After some review of the materials out there, and considering some of the mock drafts I've witnessed from fellow draftnik fans here at MTD, I went and formed my own mock draft... and pretty much threw most of the research I did out the window. Bwha!
Just remember: the real purpose of this draft is so that the Bucs end up getting DE Kerrigan. So there.
Follow after the jump:
1. Carolina – Team needs: QB, DT, CB, DE, OL
The rule of thumb is that the top team drafting, being as bad as they are, is going to take whichever top-scouted player makes the most sense. Most of the scouting is on how they need QB: Clausen had a terrible rookie year, and no one else on roster strikes fear into the hearts of anyone else. Problem is, the value of a QB this draft isn't this high: there are talented guys like Gabbert, but not worth a top overall pick. That leaves the next top needs: DT and CB. I can't recall a corner ever being a top overall pick, but Patrick Peterson is at the top of a lot of scouts' value boards. And the Panthers need a CB in a division with effective passing offenses. The other pick (the more “sensible” one) is with DT Nick Fairley. He was a beast during Auburn's championship run, but questions about on-field behavior are serious enough to make teams hesitate.
My mock pick: CB Patrick Peterson. LSU.
2. Denver – Team needs: DT, LB, CB
The Broncos didn't do much to fix a defense that's had holes the last two seasons, so this time they have to do something about it. The draft for MLB is weak this year, with OLB a possible option for Denver. But they really need DT or CB. Denver's sitting in the best possible spot. Whoever doesn't go with the Panthers (Fairley or Peterson) can get taken here.
My mock pick: DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
3. Buffalo – Team needs: DL, OL, LB
It's kind of odd that scouts I've read think Buffalo needs a QB when Fitzpatrick played great behind a patchwork O-line and with almost little help from a bad defense. Getting pass rush help and getting someone to strengthen the offensive front are both best possible options. The Bills can wait for a good OT or OG in the next round. Getting a great pass rusher for defense is a must, and Bowers is sitting there for the taking.
My mock pick: DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
4. Cincinnati – Team needs: Ownership, okay okay, QB, WR, DL
The Bengals were supposed to be a playoff contender but fell flat when their offense fell apart. Carson Palmer forced too many passes and the aging WR corps (turns out adding T.O to the mix was a bad idea, who knew?) didn't help. If Carson Palmer flees via a trade the QB spot becomes a huge question mark, with backup Jordan Palmer the likely preseason starter. If Carson stays, or a solid vet QB is added via FA, the top need is WR.
My mock pick: WR AJ Green, Georgia
5. Arizona – Team needs: Kurt Warner, young again. I'm serious.
There may be a few question spots on the roster, but the biggest need the Cardinals need is a QB they can believe in. Leinart was a wasted pick, Anderson was useless, and the others were undrafted guys with some spark but were overwhelmed. They need a Leader Among Men, and that means a FRANCHISE QB (insert heavenly chorus noise here). Considering how the draft's gone so far, I've got just the guy in mind.
My mock pick:
QB TIM TEBOW ack okay QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
6. Cleveland – Team needs: WR, DL, LB
The Browns are difficult to figure out as they're the one team past Carolina with so many major needs to fill. Defensive End is the best possible option as DE has its deepest draft pool in ages. But don't be surprised if an OLB or DT gets taken.
My mock pick: DE/OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina
7. San Francisco – Team needs: QB, CB, S, OLB
If the Niners had any sense they'd trade down to get a few more picks. They're in a decent spot (Top Ten pick) to do it, too. I'm saying this because the top need they have – Quarterback – doesn't really have a value pick that can go here. If Gabbert falls to here this is as far as he'll go. The other top name on the QB list – Cam Newton – still has this “Will he work in the NFL” aura of doubt. If San Francisco has to use this pick, figure on the team looking to OLB for it. The team is better off finding a reliable vet QB off FA or trade.
My mock pick: LB Von Miller, Texas A&M
8. Tennessee – Team needs: Meds for the heads, QB, LB, OL
The big battle off-field was between HC Fisher and QB Vince Young. Now both are either gone or on the way out of town. The new coach is set, but getting a QB is a must at the moment. Barring FA, the Titans need to use the pick here for QB. If Cam Newton goes to the Niners in the previous pick, expect the Titans to be the one to make the trade downward. If it goes as I expect, the Titans will gamble on Cam.
My mock pick: QB Cam Newton, Auburn
9. Dallas – Team needs: Humility, more seats for Super Bowl games, OL
Dallas fell apart last season, mostly due to a coach the team couldn't accept as HC anymore. The talent for the team is there, but the passion to win is more needed. Knocking some sense into their heads (psst. You're NOT really America's Team. Just focus on winning for Dallas) would go a long way. That and upgrades to their offensive line. Nobody on my draft's gone for OT yet, which gives Dallas some prime choices.
My mock pick: OT Tyron Smith, USC
10. Washington – Team needs: Ownership. Seriously. Synder's an ass. And you can take me to court, buddy, I can prove it! Oh, and also QB, DE, OT
The Redskins were a mess off-field and on-field last year, and little of that will change for next season if there is one. The mishandling of McNabb pretty much sends that veteran QB out the door leaving Washington with the questionable backup Rex Grossman. Getting a QB would make tons of sense... except that Synder will most likely use FA to find him one. Which may actually help because then the team could focus on getting younger on their D-line, either at DE or DT. With a deep DE draft like this, coach Shanahan will want someone perfect in his revamped 3-4 scheme...
My mock pick: DE Cameron Jordan, California
11. Houston – Team needs: Luck. TE, S, CB
Houston's not in a good spot with the needs they have: Tight End and Safety. The scouting has both as one of the weakest in years. They may need TE if their FA guy Daniels leaves, but there's few good choices there at all. They have a better option with FS Quinton Carter, someone at the top of the Safety class and would solve about half the team's backfield problems.
My mock pick: S Quinton Carter, Oklahoma
12. Minnesota – Team needs: bwhahahahaha. Okay. QB, OL, S
Past Gabbert and Newton, there's really not a lot of First Round value for QB's. Locker is too inconsistent and Mallett too slow. The Vikings could make the gamble of waiting for a later round to get a better value pick (not every current starting QB was a First Rounder, after all) and use their selection here to help with O-line help. A pass-oriented blocker would go a long way.
My mock pick: OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi St.
13. Detroit – Team needs: CB, OLB, QB
They had probably the best second-half of a season the team had seen since the Barry Sanders years. The bad news is it moves the team further into the draft where they'll have to wait for whatever trickles to them. The top need for the Lions is still reportedly on defense, although getting a healthier QB or an O-line to help keep him healthy would be nice. Few CB's have come off the board yet, so with a decent-sized pool of corners this year the Lions could snag an excellent rookie starter.
My mock pick: CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska. He can share some letters from his last name with Suh.
14. St. Louis – Team needs: OG, S, WR
The team improved to a near-playoff contention behind all-Rookie QB Bradford. All he needs now is a better O-line and running game, and another WR target or two to toss the rock at. Personally, I figure getting best-available OG now makes sense. But the team's bound to go with a glamour pick in WR instead...
My mock pick: WR Torrey Smith, Maryland
15. Miami – Team needs: QB, OL, RB
The Dolphins are in a bind. Their QB Henne regressed, the O-line was injury-prone and the overall offense was sluggish and hideous. Problem is, the QB choices by now aren't wowing the scouts, and the team may figure on their linemen coming back healthy next season to not worry about a draft pick here. Most worrisome is the potential loss of either starting RB – Brown and Williams – meaning if either leave this pick is bound to go for a back. But don't be at all surprised to see Miami trade up to snag Cam Newton if they can.
My mock pick: RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
16. Jacksonville – Team needs: S, CB, OLB, WR
I mocked the first rounder pick the Jags had last year – DT Alualu – but he turned out to be a solid starter. So Jacksonville may know what they're doing. The big needs are still on the defensive side of the ball, however, while finding a marquee top receiver would be nice. The backfield is of most need, but while Safety is highest need the talent pool is questionable for First Round value while CB is more solid. The team could reach in getting S Amhed Black from nearby Florida, but they may be better off going with a player further down the interstate highway...
My mock pick: CB Brandon Harris, Miami (FL)
17. New England (via Oakland) – Team needs: LB, RB, WR
The Patriots have made drafting practically an art form the last few years, but the fact they've usually drafted later than everyone else due to winning seasons is starting to hurt their overall talent. It's a good thing they trade with teams that tend to draft higher on the board than they do. New England's rarely had an outstanding RB over the past decade and could win without one, but the need for someone to take the pressure off of an aging Tom Brady is getting there. Fresh legs with the WR corps would help too. Linebacker would be a good option but they've got solid – just not spectacular – players there.
My mock pick: RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
18. San Diego – Team needs: DE, WR, MLB
The Chargers need a boost. Heh. Yeah I can pun with lameness same as anyone. But their defense needs more sacks, their offense needs more scoring. Want more puns? Guess the name of the guy I'm drafting to them.
My mock pick: DE J.J Watt, Wisconsin
19. New York Giants – Team needs: a name change to reflect the fact they play in JOISEY, ya bums! Also, CB, OL, LB
The things that cost the team wins last seasons – the insanely high INT count – can be fixed by either slapping some sense into Eli's head or getting better pass protection off the O-line. Corner is a high priority as there's a ton of questions with the team's backfield as well. What the team needs most is a working offense.
My mock pick: OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
20. Tampa Bay – Team needs: DE, MLB, S
The Bucs improved by leaps and bounds offensively, so while there are some needs with the O-line (especially since FA can affect the roster there), the top priority remains with rebuilding that defense. The D-line had few sacks and almost no pressure on opposing QB's. The team also suffered with gaps in the running game, but the focus on stopping the pass has always been the objective with the team's defense. Middle linebacker is only an issue if starter Ruud leaves the team via FA. The Safety (and Corner) spots are question marks due to injuries that plagued the backfield last season.
My mock pick: DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
21. Kansas City – Team needs: OG, WR, DT
A vastly improved season with a division title hid a lot of issues that the Chiefs still have. Primarily the offense with aging starters across the board, especially at the O-line and Guard position. More receiver targets for QB Cassel would help as well. But that O-line needs best available OG now.
My mock pick: OG Mike Pouncey, OG (just don't make him snap the ball!)
22. Indianapolis – Team needs: OT, OG, WR
It has to be spelled out that both Tackle and Guard spots on the O-line need vast upgrades if Peyton hopes to stay healthy in the league. The need at OG may be higher but anchoring the line for a pass-happy Colts team can be better solved with a deeper OT talent pool.
My mock pick: OT Nate Solder, Colorado
23. Philadelphia – Team needs: More health. Also healthy CB, healthy DE, healthy Center, healthy...
This could have been a Super Bowl winning team if there had been more consistency with the lineups. Hopefully they figured out where the injuries were coming from (FIX THAT FIELD) and they can focus on replacing talent where they can. They have one-half of a CB combo, with that vacant spot in dire need of talent.
My mock pick: CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
24. New Orleans – Team needs: RB, OT, DT
The Saints suffered from severe speed and skill at the... damn I ran out of “s”-words to keep that going. Anyway, they had a rotating cast of runners in their backfield and while it didn't hurt their winning games, they need more reliable run support for Brees' offense. The team's offensive line also regressed from their Super Bowl season, but of higher concern is what can happen in Free Agency. Their defensive line could take a hit, so if it does expect the Saints to pursue a lineman, maybe DT
My mock pick: RB Mikel Leshoure, Illinois
25. Seattle – Team needs: WR, DE, TE
The 2010 Seahawks: worst team to ever make the playoffs in, what, eighty years? Arena football teams had better cause to make a postseason than these guys. So good luck with the skewed draft board, guys, because those big holes to fill with your passing game is gonna suffer.
My mock pick: WR Julio Jones, Alabama
26. Baltimore – Team needs: OT, DE, WR
The Ravens' pass offense needs help. The WR situation isn't too bad (yet) although traded acquisition Boldin had a relatively quiet year in 2010. If the team thinks he can bounce back, they can focus instead on upgrades to the O-line, and especially the OT spot.
My mock pick: OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
27. Atlanta – Team needs: WR, OL
The Falcons showed few gaps in talent but they still need to upgrade in a division where the division winner failed to repeat in keeping the division title ever since it was formed. Their passing attack needs a few more weapons to it (Roddy White is going to face more triple teams until they do).
My mock pick: WR Leonard Hankerson, Miami (FL)
28. New England – Team needs: if they get RB, then LB, WR, DT
The Patriots could trade this to secure later round picks (maybe even a future First Rounder again), but if they're stuck with this pick expect best available player of the board at the key needs LB or WR
My mock pick: OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri
29. Chicago – Team needs: OT, OG, WR, DT
For all the success the Bears had last season, they still appear lacking in talent on their offense, especially with the passing game. Any talent upgrade at the O-line, most likely OT, ought to help.
My mock pick: OT Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh
30. New York Jets – Team needs: OLB, DT and a honking (bleeping) attitude adjustment you (expletives)!
Okay, hands up, how many of youse hates the JETS? Okay Yawkers, keep them up while we do this thing. Most of the problems on the offensive side of the ball had to do with Sanchez still getting his pro legs under him. The next season is clearly a make-or-break since he's got the tools – solid O-line, WR's, good running backs – around him. The team's defense is good for taking care of the pass but needs help on the front line and with getting more QB pressure. Given that a few good DT's have slipped on my draft board suggests they can get a decent DT at this spot.
My mock pick: DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
31. Pittsburgh – Team needs: CB, OL, DE
That the Steelers even made the Super Bowl says a lot about the organization's ability to handle distractions and focus on the field. Now, if they can keep Big Ben in a Chastity Belt for the off-season, they might get somewhere next season. They also need more help with that secondary, considering how easy it was to attack it during the final game.
My mock pick: CB Aaron Williams, Texas
32. Green Bay – Team needs: RB, OL, S
Super Bowl teams rarely look like they've got problems, but they do, hence the need to draft well the following year, heh. Upgrades to the offense are needed, as they didn't have a solid RB all season long, and the need to keep the O-line fresh with talent is there while you've got a QB like Rodgers leading your team.
My mock pick: OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State.
So. Real bad, huh...?