1. Carolina Panthers – Cameron Newton, QB – Auburn
A new regime, a new quarterback. Apparently Ron Rivera is smitten with the Heisman Trophy winning Newton and sees him as the face of his new franchise and, although the Panthers say they haven’t locked a player down as their number one guy, it’s looking more and more likely that the former Auburn star will end up with Carolina.
Previous Pick – Nick Fairley
The Carolina Panthers could have a new signal caller after the draft
2. Denver Broncos – Marcell Dareus, DT – Alabama
The Broncos need to upgrade the pass rush with just 23 sacks registered last year, enough to be last in the NFL. Dareus is bulkier than Nick Fairley and less of a risk of busting in the NFL, due to Fairley’s status as a ‘one-year wonder.’ At 319lbs who ran a faster ten yard split than Fairley in the forty yard dash, Denver would be picking up a defensive behemoth in Dareus.
Previous Pick – Patrick Peterson
3. Buffalo Bills –Von Miller, DE/OLB – Texas A&M
The Bills look like they’re putting their faith behind quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. If this is so then Chan Gailey is going to pick Von Miller who he coached at the Senior Bowl. He’s big, athletic and capable of racking up tackles and sacks and being a game changer for the defense.
Previous Pick – Cameron Newton
4. Cincinnati Bengals – AJ Green, WR – Georgia
Mike Brown is delusional to think that Carson Palmer is heading back to Cincinnati but they’ve got holes all over the offense that they need to address. With no clear franchise quarterback in this year’s draft however, they’ll head to the real blue chip wide receiver in this draft to add real talent.
Previous Pick – Da’Quan Bowers
5. Arizona Cardinals – Patrick Peterson, CB – LSU
If this scenario comes true and Peterson is available here the Cardinals won’t waste time in snatching him up. He’s the most athletic and possibly the best player in this class and fills a need in Arizona.
Previous Pick – Von Miller
6. Cleveland Browns – Julio Jones, WR – Alabama
With AJ Green off the board, the Browns head to the next best thing. They need a wide receiver to give Colt McCoy somebody to throw to and Jones excelled at both the combine and his pro day despite a broken foot.
Previous Pick – AJ Green
7. San Francisco 49ers – Blaine Gabbert, QB – Missouri
Despite knowing Jim Harbaugh said he’s going to give Alex Smith another chance, recent reports that they have had a heated exchange and the fact that this could be a smokescreen and they could be tempted to pick up Gabbert if he’s available at number 7.
Previous Pick – Robert Quinn
Gabbert (11) is being eyed as one of the top quarterback prospects this year
8. Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, DT – Auburn
Fairley was everybody’s number one pick just weeks ago but has been sliding down with experts looking back at tape and realising his status as a potential one year wonder. However if he bulks up more, which he has been doing since the combine, he could easily be the larger DT the Titans need to partner Jason Jones.
Previous Pick – Blaine Gabbert
9. Dallas Cowboys – Tyron Smith, OT – USC
The Cowboys have a few glaring needs, no more than in the defensive backfield, but Jerry Jones must realise that their season was over as soon as Tony Romo was knocked out for the year against the New York Giants. To protect his quarterback he must draft an offensive lineman who can fill in for Marc Colombo at right tackle and develop into a left tackle in the future. With athleticism and bulk, Smith has the ability to be a leading offensive lineman for years.
Previous Pick – Cameron Jordan
10. Washington Redskins – Robert Quinn, DE – North Carolina
With Julio Jones off the board and the San Francisco 49ers now grabbing a quarterback, it leaves the Redskins to pick up an elite pass rusher in Robert Quinn. If this is the scenario the Redskins won’t be on the clock long unless they receive decent offers to move down and recoup more draft picks.
Previous Pick – Aldon Smith
11. Houston Texans – Aldon Smith, DE – Missouri
With Wade Phillips new 3-4 defensive system this will be a defensive draft by Houston. Look for them to immediately upgrade the defensive end position with the mass of talent that will be available in the first round including Aldon Smith who has been likened to DeMarcus Ware.
Previous Pick – Marcell Dareus
12. Minnesota Vikings – trades pick to Philadelphia Eagles who select Prince Amukamara, CB – Nebraska
The Vikings could recoup a third round pick whilst picking up an extra second round pick and still be able to select a quarterback with the late first round pick they get from the Eagles. Philadelphia has the clout with three second day picks to move up ahead of Detroit and select a cornerback they are smitten with. Andy Reid often picks a single draft day target and goes all out to get his man. Amukamara is his man.
Previous Pick – Minnesota Vikings selected Ryan Mallett
13. Detroit Lions – Anthony Castonzo, OT – Boston College
With the top two cornerbacks off the board the Lions mustn’t reach for Jimmy Smith, even though several Lions’ scouts were said to be ‘unconcerned’ by his noted character flaws. They should address another need in the offensive line and draft a defensive back in the second round as talent is still available. Castonzo has talent and flexibility to play across the line, exactly what Detroit needs to protect the investment they have in star quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Previous Pick – Prince Amukamara
14. St. Louis Rams – Corey Liuget, DT – Illinois
Corey Liuget is a nice sized defensive tackle to partner Fred Robbins on the front line and apparently the Rams really rate him after his visit. With their two favoured players, Aldon Smith and Julio Jones, gone, St. Louis could plum for the former Illinois man.
Previous Pick – Julio Jones
15. Miami Dolphins trade to Tampa Bay Buccaneers who select Cameron Jordan, DE – California
The Dolphins must look to trade down out of this position to recoup draft picks lost in trades. Tampa Bay will look to move ahead of the Patriots and Chargers to select one of the more blue chip defensive ends in the draft.
Previous Pick – Miami Dolphins selected Mark Ingram
16. Jacksonville Jaguars – Ryan Kerrigan, DE – Purdue
Gene Smith loves three things when drafting a player; team captains, no personality issues and a non-stop motor. Kerrigan ticks all three and fills a need. They’ll snap him up.
Previous Pick – Brandon Harris
17. New England Patriots – JJ Watt, DE – Wisconsin
The Patriots could look to trade down out of this position but, with JJ Watt on the board and a pass rush that desperately needs upgrading, Bill Belichick should take up the former Wisconsin man.
Previous Pick – Tyron Smith
18. San Diego Chargers – Adrian Clayborn, DE – Iowa
The Chargers could do with some help on the offensive line but AJ Smith’s reluctance to upgrade so far makes it seem unlikely that he’ll spend a first round draft pick on one. This could be a straight out tussle between Clayborn and Cameron Heyward but if San Diego are willing to put aside Clayborn’s character flaws then they’ll be selecting a really talented end.
Previous Pick – Adrian Clayborn
19. New York Giants – Gabe Carimi, OT – Wisconsin
With the top two offensive tackles off the board the Giants look to the third. With Will Beatty looking lost in the NFL at left tackle, New York needs help on the offensive line to give Eli Manning time to make plays.
Previous Pick – Anthony Castonzo
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade to Miami Dolphins who select Mike Pouncey, G – Florida
Many will have Miami to select Mark Ingram in the first round but with injury concerns he’ll be pushed down into the second round. Instead the Dolphins fill another need, selecting a Florida favourite in Mike Pouncey at guard.
Previous Pick – Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected JJ Watt
21. Kansas City Chiefs – Phil Taylor, NT – Baylor
Scott Pioli, an ex-New England Patriot, wants his big, run stuffing nose tackle like he had in Vince Wilfork in Boston. He could make the reach for Taylor to fill that need here. Worries about an inoperable foot condition have been alleviated.
Previous Pick – Akeem Ayers
22. Indianapolis Colts – Nate Solder, OT – Colorado
Last season the Indianapolis offensive line showed its weaknesses against the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers, allowing Peyton Manning to be rushed time and again. They need to upgrade but with three offensive linemen already off the board they have to look for the next best in Nate Solder.
Previous Pick – Gabe Carimi
23. Philadelphia Eagles trade to Minnesota Vikings who select Jake Locker, QB – Washington
The Vikings move down, garner more draft picks to use in day two and still get their man and new franchise quarterback in Jake Locker. Forget about his personality issues, this signal caller has talent and Leslie Frazier is the man to keep his feet on the ground in Minnesota.
Previous Pick – Philadelphia Eagles selected Derek Sherrod
Jake Locker could be headed to Minnesota after the draft
24. New Orleans Saints – DaQuan Bowers, DE – Clemson
A huge plummet for Bowers but with a terrible close season and major concerns about his troublesome knee and it’s a justified fall. However the Saints do not need talent right away, giving Bowers the time he needs to develop. The Saints can also afford to take the risk on a player who could potentially develop into a real game changer.
Previous Pick – Christian Ballard
25. Seattle Seahawks – Muhammad Wilkerson, DT – Temple
With Jake Locker off the board the Seahawks may look at Ryan Mallett but, with their hearts set on the former, they’ll look to fill another need with Brandon Mebane a free agent. Wilkerson is a big defensive tackle that will fill the hole Mebane could leave straight from the off.
Previous Pick – Nate Solder
26. Baltimore Ravens – Cameron Heyward, DE – Ohio State
Brian Baldinger said on Path to the Draft, “I know for a fact that if Cameron Heyward’s there at 26, the Ravens are not passing him up.” With Cory Redding having a poor year at left end Heyward not only fills a need but is probably the best available player.
Previous Pick – Titus Young
27. Atlanta Falcons – Kyle Rudolph, TE – Notre Dame
Rudolph is the top tight end in the draft. With Tony Gonzalez on the downturn of his career, and possibly not returning anyway depending on the lockout, the Falcons can fill a need with a talented blocker and a tight end that can make catches down field.
Previous Pick – Jon Baldwin
28. New England Patriots trade to Tennessee Titans who select Ryan Mallett, QB – Arkansas
The Patriots once again trade out of the first round to pick up more future picks. The Titans could look to the board and fear that quarterbacks are coming off quicker than they expected. With three gone already they move up to grab Ryan Mallett. With concerns over his off-field life, the Titans could be put off, likening Mallett to Vince Young but with Jeff Fisher leaving and a new regime on the way in, they could put this aside to draft arguably the quarterback with the most upside in the draft.
Previous Pick – New England Patriots selected Justin Houston
Will Tennessee move up to snatch Mallett?
29. Chicago Bears – Derek Sherrod, OT – Mississippi State
The Bears need to keep their quarterback, whoever that may be next season, on his feet. Their offensive line is shot and needs an immediate upgrade. If their first round pick is not an offensive lineman it’ll be a surprise.
Previous Pick – Benjamin Ijalana
30. New York Jets – Justin Houston, DE/OLB – Georgia
The New York Jets need to add some kind of pass rush, whether at five-technique or rush linebacker. If Justin Houston falls to number 30 then they should snatch him off the board to fulfil the latter.
Previous Pick – Danny Watkins
31. Pittsburgh Steelers – Danny Watkins, OG – Baylor
The Steelers can afford to strengthen with players that may need time to develop. They don’t really have any glaring holes but their offensive guard position could do with upgrading. Watkins is a player on the rise. He’s 26 and only played football for three years but the Canadian, former fire fighter has serious talent and could potentially be better than Mike Pouncey.
Previous Pick – Mike Pouncey
32. Green Bay Packers – Brooks Reed, DE/OLB – Arizona
Reed ran the fastest 10-yard split of all defensive linemen in the draft. The Green Bay Packers need an upgrade opposite Clay Matthews. This pick selects itself.
Previous Pick – Ryan Kerrigan