After three weeks of self-imposed exile due to the chowderheads in charge of the NFL and the player’s union ticking me off so badly that I considered quitting covering football completely, I’ve come crawling back to my job as the Kansas City Chiefs Examiner.
Because I love football … I love my Chiefs … I’ll basically forgive the idiots trying to ruin my game if they get it settled by training camp … and what would I do without the $20 I make every month writing for the Examiner??
There are a million stories that I will be covering over the next few weeks concerning the Chiefs and the NFL labor talks, but today we’ll just have fun and concentrate on the NFL Draft with the first KC Chiefs Examiner Mock Draft of the year. Unlike many mock drafts that try to predict who goes where, my mock is waaaay more conceited and self-centered. I’m giving you my choices for the players I think each team SHOULD draft. (FYI to any NFL General Manager reading this — I’m available and will work for free. Just sayin’ …)
Here is my mock draft for picks #1 through #16. I will publish the second half, including the Chiefs pick at #21, tomorrow.
1. Carolina Panthers: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri – You cannot win in this league without a QB and new head coach, Ron Rivera, doesn’t have one on his roster. Gabbert excelled at his Pro Day at Mizzou on March 17 and has erased many of the concerns teams had about him. Plus, the great play of Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman, and even Colt McCoy over the last two seasons has eased some of the sting that former Big 12 QBs have caused their teams lately. (Yes, we’re talking about you, Vince Young!)
2. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama – John Fox is transitioning Denver’s defense back to a 4-3 and Dareus gives him a huge anchor presence in the middle that will be starting from Day One.
3. Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M – In real life, the pick here might be Gabbert or Newton, but Ryan Fitzpatrick’s solid performance as the Bills QB will allow Buffalo to address their most pressing need, a defensive pass rush.
4. Cincinnati Bengals: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn – Carson Palmer has probably thrown his last pass as a Bengal and they are desperate for one now. One of my writers at Fantasy Insights that covers the Bengals says that President Mike Brown is like a crack addict when it comes to skill players and won’t be able to pass up on Newton. Akili Smith be damned.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina – With Miller off the board, the Cards jump on the second-best linebacker in the draft to address their biggest need outside of quarterback. With Gabbert and Newton off the board already in this mock, the Cards will go for their new signal-caller in the second round.
6. Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia – Colt McCoy needs somebody to throw the ball to and the Browns snatch up the most talented offensive player in the draft.
7. San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU – The 49ers were good against the run last year, but lousy against the pass so Jim Harbaugh waits another round or two to grab his QB. Peterson has some doubters, but he also may be one of the safer picks in this draft. To put it in perspective for Chiefs fans, he is this year’s Eric Berry.
8. Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn – The Titans D was at its best when their D-line caused havoc for every offense they played. Fairley could be the #1 pick in the draft according to some mock drafts, so the Titans will be thrilled if he falls to them at #8.
9. Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College – Yeah … the Cowboys could use Prince Amukamara at corner, but their O-line is on the brink of completely falling apart and Castonzo is compared to the Browns outstanding left tackle, Joe Thomas. Tony Romo would applaud this pick for sure.
10. Washington Redskins: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson – Don’t be shocked if Mike Shanahan reaches big time and grabs a QB, but the Redskins need to beef up their 31st-ranked defense and Bowers makes a terrific bookend pass rusher with Brian Orakpo.
11. Houston Texans: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska – One of the few slam-dunks of the draft is the Texans addressing their historically bad secondary with Amukamara.
12. Minnesota Vikings: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas – On the Fantasy Insights radio show last week, Dish Adams and I both said that we think Donovan McNabb will be wearing purple next year so the Vikes may not reach for a QB here. However, if the lockout isn’t settled by the draft, the Vikes absolutely have to take a QB here. Mallett’s athleticism gives him the edge over any other QB not named Gabbart or Newton.
13. Detroit Lions: Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin – Teams either love or hate Carimi so if the Lions are on the “love him” category, they’ll take the Badger Bad Boy to protect Matthew Stafford’s blind side. If they hate him, USC’s Tyron Smith may be the pick.
14. St. Louis Rams: Julio Jones, WR Alabama – Just like Colt McCoy at #6, the talented Rams QB, Sam Bradford, needs somebody to throw the ball to. Bradford-Jones might have the locals thinking “Warner-Bruce” by the end of 2011.
15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB Alabama – Ingram’s Pro Day was a big success for the only RB in the draft who should go in the first round. The Dolphins need a QB and some help on the defensive side of the ball, but Ingram is the kind of every-down back that can take over for Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown all by himself. Besides, if the Bengals pull their heads out of their … umm … backsides, they can trade Carson Palmer to Miami the minute the lockout ends.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa – Coach Jack Del Rio is on a short leash. A very short leash. That’s why he can’t afford to draft a QB here (like Christian Ponder of FSU) and let him grown into the position. Clayborn shores up one of the Jags’ biggest needs on defense and is the kind of “motor-always-running” player Del Rio loves to coach.
TOMORROW: Part II of the mock draft. Picks #17 to #32.
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