This is not rocket science. It's actually quantum physics. Because everything can change before, during AND after you observe the event. Schrodinger's Cat... AIN'T GOT NOTHING... ON ME!
Do not consider this Mock Draft the best possible draft option out there. Unless you're willing to pay me. I take unmarked bills, twentys and fiftys. Plain paper bag, behind the broken popcorn machine on the third floor. Go. Go now!
One other thing about the quantum nature of NFL drafting: trades are always a serious option, and there's a few teams in good position to trade down (Buffalo, Dallas, Jacksonville, Miami come to mind) and teams hoping to trade up (Tampa Bay, Baltimore maybe). Nothing is certain except death and taxes. Except for the fact that corporations never pay taxes and CEOs are planning to buy cloning technology to live forever... Sigh.
So, if you wanna see what I dread to see in this year's draft:
1. Carolina – Team needs: QB, DT, CB, DE, OL
I originally had the Panthers going for CB because A) Carolina has a serious need on defense, especially that spot, B) None of the QB's for this year seemed to be impressive enough to waste a top overall pick. Apparently, Carolina is looking to completely start over, and that means new franchise QB. The question now is: Newton or Gabbert? A better scrambler or a confident pocket passer?
My mock pick: QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
2. Denver – Team needs: DT, LB, CB
Broncos still have major problems on defense. Any pick here for CB or DT or LB or even DE would be a good start. I got shredded for my Mock 1.0 for ignoring a good number of teams needing DT's and letting one draft-approved DT slip all the way down the First Round. I had Fairley here but it seems like his stock is dropping. Also, too many damn Roll Tide fans out there. Bastards.
My mock pick: DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
3. Buffalo – Team needs: DL, OL, LB
I had Bowers going here, but this was before the questions about how he's healing up from surgery entered the equation. There's talk that LB is now a tastier option, but the Bills still need Defensive line help and it's harder to find a DE than an OLB. So I'm sticking with DE... just not Bowers.
My mock pick: DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
4. Cincinnati – Team needs: QB, WR, DL
With all the BS about Palmer's situation, it was easy for me to joke about that. But the need for WR is dead serious. They need young legs. I have Green as the better WR than Jones.
My mock pick: WR AJ Green, Georgia
5. Arizona – Team needs: Kurt Warner, young again. This has not changed. But OLB is needed.
That Arizona needs QB talent is obvious. The lack of a Free Agency period makes it hard to see if they'll try for a veteran, for a trade (with Philly for Kolb keeps coming up), or draft. With Gabbert gone now, the temptation would be to get Cam Newton. But defense and Linebacker seems to be an issue as well. My question will be: how much is it worth to trade for Kolb?
My mock pick: OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
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 Cameron Jordan, California
7. San Francisco – Team needs: QB, CB, S, OLB
In this updated mock, the best overall player – Cornerback Patrick Peterson – slips this far. The temptation for QB fades...
My mock pick: CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
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.
My mock pick: QB Cam Newton, Auburn
9. Dallas – Team needs: OL, S, CB
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. Next best need – Safety – doesn't have the talent pool to fit the draft value here.
My mock pick: OT Tyron Smith, USC
10. Washington – Team needs: QB, DL, OT
Part of me doesn't care how the Redskins do in draft, don't care about the owner that's for sure. The way this revamped mock is shaking out, the possibility of snagging a sure DT or a DE that needs healing time could help with a D-line with age issues.
My mock pick: DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
11. Houston – Team needs: CB, S, DT
Further review highlights the fact that the Texans' secondary had serious issues. While CB is a better value pool this year than Safety, the need for a deep backyard defender is higher. I had a Safety pick here first, but the chance to get another young CB to lock down both sidelines will be too good to pass up.
My mock pick: CB Brandon Harris, Miami (FL)
12. Minnesota – Team needs: QB, OL, S
Past Gabbert and Newton, I still think there's not a lot of First Round value for QB's. A pass-oriented blocker would go a long way. Never sneeze at a chance to get a good starting LOT.
My mock pick: OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi St.
13. Detroit – Team needs: CB, OLB, QB
Why did I go with Brandon Harris for Houston instead of Prince? Because I think Harris fits the Texans' schemes better.
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
Last mock, I had the Rams take a non-Tide player for WR because I was being snotty and rude to Alabama fans. For that I apologize. To the Rams fans. Just get Julio Jones to pretend he graduated from Western Kentucky and all will be well.
My mock pick: WR Julio Jones, Not-Bama
15. Miami – Team needs: QB, OL, RB
I still can't see Miami using a pick on the higher need of QB considering who's left on the board. Of the teams I consider most likely to trade up or down (along with Buffalo, Cleveland, Dallas and St. Louis), Miami's the best bet. But the chance of getting best-available RB in the draft is there.
My mock pick: RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
16. Jacksonville – Team needs: DE, CB, OLB, WR
The talk has been that Jacksonville is still revamping their defensive line. My original pick was for CB, but Bowers has slipped this far in the draft due to injury concerns. The chance of getting him, resting him while relying on vets to steady the line for a few weeks, and then bringing him on-field could work. Just in time for the Jags' move to L.A.
My mock pick: DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
17. New England (via Oakland) – Team needs: LB, RB, WR
I still see the Patriots needing a RB as a key acquisition, although the chance for an OLB is there with Aldon Smith on the boards. I think I can switch the order of pick here so that the fans won't get too yelly about it.
My mock pick: OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri
18. San Diego – Team needs: DE, WR, MLB
Here's the scary thing as a Bucs fan. The Chargers need for DE help is as much a given as the Bucs' need. So anybody the Bucs covet, the odds are good San Diego covets as well. It's a good thing this is a deep draft for DEs.
My mock pick: DE J.J Watt, Wisconsin
19. New York Giants – CB, OL, LB
I still think 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.
My mock pick: OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
20. Tampa Bay – Team needs: DE, MLB, S
Not a lot of teams want to trade up: it costs them draft picks they need for depth at other key positions, for one. But sometimes you have to, and even with a deep talent pool for Defensive Ends the Bucs are in dire need for a pass-rusher (to all the guys saying “noooo the Bucs need to stop the run,” shush. The Bucs had no pass rush last year, fools!) and by this point in the draft there are few sure-fire one left. The biggest problem is that some of the teams I have drafting at other positions are in need of DE too. If they change their minds... Of the teams looking to trade up, I'd have to say the Bucs are the most obvious, if only to move ahead of San Diego and Jacksonville.
My mock pick: DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
21. Kansas City – Team needs: OG, WR, DT
Chiefs need help with the O-line. There's a decent Offensive Guard on the boards. That's Guard. Not Center. DO NOT LET POUNCEY SNAP THE BALL.
My mock pick: OG Mike Pouncey, Florida
22. Indianapolis – Team needs: OT, OG, WR
I don't see any changes from my first mock that the Colts need an upgrade with their OT in order to protect Peyton.
My mock pick: OT Nate Solder, Colorado
23. Philadelphia – Team needs: CB, DE, OL
This part of the mockery seems stable to me. I don't have an urge to change much.
My mock pick: CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
24. New Orleans – Team needs: RB, OT, DT
The injury problems with RB last season means the need for RB is here. Always. ALWAYS! The Saints will draft RB all seven rounds! BWHAHAHAHA! BAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!
My mock pick: RB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
25. Seattle – Team needs: WR, DE, TE
I had Julio here as the WR available for the Seahawks to snag. But the draft has changed. The best available WR now is.
My mock pick: WR Torrey Smith, Maryland
26. Baltimore – Team needs: OT, DE, WR
Anything to protect the QB, like I said before, is nothing to sneeze at. The need at DE is there, but OT has to get taken care of now rather than later.
My mock pick: OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
27. Atlanta – Team needs: WR, DE, OL
The Falcons have just one guaranteed WR to scare opposing defenses. Getting another WR to draw their attention should help. The need at Defensive End is there and the Falcs could go for DE Justin Houston.
My mock pick: WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh
28. New England – Team needs: if they get RB, then LB, WR, DT
Still getting a Running Back for them. They need one.
My mock pick: RB Mikel LeShoure, Illinois
29. Chicago – Team needs: OT, OG, WR, DT
Gotta fix their passing game. QB wasn't really the problem (despite the INTs), but pass protection has to improve.
My mock pick: OT Jason Pinkston, Pittsburgh
30. New York Jets – Team needs: OLB, DE
I don't want to do this. I left a decent pass-rusher on the boards that could play at OLB or DE for the Jets to take. With any luck, they won't read my post.
My mock pick: DE Justin Houston, Georgia
31. Pittsburgh – Team needs: CB, OL, DE
The failure at the Super Bowl is still on how poorly the Corner play was. Depth as well as starter quality.
My mock pick: CB Aaron Williams, Texas
32. Green Bay – Team needs: RB, OL, S
I have the Packers take best available Offensive Guard, but RB is still a possibility here. Maybe even Safety, considering the sole S I had going in the First Round (Quinton Carter) is now free for the taking. However...
My mock pick: OG Rodney Hudson, Florida State.
So... how bad's the damage?