The NFL Draft is a little over a month away, but the speculation started the day the Super Bowl ended. Who will Carolina, with new coach Ron Rivera at the helm, take with the first pick? Will Dallas really trade up and make a big shakeup in the draft? I go over all 32 teams, who they pick, and break down the pick. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
#1. Carlolina Panthers - Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson.
Bowers fits the mold of a former fearsome pass rusher that the Panthers drafted in 2002 over a QB (Julius Peppers over David Carr) and that pick worked out well for one side. Despite Bowers inconsistency up to this year where he led the nation with 15 sacks, but Da'Quan is the franchise building type talent that you know new coach Ron Rivera is drooling over.
Cam Newton is a popular pick, and for good reason, but the Panthers used a 2nd round pick on their hopeful QB of the future in former Notre Dame standout Jimmy Clausen; I am not saying Clausen is a better player than Cam, but GM's dont forget, and neither should we.
He can dissapear for plays, but his freakish athleticism helps him bend off the end and uses his powerfull bull rush to run through linemen and get to the ball carrier.
Carolina has Charles Johnson on the other side of the line, and he had double digit sacks too, so adding Bowers to that line would definetly put a scare in the Quaterbacks in the NFC South.
#2. Denver Broncos - Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn.
Denver has the Quarterback who started in front of Cam when he was at Florida, Tim Tebow, and Purdue alum Kyle Orton, so that is not a position that needs to be addressed. The defense has done some right things this off-season, signing Champ Bailey, but Denver allowed a league high 471 total points, and allowed over 150 rushing yards per game (31st in run defense) and was the overall worst defense in the league.
Nick Fairley is one of the more dominant defensive linemen I have seen at the collegiate level since, well, Suh. The knocks are their: only one year of playing at the college level after transferring from JC, showing up under weight at 291.
But Fairley is fairly to good to not take (sorry, had to)
What Fairley does the best is penetration, coming off blocks and shooting the gaps. Anyone who watched the BCS National Championship game knows Fairley did an incredible job of using his hands to shed blocks and create mis match problems for Oregons' high powered offense.
Denver would take a tremendous step in the right direction with this pick.
#3. Buffalo Bills - Patrick Peterson, CB/S, LSU.
There are not alot of dynamic cornerbacks in this draft, well, as dynamic as Peterson. Not only an All American kick and punt returner in one of the best conferences in college football, but his rare blend of size, speed, and versatility has scouts hyping him as one of the most promising Cornerbacks since Charles Woodson
The comparisons to Woodson do not stop there. Not only can he defend and surely return INT's to the house, he is a beast at run support and has great coverage skills.
Buffalo could take Newton, but i do not see alot of scenarios where Fitzpatrick does not play a bulk of the season, barring injuries. Buffalo would much rather go with their wily starter than invest a season in a rookie QB. Buffalo does need help in the secondary, with Terrence McGee on the better side of 30, injuries have limited him to 12 games in the past 2 years.
Peterson has scouts ranking him as high as #1, so I do not see him falling past Buffalo.
#4. Cincinnati Bengals - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn.
Carson Palmer is not long for the Bungals. Although the Bengals have historically been known for not tailoring to their players demands to get out of town, Palmer has (supposedly) $80 million in the bank. Truthfully I would much rather have him as my CPA than QB with how he has regressed as of the past few years.
Newton has ridiculous athleticism, and for a 6'5" scrambling QB, that is just one of his many talents.
He did not solidify his draft stock at the combine, proving innacurate (completing 11-21 passes) and he seemed sort of uncomfortable dropping back with 3 and 5 step drops. His 10 yard out route throws were not on the numbers, but we can not simply use that as a barometer for Newtons' ability.
The offense he starred in can be criticized for being a gimmick offense, obviously not an NFL type offense. Quick passing game is there, but Newton would need to improve on not only his drop back but he needs to be able to make better reads pre snap.
He is a winner. At almost every level he has played at. Cam is a leader, and facing the pay for play scrutiny at Auburn, it is evident Cam can play with skepticism everywhere. He could be the future for Cincinnati, as Palmer wants to be the past.