We're on the cusp of April, and I'm back at it again. It's been almost a month since my last mock draft, and a few things have changed.
Keep in mind, this is just a look at what could happen. It's just a fun way to prepare for the NFL Draft with needs and philosophies of teams in mind. If one pick or trade happens, obviously a domino effect ensues and things could vastly change.
With that said, enjoy, and comment below!
1. Carolina Panthers - DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama - I think this is the closest we've been to the draft without the first pick being set in stone in quite some time. Dareus is everything the Panthers could want on defense, at a major positional need.
2. Denver Broncos - DT Nick Fairley, Auburn - The 'smart money' is on Marcell Dareus to be the Broncos pick, but not if he's off the board. Fairley is a dynamic player that fits the Broncos well.
3. Buffalo Bills - QB Cam Newton, Auburn - This pick hasn't changed since the last time we met here. I'm fairly confident that if Cam Newton is on the board when the Bills are on the clock, he'll be the pick. Chan Gailey has expressed in the past that he feels Newton is a franchise caliber quarterback. Newton is a popular pick to some, but not to others. But realize that it's not about what you or I think of Newton, it's what Gailey and Buddy Nix think about him. Both of those gentlemen have said that if they feel a franchise quarterback is out there and available, they wouldn't hesitate in picking him. The way I see it, Buffalo is a perfect situation for Newton. He doesn't have to play next year, and he'll be playing for a head coach that succeeds with quarterbacks that can escape pressure and make plays with their feet. I'm not saying he'll be an all-star, but you can't have mediocre quarterbacks forever. You won't get anywhere.
4. Cincinnati Bengals - CB Patrick Peterson, LSU - This isn't a popular pick, but the Bengals and the future of cornerback Jonathan Joseph are in doubt. The Bengals may not be able to pass on a playmaker of Peterson's caliber.
5. Arizona Cardinals - QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri - The Cardinals are a team very much in the hunt for a quarterback, and are as desperate as any. If Gabbert gets to the fifth pick, the Cardinals will be greeted with an easy choice at number five.
6. Cleveland Browns - WR A.J. Green, Georgia - For Colt McCoy to succeed, he's got to have legitimate speed and vertical threats. Green brings both. The Browns do have other needs, especially defensively, but they have an offensive minded guy as the team president and an offensive minded guy as the head coach. If Green's there, I think he's Cleveland-bound.
7. San Francisco 49ers - OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M - The 49ers are looking for a big time pass rushing threat, and Miller fits the 3-4 quite well.
8. Tennessee Titans - DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson - Bowers has some things to prove at his pro-day on Friday. If he shows healthy, which I believe he will, he'll still go at some point in the top ten.
9. Dallas Cowboys - OT Tyron Smith, USC - The Cowboys have a major need at right tackle, and the super athletic Smith has discerned himself as the top tackle on the board.
10. Washington Redskins - DE Cameron Jordan, Cal - Jordan is someone that did everything right from the end of the season on. He dominated the Senior Bowl, and impressed at the Combine. Just seems like a Mike Shanahan type of player.
11. Houston Texans - NT Phil Taylor, Baylor - This is higher for Taylor than most mock drafts I've seen. But I'm of the belief that with so many teams playing a 3-4, and not many of them having an elite nose tackle, this will raise Taylor's draft stock higher than maybe it should be. Almost 340-pounds, Taylor is a disruptive force. The Texans are just switching to a three-man front, and need a man in the middle. They could very well trade down.
12. Minnesota Vikings - QB Jake Locker, Washington - The feel out of Minnesota is it will either be a quarterback or a defensive end. With just Joe Webb on the roster, I think quarterback wins out for the Vikings.
13. Detroit Lions - CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska - The Lions thank their lucky stars that Amukamara drops to 13 and brings in some much needed secondary help.
14. St. Louis Rams - WR Julio Jones, Alabama - The Rams need defensive line and wide receiver. But I think the wideout is most important, so that way Josh McDaniels can have some toys to play with.
15. Miami Dolphins - OG/C Mike Pouncey, Florida - A major position of need for the Dolphins is on the inside of the offensive line, and Pouncey has experience at both center and guard. With the success of his brother, Maurkice, with the Steelers last season, Pouncey will be pounced on earlier than some expect.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina - If Quinn wowed folks at the Combine like some expected, I think he would have been a top ten pick. But I can't ignore him sitting out a year along with other players at his position looking more impressive. Jacksonville could get a steal here.
17. New England Patriots - DE/DT Corey Liuget, Illinois - Brooks Reed is the popular pick to the Patriots, but how about a dominant three-technique defensive end for their 3-4? Plus, they have a second first-round pick. Like they need it.
18. San Diego Chargers - DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin - I think Watt is the player the Chargers are targeting. Don't be surprised on a trade up on draft day to get him.
19. New York Giants - OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College - I don't think this pick has changed for me in the past three mock drafts.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue - The Buccaneers continue their defensive line overhaul with a defensive end. They spent their first two picks last year on defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price.
21. Kansas City Chiefs - DE/OLB Brooks Reed, Arizona - Reed is a popular pick for the Patriots, but the Chiefs are run by former Patriots' executive Scott Pioli. They need a 3-4 outside linebacker, too.
22. Indianapolis Colts - OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin - If Peyton Manning doesn't want to run for his life all the time, they need to bring in a big upgrade at left tackle.
23. Philadelphia Eagles - OT Benjamin Ijalana, Villanova - The Eagles have question marks on the offensive line, so they go with the local product to address those needs. Tackle or guard.
24. New Orleans Saints - DE Aldon Smith, Missouri - The Saints need front seven help, almost regardless of the position. The opinions on Aldon Smith range from top ten pick to late first rounder. I come out somewhere in the middle.
25. Seattle Seahawks - QB Christian Ponder, Florida State - The Seahawks are probably in on the Kevin Kolb chase, but they can't make a move for him as it stands right now. So the Seahawks take a guy capable of running Pete Carroll's offense like Christian Ponder. I'm getting more and more convinced that he'll be a first round pick.
26. Baltimore Ravens - CB/S Aaron Williams, Texas - The Ravens' Achilles heel last season was their secondary. Without a true position but loads of talent, the Ravens will find a home somewhere for Williams.
27. Atlanta Falcons - WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky - Cobb can do it all and might be able to finally settle the debate of who will be the number two wide receiver to Roddy White.
28. New England Patriots - OLB Justin Houston, Georgia - Here's New England's pass-rusher. Houston has experience playing the 3-4. Always helps.
29. Chicago Bears - OT Nate Solder, Colorado - Keeping Jay Cutler upright should be of the utmost importance next season.
30. New York Jets - OLB Martez Wilson, Illinois - Wilson's specialty is getting after the passer, and we all know Rex Ryan loves that.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers - OG Danny Watkins, Baylor - They could go for a corner here, but helping the interior of the offensive line takes precedence.
32. Green Bay Packers - DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple - They can use pass rushing help, but no one left warrants a first overall pick. Wilkerson is a steal here.
33. New England Patriots - HB Mark Ingram, Alabama - The first running back off the board comes at the top of round two. The importance to find a franchise running back is lower than ever.
34. Buffalo Bills - DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State - If it's not Heyward, then I believe one of the 3-4 defensive ends will drop to the Bills selection. But if it is Heyward, Buffalo is getting one heck of a player. He's very, very good against the run, and that is a skill-set sorely needed by the worst rush defense in the NFL. Heyward also has experience as a 4-3 end as well, so when they go in to their hybrid looks, he can stay on the field. Solid pickup for the second round.
There you have it. Newton and Heyward. What are your thoughts? Leave them below!