“The Other Cam” is a sure-fire Top-10 talent
An abundance of defensive line prospects means there will be a plethora of steals to be had in the mid-late 1st round.
#1 Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn – If Ron Rivera’s gang selects Cam, they will have a tremendous opportunity to turn things around, a la Tampa Bay. A strong draft class could translate into a 10-win season within two years. I project Newton as a better pro than Josh Freeman. A top-10 QB as early as ’12. “I’ve seen all I need to see as far as him throwing a football,” Rivera said. “I’m already convinced.”
#2 Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama – Just like at 1, this pick is set in stone. Broncos transition to the 4-3 defense makes it even more obvious. As good as Patrick Peterson will be, I don’t think Denver wants to spend the second overall choice on a defensive back.
#3 Buffalo Bills: TRADE (Receive Cleveland’s 3rd round pick, #70). #6 Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia – Dealing up to scoop A.J. before division rival Cincy gets the chance to at 4. An upgrade is needed for the team with the worst receiving group in the NFL. Buffalo can still get their man at Cleveland’s spot.
#4 Cincinnati Bengals: TRADE (Receive Dallas’ 2nd round pick, #40). #9 Dallas Cowboys: Patrick Peterson, CB, Louisiana State – ‘Boys swing for the fences and hit a home run. Bengals are more open to trading down now Green’s off the board. Peterson will not slide past both Arizona and Buffalo. Move allows Marvin Lewis and company flexibility to go “B.P.A.” over need with first pick.
#5 Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M – Safe, easy selection for Cards. No-brainer. Miller fills need at LB and is BPA. Detroit calls for pick, but who will be there at 13?
#6 Buffalo Bills: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri – Patience and rolling the dice pays off. On the offensive side of the ball, Bills future looks very promising. Gabbert offers hope more than anything.
#7 San Francisco 49ers: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, North Carolina – Worthy of top-5 consideration, taking Quinn eases the pain of Peterson being unavailable. Scary combo of Willis-Quinn will give opposing quarterbacks nightmares. Jim Harbaugh will have to wait for Alex Smith’s competition in the 2nd round.
#8 Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn – What a coup for Tennessee. Addition of Auburn standout gives Titans an even more formidable defensive line. Super-talented Fairley makes sense at this point in the draft.
#9 Cincinnati Bengals: TRADE (Receive Minnesota’s 2nd round pick, #43). #12 Minnesota Vikings: Jake Locker, QB, Washington – Vikings park right in front of ‘Skins and their bid for Locker. High, lofty aspirations still present for the Washington Husky. My #2 QB in the draft; Minnesota cannot let him fall to Washington at 10. Bengals can grab Jones at Vikings spot.
#10 Washington Redskins: Cam Jordan, DE, California – Not a bad consolation prize. Jordan has the skills to become a imposing force at the next level. Shanahan figures he can bolster the offense in rounds two and three. I envision the Cal product producing immensely right away in D.C.
#11 Houston Texans: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin – Watt next to Super Mario. Impressive 1-2 punch for Wade Phillips’ 3-4 system. No LB is worthy of a choice this high in the draft. At this stage, expect Houston to go BPA or address CB position.
#12 Cincinnati Bengals: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama – Word on the street says Cincy may prefer Julio over A.J. In that case, trading down makes sense. For Jones, the sky’s the limit. Cedric Benson will enjoy having an extra big-time blocker.
#13 Detroit Lions: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska – A few weeks ago you thought Detroit would have to work its way up in the draft to get their hands on Prince. Lions are a few pieces away on defense from becoming a stellar unit. The Cornhusker cover guy, is surely one of those pieces in the process. I believe they can better Stafford’s protection with their second selection. Serious contenders in the NFC North if Stafford stays upright?
#14 St. Louis Rams: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson – What a fall. Da’Quan gives the Rams some explosive fire off the edge. As for a weapon for Sam Bradford, none available possess a first-round grade. You can’t go wrong with Bowers at 14.
#15 Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama – Perfect match. Ingram is going to rush for over 1,000 yards his rookie campaign. Miami is in desperate need of something to help jolt their lackluster offense.
#16 Jacksonville Jaguars: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri – Fits like a glove. Smith is the type of guy the Jags desire to help give their ailing pass rush a lift. This Tiger’s stock has been rising, so I don’t know if he will be here when Jacksonville’s on the clock.
#17 New England Patriots: Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona – Another guy who’s stock has been skyrocketing. Tedy Bruschi clone? Both attended Arizona and can drop back in coverage; although, Reed is more of an athlete/pass rusher. This seems like a Patriot/Belichick type of football player. I have a peculiar hunch this will be New England’s choice.
#18 San Diego Chargers: Muhammad Wilkerson, DE/DT, Temple – Big fan of Wilkerson. San Diego would do themselves a favor by nabbing the big guy from Temple. Bolts still looking for Jamal Williams’ replacement on the defensive front.
#19 New York Giants: Tyron Smith, OT, Southern California – Smith slips into the hands of a thrilled suitor. Giants really could use a left tackle to help shield Eli’s blindside in a fierce, intimidating NFC East.
#20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois – Rams are in play for a defensive lineman. Liuget continues to make his way up the draft board. The Fighting Illini playmaker was too high to be chosen at 14. According to the National Football Post, they say St. Louis is high on him. TRADE (Rights to St. Louis Rams #14 pick: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson; for 1st & 2nd round pick #51). No secret Tampa has to get a perimeter rusher. Da’Quan fits exactly what they need to go along with McCoy and Price. Defensive-minded head coach Raheem Morris will get the most out of the Clemson standout.
#21 Kansas City Chiefs: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor – Smart, clear-cut choice. Another rock-solid, impact draft for the Chiefs could mean 11-12 wins in 2011. Simply put, Taylor selection increases their chances.
#22 Indianapolis Colts: Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky – Risky play passing up improving Peyton’s protection; however, gutsy move is what makes Colts a fun team to watch during draft. Cobb will thrive in the slot. Remember, it was the offense, not the defense, that let down Indy in the Playoffs against Jets. More playmakers are necessary for club to excel in January again. Why not make a reach?
#23 Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado – Way too talented to pass up. Philly has no other consistent corners to compliment Asante Samuel. Missing piece to what could be a postseason run? Defense is set with Smith in the mix.
#24 New Orleans Saints: Cameron Hayward, DE/DT, Ohio State – Will Smith gets someone from his Alma mater to help make things easier on the line. The Buckeye will make his presence felt as a rookie. Smooth, seamless crossover to Sundays. He could have came out and been drafted higher last April.
#25 Seattle Seahawks: Mike Pouncey, G, Florida – Ready to make a contribution as first-year pro just like his brother. Well, at least that’s what every expert is proclaiming. Steal at 25.
#26 Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (Florida) – Ray Lewis gets a “brother” from his family, the “U”. You have to believe Baltimore rolls with upgrading the OL or secondary; two areas that disappointed them against Pittsburgh during the 31-24 loss in the AFC Divisional Playoffs. I still think Raven fans wake up in the middle of the night from the bomb that Roethlisberger completed to Antonio Brown on 3rd & long. This pick will likely ensure it won’t happen again against the Steelers, right?
#27 Atlanta Falcons: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue – Purdue product falls late in first to Dirty Birds, who would like to bolster their chances on getting to the QB. I’m also hearing Kyle Rudolph’s being mentioned here as an eventual replacement to Tony Gonzalez. WR is a pressing need, too. Matt Ryan, Roddy White are seeking another outside threat to relieve pressure.
#28 New England Patriots: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College – Worth mentioning: Tom Brady is the team’s franchise QB/player/prized possession. Jets pass rush, Dwight Freeney/Robert Mathis duo are always a threat. Protect your expensive investment, chances on winning another Super Bowl. Destination Indy begins with a pair that has ties to the organization: Brooks Reed DE/LB hybrid from Arizona, think former Wildcat Tedy Bruschi and Castonzo would join forces with fellow B.C. grad on the offensive line, Dan Koppen.
#29 Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State – The team wants to keep Jay Cutler clean and healthy. Sherrod is too promising of a left tackle to pass up. 60 sacks allowed led the NFL. Club’s other need, defensive tackle, can be addressed in the second round.
#30 New York Jets: Akeem Ayers DE/OLB, UCLA – With Wilkerson and Taylor gone, nose tackle will not be the choice here. That leaves Akeem the pick without question or doubt. You could see Ayers becoming a terror in this Jets scheme.
#31 Pittsburgh Steelers: Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia – Ability to offer Black & Gold extra range as nickel back in dime packages on 3rd down passing situations. Rising up the draft charts. Very intriguing athlete. Has size, speed, and attributes to become a special player in secondary. Mike Tomlin and Dick LeBeau will love this kid. Last first rounder from UVA selected by team: Heath Miller, 30th overall, 2005.
#32 Green Bay Packers: Justin Houston, DE/OLB, Georgia – It’s almost guaranteed Super Bowl Champions will draft a pass-rushing end/outside linebacker hybrid to team up with menace, Clay Matthews. Certainty surrounds this pick, as Houston could go as high as 20 to Tampa. So, it’s a bargain to go with the Bulldog with the final pick in the first round. The club also is in position to take a gamble and look elsewhere, say wide receiver; since James Jones might be gone. Due to the bonafide value selecting Houston, I speculate they will wait for their second pick to give Aaron Rodgers another toy.
Note: Round Two will be published tomorrow.