A lot of mock drafts have QBs Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton coming off the board in the top five picks -- but not this one. I don’t see either player having early success with a bad team, and that’s all you have at the top of the draft.
But, because there are so many teams with horrible situations at QB, that position could be overdrafted, as it usually is.
In Mock 2.0, I believe the early emphasis will be on defensive players, and it should be, since that’s the strength at the top of this draft class.
1. Panthers - DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama. You take a franchise QB if you can get one, but there aren't any in this draft.
2. Broncos - DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson. New coach John Fox knows what DE Julius Peppers did for his Panthers defenses.
3. Bills - OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M. Maybe the cleanest player in the draft and an impact player from Day One.
4. Bengals - WR A.J. Green, Georgia. A complete package, but it still won't be enough to make QB Carson Palmer want to stay.
5. Cardinals - QB Blaine Gabbert. The QB cupboard is bare, so they have to reach here and hope Gabbert can adjust from a shotgun/spread offense.
6. Browns - DT Nick Fairley, Auburn. There are character questions but there's also a ton of talent.
7. 49ers - CB Patrick Peterson. As close to a sure thing as there is in this draft.
8. Titans - DL Cameron Jordan, California. They need help up and down the line, and Jordan has the size and versatility to play inside or outside.
9. Cowboys - DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin. They need a difference maker at the 5 technique, and they get one.
10. Redskins - WR Julio Jones, Alabama. He's a safe, solid pick, but they could roll the dice on Cam Newton.
11. Texans – CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska. The NFL’s worst defense gets better right away.
12. Vikings – QB Cam Newton, Auburn. They have to get serious about finding a QB, but is Newton just the next Tarvaris Jackson?
13. Lions – OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College. Protecting QB Matthew Stafford is a priority and they get an experienced warrior and immediate starter.
14. Rams – DT Corey Liuget, Illinois. They really need more weapons for QB Sam Bradford, but they also need a presence in the middle.
15. Dolphins – RB Mark Ingram, Alabama. Many upgrades are needed on offense, and Ingram is the best bet to make an instant impact.
16. Jaguars – DE Aldon Smith, Missouri. Pass-rush improvement is a must, and Smith, though raw, could become a great one.
17. Patriots – OLB-DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue. A sackman is a priority, and Kerrigan had 25 ½ over the past two seasons.
18. Chargers – DE-OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina. Still raw but could contribute right away as a rush linebacker.
19. Giants – C-OG Mike Pouncey, Florida. They need fresh legs in the interior O-line, and Pouncey could start immediately, as his twin did last year for the Steelers.
20. Bucs – DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa. He’s not the elite pass rusher the Bucs need, but Clayborn is a solid three-down player and had 11 ½ sacks as a junior.
21. Chiefs – OT Tyron Smith, USC. He’ll help coach Todd Haley’s offense control the line of scrimmage.
22. Colts – OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin. He can protect Peyton Manning and also help get the weak Indy ground game going.
23. Eagles – OT Nate Solder, Colorado. Former TE has a great combination of size and athleticism.
24. Saints – DT Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple. Dominated lesser competition and is still a little green but has the tools to be a difference maker.
25. Seahawks – QB Jake Locker, Washington. He’s the safer bet, but they could roll the dice on Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett.
26. Ravens – CB Brandon Harris, Miami. Only had 4 career picks but that’s about the only negative.
27. Falcons – DE Allen Bailey, Miami. John Abraham is still a stud, but he’s almost 33, and Bailey had 33 sacks in his last 3 years at The U.
28. Patriots – LB Justin Houston, Georgia. At 6-3, 260, he’s the Patriots’ kind of LB and brings some pass-rush skills.
29. Bears – LB Akeem Ayers, UCLA. Could have an immediate impact when teamed with Briggs and Urlacher.
30. Jets – OLB Bruce Carter, North Carolina. December ACL tear could make some teams shy away.
31. Steelers – OG Danny Watkins, Baylor. Tough, blue-collar, Steelers-type lineman with some versatility.
32. Packers – OL Orlando Franklin, Miami. The Pack got younger and better up front last year with ORT Bryan Bulaga, but more help is needed for an aging group.