I love reading mock drafts, but really I only like it to get a valuation of the players. I can't watch college ball easily, and don't study film. I read enough to get an idea of where picks land, but rarely are trades made on mock drafts. When it comes to the real thing though, trades are made all the time. Like nearly every pick. I'll try and do my best to try and match team need with value, and make sensible picks. The Raiders don't have a first round pick this year, so if ever there's a time to try and use logic to predict what will happen, this year would likely be the one. Of course the whole draft stands on shaky ground due to some of the high profile positions having very unproven commodities (QB, OT). I did use this handy trade value chart when making trades.
After trying to give my best shot, I realize why mocks don't simulate trades. It is tough to keep track of, and people can get jumpy when they think thier prosect is in danger, which is an ugency that I just don't have and requires a lot of extra work that would be difficult to really do correctly. I guess that's why there are simply way more trades in the actual draft than any mocker can reasonably predict. I just don't have the urgency of the stake of a several hundred million dollar franchise on my shoulders when it comes to this either. But I tried...
1. Carolina Panthers- Select Cam Newton QB. I actually think this sucks for the Panthers. The word coming out of Carolina is that they haven't decided on a pick and they aren't getting any calls about it. The reason they haven't decided I'm sure is because they are trying to solve the riddle that is Cam Newton, because if they decide to go another direction, the answers would present themselves. The more they think about Newton, the more they talk themselves into it, and they ultimately decide to embark on a challenge that they may not be in a situation to handle (i.e. the way he will most likely be successful is if he has enough time to develop, which he won't get from a team chosing #1 overall)
2. Denver Broncos- select Marcell Dereus DT- The Broncos get possibly the safest pick in the draft, and a much needed boost at the tackle spot. This is the only pick I feel that has a higher than 60% chance of coming to fruition.
3. Buffalo Bills- select Von Miller OLB- The Bills had some calls here, but they went with what they hope will be a conerstone of the defense for a long time to come.
4. Cincinnati Bengals- select A.J. Green WR- Mike Brown is in charge, and he has not yet come to terms with the fact that Jonathan Joseph won't take a pay cut to stay in Cincy. I do think he realizes Palmer is gone, but his scouts (i.e. team coaches) think they can get good value from a later prospect, So he does the best thing according to Mike and selects the top wideout.
5. Detroit Lions (TRADE)- select Patrick Peterson, CB- The Bills took Miller, and the Cards were very seriously considering Peterson themselves, or possibly reaching for a pass rusher. But the Lions were burning up the phone lines all morning for the best player in the draft for the 2nd year in a row, and gave up thier 1st, 2nd, 5th and next year's 2nd for this pick, which was too rich for the Cards to pass on. The lions have a very solid foundation for the next half of a decade after this.
6. Cleveland Browns- select Julio Jones, WR- The Browns are doing a nice job of turning thier team around, but they have no one on the outside. I don't watch them very often, but I was on a 20 team fantasy league with 3 wrs each team, 2 wr/kr teams and 2 wr/te options. Do you want to know how many browns wide recievers were available? All of them. It was absolutely amazing, they litterally don't even have scrub fill-ins out there. The defense is going through a major transition and needs help, but with the run game in full swing, a developing QB and a stout O-line, getting a playmaker to complete thier offense takes some pressure off of a defense that will no doubt struggle anyway.
7. San Fransisco 49ers- select Blain Gabbert QB - Harbaugh, in his first year, grabs his franchise QB. This is a pick that he needs to make as he is not one to rest his fortunes on Smith & Smith.
8. Tennessee Titans - select Nick Fairley DT - The Titans love the fact that Fairley fell to them, and once both the top QBs were off the board the decision came easily. They scoop Fairley up in a milisecond.
9. Dallas Cowboys - select Tyron Smith OT - This was a tough pick that changed my mind a few times about with Akamura still on the board. The deciding factor was the injury to Romo and the threat of the defensive lines in the NFC east despite Akamura being a better value here.
10. Arizona Cardinals (TRADE) - select Robert Quinn DE/OLB- Those sneaky Cardinals, dropping down and then up to get the guy they probably would have picked at 5. Snyder doesn't like that Julio Jones and Fairley off the board. While he can't trade this pick for a aging vet, Washington trades back to the #13 spot and picks up the Cardinal 3rd rounder next year in the process, which Snyder may be able to pawn off for a coveted over the hill "great". Meanwhile, the Cards, with Wizenhunt pushing his luck, now have some more firepower in the draft, and a versitile defensive threat, and the Lions 2012 2nd rounder (traded to them earlier for Peterson) softens the blow of giving up thier 2012 3rd rounder for Quinn.
11. Houston Texans- select Prince Akumara CB - They drafted a CB last year in the first round, but that doesn't seemed to have solved not much. Akamura could be the #1 guy and hopefully Jackson can become serviceable enough to slide into the #2 role. The defense needs a lot of help, and the Texans are forced into the selection based on pure value alone, much to the delight of Texans fans everywhere.
12. Jacksonville Jaguars (TRADE)- select DeQuan Bowers DE - The Jags jump up to take the best 4-3 pass rusher available this year, albeit at a risk. Still, the skill that Bowers possess is enough to tempt the Jags to think he could be the answer to help solve the problem that is Peyton Manning. The jags give up #16, thier 4th (114) and 7th to make it happen. (I'm sure I'll hear it for this one)
13. Washington Redskins- select Cameron Jordan DE - The Skins pick up solid value and a very good pass rusher which could help thier young defensive line.
14. St. Louis Rams- select J.J Watt DE/DT - The Rams couldn't jump up in front of the Browns to nab Jones, so they wait for the best D-line prosect once they are on the clock. Watt has plenty of strengths without any major weakenesses, and Steve Spagnolia is already dreaming of ways his versatility can add to his playbook.
15. Indianapolis Colts - (TRADE) select Anthony Costanzo OT - The fit is too good for the Colts to pass on, and they aren't about to let someone jump in a grab their guy. The Dolphins were selling thier spot, and for only a 3rd rounder on top of swapping firsts, the price was too good to pass up. They may have jumped the gun, but they wanted to make sure that they got thier guy.
16. Minnesota Vikings- select Gabe Carimi- The Vikings are starting to need help in a lot of ways, as they are not exactly spring chickens anymore. Carimi can step in at guard and has the potential to become a tackle. The Vikings have help for thier last blast (barring a QB) and potential for the future.
17. New England Patriots- select Adrian Clayborne DE- Wait, this Mock has trades, right? And the Patriots didn't move? Come on! Well, I just don't see Belicheck moving down because he always "reaches" for players that mesh perfectly into his system. I can't see them moving back either because they have too many picks and not enough holes or fring spots on the roster. I think Clayborn will do anything that the Big Cheese will ask him to do, and do it well. When the actual draft happens this pick will probably blindside everyone, so it might as well be a name in a hat here.
18. San Diego Chargers - select Aldon Smith DE/OLB - The Chargers make a value pick in an area of need. The Chargers hope that Smith can become a defensive playmaker and a spark that ignites the defense to turn from a powerhouse to a contender.
19. New York Giants- select Mark Ingram RB - The Giants get the big, bruising back that they covet, and Coughlin can get rid of his biggest headache.
20. New England Patriots- (TRADE) select Nate Solder OT- The run on DEs left Tampa Bay high and dry, and New England needs a solid tackle prospect who they can bring along and anchor the line in the future. The Pats give up the #28 and the latter of thier third rounders (#92) to get the guy that Bilicheck wants.
21. Kansas City Chiefs- select Ryan Kerrigan OLB - People seem to really be high on Taylor here. I could have gone either way. Kerrigan represents more value, where Taylor represents a bit of a reach, yet at a slightly more coveted position. Both could help the Chiefs now and for years to come. I think Ryan's value tips scale over the difference in postional value. No wideout comes close at this point and there are plenty of options later.
22. Miami Dolphins- select Mike Pouncey OG- The Dolphins watched Ingram go since trading out of thier spot, but they still are able to grab Pouncey. and while the concern is high when it comes to Henne, the rug has effectively been pulled out from under Sparano with the departure of the big Tuna. If there is any chance to save his job, he would need to win now as there would likely be little sympathy from the Dolphins front office any more. so they go with the best immediate prospect at one of the biggest positions of need.
23. Philadelphia Eagles- select Jimmy Smith CB- The Eagles need some help in thier secondary, and they get a very talented corner in Jimmy Smith. The big knock on Smith is his character, but there are plenty of people on the Eagles who have been to rock bottom and back, not just Vick. OL is a consideration, but there are no picks that warrant the value and Mudd doesn't need first round prospects to turn into starters.
24. New Orleans Saints- select Corey Liuget DT- The Saints sit back and wait, and come away with great value here. Other teams wanted the spot, but no way was Payton letting go of the most valuable player on the board and someone who can be a key cog on the defensive line for years to come.
25. Seattle Seahawks select Jake Locker QB- Well, I imagine that if this were the pick, Carroll and Co. would move up to get him, but I couldn't see any team jumping in front to get him, so it's easier for me to see them waiting on him. Still, I just think everything falls into place here, with the local star and Pete Carrol who tried to recruit locker at USC and even the possible opportunity for Locker to learn for a year or two behind a re-signed Hasslebeck.
26. Baltimore Ravens select Muhamed Wilkerson DE- Ozzie Newsome is a better GM than me. This is the best pick I could give the Ravens, but Ozzie will surely do something even more awesome. I like Wilkerson, and think he's one of the risers that should be rated higher, and could end up as another stud defensive player in purple.
27. Atlanta Falcons- select Cameron Heyward DE- "But Einman, they need a receiver." "Listen chump, they need a defensive playmaker so that Arron Rodgers can't complete more than 80 percent of his passes, period!" He's got the talent and the bloodline to be a great end in the NFL. I think the talent would be there in the 2nd to get a #2 wideout, but they need a bigtime upgrade for their pass rush, now and in the future.
28.Tampa Bay Buccaneers- select Akeem Ayers OLB- The Bucs curse the Gods for the 2 selections that came in before this pick. Tampa considers trading back again, but they are close to contending and have to have top prospects to do so, so they grab the best linebacker on the board that fits thier system.
29. -Tennessee Titans -(TRADE) select Ryan Mallet QB- The Bears best options fell off the board in Liuget and Solder. They needed a max value pick, but short of that they have too many holes to try and reach here. The Titans need a QB, and find a taker with Mallet, who can help now and later. The Titans give up thier 2nd (39), 4th (109) and next year's 3rd in return for Mallet and the Bear's 5th rounder this year.
30. New York Jets- select Phil Taylor NT- The Jets could have gone with Justin Houston or Taylor here. But a starting quality NT is at a premium these days, and he is a bit safer of a pick, no feet and all.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers select Brandon Harris CB- The Steelers had a choice here between Sherrod and Harris. Both represent need and value. The decision came down to the Steelers focus on defense and the level of play of the offensive line this year despite the endless stream of injuries. With Harris, the Steelers win last year's SB, I can't say the same about Sherrod.
33. Arizona Cardinals (TRADE) select Christian Ponder - The Pats move down the board to #38 and add #103 from the Cards. The cards get the most NFL ready remaining QB on the board that they couldn't risk losing to the Bills or Bengals.
34. Buffalo Bills select Derrick Sherrod OT- The Bills fill another need with a quality pick.
35. Cincinnati Bengals select Andy Dalton QB- The Bengals overvalue Daulton, but they can't take the chance that he goes before they pick again, and MB don't trade.
36. Denver Broncos select Christian Ballard DT- This was a toss- up between Ballard and Paea. Fox is changing defenses and can sure up the weakest part of the line, and I think Ballard is a better fit alongside Dareus.
37. Cleveland Browns select Stephen Paea DT- Cleveland acquires a stout, reliable tackle for thier new 4-3 defense.
38. New England Patriots select Mikel Leshoure RB- The Pats get a great change of pace back to Danny Woodhead and Ellis-Green
39. Chicago Bears select Danny Watkins- Lovie Smith doesn't mind Watkins age, as he can come in and help right away and for the next several years.
40. Dallas Cowboys select Rodney Hudson OG- Dallas continues to overhaul their aging line, and get a solid piece in Hudson.
41. Washington Redskins select Jonathan Baldwin WR- The Skins get a big target to start opposite of Moss.
42. Houston Texans select Rahim Moore FS - With no worthwhile NT of value on the board, the Texans sure up thier terrible secondary with the rangy safety.
43. Minnesota Vikings select Brooks Reid, OLB- The Vikes get Reid, a very good player, at a great value.
44. Arizona Cardinals- select Benjamin Ijalana OL- Cards get a great player that they can use at guard or tackle.
45. San Fransisco 49ers select Ras-I Dowling CB- Big need, solid prospect with high ceiling.
46. Denver Broncos select Kyle Rudolph TE- Broncos get great value here as the best pass catching TE in the draft falls to their third pick.
47. St. Louis Rams select Torrey Smith WR- Smith falls a bit and the Rams squeal with delight.
48. Oakland Raiders select Marcus Cannon OL- Possible tackle or guard with solid potential. The Raiders get line help that they so desperately need with thier first pick in 2011.
49. Chicago Bears (TRADE) select Marvin Austin - Bears can give up pick #127 and #63 to the Jags after getting Tennessee's 4th rounder. Bears jump to get the man to man the middle of thier D-line.
50. San Diego Chargers select Leonard Hankerson WR- Too much uncertainty at the wideout position in SD, so they nab another big receiver.
51. Tampa Bay Buccanneers select Aaron Williams CB- The Bucs still need a NT DE badly, but Williams is too valuable to pass on here.
52. New York Giants select Martez Wilson LB- The Giants get a talented and versitile defender at a position of need.
53. Indianapolis Colts select Jurell Casey DT- The Colts address their Tackle postion in the second round, and pick up a great prospect in Casey.
54. Philadelphia Eagles select Orlando Franklin OL- The Eagles get a valuable piece on the line who can help in the guard or tackle postions.
55. Kansas City Chiefs select Randall Cobb WR- Cobb is at a great value here and could fit into the Chiefs hole at the #2 wideout. If McCluster develops into a good slot receiver, watch out for the Chiefs.
56. New Orleans Saints select Bruce Carter OLB - Carter is a strong addition to the Saints needy defense.
57. Seattle Sehawks select Clint Boling OG- Boling helps Seattle solidify the line even more.
58. Baltimore Ravens select Titas Young WR- The Ravens get a great playmaker that could instantly take the place of TJ Houshmanzada, and has potential for much greater things.
59. San Fransisco 49ers (Trade) select Jabaal Sheard OLB- The 9ers give up picks #76 and #115 to nab the best rush LB left on the board.
60. New England Patriots select Allen Bailey- Pats are stacked... again.
61. San Diego Chargers select Quinton Carter FS- Chargers pick up Weddell's possible replacement.
62. Jacksonville Jaguars select Greg Little WR- I am high on little, and he could be one of the best wide-outs in the draft. The Jags pick up a guy with all the potential in the world and hope that either him or Sims-Walker can play with some consistency.
63. Pittsburgh Steelers select Will Rackley OG- I was thinking of trading Pittsburgh out of this spot, but the drop off after Rackley is fairly steep when it comes to guards, and depth is still a concern on the line. He probably could have been had early in the third if they traded down, but the risk wasn't worth it.
64. Green Bay Packers select Ryan Williams- Williams could be a monster in Green Bay, and with Grant and Starks who have both been inconsistent and injured, this is BPA meets need.
I was going to do 3 rounds, I mean with all these trades it's almost dissappointing to stop here. But I'm out of time as the draft is today and I wanted to give you guys a chance to trash this before the real one happens.