Posted by Rock Mayock 10:00PM After months of studying coach’s game tape, attending countless pro-days as well as the Combine, the FOOTBALLPHDS have finally compiled our first (and only) mock draft. Go ahead and let the comments fly because we know you have an opinion. Before you comment, just remember that we are PhDs.
1. Carolina—Marcell Dareus DT Alabama We love Dareus going to the Panthers with the number one overall pick. Incoming head coach Ron Riveria brings a new found emphasis on defense to a team that was lacking in everything last year. Dareus can play at either defensive tackle or defensive end thereby making him the perfect fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.
2. Denver—Von Miller LB Texas A&M Don’t let the dopes at BSPN lead you to believe the Donkeys are going QB at #2. They have too much money tied up with Orton, Quinn and Tebow. What the Broncos need is defensive help because they were absolutely dreadful last year. Quite frankly, we have seen wet toilet paper hit harder than the Bronco’s front seven. Miller will bring strength, size and athleticism to a defense that needs help on all levels.
3. Buffalo—Da’Quan Bowers DL Clemson Don’t believe the Kiper McShay talk of Cam Newton going to the Bills because the Bills have a serviceable QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bills need to shore up their front four and Bowers is just the man to fill that need. He brings scary size and speed off the end and is an effective run stopper in the middle.
4. Cincinnati—Julio Jones WR Alabama Mike Brown is clinging to the hope that he will be able to entice former All-Pro QB Heisman Palmer to rethink his promise to never play for the Bangles or retire. Julio Jones is a legitimate deep threat with better than average speed, phenomenal hands, impressive calves and most importantly strong work ethic and zero character issues. The Bangles are banking Jones being the right bait to keep Palmer in Bangle stripes. If it doesn’t work out with retaining Palmer, they will have a great core of wide outs just in case they are in line to draft Andrew Luck in 2012.
5. Arizona—Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri The Cards are a team in need of an identity. The most pressing need for the Cards is at the QB position. Neither Derek Anderson nor Max Hall are the answer to Arizona’s short term or long term plans. Ken Whisenhunt love QBs who can make quick reads and even quicker throws. Think of Gabbert as a younger and more athletic version of Kurt Warner.
6. Cleveland—Robert Quinn DE North Carolina Quinn is a pure pass rusher that will finally get the Browns some pressure off of the front four. Don’t expect Mike Holmgren to be tricked into taking AJ Green with the #6 pick.
7. San Francisco—Patrick Peterson CB LSU Once the lock out ends, the 49ers are going to resign QB Alex Smith to a one year contract. Jim Harbaugh will work with Smith to try to make him less of a liability until the more talent rich QB class of 2012. Taylor Mayes was marginal at safety in his rookie year and Peterson will help solidify a porous secondary. Another possibility at this pick is Aldon Smith.
8. Tennessee—Colin Kaepernick QB Reno This might be a stretch for the Titans at #8, but Tennessee is in desperate need for youth at QB. Kerry Collins is ancient and Vince Young’s maturity issues made him a lost cause. Kaepernick is a proven winner at a very undermanned and under talented Reno team. Expect Kaepernick to sit a year behind the verteran Collins before taking over the offense in 2013 (because we all know there will be no 2011 season).
9. Dallas—Tyron Smith OT USC This is Jerry Jones’ big opportunity to finally make a smart draft pick. The Cowboy’s offensive line was terrible last year. Smith is a big, strong and uber talented prospect that will protect Tony Romo at right tackle and finally open some running lanes for Felix Jones. Plus, Smith is SWOLE and FOOTBALLPHDS love swole players.
10. Washington—AJ Green WR Georgia This is Dan Snyder’s opportunity to prove once again he has absolutely no idea what he is doing. Instead of helping Mike Shanahan by taking an offensive lineman or linebacker, Snyder will go with the flashiest player not name Cam Newton left on the draft board. FOOTBALLPHDS’ lock of year is that AJ Green will be a bust.
11. Houston—Aldon Smith DE Missouri Smith will compliment former #1 overall pick Mario Williams as one of the best DE pass rushing combinations in the league. The lone concern about Smith is his ability to be an every down play maker. However in the current era of specialization (see Dwight Freeney) Smith will be a steal at #11.
12. Minnesota—Mike Pouncey OL Florida The Vikings need a QB of the future but they have a more pressing need to be able to protect the QB of the present. The Vikings’ piss poor pass blocking essentially ended Brett Favre’s Hall of Fame career. While not as skilled as his brother Maurice, Pouncey will step in with the ability to play at either tackle or center.
13. Detroit—Prince Nakamura CB Nebraska Prince will join his former Husker team mate Ndamukong Suh as a stud rookie for the Lions. Since giving the porn star mustachioed Matt Millen the boot, the Lions have been steadily restocking their roster with talent. Nakamura will give the once hapless Lions a lock down corner to match the incredible pass rush from Suh.
14. St. Louis—Gabe Carimi OL Wisconsin The Rams will draft additional muscle to protect their franchise golden boy Sam Bradford.
15. Miami—Mark Ingram RB Alabama With a franchise QB not on the board, the Fins will be looking to bolster their steadily diminishing rush numbers. Ricky Williams and his neck beard are not getting any younger and Ronnie Brown has not been the same since his knee injury. Ingram, while not an every down back, will allow the Fish to add some youth to their rotation of running backs.
16. Jacksonville—Nick Fairley DT Auburn Fairley slips down to the middle of the first round due to his questionable motor and work ethic. Fairley will either be draft steal or a draft bust for a defensively depleted Jags team. I am inclined to think that Fairley will eat himself out of the league in 2-3 years.
17. New England -- from Oakland—JJ Watts DE Wisconsin The Patriots have been getting older and slower on defensive since the 2008 Super Bowl. The knock on Watts is that he is only a one position player however Belichick only needs him to play one position, DE. Watts will finally give the Pats speed they off of the end to get a legitimate pass rush with their front 4.
18. San Diego—Phil Taylor NT Baylor The Chargers have not been the same since Shawne Merriman blew out his knee and Jamal Williams departure. Taylor is a big boy who will clog the middle in the Chargers’ 3-4 scheme.
19. New York Giants
20. Tampa Bay—Jimmy Smith CB Colorado The Bucs have not had lock down corners since Brian Kelly and Ronde Barber held things down for the 2001 Super Bowl team. At 6’2” 210lbs, Smith is a giant corner. Raheem Morris can use Smith as a roving CB/S combo player.
21. Kansas City—Cameron Jordan DE California #21 Could be wishful thinking for the Chiefs to pick up Cameron Jordan. Jordan is a plug and play for Romeo Crennel’s defensive scheme. Jordan can either play off the end as a DE or stand up as a OLB.
22. Indianapolis—Nate Solder OL Colorado Payton Manning’s health is priority one for the Colts and last year Payton took an atypical beating due to poor pass protection. Solder came to Colorado as a TE and filled out into a right tackle. He has quick feet and is good with his hands. Solder can step in immediately at RT. Once he fills out and learns NFL schemes don’t be surprised to see him move to LT.
23. Philadelphia—Cam Newton QB Auburn Andy Reid is a freaking QB magician. He took Michael Vick, a personal and professional train wreck, and took him to pro-bowl form in one year and Kevin Kolb is perpetual trade bait. The Eagles taking Newton with a low first row pick gives Reid a young player with tremendous upside potential. Give Newton 2-3 years sitting behind either Vick or Kolb along with Andy Reid’s tutelage, and Newton very well might end up being a solid NFL starter.
24. New Orleans—Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue The Saints defensive woes were on full display in the humiliating first round playoff loss to the Sea Chickens. The Saints are already solid in the middle with Sedrick Ellis but they need a better supporting cast to help. Kerrigan to offer that much needed athletic speed rusher off the edge.
25. Seattle—Derek Sherrod OL Mississippi State The Seahawks hit pay dirt with last year’s first pick Russell Okung. The addition of Sherrod on the right side will allow the Seahawks to control the line of scrimmage with Marshawn Lynch and hopefully squeeze another 1-2 productive years out of Matt Hasselbeck.
26. Baltimore—Danny Watkins OL Baylor Yes, there are two players from Baylor who will be taken in the first round. The Ravens would love to take Jimmy Smith with the #26 pick but they will have to settle for the best player for their needs with Watkins. Watkins is a big kid with great hands. The Ravens run game was anemic towards the end of the year and the addition of Watkins would help open up more holes for Ray Rice and Willis McGahee.
27. Atlanta—Stephen Paea DT Oregon State Atlanta will gamble on this Tongan stud. Don’t believe that Paea is undersized to play DT at the next level. Keep in mind that Paea set the bench press record (49 reps of 225lbs) at the Combine. While still very raw, he has all of the physical tools to be a beast.
28. New England—Jacquizz Rodgers RB Oregon State Calves Calves Calves!This is a selfish pick for the FOOTBALLPHDS. The Patriots relied on oompa loompa Danny Woodhead as their primary RB last season. If you are going to play a midget running back, you might as well have a really good one. Rodgers production was unparalleled during this three years at OSU. We know that Bill Belichick loves selfless team players. Rodgers is a perfect fit.
29. Chicago—Torrey Smith WR Maryland As previously reported by FOOTBALLPHDS, a large faction of the Bears organization is not sold on Jay Cutler and his ability to win the big game. I do not believe Cutler’s problems in Chicago have anything to do with his leadership ability. The problem is that he does not have any good receivers to throw to. Smith has blazing speed and should be able to make big plays on the outside. One thing to note is that Smith shares a similar condition that his Maryland compatriot DHB has demonstrated, he has questionable hands.
30. New York Jets—Mikel Leshoure RB Illinois The Jets need to get Mark Sanchez additional help with the running game. LT has a lot miles on his legs and Shonn Greene is too inconsistent. Leshoure is an absolute beast who will play into Rex Ryan’s scheme of solid defense and ball control offense.
31. Pittsburg—Anthony Castonzo OL Boston College Any pick at this point in the draft is starting to become a crap shoot, but good O-Line prospects always work. The Steelers showed they were very thin on the O-Line as they hobbled down the playoff run. Castonzo comes equipped with a tough nose to the grindstone mentality that fits into Mike Tomlin’s team culture.
32. Green Bay—Muhammad Wilkerson DT Temple The Pack looked great in their first Super Bowl win in the post Brett Favre era. There are not many glaring holes that need to be addressed for Mike McCarthy’s team. If anything they may want to explore greater depth at DL (after all BJ Raji is pretty fat).
There you have it. FOOTBALLPHDS first mock draft. We will do a full side by side comparison to the crap Kiper/McShay made up once the draft is completed.