by National Football Post
April 07, 02011
Newton to the Panthers. Gabbert to the Bengals. Da'Quan Bowers falling down the board. And a late first-round trade to move up for Jake Locker. Here is the intial mock draft from the team at the NFP.
ICONNewton goes No. 1 overall to Ron Rivera and the Panthers.
1. Carolina: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Ron Rivera needs a franchise QB to build his team around and can’t pass up on the unique talents that Newton provides.
2. Denver: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
Time to address the defense under John Fox and Miller is a player that will produce in multiple fronts for the Broncos.
3. Buffalo: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Dareus gives the Bills get the upgrade they need along the defensive front for a unit that ranked 32nd vs. the run in 2010.
4. Cincinnati: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
With a hole at the QB position, new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden picks up a rookie with NFL talent that he can develop under center.
5. Arizona: Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina
With both Newton and Gabbert off of the board, the Cardinals pick up the top rush backer in the draft for their new defensive scheme.
6. Cleveland: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Adding to the depth at WR is a must for the Browns, and with Green they get the top talent at the position on draft day.
7. San Francisco: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
The 49ers get an immediate upgrade to their secondary with the size, speed and coverage ability that Peterson provides.
8. Tennessee: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Fairley slips on draft day due to some character issues, but the Titans get the talent they want on the D-Line at No. 8.
9. Dallas: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Played RT at USC, but has the overall skill set and athletic ability to transition to the left side during his career in the NFL for the Cowboys.
10. Washington: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Look for the ‘Skins to make a play for a QB in round two, but with Jones on the board, they can’t pass up a true No. 1 at WR.
11. Houston: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips gets a prospect in Kerrigan that can align in multiple positions and fit in the various pressure schemes that we will see from Houston this season.
12. Minnesota: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
A pass rusher is an option here, but the Vikings take one of the top OT prospects as Leslie Frazier starts upgrading his roster in Minnesota.
ICONAmukamara gives the Lions an upgrade in the secondary.
13. Detroit: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
The Lions need upgrades at the CB position to compete with Green Bay’s offense and Amukamara gives them a potential opening day starter.
14. St. Louis: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
With Julio Jones off of the board, the Rams invest in the former Illinois product whose stock is climbing as a 4-3 DT.
15. Miami: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
The Dolphins have question marks at RB but they answer them with the top prospect at the position that is a fit in the downhill power game.
16. Jacksonville: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
The Jags are looking to add another pass rusher and Watt is the type of player that can rush off of the left side in a 4-3 front.
17. New England: Cam Jordan, DE, California
Jordan has been projected higher, but in this case the Patriots get a solid 5-technique DE that can win up front.
18. San Diego: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
Smith can play on or off of the ball, but it is his length and athletic ability that will allow the Chargers to move him to different alignments.
19. N.Y. Giants: Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
With the ability to play both center and guard, the Giants add depth with a potential starter in Pouncey.
20. Tampa Bay: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
We hear that Bowers is falling quickly down draft boards due to medical concerns, but the Bucs could get great value with the pass rushing DE.
21. Kansas City: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
Taylor looks like an ideal fit at the Nose for Romeo Crennel’s defense in Kansas City.
22. Indianapolis: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Strong and physical at the point of attack, Carimi displayed good feet at the Senior Bowl and is one of the top OT prospects in the draft.
23. Philadelphia: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
A major position of need in Philadelphia is filled by the athletic Colorado OT for Andy Reid’s offense.
ICONClayborn is a fit for Gregg Williams scheme in New Orleans.
24. New Orleans: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Clayborn is a three-down player for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams that can rush off of the edge in nickel situations.
25. Seattle: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
Wilkerson gives Pete Carroll a much-needed upgrade to the interior of the Seahawks’ defensive front.
26. Baltimore: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
The Ravens get the LT they want in Sherrod that will allow them to move Michael Oher back over to the right side.
27. Atlanta: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Solid as an in-line blocker and as a receiver, the Falcons get the eventual successor to Tony Gonzalez.
28. Minnesota (via trade from New England): Jake Locker, QB, Washington
The Vikings move back up into the first round by trading with New England and grab the pro-style QB they want in Locker.
29. Chicago: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
The Bears will look to trade down in this spot, but Austin’s name has been picking up some steam over the last week and Chicago has a need at the DT position in Lovie Smith’s defense.
30. N.Y. Jets: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
Ayers slides to the end of the first round, but the upside and the ability to rush off the edge is a fit with Rex Ryan and the Jets.
31. Pittsburgh: Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
The Steelers need to make improvements up front and get a solid prospect that can help solidify the interior of the line.
32. Green Bay: Cam Heyward, DE, Ohio State
The Packers add depth with Heyward, a player that gives them some flexibility as a 5-technique DE as part of the D-Line rotation.
Follow the NFP on Twitter: @FootballPost