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Bills Beat Blog

By Joe Buscaglia
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NFL Mock Draft #5

It's hard to believe we're just over a week away from the NFL Draft.

This hasn't been your normal draft year. Thanks to the NFL Lockout, this has been the most disinterested some fans have been with the draft that I've ever seen. But no matter if there is a season, or a shortened one, the 2011 NFL Draft will still happen on April 28.

Who are the Bills after in the first two rounds? Will we be talking about a quarterback by the time Thursday and Friday (the first two rounds) are over and done with? Maybe, just maybe.

With that being said, I've got a new look at projections of the NFL Draft. It looks likely now, but the first overall pick still isn't set in stone. Here's my latest look:

1) Carolina Panthers - QB Cam Newton, Auburn
- This is looking more, and more likely. If the Bills could take Newton, they would. But I don't think they'll be able to.

2) Denver Broncos - DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
- If Denver stays at 2, this will be the pick. I think if the Bills could take Dareus with Newton off the board, they would.

3) Buffalo Bills - OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
- It's looking more and more likely that this will be the pick. I asked Bills' scout Shawn Heinlen to describe Miller. His initial response? "One word: A freak." Now, of course, this isn't Buddy Nix talking. But you can tell the opinion of at least one member of the organization looks to be very high of Miller. On paper, he's the dynamic pass rusher that the Bills have missed for a very long time. You can't go wrong here with this pick. Immediate starter.

4) Cincinnati Bengals - QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
- A quarterback is needed in Cincinnati with Carson Palmer not coming back anytime soon.

5) Arizona Cardinals - CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
- They would have liked to see Von Miller here, but this is good value here for Peterson.

6) Cleveland Browns - WR A.J. Green, Georgia
- Colt McCoy gets a dynamite pass catcher that can actually stretch the field.

7) San Francisco 49ers - DE/DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
- The 49ers are another team that would have liked Von Miller, or even Patrick Peterson. But Fairley fits at the five-technique defensive end role.

8) Tennessee Titans - DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
- The Titans have lost their luster the past couple of seasons, and I think a big reason for that has been the decreased production from the defensive line. Oh, and at quarterback, too.

9) Dallas Cowboys - CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
- The Cowboys could use both an offensive tackle and a cornerback. But corner has a bigger drop-off as you look past the first round.

10) Washington Redskins - QB Jake Locker, Washington
- I think this might be too high for Locker, but if a team likes a quarterback enough, they'll pull the trigger on him early.

11) Houston Texans - DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
- Kerrigan showed throughout the process that he's more of an athlete than people give him credit for. The Texans need a pass rusher from their linebacking unit.

12) Minnesota Vikings - DE Aldon Smith, Missouri
- With Ray Edwards likely gone, defensive end is a priority. If Locker were here, I think he'd be the pick.

13) Detroit Lions - OT Tyron Smith, USC
- The Lions would have liked a cornerback, but the athletic abilities of Smith win out here rather than reaching for a corner.

14) St. Louis Rams - WR Julio Jones, Alabama
- The Rams get they guy they've wanted all along here.

15) Miami Dolphins - OG/C Mike Pouncey, Florida
- Interior help along the offensive line is a must have for the Dolphins this year. So they get the best the draft has to offer.

16) Jacksonville Jaguars - QB Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
- Kaepernick to Jacksonville makes sense in a lot of ways. They have someone already to start for the here and now (David Garrard), paving way for Kaepernick eventually. His mental and physical makeup will get a team to draft him in the first round.

17) New England Patriots - DE/DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
- Liuget is extraordinarily talented, and would be a great fit for a 3-4 DE.

18) San Diego Chargers - DE/DT J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
- This pick hasn't changed in the past few mock drafts for me. Makes too much sense.

19) New York Giants - OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
- So does this one.

20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DE Cameron Jordan, California
- Jordan slides a little bit, but I think that may be a product of scheme more than anything. The Buccaneers need a 4-3 defensive end, badly.

21) Kansas City Chiefs - DE/OLB Brooks Reed, Arizona
- The Chiefs could use a nose tackle and a stand-up pass rusher. Reed has flown up boards since February.

22) Indianapolis Colts - OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
- Peyton Manning will be cheering the loudest with this pick.

23) Philadelphia Eagles - OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
- The Eagles need a right tackle, and Sherrod would certainly fit the part.

24) New Orleans Saints - DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
- The slide ends here for Bowers. The Saints take a slight chance here, but if it pans out, could get a stud this late.

25) Seattle Seahawks - QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
- Mallett's arm strength is incredible, it's his mental game that needs work.

26) Baltimore Ravens - CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
- The weakest part of the Ravens last season was their secondary. Corners are needed.

27) Atlanta Falcons - WR Randall Cobb, Kentucky
- Cobb is a talented player that could do wonders in the slot for Matt Ryan.

28) New England Patriots - OLB Justin Houston, Georgia
- The Patriots get Houston, the pass-rusher they sorely need.

29) Chicago Bears - OT Nate Solder, Colorado
- Jay Cutler's knee approves of  this pick.

30) New York Jets - NT Phil Taylor, Baylor
- Personality concerns be damned, Taylor will fit right in with the Jets. Taylor could be the long-term answer at nose-tackle.

31) Pittsburgh Steelers - OLB Akeem Ayers, UCLA
- The Steelers can re-stock the cupboards at their best position by letting Ayers sit for a year or two, then take over.

32) Green Bay Packers - DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
- A fit for a five-technique defensive end. A good pickup for the champs.

33) New England Patriots - HB Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
- I'll be shocked if New England is the team making this selection. They could ruin Buffalo's day by trading it to a QB-hungry team.

34) Buffalo Bills - QB Christian Ponder, Florida State
- The Bills' interest in Ponder is very real. I've wrote about Gailey trying to bring Ponder in to Georgia Tech when he was in high school. Not to mention Gailey coached him at the Senior Bowl, and talked to him at the Combine, and brought him in for a pre-draft visit. That's a pretty strong indicator of interest. Read in to this what you will, but Bills' great Andre Reed, who is reading the 34th overall pick for the Bills, said this to Ponder on Twitter: "Lookin forward to calling your name on Draft Day!!!!!!!!!Bills brash like ur style." Reed deleted the tweet, but the message was still delivered. It's not the basis for this pick here, but it's a contributing factor.

Twitter: @JoeB_WGR

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