Tuesday, April 26, 2011
KD's Mock Draft - Version 2.0
Draft day is almost here. I've added a 2nd round to my Mock Draft. I didn't project any trades, but on Thursday I'll give you a breif breakdown of some moves that could happen in round 1. Onto the picks:
1. Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn- GM Marty Hurney rolls the dice here on the dynamic, but unproven, prospect from Auburn. Newton is not a finished product, but he’ll have the opportunity to become the face of the franchise in Carolina. Newton can make plays with his arm and his feet, but his success hinges on his ability to digest an NFL playbook and terminology.
2. Denver Broncos - Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama- John Elway’s window shopped nearly every quarterback prospect in the draft, but Denver’s defense, ranked 32nd last year, is in need of more major repairs at the moment. Elway and GM Brian Xander draft Dareus, a Richard Seymour clone, to be the key cog in the Denver defensive line. He can play the 1, the 3, and the 5 technique and can get after the passer more than you’d think. Best player in the draft.
3. Buffalo Bills - Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M- The Bills would love to get Cam Newton here as Chan Gailey’s had some success with mobile quarterbacks. Gailey doesn’t get that chance and instead opts to take a dynamic pass-rusher in case Shawn Merriman doesn’t come back from injury. Miller posted DeMarcus Ware-like triangle numbers at the combine, and as long as he doesn’t have to go in reverse much (i.e. drop in coverage) he’ll be a solid threat off the edge.
4. Cincinnati Bengals - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia- The Bengals slot their draft picks based on position, and with no real receiving threat opposite the rapidly aging Chad Johnson, the Bengals nab A.J. Green. Green is a complete receiver, able to run over the middle, has excellent hands, and can beat you deep. Whoever quarterbacks the Bengals next year will need weapons as Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley are better served in the slot.
5. Arizona Cardinals - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU- It’s no real secret the Cardinals really covet Von Miller. It’s also a not so big secret that Ken Whisenhunt would like to add a veteran to his quarterback stable, so he passes on Blaine Gabbert here. Peterson is one of the most talented corners to come along in quite some time. He’s got Nnamdi Asomugha size and speed, he can tackle, he can return kicks, and can play safety in a pinch. A do everything type to team with DRC.
6. Cleveland Browns - Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson- Despite the rumors about Bowers’ knee, the Browns take a chance here to get a pass-rusher needed for their 4-3 defense. Bowers has been labeled a one year wonder, but he came on in a big way with 15.5 sacks and 25 TFL’s. He wasn’t quite as productive before 2010, but still tallied 4 sacks and 18.5 TFL’s his first two years when he teamed with Ricky Sappy. Bowers is capable of playing end on either side in a 4-3 defense.
7. San Francisco 49ers - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri- The 49ers brass thinks that Alex Smith is still salvageable, but with no impact linebacker or cornerback left on the board, the 49ers get their “franchise” quarterback. Gabbert comes from a spread system that didn’t throw the ball downfield much, and he’ll have to work a lot on his footwork – he’s very mechanical. He’ll fit Jim Harbaugh’s system pretty well, and Harbaugh tried to recruit Gabbert once upon a time. Think Andrew Luck without the arm or running ability.
8. Tennessee Titans - Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas- Here’s the first major curveball for everyone. I think the “character” concerns about Mallett are way overblown. From a pure arm and football IQ standpoint, Mallett is the best quarterback in the draft. I feel like Tennessee has their foot in the water on the QBs in this draft, and will take one at some point. I don’t think it’ll be at the 8th spot – I think they’ll look to trade down (perhaps St. Louis moves up to look at Julio Jones here) and take one later, but for now, I’ll stick Mallett here.
9. Dallas Cowboys - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska- Dallas is another team that’s open for business to trade, again, I’d look at St. Louis and possibly Miami (who has been linked to Blaine Gabbert as of late) to deal up here. If Dallas stays, and I think that’s a big if, Amukamara will be the pick. The Cowboys gave up a lot of big plays last year in the secondary and Amukamara can step in from day one and shut down one side of the field. Terrance Newman is getting old and Mike Jenkins hasn’t lived up to his potential.
10. Washington Redskins - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama - Mike Shanahan is certainly stubborn enough to give Donovan McNabb another go around. If the Redskins do go QB here, I’d expect it to be Jake Locker, given the mobility factor that Shanahan likes in his QBs (Elway, Cutler). The Redskins can’t rely on Anthony Armstrong as a primary weapon again next year, so taking a premium receiver here in Jones is very good value; more so in my opinion than Cincinnati taking Green 4th overall.
11. Houston Texans - Aldon Smith, LB, Missouri- The Texans could definitely use help in the secondary, but with Amukamara off the board as well, they go OLB here. They have some pieces up front with Mario Williams and Antonio Smith, but they don’t have a pass-rusher yet. Smith has absolutely violent hands, some of the best I’ve ever seen, and can run the arc well. He’ll have a lot of trouble having to drop in coverage, but he’ll provide a nice pass-rush for Wade Phillips’ new 3-4 defense.
12. Minnesota Vikings - Jake Locker, QB, Washington- The Vikings need a signal-caller in light of the Brett Favre disaster last year. With all of the quarterbacks being overvalued, the Vikings have no choice but to pull the trigger on one right now. Locker’s athletic and seems to have a decent football IQ, but he’s got accuracy issues. However, many of these issues appear to be coachable. He’ll be pressed into action early, and it’ll show, but this is the right move for the Vikings at this juncture with how the board as fallen.
13. Detroit Lions - Tyron Smith, T, USC- Detroit can’t land their dream prospect Prince Amukamara, so they finally get someone to protect their investment in Matthew Stafford. Smith’s very athletic, but only has experience at right tackle. Many think he’s got the footwork to move to the left side, but it remains to be seen. I’m not sure if he’s the best left tackle in this class as he’s a notch below where Trent Williams and Russell Okung were last year.
14. St. Louis Rams - Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn- While St. Louis would love to have Julio Jones available here, they still get lucky and land Auburn DT Nick Fairley. He’ll be a force for the Rams inside from day one. He’s an upgrade over Gary Gibson and he’ll play next to Fred Robbins and be able to penetrate gaps and wreak havoc in the backfield. He’s more of a one-year wonder than Da’Quan Bowers, but his best football is still ahead of him.
15. Miami Dolphins - Mike Pouncey, G, Florida- Miami’s another team that’s going to trade down. With the top 4 quarterbacks gone, I think they’ll look to move back and go after Mike Pouncey. In their scheme, he’ll be a pulling left guard – bad value at the 15th overall spot – but you can see them drafted in round one (Logan Mankins). Pouncey should start from day one, and I think he’s one of Miami’s main targets, the others being Mallett and Mark Ingram, but I don’t think he’ll be the 15th overall pick.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue- The Jags have tried and tried in recent years to get a productive pass-rusher. They’ve experimented with a lot of potential types. Now they just go by the numbers. Kerrigan, while not a smooth athlete, has 37.5 career sacks and 55.5 TFL’s throughout his career. He can play either side in the 4-3, and is best with his hand in the ground. Comes from a program that’s produced a long line of quality defensive players over the years in Roosevelt Colvin, Chike Okeafor, Shaun Phillips, Ray Edwards, Anthony Spencer, Rob Ninkovich, and Cliff Avril.
17. New England Patriots - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin- The Patriots need to continue getting younger in the defensive front. Ty Warren is coming off injury, and while they added Marcus Stroud, they can still stand to infuse more talent to bolster the line. Watt has a non-stop motor and can get after the passer. He’s very athletic for a 3-4 DE and can kick inside in nickel and dime packages or even play with his hand on the ground in some 4-3 packages.
18. San Diego Chargers - Robert Quinn, LB, North Carolina- The Chargers also get lucky with Robert Quinn’s free fall here. He’ll convert to the OLB spot in San Diego’s 3-4 defense. They need to upgrade their front seven as Larry English hasn’t panned out and they got rid of Shawne Merriman. A year off from football might make Quinn seem a bit sluggish at first. He needs to increase his repertoire of moves, but that concern should be somewhat alleviated in a 3-4.
19. New York Giants - Anthony Castonzo, T, Boston College- The Giants played musical chairs last year on the O-line, and they probably missed the playoffs because of it. Both David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie are aging at tackle. Castonzo is the best pure left tackle in this draft, though, again, a notch below what Williams and Okung were last year. Castonzo can play either side, but he’s best suited on the left where the Giants can kick David Diehl back inside to his natural guard position.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Cameron Jordan, DE, California- The Buccaneers will have to heavily consider Colorado CB Jimmy Smith at this point due to the impending release of Aqib Talib. However, I doubt they’ll take another CB with issues, and Smith has some. Cameron Jordan gives them a solid strong side end to take up the Kevin Carter position in Tampa. He’s versatile enough to be a number one pass rush threat and he can kick inside on passing downs.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor- The Chiefs need a nose tackle to plug the run on the D-line. They’ll have some high investments there having used 1st round picks on Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, but Taylor might end up being better than both when all is said and done. He’s 6’3” 334lbs and is very athletic for a man his size – classic “Planet Theory” player. He’ll disappear for long stretches, but he’s got loads of potential and is still coming into his own.
22. Indianapolis Colts - Nate Solder, T, Colorado- GM Bill Polian admitted he regrets taking Jerry Hughes with his first round pick last year and not protecting Peyton Manning. Solder’s a converted tight end with good feet and a blue collar attitude, despite his finesse style of play, and he should start immediately at left tackle for the Colts. He’ll have to learn quickly, but doesn’t everyone when Peyton Manning’s running your huddle?
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Gabe Carimi, T, Wisconsin- As mobile as Michael Vick is, he still took a beating last year. Philadelphia has the left side of the line under control with Jason Peters, but they could definitely stand to improve over Winston Justice. Carimi will have to transition to the right side, but he’s pretty athletic – he was asked to pull from his LT post at UW – and is nasty in the run game.
24. New Orleans Saints - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa- The Saints need pass rush help opposite Will Smith. They’ve tried to plug players in that spot for the last few years with little success. Clayborn’s a proven rusher who had an outstanding 2009 season. His play fell off a bit in 2010, but that may have been due to injury. He gave Wisconsin T Gabe Carimi fits throughout his career and will have Smith opposite him.
25. Seattle Seahawks - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado- Pete Carroll’s been known to take a chance on guys with questionable character in the past. The Seahawks have a lot of talent on defense, but can use an upgrade at CB. Marcus Trufant is a solid veteran, but Kelly Jennings’ play has taken a dip recently. Smith’s triangle numbers at the combine were outstanding and he’s a true shut down corner.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State- GM Ozzie Newsome is known for sticking to his draft board and landing talented players. He gets another one here with Cameron Heyward. Heyward is a prototypical 3-4 DE and he can start from day one. He’ll allow Haloti Ngata to slide in and be a true NT. Heyward is a 3-down player, but he is coming off a serious elbow injury that bears watching. Excellent value pick here for Baltimore.
27. Atlanta Falcons- Justin Houston, DE, Georgia- The Falcons are stuck between a rock and a hard place with a serious run on pass rushers. They take a chance on local product Justin Houston, who looks the part, but isn’t always productive. A physical specimen at 6’2” 270lbs with a 4.69 40, he’s got a few decent moves. Buyer beware with Georgia pass rushers though.
28. New England Patriots - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama- I fully expect another team to be picking in the 28th spot - primarily one of the teams that needs to address the quarterback spot like Buffalo or Cincinnati. Ingram fits in well with what the Patriots do, and he’s an upgrade over Laurence Maroney and Danny Woodhead. He’s a tough, tough runner, and has good hands out the backfield. Has drawn tons of comparisons to Emmitt Smith.
29. Chicago Bears - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois- The Bears need another force up front as Tommie Harris is gone, and Matt Toeaina and Anthony Adams are merely average. Liuget is raw, but very talented and fits that quick, undersized mold the Bears seem to love. He really came on in 2010 and his best football may still be in front of him. Typical Bears selection that will pay off big for them.
30. New York Jets - Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple- The Jets can stand to upgrade their front seven as well. No one knows about the future of NT Kris Jenkins, though Sione Pouha played well at times in his absence. Shaun Ellis is 33 and an impending free agent and Trevor Pryce is a dinosaur. There’s little else in the way of depth aside from Mike DeVito, so Wilkerson can step in as a plug and play DE in the 3-4.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - Aaron Williams, CB, Texas- Historically the Steelers haven’t taken cornerbacks in round one. With Ike Taylor and Bryant McFadden having less than stellar seasons and getting burned in the Super Bowl, the Steelers add another piece to their defense. Williams has size and speed and enough talent to start from day one opposite Ike Taylor. He’ll eventually be tasked with taking over the #1 CB duties and that should be a relatively smooth transition.
32. Green Bay Packers - Brooks Reed, LB, Arizona- The Packers get a lot of injured talent back in 2011, which makes them even better. The Packers had great success drafting Clay Matthews late in round 1 in 2009, and they dip into the OLB well again. Ted Thompson’s always been a BPA guy, and at this point, that player is Reed. Reed is 6’2” 263lbs has a non-stop motor and good speed. He’s got the size to play the strong side position and he should be able to supplant Frank Zombo there to give the Packers the best OLB duo not named Harrison and Woodley.
33. New England Patriots - Danny Watkins, G, Baylor
- Tough as nails G who can fill the void of Stephen Neal’s retirement at RG.
34. Buffalo Bills - Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
- A tough, mobile QB that will eventually unseat incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick in Buffalo.
35. Cincinnati Bengals - Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
- Dalton should take well to Jay Gruden’s new west coast system in Cincinnati.
36. Denver Broncos - Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
- The Broncos need a QB-friendly target. Rudolph is big and explosive with great hands.
37. Cleveland Browns - Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
- Browns bolster D-line with a 1st round talent who slips because of suspension.
38. Arizona Cardinals - Jabaal Sheard, LB, Pittsburgh
- The Cards get a productive pass-rusher to play OLB. Can put his hand down if needed.
39. Tennessee Titans - Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
- Immensely talented, but underachieved in 2010. Will challenge troubled Kenny Britt.
40. Dallas Cowboys - Derek Sherrod, T, Mississippi State
- Cowboys get lucky with a solid LT prospect that injects much needed youth to their OL.
41. Washington Redskins - Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
- Shanahan gets a mobile QB to be the eventual successor…or starter. Talented athlete.
42. Houston Texans - Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
- Much needed upgrade at the CB position and comes from a strong lineage at the U.
43. Minnesota Vikings - Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
- The Williams wall has started crumbling. Paea is vastly underrated and very strong.
44. Detroit Lions - Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
- Detroit needs help in the secondary and they land a big, physical CB here.
45. San Francisco 49ers - Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
- 49ers land a leader for the secondary to go with their new offensive leader from rd 1.
46. Denver Broncos - Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
- Broncos land a talented LB for their new 4-3 defense. Can play either outside spot.
47. St. Louis Rams - Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
- The Rams get a legitimate receiving weapon for QB Sam Bradford. Underrated player.
48. Oakland Raiders - Johnny Patrick, CB, Louisville
- Nnamdi Asomugha is gone, and Al Davis loves him some speed. Patrick has speed.
49. Jacksonville Jaguars - Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
- The Jags need more firepower on offense with Mike Sims-Walker about to leave.
50. San Diego Chargers - Kenrick Ellis, NT, Hampton
- Hugely talented player who had some off-field issues at Penn State early in career.
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
- The Bucs need another CB prospect for when they release the troubled Aqib Talib.
52. New York Giants - Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
- Tough, physical runner to replace Brandon Jacobs in the backfield for the G-Men.
53. Indianapolis Colts - Titus Young, WR, Boise State
- It almost seems unfair to give Peyton Manning another great weapon at the WR spot.
54. Philadelphia Eagles - Davon House, CB, New Mexico State
- Excellent CB with great size/speed combo. Tough as nails and a 4 year starter.
55. Kansas City Chiefs - Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
- The Chiefs need a better complimentary player across from Dwayne Bowe.
56. New Orleans Saints - Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina
- Saints need more bodies at both outside linebacker positions. Carter is a good player.
57. Seattle Seahawks - Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
- Carroll takes a former recruit to bolster the interior of the defensive line.
58. Baltimore Ravens - Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado
- The Ravens need all kinds of help at the CB spot; Brown is very underrated.
59. Atlanta Falcons - Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin
- Falcons get a talented successor to Tony Gonzalez at TE. Will help Matt Ryan a lot.
60. New England Patriots - Mason Foster, LB, Washington
- Potential OLB for the Patriots. Underrated and undersized, but very, very talented.
61. San Diego Chargers - Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
- Speed slot WR who can replace Darren Sproles on kick and punt returns.
62. Chicago Bears - James Carpenter, T, Alabama
- Bears need to upgrade over Frank Omiyale at the LT spot. Carpenter can play T or G.
63. Pittsburgh Steelers - Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois
- James Farrior won’t be around too much longer. Wilson can play both ILB and OLB.
64. Green Bay Packers - Allen Bailey, DE, Miami
- Packers take a chance on physical specimen. Needs training wheels on for a while.