The possible trades scenarios continue this week with five teams moving around in the first round.
The draft is approaching quickly. This is the final 1-round edition leading up to April 28th, next Monday I will conduct my final mock draft including rounds 2 and 3. There will be plenty of trades included that are more than likely to occur. Teams will be looking to move around to get exactly who they like, or moving down because they can still get who they like later.
1. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
I am starting to lean toward receiver A.J. Green for this pick. The Panthers drafted three quarterbacks last season and it doesn’t make sense for them to get another this early, or at all. But Cam Newton has mesmerized the franchise and there is a new head coach in town.
2. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
I am finally conceding that the Broncos will pass on Patrick Peterson. There is no chance that a linemen of Dareus’ ability will be passed over by a John Fox coached team. And defensive lines make any secondary better.
3. Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
The Bills could really use a quarterback. But with a solid second round crop of QBs head coach Chan Gaily can help his struggling defense with the electric Miller. The defense is the best chance to get that franchise turned in the right direction.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
The Bengals face a difficult situation. QB Carson Palmer is threatening retirement if he is not traded. Gabbert represents a fresh start for Marvin Lewis to try and repair his club before he runs out of second chances.
5. St. Louis Rams (from Arizona Cardinals): Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
The Rams have a chance to get A.J. Green after the Bengals leave him on the board. But they have already become sold on Jones and made the trade up to 5 for Jones. Sam Bradford deserves a big time receiver and Jones is exactly that.
6. Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
The Browns are trying to build a respectable franchise. They are happy that they don’t lose out on the ultra talented Green and won’t hesitate to take him here. Colt McCoy is coming off his decent rookie debut and the emergence of Peyton Hillis as a dominant force give Browns have a chance to establish a very good offense.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Peterson, CB/KR, LSU
The 49ers dream comes true, Peterson lasts threw the first 6 picks and San Fran makes out like bandits on draft day. A great splash and a sure hit for new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Peterson will contribute on specials teams also, an incredible value here.
8. Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairly, DT, Auburn
The Fairly to Tennessee combo has been circulating for a long time. Once considered the top prospect, Fairly is starting to show the ear marks of a high pick bust. But the Titans need help and will take the risk after Fairly falls to 8. If he pans out he will be a pro bowler for years to come.
9. Baltimore Ravens (from Dallas Cowboys): Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
The Ravens have a strong need for a talented corner to help the aging defense keep up in the AFC North. In Amukamara they find someone who they don’t have to worry about, he will take the other teams top receiver out of the game and allow the rest of the defense to focus on other players.
10. Washington Redskins: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina
Quinn falls after the trades cause more offensive players to go early. The Redskins sure won’t mind that, their 3-4 defense needs a talented rusher to team with Brian Orakpo. Quinn is great value here.
11. Houston Texans: Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
Houston needs a talented rushing linebacker now that Wade Phillips is the defensive coordinator and will be implementing his standard 3-4 scheme. Smith is considered to be one of the most talented prospects in the entire draft and could prove to be a steal down the road.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (from Minnesota Vikings): Tyron Smith, OT, USC
The Eagles jump up to 12 in order to land the drafts best and most versatile offensive tackle. Smith can protect Michael Vick’s blind side or play left tackle for them. Either way the Eagles will have a pro bowl caliber player for the next decade to watch after their passer.
13. Detroit Lions: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
The Lions may be going back to their lousy drafting days if they take on chance on Bowers and he busts. Next to Fairy, Bowers is considered the most unsafe of all the top fifteen prospects. But if he turns out as good as he is supposed to be the Lions will have a crazy good defensive line.
14. Arizona Cardinals (from St. Louis Rams): Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
The Cardinals were probably surprised to see Houston take Smith with the 11th pick. I believe the Cards will be targeting Smith over staying where they are and taking Miller. But if they miss out on the top two quarterbacks Mallett is just what Larry Fitzgerald is looking for.
15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
The Dolphins need a quarterback but won’t reach here. Adding a star on defense would help them become one of the more dominant defenses in the entire league. But Ingram will be the pick here since they are likely to lose their only two starting caliber running backs to free agency.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Kerrigan is the safest pick at defensive end in this draft. He is undoubtedly going to have a great career and will be a perfect addition to that team. The Jaguars could be interested in Adrian Clayborn here, but the Jags don’t like to take players that have high bust potential.
17. New England Patriots (from Oakland Raiders): Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal
The Patriots remain patient and get exactly what they want. Cameron Jordan dominated the Senior Bowl and the best offensive tackles from around the country couldn’t block him to save their lives. So Brian Belichick will take Jordan and unleash him. The Patriots struggled mightily getting any pass rush last season. Just what the doctor ordered.
18. San Diego Chargers: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
The Chargers can just take the best player available. Watt is being considered in the top ten, but I doubt he is going that early. San Diego will enjoy his contributions and get a great value at 18.
19. New York Giants: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
The Giants need offensive line help, and they need it now! Carimi is the self appointed best tackle in the draft. If he can’t play left side, which plenty of people think he can, he will be one of the premier right tackle for years to come. He fits exactly what coach Tom Coughlin likes in a player, brash, cocky and tough.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Pittsburgh isn’t a team that often trades up. But the offensive line is a desperate position for them and where they pick in the first round it is unlikely that they could land the guy they need to rebuild that unit. Castonzo is going to be very good, despite his plummeting draft stock.
21. Kansas City Chiefs: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
This is my sleeper pick in the draft. Rudolph just backed up my confidence in him with an amazing pro day, he’s first round stuff. Rudolph will stretch the field and make some great catches over defenders. Stretching the field will in turn open the running game up for Jamaal Charles. This pick will definitely be a big upgrade and a huge lift for the Chiefs offense.
22. Indianapolis Colts: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
The Colts need to keep Peyton Manning safe will result in them taking Solder at 22. Solder has a huge wingspan and is very strong. Defenders will have their hands full trying to get around him. His slower feet will cause him to drop to this pick, Indy won’t mind that. Solder is underrated and the Colts patience will pay dividends.
23. Minnesota Vikings (from Philadelphia Eagles): Jake Locker, QB, Washington
The Vikings have things go exactly the way they wanted them. They get some drafts picks to make up for the Randy Moss ordeal and get the franchise quarterback they were willing to draft 12th overall. Locker is a much better value here and can develop into what Minnesota has been waiting for since Fran Tarkenton.
24. New Orleans Saints: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
The Saint’s are a pretty solid team but could use better pass rush and help in the secondary. I’ve been giving them safety Rahim Moore, but after talking with a person closer to the team I’ve discovered they think more highly of Houston.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
Seattle shot themselves in the foot when they won the NFC West and made he playoffs. They can’t take a top ranked player here and expect to find their next quarterback in the second round So Ponder will benefit from their misfortune.
26. Dallas Cowboys (from Baltimore Ravens): Mike Pouncey, C/G, Florida
The Cowboys apparently are more than merely interested in Pouncey. Taking him with the 9th overall pick is a bit of a stretch. But with the trade they manage to make out with a pretty good first round. Pouncey is worth a high pick but his position isn’t one that warrants such placement.
27. Atlanta Falcons: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Falcons can’t believe their luck here. Looking for a defensive end to line up across from John Abraham they find Clayborn sliding through the first round all the ay to them here at 27. Clayborn had a rough senior season and his stock is hurt due to palsy in his right arm.
28. New England Patriots: Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
Another first timer makes his appearance. I believe the Patriots were hoping Mike Pouncey would fall to them but after Dallas took him the will begin to weigh their options with Watkins. Watkins can play right tackle or guard, at this point, the Patriots need both.
29. Chicago Bears: Derrick Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Bears will be taking whatever offensive lineman they can get with their first round pick. Sherrod has established himself as a desirable prospect and Chicago will be thrilled to have him.
30. New York Jets: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
Taylor is the biggest defensive tackle in the draft, fast too. The Jets are looking to get some push with their front seven. Plugging big Phil in there should provide that. Just about any other DT is a possibility being the teams biggest. The Jets need pass rush, if Justin Houston is available they would grab him in a heart beat.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from Pittsburgh Steelers): Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
The Bucs make a suave move by trading back and end up with the talented pass rusher they wanted in the first place. If the first round goes like this the Bucs will be one of the big winners. Heyward is a solid value at 31.
32. Green Bay Packers: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
The Packers just like to take the best player available. Moore isn’t he biggest need but he is highly talented and can become a more reliable starter over the Packs injury prone current starters.