NFL mock draft 4.0
1. Carolina Panthers (2-14), Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: Though the Panthers selected three quarterbacks in the 2010 draft, new coach Ron Rivera has no particular ties or loyalty to any of them. Nor did any of those three picks — including second-round selection Jimmy Clausen — do anything to prove they should be the longtime face of the franchise.
It’s a new day in Carolina, and that new day will begin with Newton, the controversial 2010 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, under center. Though several teams may have Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert rated higher than Newton on their big boards, and Newton has lots of media critics, I’m in the camp that views him as the real deal.
Newton already has spent a lot of time meeting with the Carolina front office and coaching staff, and he will be an immediate draw at the gate for Panthers fans. Even Jon Beason, the Panthers’ defensive leader, told reporters earlier this month that Newton has “that ‘it’ factor.”
Carolina scored just 16 offensive touchdowns in 2010, and though Rivera is a defensive coach at heart, the recent immediate success of first-year starters Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Sam Bradford — and their respective teams’ immediate returns to respectability — will help seal Newton’s No. 1 fate.
Sure, he’s got some question marks from his Florida days. And yes, no one really seems to know him all that well. And of course, he needs to work on his throwing accuracy and comfort in a pro-style offense. But if Carolina is convinced he’s willing to be the first guy in the facility and the last guy to leave every day, he’s the man at No. 1.
2. Denver Broncos (4-12), Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU: I know I may be on an island with this one. He’s the No. 1 overall player on my draft board, and for a team that needs help just about everywhere on defense, I think he makes more sense than one of the highly touted defensive linemen in this year’s draft.
When the Broncos re-signed Champ Bailey to a long-term deal in March, everyone immediately eliminated a Peterson-to-Denver scenario. Why? Bailey’s the perfect mentor to groom Peterson, who’d be the highest cornerback selected in history if taken second.
Peterson is the rarest of physical specimens — a 6-foot cornerback with blazing speed and physical cover corner attributes. Marcell Dareus, Nick Fairley, Robert Quinn, Da’Quan Bowers and Von Miller all would upgrade the woeful front seven in Denver, but Peterson is that once-in-a-decade defensive talent in this year’s draft.
With the Broncos moving from a 3-4 to John Fox’s 4-3 scheme, both Robert Ayers and Elvis Dumervil could slide from outside linebacker to defensive end. In a draft loaded with depth on the defensive line and with two second-round picks, Denver can take Peterson here and address their front-seven needs with later picks.
3. Buffalo Bills (4-12), Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama: Reports trickled out of Buffalo last week that the team’s top brass and coaching staff were “dining” with Blaine Gabbert, and the Internet nearly exploded. Guess what? Gabbert likely is dining with every team with a top-five pick. Don’t read too much into that.
Call me naïve, but I still think Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback for both the present and the future in Buffalo. He might not be the first-round pick of your fantasy football team, but the Harvard grad had about as strong a season as a quarterback for a four-win team possibly could have had, carrying an offense littered with rookies and unknown veterans on his back for much of 2010.
The Bills need defense, defense and defense. The Buffalo D gave up 169 rushing yards per game last season, worst in the league by a large margin. Though Fairley and Bowers will be awfully tempting at No. 3, Dareus fits Buffalo’s scheme perfectly. He can play as one of the two-gap defensive tackles, or as either the defensive end or nose tackle in the 3-4. This might not be the sexiest pick for Bills fans, but after an eleven-year playoff drought, “sexy” shouldn’t be the top priority in Buffalo.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (4-12), Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri: Carson Palmer is due a ton of money and wants out of town. If Gabbert’s still on the board at No. 4 — good riddance, Carson. Whether it’s been Akili Smith (sink), David Klingler (sink) or Carson Palmer (swim, kinda), Bengals owner Mike Brown never has shied away from pulling the trigger and going for a big splash with quarterbacks in the first round. If Gabbert "slips" to fourth, Cincinnati will pounce.
The Mizzou junior showed off his physical tools at his pro day last week, completing 44 of 49 passes and looking comfortable taking snaps under center and moving outside the pocket. Yes, Marvin Lewis was on hand for the workout.
Teaming Gabbert, whom I’ve heard described as a "more athletic version of Drew Bledsoe" with Jay Gruden — the Bengals’ new offensive coordinator — is an intriguing pairing for Bengals fans. Though the Bengals have needs on defense and have been linked to receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Green all winter, I think Gabbert’s the guy at No. 4 if he’s available.
5. Arizona Cardinals (5-11), Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M: I’ve had Miller pegged to the Cardinals since December, and I’ve got no reason to change that now. Miller was fantastic at the Senior Bowl, brilliant at the Combine, and tremendous at his pro day. He can fit into any NFL defense but is being described as a DeMarcus Ware-like talent as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
So versatile that he had a position created for him at Texas A&M — aptly called the “joker” — Miller followed up a 17-sack junior campaign with a fine senior season, recording 9-1/2 sacks, 14-1/2 tackles for losses, six batted-down passes, three forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles in 2010. Arizona’s linebacker corps was among the worst in the league in 2010. This one’s a no-brainer. That said, if either Gabbert or Newton slips to No. 5, things could get awfully interesting in that Arizona war room come draft day.
6. Cleveland Browns (5-11), A.J. Green, WR, Georgia: With Cleveland moving to a 4-3 scheme and Bowers, Fairley and Quinn — three of the elite defensive linemen of this draft— all still on the board, there will be sentiment out of Cleveland to take one of the big boys over a receiver. In the end, though, I think the Cleveland goes with the game-breaker in Green.
The Browns offense last year was running back Peyton Hillis playing well above expectations, rookie quarterback Colt McCoy playing well above expectations, and a whole lot of fourth and fifth receivers playing the roles of primary and secondary targets. Though Julio Jones is rapidly rising up draft boards, the 6-4 Green is still my top-rated receiver in this draft and a seemingly perfect fit for Cleveland. In three years at Georgia, he recorded 166 receptions for 2,619 yards and 23 touchdowns.
7. San Francisco 49ers (6-10), Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson: With quarterback a glaring need, Jim Harbaugh and Co. might be tempted to trade down a few picks and take a Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton later on in the first or early in the second round. Prince Amukamara at No. 7 — the same place Joe Haden was selected by Cleveland last year—is a possibility, too.
But I think San Francisco takes one of the several defensive linemen still available, instead. Bowers led the nation in sacks with 15 1/2 in 2010, but recent knee injury worries and questions about his 2008 and 2009 campaigns have hurt his draft stock. Described by some to have Julius Peppers-like skills, he’s well worth the “risk” at seventh. Bowers can play defensive end in either the 3-4 or the 4-3, making him versatile enough to fit into San Francisco’s fluid defensive scheme. If his knee checks out, he’s the guy.
8. Tennessee Titans (6-10), Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn: Thought by many to go first overall to Carolina heading into February’s Combine, I’ve got Fairley slipping all the way to No. 8. Some pundits have him slipping even further. He was fantastic in his workouts at his pro day in March and has been great in interviews, answering questions about a mediocre 2009 season head on.
He still could be a top-five pick, but I see the Titans front office and new coaching staff being more than happy to grab him at No. 8. Fairley can move inside and play the defensive tackle in Tennessee’s 4-3 defense, where he’ll get to play for his former college defensive line coach — Tracy Rocker.
9. Dallas Cowboys (6-10), Tyron Smith, OT, USC: Yes, with both Amukamara and Quinn still on the board, I’ve got Jerry Jones and Co. — long known for taking the sexy, quick and immediate fix — going with a long-term project at left tackle.
Huh? Hear me out. The more this lockout drags on, the more time all rookies — not just the underclassmen — are going to need to adjust and develop. Very few rookies will be able to contribute right away in 2011. If ever there was a year to take a risk on a 20-year-old left tackle with loads of upside, it’s this one.
Clearly, Dallas has needs at offensive tackle. Smith, again, is just 20 — but the sky is the limit. If he can put on a few pounds, prove he can keep those pounds on and start studying the greats of the position — he could be a longtime starter in Dallas. Jerry Jones, who’s never drafted an offensive tackle in the first round (the Cowboys haven’t since 1981), can take Amukamara and a lot of Cowboys fans will nod their heads in agreement. Or, he can go big and take the wild card in Smith. When has Jerry Jones ever been too scared to go big?
10. Washington Redskins (6-10), Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina: I’ve had the Redskins tagged to Jake Locker here all along and still might end up attaching him to Washington come April 28. But this week, I’ve got Washington going with Quinn, the uber-athletic defensive end out of North Carolina.
Capable of playing either linebacker or defensive end in Washington’s hybrid defense, Quinn is a very attractive option for Washington’s aging defensive front seven. If the draft works out this way, Quinn, Locker, Ryan Mallett, Prince Amukamara, and Julio Jones all will be available. That will make for one heck of a war room scene in D.C.
I know the Shanahans love their offense, but I think defense wins out here. The crazy part? The way I have the second round shaping up, they’ll miss the mad scramble on late first-/early second-round quarterback talent unless they trade up from No. 41.
11. Houston Texans (6-10), J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin: It took a bit of time, but I’m now fully aboard the J.J. Watt bandwagon, and by draft day, I think most NFL teams will be, too.
What’s not to like about the kid? Lightly recruited out of high school, Watt attended Central Michigan, where he played tight end and weighed 260 pounds. After transferring to Wisconsin without a scholarship offer, he worked at a Pizza Hut flipping dough for six months and hit the gym. Two years later, he was weighing in at 280 pounds and downright dominating the Big Ten.
A five-technique guy, the 292-pound Watt is a tad light for a 3-4 defensive end, but he can beef up. He’s just scratching the surface as far as what he can do at defensive end, too. He makes for a great fit for Wade Phillips’ new 3-4 defensive scheme.
12. Minnesota Vikings, (6-10) Jake Locker, QB, Washington: The last two times a team replaced Brett Favre with a draft pick out of the Pac-10, their last names were Rodgers and Sanchez. Those worked out fairly well, no? Could Locker make three times a charm? With Joe Webb as the only QB currently under contract in Minny and Tarvaris Jackson likely not coming back, it’ll be awfully difficult for Vikings brass to pass up Locker at No. 12.
Yes, he had an underwhelming senior campaign, and sure, he’s still erratic at times. But he’s got all the physical tools, he’s a leader in the locker room and he’s coming from four years as the starter and two years running Steve Sarkisian’s pro-style offense at Washington. The knocks are that he plays small and is inaccurate. With a good quarterback coach — Craig Johnson, this could make your career — he could flourish. Locker also looked good at his pro day on Wednesday.
Though the bulk of the talk you’ll hear about Locker focuses on the negatives, I’ve heard him compared to both Steve Young and Steve McNair. Vikings fans would take that, wouldn’t they? Rapidly rising defensive tackles Corey Liuget and Muhammad Wilkerson may get some attention here, and all of the offensive linemen are possibilities, but I think the dire need for a long-term answer at QB wins out in the end.
13. Detroit Lions (6-10), Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska: Though Detroit will be awfully tempted to grab one of the top offensive linemen at No. 13, I think they upgrade their currently awful defensive backfield with the selection of Amukamara.
Though he didn’t rack up the interceptions in 2010, Amukamara (pronounced ah-MOO-kuh-MAR-ah) lived up to the hype: He was an All-American, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Jim Thorpe Award finalist. The Lions went with a certain ’Huskers defensive player with their first-round selection last year. They’d be more than happy seeing this ’Husker fall into their laps at No. 13.
14. St. Louis Rams (7-9), Julio Jones, WR, Alabama: Jones could go as high as No. 4 to Cincinnati, but he shouldn’t slip beyond 14th to St. Louis. Quite frankly, the Rams’ front office will be doing flips in the war room if he is available here.
Sam Bradford needs a big, physical go-to guy to grow old with, and Jones certainly fits the bill. A 6-2, physical target with elite blocking skills (compared to Hines Ward and Keyshawn Johnson by some), he’ll be an immediate upgrade for the Rams offense. Jones wowed critics who’d called him "slow" with a surprising sub 4.4-second 40-time at the Combine and nearly broad jumped 12 feet.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will look to improve the aerial game in St. Louis. Adding Jones would be a fantastic first move out of the gates.
15. Miami Dolphins (7-9), Mark Ingram Jr., RB, Alabama: Yep, I still have Ingram going to Miami. I know it’s boring. But it just makes sense. Any doubts about Ingram’s junior season were erased with an unbelievable performance in the Capital One Bowl. Often compared to Emmitt Smith for his running style, Ingram is an every-down back and the Dolphins always will be a run-first team.
Both Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown are free agents-to-be, and the Dolphins offense was a weekly horror show this past season. Ingram is the top back in this draft and arguably the only running back worthy of a first-round pick in this year’s crop.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8), Cameron Jordan, DE, California: The Jaguars loaded up on defensive-line talent last draft, and will, again, address that area of need with their 2011 first round pick. Jacksonville struck gold with a defender out of Cal in last year’s draft with Tyson Alualu, and it will go back to that Berkeley well this year.
Jordan is a talented five-technique player who stole the show at the Senior Bowl in January. The son of a former NFL All-Pro — his father is Vikings great Steve Jordan — Jordan is a hard-working, high-energy guy who will be right up Jack del Rio’s alley. Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan may get a long look here, too, but I think the pick is Jordan — despite the Jags’ needs at cornerback and safety.
17. New England Patriots (14-2, from Oakland, 8-8), Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College: As I noted two weeks ago in my "On the Clock" column, New England holds the keys to this year’s draft with three of the first 33 picks and twelve selections overall.
At 17th, look for the Pats to address their aging offensive line with one of the big boys still on the board. Fortunately for them, the way this mock is shaping up, they’ll be scoring a steal with Anthony Castonzo — the top rated offensive tackle on a lot of boards.
At 6-7, 310 pounds, Castonzo’s a local kid who excelled for four years at BC. Castonzo started as a freshman in 2006, protecting Matt Ryan, and only got better as the years went on. A 53-game starter in college, he fits the Bill Belichick mold. He was the buzz of Indianapolis after his Combine workout last month, solidifying his spot as a top-20 selection.
18. San Diego Chargers (9-7), Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri: The Chargers wouldn’t flinch if Smith’s still on the board at No. 18. Though he didn’t have a particularly great performance at Missouri’s pro day, he’s still likely a top-20 pick.
Smith played just two years at Missouri and missed some of his sophomore season with a broken leg, but he was an incredibly high-impact player when he was on the field. In 2009, his freshman year, he recorded 19 tackles for a loss and 11-1/2 sacks. Smith would be a nice addition to an already stout Chargers defense.
19. New York Giants (10-6), Nate Solder, OT, Colorado: If Giants general manager Jerry Reese has proven anything with his draft picks over the past few years, it’s that he’s not afraid to roll the dice on an athlete if he’s available. Jason Pierre-Paul, Ramses Barden, Linval Joseph — the list of guys with more raw, athletic talent than dazzling college football résumés is endless in that Giants locker room.
Well, there may be no more athletic offensive tackle in this draft than Solder. The 6-8, 319-pounder stole the show in Indy at the Combine in February. A converted tight end, Solder had the top 10-yard split among all of the offensive linemen on site and was the fastest tackle in the 40. Watching him on film, he got beat off the edge too often at Colorado and was abused at times in the Senior Bowl, but he’s a project worth the investment at 19th overall. Some have him going as high as ninth overall to Dallas.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6), Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue: Kerrigan has been enjoying quite a little spike in his draft stock over the past few weeks, ensuring himself as a first-round selection with a strong string of workouts at the Combine, his pro day and with individual teams. He’s a tireless worker who earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in a conference crowded with some of the college game’s top defensive talent in 2010.
Tampa Bay may consider another defensive end — perhaps Iowa’s Adrian Clayborn — with the 20th pick. The owner of college football’s forced fumbles record, his athletic ability won’t wow you, but his nonstop motor and constant production will. Quite frankly, he’s a joy to watch on film. Troubled cornerback Aqib Talib’s recent off-the-field issues may make cornerback in the coming weeks.
21. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6), Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia: I’ve had Houston attached to the Chiefs since mid-January, and I see no reason to change that now. In Eric Berry, Glenn Dorsey, Javier Arenas and Tyson Jackson, the Chiefs already are loaded with top SEC talent on defense. Add Houston to the mix and watch out.
Houston is a natural fit to replace eventually Mike Vrabel at outside linebacker. A 6-3, 270 pounds, Houston ran a jaw-dropping 4.63 40 in Indy and left scouts very impressed at Georgia’s pro day. He recorded 10 sacks in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme in Athens this past season and could play right away at the next level. This smart, productive kid would join a very young and exciting defense.
22. Indianapolis Colts (10-6), Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois: Liuget is another one of those defensive-line prospects who can go as high as sixth to Cleveland or as low as the middle of the second round. Liuget’s playmaking ability jumps off the screen when watching game tape, and his dominance of the Baylor offensive line in the Texas Bowl absolutely stole the show from fellow highly touted Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor. He’s a stout, three-technique defensive tackle who’d fit right into Indy’s defensive scheme.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6), Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple: I’ve been driving the Mo Wilkerson hype train for months, and the five-technique defensive tackle hasn’t let me down at any point along the way. He was tremendous in Indy at the Combine, great at his pro day and has been the recipient of a wave of positive press coming from his individual workouts.
The two-time All-MAC selection starred at Temple, where he played two years as a three-technique in a 4-3 and then one tremendous junior year as a five-technique in the 3-4. A local kid from Linden, N.J., he’s a run stuffer inside with pass-rushing capabilities. Andy Reid loves building from the inside out, and in Wilkerson, he can add depth to a defensive line that was ravaged by injuries last season.
24. New Orleans Saints (11-5), Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State: At 6-5, 294 pounds, Heyward could be the perfect fit for Gregg Williams’ always- attacking 4-3 alignment. The Saints got a combined 7-1/2 sacks from defensive ends Will Smith and Alex Brown last year. That won’t cut it.
Heyward’s father was the late Saints great, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward. The Ohio State star must prove he’s recovered from reconstructive elbow surgery he underwent in January, but there’s little doubt that he’ll be healthy and raring to go by training camp (assuming there will be a training camp, of course). The last time he was in the Superdome, he dominated the Arkansas offensive line in the Buckeyes’ Sugar Bowl win.
25. Seattle Seahawks (7-9), Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas: Here’s where things get interesting. Seattle needs defensive-back help, for sure, but with Matt Hasselbeck nearing the end of the road (and currently a free agent) and questions still surrounding whether Charlie Whitehurst is the long-term answer at quarterback, Pete Carroll and Co. roll the dice on Mallett, the wild card of the draft.
There are lots of questions around Mallett’s off-the-field and personal issues. That said, he throws downright beautiful long ball, is a 6-6 presence and has greatly improved his footwork and accuracy over the past two years. He was a polished gunslinger during his 2010 junior campaign. If the Seattle brass and coaching staff feel confident enough that he has the mental and emotional goods to play quarterback in the NFL, he’s the pick.
26. Baltimore Ravens (12-4), Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida: Baltimore is one of the more intriguing teams in this draft. It could go for a big time speed receiver — Torrey Smith or Titus Young come to mind — or one of the top corners. But with Pouncey still available, I think the Ravens go with the top interior offensive lineman in this draft.
Capable of playing either center or guard, I could see Baltimore starting Pouncey out at the latter, letting him learn from 14-year veteran Matt Birk, and then moving him to center once Birk’s Baltimore playing days are done. What better way to spice up the already heated Ravens-Steelers rivalry than pitting twin brothers against each other?
27. Atlanta Falcons (13-3), Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa: Clayborn didn’t dominate the Big Ten during his senior year quite the way some scouts would have hoped, but he was still a disruptive force and an All-Big Ten selection. He performed well at the Combine, answering any and all questions about his dip in production in 2010, and likely will have a good chip on his shoulder after being passed on by 26 teams.
Atlanta has some serious needs in their defensive backfield, but it can address those needs in later rounds. I doubt GM Thomas Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith think Clayborn will drop to 27. I doubt they’d hesitate in taking him if he did.
28. New England Patriots (14-2), Brooks Reed, DE/LB, Arizona: Who?! Though you may not be familiar with the name now, you’ll no doubt be hearing it more and more over the next month. He’ll be compared to Clay Matthews Jr. throughout the draft, and it’s not just because of his flowing blond locks. It’s because he plays a whole lot like Matthews, too, and can be the pass-rushing outside linebacker the Patriots’ 3-4 alignment so sorely needs.
Reed had the top 10-yard split time among all defensive linemen at the combine at 1.54 seconds. He was also a steady four-year contributor at Arizona and recorded 10 tackles for a loss last season. If you watch any Arizona game tape, pop in the win over Iowa from early September, where an amped-up Reed was flying all over the field in the Wildcats’ upset win.
29. Chicago Bears (12-4), Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin: The Bears have needs across the offensive line and would be thrilled to see the All-Big Ten star slip to them at 29. Carimi was solid at the Combine, despite some critics focusing on his athletic limitations. The 2010 Outland Trophy winner could sneak into the top 20, but if he’s available at 29 — the Bears’ front office should pounce.
Capable of playing either tackle or guard, Carimi comes from a pro-style offense at Wisconsin where he starred for four years. Again, he’s not going to wow you with a 40 or a shuttle-run time, but he gets the job done every time he takes the field. The way Jay Cutler got beaten up at times last year (by opponents, not the media), that’s more than enough to crack the Bears starting lineup.
30. New York Jets (11-5), Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA: He didn’t wow at the Combine quite as many expected he would and, though he improved his 40 time at the UCLA pro day on Tuesday, his stock hardly is skyrocketing at the moment. But at 6-3, 254 pounds, he’s an exceptional pass-rushing talent who fits the Jets’ 3-4 defensive scheme as an outside linebacker.
New York is one of those teams with a ton question marks on its roster because of the lockout — Braylon Edwards? Santonio Holmes? The list goes on — but the Jets will look to get an outside pass-rushing threat here. An All-Pac-10 selection, Ayers had 14 sacks over the past two seasons playing for the Bruins.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4), Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado: There’s a widely shared opinion in NFL circles that behind Patrick Peterson, Colorado’s Jimmy Smith — not Nebraska’s Amukamara or Miami’s Brandon Harris — is the second-best cornerback talent in this draft. Off-the-field issues, however, may cause him to slip.
Pittsburgh has offensive line needs, sure, but cornerback is a glaring area of weakness. Ike Taylor, the longtime No. 1 corner, will be a free agent when the lockout ends, and there’s little proven depth behind him. Aaron Rodgers lit the secondary up in the Super Bowl and Tom Brady torched the Pittsburgh D for 39 points in December. Smith is a big, ball-hawking corner (6-2, 210 pounds) who’s not afraid to hit. He only had three interceptions in his career at Colorado, but quarterbacks rarely threw his way.
32. Green Bay Packers (10-6), Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State: The Packers don’t really have many "needs," per se, as they overcame injuries to stars Nick Barnett and Jermichael Finley last season and won a Super Bowl with reserves like Brett Swain playing major roles in the biggest game of the year.
Ted Thompson, a guy Packers fans were critical of as recent as a few years back, is now the gold standard when it comes to team architects. Green Bay can go a number of ways here, but I’ve got them snagging the top offensive tackle on the board in Sherrod.
The All-SEC performer helped pave the way for a Mississippi State rushing attack that averaged 227.6 yards per game in 2010. He’s a road paver who can play all over the line. If Sherrod’s still hanging around at No. 32, it’s a solid pickup for the NFC champs. Chad Clifton’s not getting any younger.
33. New England Patriots: Danny Watkins, G/OT, Baylor
34. Buffalo Bills: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
35. Cincinnati Bengals: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
36. Denver Broncos: Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
37. Cleveland Browns: Martez Wilson, LB, Illinois
38. Arizona Cardinals: Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
39. Tennessee Titans: Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
40. Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
41. Washington Redskins: Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
42. Houston Texans: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
43. Minnesota Vikings: Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh
44. Detroit Lions: Benjamin Ijalana, T/G, Villanova
45. San Francisco 49ers: Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
46. Denver Broncos: Mason Foster, LB, Washington
47. St. Louis Rams: Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
48. Oakland Raiders: Stefen Wisniewski, G/C, Penn State
49. Jacksonville Jaguars: Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
50. San Diego Chargers: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
51. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Rodney Hudson, G/C, Florida State
52. New York Giants: Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina
53. Indianapolis Colts: James Carpenter, OT, Alabama
54. Philadelphia Eagles: Daryl “Buster” Skrine, CB, Chattanooga
55. Kansas City Chiefs: Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton
56. New Orleans Saints: Randall Cobb, WR/RB/KR, Kentucky
57. Seattle Seahawks: Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois
58. Baltimore Ravens: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
59. Atlanta Falcons: Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii
60. New England Patriots: Titus Young, WR, Boise State
61. San Diego Chargers: Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
62. Chicago Bears: Allen Bailey, DT, Miami
63. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jason Pinkston, OT, Pittsburgh
64. Green Bay Packers: Sam Acho, OLB, Texas
If you disagree with any of my picks or just want to call me an idiot, email me at PeterSchrager@gmail.com. I’d love to hear all of your thoughts. I promise, I have a thick skin.