precious few trinkets of smooth, smooth wisdom.
1. Carolina Panthers-A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Of course we all know this pick is going to be Cam Newton (with an outside chance that it's Marcell Dareus), but if I were running the Panthers, my pick would be Green. Green would give Jimmy Claussen another weapon, relieving pressure off of an aging Steve Smith and moving Brandon LeFell into the slot where he belongs. If Claussen shows progress, hooray!, the Panthers have their starting quarterback. If Carolina again bottoms out with Claussen at the helm, hooray!, they are in position to take Andrew Luck with a potentially potent receiving corps already in place. Plus, I can easily see Luck winning a Super Bowl someday; Newton (and for that matter, the rest of this QB class), on the other hand, not so much.
2. Denver Broncos-Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Dareus will anchor a revamped Broncos front seven that can't help but improve from the disaster of the past few seasons under the tutelage of new coach John Fox.
3. Tennessee Titans (acquired from Buffalo for picks #8, #39, and #77)-Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
With Cincinnati chomping at the bit to snatch up the sketchy Newton to lead their collection of convicts, Tennessee pays a hefty bounty to move up 5 spots and secure Vince Young's heir apparent as an ultra-athletic freak with questionable QB skills and intangibles. Personally, I think Young will prove to have had the more successful career. Newton is an amazing athlete, but he just doesn't feel like an NFL quarterback to me. This entire QB class underwhelms me, in fact. My favorite prospect--Christian Ponder--can't stay on the field, and to be honest, if I were going to take a chance on an athletic specimen who ran an unorthodox offense, I'd much rather have Colin Kaepernick at a second round salary than Newton at a top-3 salary. Bud Adams, however, has a fetish for large black freaks who can't run a pro offense or make even rudimentary reads. At least the rest of the Titans offense will be used to playing in a handicapped offensive system with routes run to only one side of the field.
4. Cincinnati Bengals-Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Shocking, I know, but with Green gone and owner Mike Brown stubbornly refusing to give in to Carson Palmer's trade demands, the Bengals again take a chance on a talented character risk.
5. Arizona Cardinals-Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
The Cardinals were all ready to hand the reins of the Larry Fitzgerald show over to Blaine Gabbert, but with Miller falling into their laps they simply can't pass on Karlos Dansby's replacement.
6. Dallas Cowboys (acquired from Cleveland for picks #9 and #71)-Patrick Patterson, CB, LSU
With Cleveland and San Francisco more than willing to take Patterson, the Cowboys bite the bullet and move up to get the shutdown corner Terrence Newman never became. The Browns pass on Patterson due to the substantial money already invested in the secondary in the form of last draft's top 2 picks, Joe Haden and T.J. Ward, and because the value this trade offers while still leaving them in position to take a top defensive lineman is too good to pass up.
7. San Francisco 49ers-Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Does anybody have any idea where Blaine Gabbert came from? I had never heard of the guy until draft season really began heating up, and then all of a sudden he is an unquestioned top 5 pick. For such a well-regarded prospect, Gabbert certainly did underwhelm at Mizzou, throwing only 16 TDs his junior year, with only 3186 yards in a spread offense that consistently had Chase Daniel over 4000 yards and 35 TDs. Gabbert also failed to garner even an honorable mention on a single postseason awards list or all-anything team at any point in his entire career, while Missouri never contended for even a Big 12 title, let alone a national one. I'm completely befuddled how he has risen as high as he has in the pundits mock drafts and big boards. That said, he's certainly an improvement over Alex Smith.
8. Buffalo Bills (from Tennessee)-Tyron Smith, OT, USC
It seems like offensive tackle has always been a problem for the Bills (even when they had Jason Peter). Hopefully Smith will finally correct this perpetual shortcoming and allow C.J. Spiller to be more of what we all thought he could be coming out of Clemson.
9. Cleveland Browns (from Dallas)-Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Despite not playing last season, Quinn possesses enough upside that he could single-handedly gloss over the glaring holes along the Browns front seven in Dick Jauron's newly implemented (and, in my opinion, misguided) 4-3*. I don't like Quinn at 6, but if the Browns can indeed trade down and still get him at 9, I would be most pleased.
*Switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 bothers me for several reasons. First, I think the 3-4 is a much better system that allows for an adaptability and a certain amount of creative freedom that the 4-3 does not. Second, the Browns finally seemed to have the right personnel to effectively implement a 3-man front after 7 or so years of searching. Finally, making this switch in an off-season in which the organization cannot communicate with the players only exacerbates its folly, hindering the new coaches' ability to teach, while also leaving players such as Matt Roth and Marcus Bernard up in the air as to how they should develop their bodies (that is, should they bulk up to play end or slim down to play linebacker?)
10. Washington Redskins-Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
The Redskins finally get the elite wide receiver they've lacked since the days of Art Monk. Now they just need to find someone to throw him the ball.