1. Carolina Panthers: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
It appears that the Panthers have boiled down this pick to either Nick Fairley or Da’Quan Bowers. Carolina has a bunch of young, talented players at defensive end in Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy, and Everette Brown so they would be wise to draft Nick Fairley, who will be an enormous upgrade over Nick Hayden.
2. Denver Broncos: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Again, I have Peterson going to Denver ahead of Da’Quan Bowers because Denver will have absolutely nothing at corner assuming Champ Bailey bolts in free agency. Robert Ayers and Elvis Dumervil could make for an effective tandem at defensive end.
3. Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, OLB, Texas AM
The Bills are a huge wild card in this draft. They could draft a quarterback, edge rusher, 5 technique, or potentially even Nate Solder if he can stun people at the combine. I have them taking Von Miller because he fills a big need, is not too big of a reach, is a good fit in a 3-4 system, and the Bills have seen him up close at the Senior Bowl.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
The Bengals have a ton of dilemmas on their hands including Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, and Terrell Owens. However, we can say with some certainty that Cincinnati will be in the market for another, younger receiver in this draft and A.J. Green is certainly worth a top five pick.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Da’Quan Bowers, OLB, Clemson
The Cardinals have no quarterback, no pass protectors, and no pass rushers. They have about four really good players, but overall, they are a mess who needs to simply take the best player available. Da’Quan Bowers is really a man among boys with his size and athleticism and has unlimited potential as a pass rusher.
6. Cleveland Browns: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
The Browns are desperate for some 4-3 defensive linemen and they could be in for a painful 2011 season if they can’t find any quality pass rushers. Robert Quinn sat out last season, but he is terrific when running the arc and has a great burst.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Marcell Dareus, DE, Alabama
The 49ers are intent on building a dominant defensive line to anchor their 3-4 defense. Adding a player like Marcell Dareus to join Aubrayo Franklin and Justin Smith would give San Francisco an unbelievable unit.
8. Tennessee Titans: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
I’m beginning to strongly believe that Gabbert will end up in Tennessee because he is a great fit for their vertical passing attack. Arizona and San Francisco haven’t given up on youngsters on their roster and would rather add a veteran than pick Gabbert, which is why he falls to eighth.
9. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
The Cowboys couldn’t stop anybody last season, and aging Terence Newman needs to be replaced soon. Amukamara could play free safety (where Alan Ball is awful) until Newman’s play spirals out of control.
10. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
With Blaine Gabbert off the board, the Redskins will have to fill other needs. They will look at a rush linebacker such as Aldon Smith or Ryan Kerrigan, but I think they will opt for Julio Jones, who can offer a much needed spark for the Washington offense on the verge of losing Santana Moss.
11. Houston Texans: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
The Texans have made it no secret that they will pursue an impact cornerback this offseason. Jimmy Smith is a player to watch at the combine, and could post measurables in the neighborhood of 6’2″, 205, 4.35.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
I don’t understand why everybody seems to be so high on Nate Solder, but he is very gifted and will improve his stock at the combine. Minnesota will need him to step in at tackle from day 1.
13. Detroit Lions: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Lions have added a bunch of young defensive playmakers in recent years, but they still have a lot of work to do on that side of the ball. Akeem Ayers can solidify the linebacker corps next to DeAndre Levy.
14. St. Louis Rams: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
The Rams would love to grab Julio Jones here, but Corey Liuget is a great consolation prize here. He is strong, powerful, and is tough to move in the run game. He will immediately improve the Ram defense.
15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
The Dolphins may take a quarterback here if they fall in love with Cam Newton, but I’m just guessing that they’d rather have Mark Ingram. At this point, it’s really a toss-up between Newton and Ingram.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
The Jaguars need to be able to get to the passer much more consistently if they want to make the playoffs, and Ryan Kerrigan seems like a perfect fit for Jacksonville at 16.