately.
28. New England Patriots – Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
The Patriots spend another pick to improve their defense and they pick up another quality player in Brooks Reed. A pass rushing specialist with some serious size, Reed would fit perfectly in the Patriots defense.
29. Chicago Bears – Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
The Bears pick up a player who has got to be high on the Jets board. A prototypical NT, Taylor could potentially be a beast playing the 3 technique in the Bears 4-3 defense. They do need a OL but any prospect might be a reach at this point so the rich get richer as the Chicago defense improves tremendously with this pick.
30. New York Jets – Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Everyone knows that the Jets DL is in most need of an adrenaline shot, but Rex is creative and can get anyone to play hard for him. I think they should wait until their 3rd round pick to start working on the DL. This leaves us with pass rushing specialist Houston, who could excel in the role that Jason Taylor played last year until he is groomed enough to be a full time starter.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Harris brings the speed and athleticism for a nickel/ dime package corner. If he can figure out some character issues and get serious about playing the game he could be a very good NFL player.
32. Green Bay Packers- Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
Here we go, the defending champs, The Packers pick up the best player available here in Heyward who suffered a bit of a drop.