So I am only a couple days late with this posting, which sets a bad precedent, but now everyone will be surprised when I post on time! As promised, here are the explanations for each of my first 16 picks:
1- Carolina Panthers- Marcell Dareus- DT, Alabama
I’m happy that Andrew Luck decided to finish his degree, but boy does it suck for Carolina. Without Luck on the board, Carolina should take one of the most polished players on the board, and Dareus fills a big need at DT.
2- Denver Broncos- Von Miller- OLB, Texas A&M
If Dareus does not get picked by Carolina, he may be taken here, but obviously in this awful draft board he is not. Elway and Fox realize that their front seven needs to be retooled, and Von Miller is a polished OLB who is very strong in the pass rush, something that Denver needs desperately.
3- Buffalo Bills- Cam Newton- QB, Auburn
I believe that Gabbert will end up being the better NFL quarterback, but Chan Gailey does like his multi-threat QBs (i.e. Kordell Stewart), and they have expressed a lot of interest in him as well. Ryan Fitzpatrick did not perform poorly last year either, and this may give Newton the chance to sit down and learn the Bills offense, making this pick more likely.
4- Cincinnati Bengals- Blaine Gabbert- QB, Missouri
If Carson Palmer was staying, AJ Green would be moving up the board, but Palmer seems intent on leaving, and the Bengals have nobody to take up the role of starting QB. Gabbert is a smart QB whose stock has continuously gone up this offseason, and if the Bengals want to compete in the tough AFC North within the next couple of years, they need to take a QB, and soon. Christian Ponder and Ryan Mallet might be options in the 2nd round, but I don’t see them waiting that long.
5- Arizona Cardinals- Patrick Peterson- CB, LSU
This draft does suck for the Cardinals. QB is by far their biggest need, and the two QBs who are worth their pick this early are already gone. If this does happen (and it won’t), look for Arizona to possibly trade down. If they don’t, the best player on the board, Patrick Peterson, could provide some serious help to the 29th-ranked defense.
6- Cleveland Browns- AJ Green- WR, Georgia
Almost every year they have a top ten pick, and almost every year they still have many holes to fill. The Browns might have finally found a QB in Colt McCoy, but they need to give him some weapons (Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie do not a good receiver corps make). AJ Green is tall, fast, and can catch. The prototypical first round WR.
7- San Francisco 49ers- Prince Amukamara- CB, Nebraska
The 49ers have had their eye on Patrick Peterson, but he is already gone. Lucky for them, there is another elite CB available. Amukamara is fast, built strong for a CB (200+ pounds), and maybe the best CB in the draft regarding his knowledge of the position. He should be able to help the 49ers immediately.
8- Tennessee Titans- Nick Fairley- DT, Auburn
Fairley is probably the best interior pass rusher in this draft, but he has been falling in mock drafts because of his poor interviews and lack of effort. The Titans have clearly missed Haynesworth (although I bet the Redskins would be happy to give him back), and if Munchak can keep Fairley disciplined, this pick could give the Titans a player who wreaks havoc on offensive lines.
9- Dallas Cowboys- Tyron Smith- OT, USC
If Amukamara or Peterson fall here, don’t be surprised if they are taken, but with both out of the picture, the Cowboys should take the first OT off the board. Smith is now over 300 pounds, and is strong enough to start immediately at RT, with the potential to move to LT within a couple of years.
10- Washington Redskins- Julio Jones- WR, Alabama
If I were GM Bruce Allen, I would take a defensive player here, but alas I am not. Shanahan is a coach who thinks offense-first, and with Newton and Gabbert off the board, Jones provides the next-best offensive weapon. He is tall, strong, and can make plays after the catch. He has injury concerns, but a talent like this is hard to pass up for a coach like Shanahan.
11- Houston Texans- Da’Quan Bowers- DE, Clemson
The Texans need some serious help with the pass-rush, and in the surprise of this draft (which, again, won’t happen), Da’Quan Bowers remains on the board. He is quite possible the best 4-3 DE in the draft. Bowers is fast, strong, and agile, and could be an every-down player in the NFL in his first year. There are serious concerns about his knee, which help him to drop this far, but if Bowers is healthy, he’s the perfect complement to Mario Williams.
12- Minnesota Vikings- Robert Quinn- DE, UNC
There has been a lot of talk about the Vikings liking Jake Locker, but this is too early to take him. This may lead to them trading down, but if they don’t Quinn is a great choice. An extremely talented pass-rusher who has the versatility to play off the line, Quinn would be an immediate upgrade over Ray Edwards and Everson Griffen.
13- Detroit Lions- Anthony Castonzo- OT, Boston College
Priority #1 for the Lions has to be protecting the oft-injured Stafford. Castonzo has good technique, and may be able to play LT from day one.
14- St. Louis Rams- Corey Liuget- DT, Illinois
The DTs of the Rams are either aging or Free Agents, and it is time to bring someone in who can complement the improving Chris Long. Liuget has been described as “relentless”, a term which means a lot for a position as demanding as DT. With no WR worthy of their pick at this position, Liuget makes me the most sense.
15- Miami Dolphins- Mark Ingram- RB, Alabama
Miami needs a new RB. Ingram is strong, and has very good technique. He’s also very good at finding the small hole and exploding through it, and his recovery from his injury last season was impressive. This is my stone-cold lock of the draft (meaning I am probably way off).
16- Jacksonville Jaguars- Aldon Smith- DE, Missouri
The Jaguars’ DT-emphasized draft last year may pay dividends, and they need somebody else to complement them and eventually take the place of the aging Aaron Kampman. Smith is an amazing pass-rusher who never quits on a play. Ryan Kerrigan would be another player the Jags consider, but Smith might be too much of a sack-machine to pass up.
As stated before, this draft is doomed to failure, so if I get half of these right, everybody should bow down to my genius and incredible luck.