Well, I promised one more (I know you're all excited) so here it is. I'm really excited for tomorrow, and I'm hoping the Lions and the Steelers nail it.
This seems like it's going to happen. I understand the draw - he's an undeniable talent and is apparently able to command people (which I'll never understand, because from what I saw on Gruden's QB camp, he's a total dick) and Carolina desperately needs to make a splash. Rivera also has no ties to Jimmy Clausen and I don't care how bad the offensive talent was last year, for a guy who spent so long in a pro-style offense, he was atrocious. They need someone new, and Newton just has too much potential. He'll be unconventional, but so is Big Ben, and that has worked out fine.
2. Denver Broncos - Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Denver needs to take the best defensive player they can, and they don't have anything at defensive tackle in their new 4-3. Some people think Peterson will be the pick, but they need Dareus. He's soaring right now, and while I'm becoming less sure (because of his inconsistency in college) that he'll ever be close to the superpower that is Ndamukong Suh (the standard against which all defensive tackles should now be judged), he can be the force in the middle John Fox needs for his defense. Gabbert is intriguing because Elway seems to hate Tebow, but I don't see it. This is basically a consensus pick.
3. Buffalo Bills - Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
This needs to be the pick. If they take anyone else (Peterson would of course be good, but this is too perfect) they have probably made a mistake. Miller seems like the best 3-4 OLB prospect in years - I like him more than DeMarcus Ware coming out because of how good he was at the combine in coverage drills. The 3-4 cannot run without a dynamic pass rusher, and they flat out don't have one. Don't buy this crap that Miller is a 4-3 defensive end - he's not, and playing him at LB in a 4-3 is just a waste. He's 3-4 all the way. TAKE MILLER, DON'T BLOW IT! (It's the Bills, so they'll probably blow it though).
4. Cincinnati Bengals - A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Cincy's a tough pick this year. Palmer's issues, Jonathan Joseph probably leaving, little pass rush, no one at receiver... the team is a mess and I don't know that there is a pick here that just blows away the others in terms of DO IT. I think Peterson would be a good pick because their receiver core is unimportant as long as they don't have a quarterback, and you basically need three corners to play in this league. Even so, Peterson could also play a Charles Woodson role and play safety in the base set if they resign Joseph. They'd have a sick secondary. This pick will probably be Green, however, because another corner does seem like a luxury (though it won't if Joseph leaves whenever free agency begins) and they do need a number 1 receiver. Simpson flashed last year, but I doubt he's a number one and Shipley is strictly a slot guy. Green's a great talent, and will give whoever their QB ends up being a good weapon.
Washington Redskins - Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
I think this is a good trade for each team. Arizona isn't going to take a QB and Von Miller isn't available. Washington likes Gabbert and is willing to trade up, and they a pick in the third round in the process, while losing a second (which hurts, but not as much as playing with Rex Grossman) and a fifth rounder. In the meantime, Arizona gets out of a high pick and picks up a second rounder. While the draft value isn't exact, it's pretty close. Washington takes Gabbert and grabs a guy they think is a franchise quarterback. In my opinion, Gabbert could be a solid, though not spectacular starter. I wouldn't make this trade if I was Washington (I'd probably do it if I was Arizona), but they get a future of it, so there you go.
6. Cleveland Browns - Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
The Browns would have liked A.J. Green, but Jones is still a heck of a prospect and he isn't a reach here. He's a phenomenal physical talent and will greatly help Colt McCoy develop. He'll also stretch the defense and give Peyton Hillis more running room to be awesome, so it's a good pick and solid value. I'm not thrilled about having another guy in the division, but that's the way it goes.
7. San Francisco 49ers - Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Corners tend to fall. Peterson could be an exception, and he's far better than this spot (number two player in the draft behind Von Miller in my opinion) so San Francisco has to be excited. There isn't a quarterback worth it here and I can see them giving Alex Smith one more chance before going after a solid quarterback class next year. In the meantime, they add a huge, huge talent to their defense at a need position... just too much sense.
8. Tennessee Titans - Jake Locker, QB, Washington
The Titans affection for Jake Locker is public and well-known, and while this is probably a little high for him, I don't think they believe they can trade down too much because of the danger of someone trading up for him or Minnesota taking him. It's no secret that I love Jake Locker (I can't honestly say the eight years I lived in Washington have no effect on my soft spot) - I think he's going to be a great quarterback in the league and could be the best from the class. Tennessee is a good place for him too - a strong run game to help him out and a guy to learn behind in Kerry Collins, and if Kenny Britt comes back strong from his injury, he also has a pretty good wide receiver talent to throw to. Good place for Locker, though higher than his supposed draft value on most boards, I expect.
9. Dallas Cowboys - Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Dallas desperately needs a corner, and Amukamara is a good pick at number nine. Jerry Jones has taken first round corners in the past (Terrance Newman was taken REALLY high if I recall correctly), and Amukamara is a great talent. Amukamara will give DeMarcus Ware even more time to get to the quarterback and help a shoddy pass defense. J.J. Watt and an offensive lineman are also in consideration, but Prince is the best player available without a doubt, and I don't think any offensive lineman are worth a top ten pick in this draft.
10. Arizona Cardinals (from Washington Redskins) - Robert Quinn, OLB, UNC
.Arizona is having a good draft. They made a good trade and still get a good player a big position of need. I know all this stuff about teams being wary because of his tumor or whatever, but I don't think that'll stop anyone because the tumor is apparently benign now and doesn't seem to be an actual problem. The kid is a terror rushing the passer and the Cardinals defense needs help in that department. Sorry to former Steelers Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, but it's over. Retire.
11. Houston Texans - Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
I know the Texans are going to move Connor Barwin to OLB, which might work, they still don't have a guy to rush the passer. Wade Phillips is used to having a good one - Shawne Merriman in San Diego (back when he was on steroids he was really good) and DeMarcus Ware in Dallas. He needs that guy - Aldon Smith will be it in Houston. There's been some rumors about them trading up to get Peterson if he falls, but I can't see San Francisco trading into this spot because I'm not sure it's likely there is anyone here they really want. Aldon Smith would be a possibility for them too, because they need a real 3-4 pass rusher, but Peterson is such a steal at seven they'll stick around, and Houston contents itself with Smith.
12. Minnesota Vikings - Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Big steal here. Fairley, once considered at number 1 overall, falls because of issues about his worth ethic and the number of 3-4 teams in the top 12. The Vikings need some help at defensive tackle and they get a very talented player here. Now he needs to show he can put it together year to year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Tampa Bay seems like it wants to trade up and grab a good pass rushing defensive end before some other teams get a crack at it, and while I think Kerrigan's upside is fairly limited, he should be a decently productive pro. He's up to 274 pounds as well, so let's stop talking about him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. His best position is 4-3 defensive end, and he'll do well as a Buccaneer. Detroit moves down and picks up a couple of other picks because all their top choices are off the board and they get a decent trade here. It's a win-win situation, and a fairly even trade.
14. St. Louis Rams - Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Nothing but rage. Jones is off the board and there's no way another receiver is worth this pick. They need receivers, a tight end, corners, outside linebackers... and this isn't a good spot for any of those, really. I foresee a trade down if this happens, but otherwise they have to take a defensive end or defensive tackle. Tackle is a bigger need, so Liuget is the choice. They don't have a lot at defensive tackle, and he should help Chris Long take the next step.
New York Giants - Tyron Smith, OT, USC
I'll be honest. I don't know what to think about Miami. I think they want to take a quarterback with their first pick, and there is absolutely no need to take one at 15. With all the tackles on the board and the Giants need for offensive linemen, they jump on the trade opportunity to grab the draft's top rated tackle at fifteenth overall. Smith gives them position versatility (so if he ends up being unable to play left tackle he can always play right) and helps them rebuild their rapidly worsening offensive line.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
The Jaguars seem set on drafting a defensive end. They need to improve their pass rush, but I think they'd prefer Ryan Kerrigan because he's a better fit for the 4-3 as a pure pass rusher. J.J. Watt is perfectly suited to play in a 3-4, but he could be a solid player as well. He's probably not a double digit sack guy every season. I'm passing on Bowers because teams are apparently afraid of his knee injury and Jacksonville cannot cannot cannot afford to bust on this position again.
17. New England Patriots - Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
He's moving back up the draft boards and I think it's high time New England grabbed a running back. This is Brady's team, but getting a strong run game could help preserve his career longer and the Patriots haven't won a Superbowl without one. Brady certainly looked mortal against the Jets, and he would have had an easier time of it if he had an actual running back to take some of the pressure off. Jordan and Pouncey are definitely options here, but Ingram is a great player and he seems like the kind of guy Belicheat likes.
18. San Diego Chargers - Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal
Jordan could go higher than this, but he'd be a great fit in the Chargers defense and they are definitely looking for a 3-4 defensive end. Jordan is a specimen to be envious of - it's hard for the Patriots to pass on him. Good value for the Chargers here, and they help out their pass rushers by getting a guy up front who can collapse the pocket.
19. Miami Dolphins (from New York Giants) - Christian Ponder, QB, FSU
This is crazy, I know. The Dolphins should not be taking Ponder here - he's strictly a second round prospect in my opinion, but Chad Henne sucks and they need someone else. Ponder has been mocked to them a lot, so I guess I'll jump on the bandwagon.
20. Detroit Lions (from Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
Martin Mayhew seemed like he was impressed with Smith when they met and he said he wasn't concerned about his character issues. With that in mind, I'm mocking them Jimmy Smith, the excellent cover corner from Colorado. It fulfills a major need, and as he is a top 15 talent he is almost undoubtedly the best player available. Jimmy Smith helps take the Lions defense to another level, and this is very much a team on the rise (and close to my heart). I'd be excited to see this happen, because I don't think guys like Suh are going to stand for Smith doing any shenanigans.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
Brandon Albert is not a left tackle. That was folly when he came into the league and it's folly now. He has the potential to be a great guard, however, and by taking Costanzo they get two upgrades. They find a true left tackle (not one who will be a superstar, but a solid player for a long time) and bump up their guard spot, which they could also use. Phil Taylor and Akeem Ayers are other options, but while some teams aren't bothered by Taylor's injury, I have no idea if the Chiefs are one of them. Ayers, I think, is overrated and I'm not sure about him as a 3-4 linebacker, honestly.
22. Indianapolis Colts - Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Peyton Manning sucks when he is pressured. Everyone raves about how good he is against the blitz, but he throws it away more than he actually makes plays. He has no ability to make something out of nothing, which seems to be what you need in the NFL these days. He needs a perfect pocket, and so the Colts (who consistently sniff at the concept of getting defensive tackles who can, you know, play football) take Solder and hope he can protect Peyton's blindside. If I seem a little hostile toward the Colts, I apologize. I go to law school at Indiana University, and the Peyton craze is nuts. During the Superbowl, a bunch of tools showed up to my party and just screamed through the entire game "PEYTON! PEYTON! PEYTON WOULD HAVE MADE THAT PLAY!" Really? I'm not sure he would.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - Gabe Carimi, RT, Wisconsin
Perfect match here. Vick is a lefty, and could use a great protector for that side. Carimi, who is probably the best offensive lineman in this class (though don't buy this stuff that he can play left tackle - he's a right tackle, and a damn good one), is great value and should be the pick for Philly.
24. New Orleans Saints - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Big fall for Bowers, but he's an awesome talent and the Saints are ready to win now. If Bowers can even give them a little extra pressure, they have a pretty good chance at the Superbowl yet again. If the Saints want to take advantage of the talent they have on the team now, Bowers would be a good choice.
Pittsburgh Steelers - Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
HUZZAH! Tomlin has apparently issued directives to seek out trades to move up to get Pouncey if he slides a little bit and it becomes practical to do so. We've moved up this far before to get Santonio, and pairing the Pouncey brothers all but ensures a dominant interior line for the duration of their careers. It's hard to believe Pouncey will fall this far (New England is a big danger, as is Miami. If Pouncey falls here, though, expect the Steelers to do what they can to snatch him up. We'll miss that third rounder, sure, but for a team that is only a couple of players away from a Superbowl victory, I'm taking quality (and longevity) over quantity.
26. Baltimore Ravens - Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
They're unlikely to take a corner here - they seem fairly pleased with their play from last year. They need some help on both lines (a young DE like Wilkerson would do them good) so someone like Derek Sherrod is an option, but I think they snap up another potential pass rusher if they can. Ayers is good value here, and we have to respect the Ravens ability to make the most of their defensive talent. If anyone besides the Steelers can turn Ayers into a pass rusher, it's the hated Ravens.
27. Atlanta Falcons - Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Falcons need another pass rusher big time. Their rush is weak and Abraham can only last for so long, so it's about to be a huge need if they don't fix it soon. Clayborn is a good player and can help them immediately. Most teams don't seem to be honestly worried about his Erb's Palsy, because it never hampers him on the field. This is a good spot for him. Brooks Reed, Justin Houston, and any of the receivers available are possible.
28. New England Patriots - Muhammed Wilkerson, DE, Temple
Oh my god! The Patriots aren't trading in the first round! If Wilkerson is here, they probably won't. He's as good of a player as J.J. Watt or Cameron Jordan, and only suffers because he played at Temple. I think I saw him in Kiper's top ten this morning, actually, and the Cheatriots need another defensive end. Besides, they already have two picks in the second and the third, and at some point they need to actually USE all these picks they stockpile.
29. Cincinnati Bengals trade 2nd rd pick (35th overall) and 4th rd pick (101st overall) to Chicago Bears for 1st rd pick (29th overall)
Cincinnati Bengals - Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
The Bears apparently want to trade down and someone is going to jump back into the first round for a quarterback. This is the fifth QB going in the round, but it could happen because teams always push them up. Mallett can also flat out play, and the Bengals probably aren't bothered by his character issues. This could be a problem, because if Mallett grows up, he could be a dominant player. I'm not concerned about his mobility - he moves around in the pocket just fine. He won't take off and run, but I'm sure I don't need to tell you that's an overrated quality as long as the dude can throw it, and he can. He has a cannon of Matt Stafford power and is also surprisingly accurate, and he did it against SEC competition. He's a player.
30. New York Jets - Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
Honestly, I really don't like either of the Jets outside linebackers, so Justin Houston could be here, though I think he's a 4-3 end, and Brooks Reed is also possible. They really need a nose tackle, however, because a dominant nose could help the rushers they already have. Taylor is a better nose tackle than anyone last year, in my opinion, and he helps an already excellent Jets defense.
31. Seattle Seahawks (from Pittsburgh Steelers) - Marvin Austin, DT, UNC
I want to give them Andy Dalton or Colin Capernick, but six quarterbacks in the first is insane. Instead, they take a soaring defensive tackle prospect in Marvin Austin. Austin is only so low because he missed his senior season for doing something basically everyone on this list did as well, but he was just caught at it. There's no denying his talent, however - he's a physical specimen and would probably have been a top 15 pick otherwise, so they get good talent at 31.
32. Green Bay Packers - Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
I hate having anyone at 32 except for the Steelers. It hurts my eyes. I imagine I'd be fine with the Lions, but I'm still waiting. The Packers are an absurdly talented team, and the few holes they have are at OLB, defensive end, wide receiver, and the offensive line. They can get the supposed Clay Matthews clone here, and I can just see the Sportscenter specials on the two goldilocks linebackers. It's going to be nauseous.
Detroit Lions: If they get their trade, this could be the kind of draft where they fill out that spots that turn them into a contender. They've got some superstars with all the first rounders they've had, and this could be the draft where they fill out the roster with contributors. Watch out for this team in the future. Assuming Stafford can stand up, they could be scary.
Round 2, Pick 12: Bruce Carter, OLB, UNC
Carter is a first-round talent who has fallen because of an ACL injury. The Lions have a desperate need at outside linebacker and most teams think Carter could be ready to go for training camp. If he is, the Lions get an instant starter and a guy who could be their impact player in their linebacker corps. They need one.
Round 3, Pick 11: Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana
Doss is a good pick here - I saw him play at IU and he has a lot of potential. Burleson needs to be a slot guy only, and Doss provides a good number 2 receiver option. He's also 6' 2" and 200lbs and while he doesn't have burner speed, he's decently fast, willing to go over the middle, and likes to block. He also has absurdly good hands. Solid player. He might go in the second.
Round 3, Pick 20: Mason Foster, OLB, Washington
This guy is mocked to the Lions a lot, because he's a solid player at their biggest need. With Foster and Carter on board with Levy at middle linebacker, they are set at linebacker for a long time.
Round 4, Pick 10: Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh
This guy was a potential first round pick before the season started - incredible talent, but injuries dropped him this far. Getting him into the Lions rotation and working with the NFL strength and conditioning coaches without a full starter workload sounds perfect. Honestly, the Lions should take this guy. If he can overcome his injuries, he'll be a sick pairing with Suh, and basically puts an end to the Lions concerns regarding their front seven for long time.
Round 4, Pick 19: DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson
A little competition for Amari Spievey and more help for their secondary. McDaniel is an athlete who could develop. He's probably set for special teams and backup work for awhile, but if they can coach him up a bit, he could be a solid starter on the back end.
Round 5, Pick 23: DeMarcus Love, OG, Arkansas
This guy is a potential starter at guard - this might be a little low for him, but if the Lions can grab him here they might have an instant upgrade at right guard. He's often put as a tackle, but he wouldn't be on this team.
Round 7, Pick 2: D.J. Young, OG/RT, Michigan State
Purely a pick because I watched him at school - he's big a strong and a fairly good road grader. Probably not a starter, but could provide some depth and fill in for a pinch. Not too bad for a seventh rounder.