It's been almost six weeks since we last gave you a mock draft, and in that time plenty has changed. Several top prospects have fallen, while other players have displayed skills and intangibles that have moved them up the board. In addition, as the labor dispute carries on and prospects for even an abbreviated free-agency period grow dim, some teams are debating how to best use their selections, particularly in the early rounds.
Still, we're not sold on the quarterback push that is rumored to be going on, and in general the offensive skill players at the top of the draft are the fallers in this mock, which for the first time includes our picks for second round on Friday night, April 29. The run on QBs starts in Round 2, and the truth is the value is probably better here at that position. We start to see more skill position players come off the board, and New England will add a host of good players with all their picks.
1 CAR Marcell Dareus DT Alabama Ht 6'3" Wt 319 Combine 40: 4.93
The Panthers have already messed this up once with Jimmy Clausen, and there are too many questions to balance against a limited body of work for us to know that Cam Newton is the guy to lead the franchise. Dareus is a fantastic, versatile player and a solid citizen, and the Panthers will be able to find a QB in Round 2.
2 DEN Patrick Peterson CB LSU Ht 6'0" Wt 219 Combine 40: 4.34, 3-Cone: 6.58
We keep hearing about how Peterson may be the best player in the draft. Then why in the world would he last until the seventh pick?!! Champ Bailey and Andre Goodman are 32 and Perrish Cox is in constant trouble. There is good depth at the top of Round 2 for D-linemen.
3 BUF Von Miller WR Texas A&M Ht 6'3" Wt 246 Combine 40: 4.53, LJ: 10'6"
The Bills need a QB and a LT and could go with a DE, but outside linebacker is a need and Miller is the second-ranked player on our board.
4 CIN Robert Quinn DE North Carolina Ht 6'4" Wt 265 Combine 40: 4.73
The Bengals need a receiver, but they have selected three in the top three rounds over the last three years. Those guys have to step up so Cincy can address its anemic pass rush with Quinn, who is coming off a strong pro day performance. **
The Cards didn't see enough to make John Skelton or Max Hall the future, so Gabbert gets the call here with free agency being uncertain at this point. He's smart, accurate and big.
6 CLE Nick Fairley DT Auburn Ht 6'4" Wt 291 Combine 40: 4.84
A lot of people will want A.J. Green here, but the Browns are switching to a 4-3 on defense and need someone who can create pressure. That's what Fairley does best. **
|Ht||6'0"||Wt||206||Combine||40: 4.43, LJ: 10'8"|
The Sacramento Bee has reported that Alex Smith has an offer on the table to stay. That suggests the Niners' biggest concern is their ability to defend the deep ball, which killed them last season. Amukamara isn't necessarily a big-play guy, but he's a prototypical shutdown corner.
8 TEN Cam Newton QB Auburn Ht 6'5" Wt 248 Combine 40: 4.59, LJ: 10'6"
Another primary need is at DE, but questions persist about Da'Quan Bowers' knee. Many draft experts have Newton going as high as No. 1. He's certainly got the talent and skillset to lead a team.
9 DAL Tyron Smith T Southern Cal Ht 6'5" Wt 307 Combine No Top 5's
The Cowboys have a need at DE also, but the O-line situation is more dire, and the list of impact tackles is a short one this year. Smith is big and athletic and has a big upside.
10 WAS A.J. Green WR Georgia Ht 6'4" Wt 211 Combine No Top 5's
Green will probably go higher than this. The Redskins have numerous needs, but WR is right there near the top. Green is a big-play guy with polish who can contribute right away.
11 HOU Da'Quan Bowers DE Clemson Ht 6'3" Wt 280 Combine Did Not Work
Bowers was considered the top prospect in this draft at one point, and while there are still medical questions lingering as his knee heals, he will be fine over time and can be the impact pass rusher Wade Phillips needs in his new 3-4 defense.
12 MIN Cameron Jordan DE California Ht 6'4" Wt 287 Combine 40: 4.78
Some see Jordan strictly as a 3-4 end, but he's a versatile player who can do a lot of different things on a football field, including rush the passer.
13 DET Anthony Castonzo T Boston College Ht 6'7" Wt 311 Combine 3-Cone: 7.25
Jeff Backus is 34 and Gosder Cherilus is coming off microfracture knee surgery. Castonzo can play either tackle spot and even move inside if necessary.
14 STL Julio Jones WR Alabama Ht 6'3" Wt 220 Combine 40: 4.39, LJ: 11'3"
Jones dropping this far is unlikely, but with so much defensive talent and with a potential first-round run on QBs being rumored, somebody has to fall. Jones is a big-time playmaker who blocks as well as he runs and catches.
15 MIA Mike Pouncey C/G Florida Ht 6'5" Wt 303 Combine No Top 5's
The 'Fins did a lot of shifting in the middle of their O-line last season. Pouncey can take over at center but can also play guard. Some think they go with a RB here, but there isn't a consensus on who the best back is at this point.
16 JAX J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin Ht 6'5" Wt 290 Combine Bench: 34 reps
Another guy that has been slotted as strictly a 3-4 guy, but he can rush the passer as a LDE and even move inside to the 3-technique in a 4-3. He can flat-out get in the backfield.
17 NE Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa Ht 6'3" Wt 281 Combine 20 Shuttle: 4.13
Clayborn is a rare pass rusher with the ability to play the run thanks to great hand use and leverage. A versatile player who can excel in the Pats' scheme.
18 SD Aldon Smith OLB Missouri Ht 6'4" Wt 263 Combine No Top 5's
Has the explosiveness, athleticism and versatility to play outside LB in a 3-4. While the Chargers could use a guy inside, Larry English has been a disappointment and Shaun Phillips needs help.
19 NYG Corey Liuget DT Illinois Ht 6'2" Wt 298 Combine No Top 5's
We think the Giants could go with a tackle here, but Liuget can provide pressure from the interior, where Rocky Bernard is aging and Barry Cofield may not be back.
20 TB Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue Ht 6'4" Wt 267 Combine LJ: 10'2"
The Bucs were ranked 26th in sacks last season. Kerrigan had 34 sacks and 57 plays behind the line of scrimmage in 48 games with the Boilermakers. **
|Ht||6'7"||Wt||314||Combine||VJ: 31.5", LJ: 9'1"|
The Chiefs need to continue to run the ball well to be competitive. The O-line is in need of help and Carimi is tough, smart and physical; a real roadgrader for the right side.
22 IND Nate Solder T Colorado Ht 6'8" Wt 319 Combine 40: 5.05, VJ: 32.0"
A former TE who possesses great athleticism and the skills to play on the left side. As often as the Colts drop back, they have to continue to find ways to protect their franchise QB.
23 PHI Jimmy Smith CB Colorado Ht 6'2" Wt 211 Combine No Top 5's
The Eagles also have issues along the offensive line, but with Ellis Hobbs likely not returning from a serious neck injury, another press cover corner to play opposite Asante Samuel is key to Philly's defensive success.
24 NO Akeem Ayers OLB UCLA Ht 6'3" Wt 254 Combine No Top 5's
With the strong side possibly unsettled, the addition of Ayers could give the Saints an athletic option to play next to Jonathan Vilma.
25 SEA Jake Locker QB Washington Ht 6'3" Wt 231 Combine 40: 4.59, VJ: 35", 3-Cone:6.77
The 'Hawks have some serious needs on the O-line, particularly at right tackle, but we don't see a great fit here. Beyond Locker's obvious skills, the similarities between the Washington offense of Steve Sarkesian, who worked for Pete Carroll at USC, and Seattle's scheme will help his transition.
26 BAL Aaron Williams CB Texas Ht 6'0" Wt 204 Combine LJ: 10'7"
The Ravens have been ravaged by injuries at the CB position, and Williams' size (6'0") and strength will help a secondary that doesn't have a corner who measures over 5'10".
27 ATL Cameron Heyward DE Ohio St. Ht 6'5" Wt 294 Combine No Top 5's
John Abraham is turning 33 and there isn't another top pass rusher on the roster. Heyward hasn't put up gaudy numbers but has the skills to be a solid three-down player.
28 NE Danny Watkins T/G Baylor Ht 6'3" Wt 310 Combine LJ: 10'7"
Watkins is a big-bodied guard who can dominate as a run blocker and protects the team against the potential loss of Steve Neal, Logan Mankins, Matt Light and/or Nick Kaczur.
29 CHI Jabaal Sheard DE Pittsburgh Ht 6'3" Wt 280 Combine 40: 4.69
A natural speed rusher off the edge who has a surprisingly good bull rush, Sheard is a high-effort guy with a great motor and works to get to the QB. Perfect for the Chicago scheme.
30 JETS Justin Houston OLB Georgia Ht 6'3" Wt 270 Combine Bench: 30 reps; LJ: 10'5"
A highly productive pass rusher who will force opposing offenses to account for him. Houston does such a good job of getting to the QB that Rex Ryan could actually be able to reduce his blitz package this season!
31 PIT Brandon Harris CB Miami Ht 5'10" Wt 191 Combine No Top 5's
Harris is a big, strong corner who doesn't have the best cover skills but is solid in zone coverage, which works well in the Steelers scheme. He can hit and will play well in run support. **
|32||GB||Derek Sherrod||T||Mississippi St.|
Sherrod can play on the left or the right. This pick gives the Pack a pair of bookend tackles, along with Bryan Bulaga, to build around.
33. New England — Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
The best 3-4 NT in the draft goes to the Patriots to learn from Vince Wilfork.
34. Buffalo — Marcus Cannon, T, TCU
Chan Gailey says he can win a championship with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Cannon is a 360-pound mammoth who can play T or G.
35. Cincinnati — Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
Roy Williams may not be back, and Moore is a solid tackler with range and ball skills.
36. Denver — Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Every John Fox team has a tandem of top tier backs. Ingram is a great value here.
37. Cleveland — Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois
An excellent tackler who also has range to play in coverage. A gap shooter who will make plays in the backfield in any scheme.
38. Arizona — Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona
Hometown player is a tenacious pass rusher who has shown in workouts that he can play as a standup rusher in the 3-4.
39. Tennessee — Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
Not a top priority, but good value here. The Titans' success on D has always started with a deep and versatile line group.
40. Dallas — Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma
Alan Ball and Barry Church are penciled in as starters at safety. Carter is better than both by far.
41. Washington — Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
Smart, accurate, athletic and has loads of experience in a pro-style offense. The Shanahans can build around him if they can keep him healthy.
42. Houston — Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
Dowling has good size, speed and ball skills. An excellent zone corner who will upgrade a weak Texans secondary.
43. Minnesota — Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
Mallett is a smart player and a natural leader with a gun for an arm. If you can get by some college-kid indiscretions, he's a steal here.
44. Detroit — Davon House, CB, New Mexico State
A press cover corner who has excellent size, speed and leaping ability, House will help an ailing secondary and has the ability to lock off a team's top receiver.
45. San Francisco — Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
Dalton will need time to develop in the NFL game. But simply put, he's a winner, and the Niners need some of that.
46. Denver — Christian Ballard, DE/DT, Iowa
Ballard is a versatile player who can play inside or outside for a team that needs D-line help and is making the transition to a 4-3.
47. St. Louis — Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois
The Rams are looking for the next Steven Jackson. LeShoure fits the bill as an impact runner and receiver.
48. Oakland — Rodney Hudson, C/G, Florida State
Voted the ACC's best blocker two years in a row, he plays with great technique and is more powerful and athletic than given credit for. He can play all three interior positions.
49. Jacksonville — Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
The Jaguars needs to replace two of their three starting LBs from last year. If his knee (surgery in November) checks out, he's one of the most athletic and explosive 'backers in this draft.
50. San Diego — James Carpenter, T, Alabama
Carpenter played LT in college but is likely an RT in the NFL. Big and athletic, he can reach blocks at the second level, pull and trap, and is solid in protection. Durable and reliable.
51. Tampa Bay — Sam Acho, LB, Texas
Most see Acho, a college DE, as an OLB in the 3-4, but he can also play the Sam in the 4-3. A smart, high-effort player who chases ballcarriers down from all over the field.
52. New York Giants — Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina
The Giants have three free agents at LB, and Sturdivant is an excellent athlete with the speed to play outside and the tackling ability to play inside.
53. Indianapolis — Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
An undersized, penetrating 3-technique who can make disruptive plays in the backfield and help the Colts stuff the run game.
54. Philadelphia — Ben Ijalana, G, Villanova
A big, athletic lineman with good toughness who is ideally suited to play inside at guard but could swing to tackle if needed.
55. Kansas City — Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
Smith needs some refinement but has the top gear to stretch the defense and give Matt Cassel a viable deep threat.
56. New Orleans — Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
A 300-pounder who has a unique combination of size and quickness to be effective in any scheme, Paea's at his best clogging the middle and will be great protection for Jonathan Vilma.
57. Seattle — Orlando Franklin, T/G, Miami
Franklin can play inside at guard or at RT, which is ideal for the Seahawks. He's an excellent run blocker who can knock defenders off the ball.
58. Baltimore — Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
Cobb is the anti-diva of WRs. Hard-working and dedicated, he's an excellent route runner with the speed to become Joe Flacco's reliable deep threat.
59. Atlanta — Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
The Falcons have been looking for a complementary receiver to Roddy White. Hankerson is a bit raw, but he's a playmaker with 4.4 speed who will eventually keep defenses from rolling to White.
60. New England — Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada
A speed guy who ran 4.4, Moch can get to the QB. He'll make the conversion from DE, and it will take time, but we happen to know that Bill Belichick likes him.
61. San Diego (from JETS) — Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State
Though he doesn't show great measurables or test well, Jones is a natural playmaker with tones of experience playing both inside and outside. A natural football player with great instincts.
62. Chicago — Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
The Bears have some playmakers at WR, but they need a physical receiver who will go win balls in the middle of the field. Baldwin is 6'4" and will provide a big, willing target for Jay Cutler.
63. Pittsburgh — Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
A DeSean Jackson type who averaged over 12 yards per catch and over 23 yards per kick return in college. With no OL value here, look for Pitt to develop the next Hines Ward.
64. Green Bay — Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
With no real pressing need, Kaepernick is a good value here. He'll get to learn from fron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy and gives the Pack a better option than Matt Flynn if Rodgers continues to get dinged up.