The standings have changed again, and will be changing over the next four weeks in the NFL, but it’s always fun to speculate as to who could potentially go where. It’s still very early, but take a look what two players NFL Soup has your favorite team going after… unless you’re a Patriot’s fan and you get to see four players.
1. Carolina (1-10)- Andrew Luck**, QB, Stanford
Despite drafting Jimmy Clausen in the 2nd round in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Panthers take Luck, who is a guy that you just can’t pass up on. Luck is the prototypical NFL quarterback, and the Panthers have young talent on offense that he can utilize and succeed with. He has all of the intangibles to come in and start immediately for the Panthers.
2. Detroit (2-9)- Patrick Peterson*, CB, LSU
Detroit sticks with the defense here and shores up one of the cornerback spots with Patrick Peterson. Peterson is a top notch corner who has the talent to start immediately on an improving defense in Detroit. Peterson is a great coverage corner who is also solid in run support.
3. Cincinnati (2-9)- Robert Quinn*, DE, North Carolina
Cincinnati’s pass rush has been absolutely laughable in 2010. They just don’t have a dominant pass rusher and teams have been taking advantage of that time in the pocket to eat up the injured secondary. Quinn shows shades of former North Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers, and is arguably the top pass rusher in the 2011 NFL Draft class.
4. Buffalo (2-9)- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Buffalo’s secondary needs a lot of help. They give up the most yardage and the most yards per attempt in the NFL. Amukamara is the most NFL ready corner in the draft and is technically sound. He could come in and start after a few games and become a true shut down corner.
5. Arizona (3-8)- Ryan Mallett*, QB, Arkansas
Even the blind can see what the absence of Kurt Warner has done to this football team. It’s time they get a legit quarterback. With down field threats like Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston, the Cardinals would have a quarterback that can make all of the NFL throws. Despite comparisons to Derek Anderson, Mallett is actually pretty accurate.
6. Denver (3-8)- Marcel Dareus, DE, Alabama
Dareus is a no brainer for the Broncos who made the transition to a 3-4 under Josh McDaniels. Their defensive line is struggling heavily. They can’t shut down the run, and they can’t generate any pass rusher. Dareus is a dominant space eater who is a sure tackler and a force against the run.
7. Dallas (3-8)- Nick Fairley*, DT, Auburn
I’m reluctant to select Fairley here because I think utilizing him in a 3-4 defense is taking away from his true talents. However, he can become a space eater and consistently demands double teams. He’s more of a penetrator, but his versatility would allow him to play in a 3-4 defense.
8. San Francisco (4-7)- Cam Newton*, QB, Auburn
Cam Newton’s stock is soaring right now, and with guys like Vince Young and Tim Tebow going in the first round, Newton seems like a lock to join them. Newton can throw the ball as well as run. He’s not just a scrambling quarterback. He has the arm to get the ball down field and is a natural play maker. He’ll need some work, but he is a very talented football player.
9. Minnesota (4-7)- Brandon Harris*, CB, Miami (Fl.)
Minnesota has struggled with injuries in the secondary, and despite drafting a corner in the second round this year, they won’t be able to pass up on Harris who is a very good cornerback. Harris is a ball hawk who has very good speed, and could become a top notch corner in the NFL.
10. Cleveland (4-7)- A.J. Green*, WR, Georgia
This pick is a no-brainer for the Browns who just can’t seem to find a wide receiver that’s reliable. A.J. Green is worthy of a top five pick, but if he slides here, his physical dominance and great speed makes him a must pick for Cleveland who desperately needs a receiver the defenses can respect. Right now their leading pass catcher is tight end Ben Watson, with running back Peyton Hillis right behind him. With an improving Colt McCoy, the Browns could just be a dominant wide receiver away from having a fearful passing attack.
11. Houston (5-7)- Deunta Williams, S, North Carolina
Another no-brainer for Houston is a pick in the secondary. Despite taking Kareem Jackson in the first round in 2009, they still need a safety that can make plays against the pass. Their secondary is one of the worst in the NFL, and even the worst passing offenses have been able to put up points in the air. They don’t need much help on offense, and their defensive line isn’t terrible against the run, which makes this pick make even more sense.
12. Seattle (5-6)- DaQuan Bowers*, DE, Clemson
Seattle’s defense is already great against the run, at least when Red Bryant is healthy. But they need a dominant pass rusher on that line as well. Bowers is an absolute stud as a pass rusher, and he’s not too shabby against the run either. The Seattle secondary has struggled because of the lack of a pass rush.
13. New England- from Oakland (5-6)- Mark Ingram*, RB, Alabama
New England has to go best pick available here, and while they are succeeding running the ball with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead, you have to think they’d love to have a feature back in an already strong offense. Ingram is a tough, physical runner between the tackles, and can catch well out of the backfield. He gives the Patriots the full package at running back.
14. Washington (5-6)- Dont’a Hightower*, ILB, Alabama
Washington’s rush defense in their newly transitioned 3-4 defense is atrocious. Dont’a Hightower is a fantastic, versatile linebacker who plays in Alabama’s 3-4 defense. Hightower isn’t bad in coverage, but he’s dominant against the run. He’s a great instinctive block shedder, with excellent read and react ability.
15. Tennessee (5-6)- Bruce Carter, LB, North Carolina
Tennessee could really use a dominant tackler at one of the outside linebacker positions. Carter is very versatile, and very athletic. He’s a sure handed tackler and a leader on the North Carolina defense. Carter is also exceptional in coverage and is a sideline to sideline linebacker.
16. Jacksonville (6-5)- Julio Jones*, WR, Alabama
This is a bit of a surprise pick. Jacksonville should go with a defensive player, but Julio Jones is just too good to pass up. With an inconsistent Mike Sims-Walker, and Mike Thomas not #1 receiver material, it’d be hard for the Jaguars to pass on a dominant, physical presence like Jones in the wide receiver corps.
17. Miami (6-5)- DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson
Like Houston, Miami’s secondary is one of the struggling points on defense. They lack a true dominant safety, and McDaniel is a ball hawk who’s not afraid to come up and make a tackle. McDaniel has excellent awareness and has the hands to get interceptions frequently. The Dolphins aren’t that far away from becoming a playoff contender.
18. Kansas City (7-4)- Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Chiefs really need a more consistent defensive end in a 3-4. Clayborn could play both 3-4 defensive end and a 4-3. He’s strong enough at the point of attack to take up space, and Glenn Dorsey just isn’t getting it done in Kansas City. They could go with an offensive lineman here, but their defense is what’s keeping them from being a top notch team in the NFL.
19. New York Giants (7-4)- Akeem Ayers*, LB, UCLA
The Giants don’t have a lot of holes, and they could use a bit of consistency at outside linebacker. Ayers is versatile enough to play all three linebacker positions in a 4-3, and is solid against the run. He’s also a solid pass rusher and can come in on a delayed blitz and make a play. He does well in keeping outside contain and has above average coverage skills.
20. Tampa Bay (7-4)- Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
The Buccaneers are on the rise, and could really use more of a pass rush to help out the struggling secondary. With the top safeties off the board, the Bucs go with a dominant defensive end in Ryan Kerrigan who is shooting up draft boards. Kerrigan is a pure pass rusher and could make the transition to the 3-4 if he needed to. He’s very athletic and is stout against the run.
21. St. Louis (5-6)- Justin Blackmon**, WR, Oklahoma State
St. Louis could go a lot of directions here. They need help in the secondary, but with Sam Bradford having a fantastic year, they really need to get him a true #1 receiver. Blackmon can stretch the field, and has the speed to burn even the faster corners in the NFL. Blackmon is a bit raw and will need to improve his route running, but a Bradford/Blackmon combo could be absolutely nasty.
22. Indianapolis (6-5)- Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
The Colts need to generate more pass rush, and could stand to add a penetrating defensive tackle. Paea is a tackle who commands double teams, and gets in the backfield with his quickness and athletic ability. He’s not bad against the run, and will also help a poor Colts run defense.
23. Chicago (8-3)- Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
I don’t even know if I need to explain this pick. Nine sacks in one half of football against the New York Giants explains this pick, honestly. Sherrod is an all around tackle. He’s quick enough and has the footwork to shut down quick edge rushers, and he gets a good push in the run game.
24. Baltimore (8-3)- Janoris Jenkins*, CB, Florida
The Ravens are lacking a dominant corner, and have been suspect against the pass at times in 2010. Jenkins is a pure coverage corner who’s not terrible in run support. Jenkins is very quick, and while his size isn’t anything to get excited about, his ball skills are quite impressive.
25. San Diego (6-5)- Cameron Jordan, DE, California
The Chargers defensive line could still use a bit of work, and drafting Jordan could shore up a defensive end spot opposite Luis Castillo. Jordan is a strong, bull rushing defensive end who played some tackle at Cal as well. He can rush the passer, and he can eat up blocks.
26. Green Bay (7-4)- Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The Packers have a great pass rush already, but they could afford to grab their final outside linebacker. Having Von Miller opposite Clay Matthews could be absolutely deadly for opposing teams. It’s not often that a team has two dominant pass rushers, but the Packers wouldn’t have to worry about a thing with Miller and Matthews opposite each other.
27. Philadelphia (8-4)- Marcus Cannon, OG/OT, TCU
The Eagles could use more consistent guard play, and what better than to have a versatile offensive lineman like Marcus Cannon? Cannon is a monster at 350 pounds and is athletic enough to play offensive tackle at the next level as well. Cannon could shore up either guard spot.
28. Pittsburgh (8-3)- Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
Injuries, false starts, and overall inconsistency from the offensive line will force the Steelers to go to Castonzo. Castonzo is an excellent pass protector and gets a solid push in the run game as well. He could play either left tackle or right tackle, and it wouldn’t hurt to better protect your investment in Ben Roethlisberger.
29. New Orleans (8-3)- Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
How cool would it be to have two Ohio State defensive ends? Other than the cool factor, Heyward could greatly improve the Saints defensive line who could afford to generate more of a pass rush. Heyward would also bolster the rush defense as he’s a big time run stuffer.
30. New York Jets (9-2)- Michael Floyd*, WR, Notre Dame
With both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards free agents, the Jets will likely let go one of them. Bye bye Braylon. Floyd will be drafted to give the Jets that physical presence that can catch the ball in the middle of the field. Holmes is the downfield threat, and Floyd can catch the ball down field, or anywhere on the field, really.
31. Atlanta (9-2)- Justin Houston*, DE, Georgia
Atlanta’s pass rush could use a bit of improvement, and while they could afford to grab a cornerback here, it’s too hard to pass up on Justin Houston who is having a stellar junior campaign in 2010. Houston is a dominant pass rusher who does well in contain against the run as well. Houston is strong, and athletic, and John Abraham is aging after all.
32. New England (9-2)- Jabaal Sheard, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh
Sheard is my biggest sleeper to rise into the first round. His pass rushing has been dominant, and he’s a big athlete who can stop the run as well. He plays well laterally, and has an excellent outside move to get to the quarterback. New England is missing that true pass rusher on defense. They have little problems against the run, and Sheard could be groomed into the next top pass rushing outside linebacker.
33. New England (from CAR) (1-10)- Marvin Austin, DE/DT, North Carolina
Both Sheard and Marvin Austin have some character concerns, but that won’t stop Bill Belichick from improving his roster. Austin is a very strong and dominant defensive tackle and will have no problem transitioning to a five technique on a New England defensive line that is hurting with the loss of Richard Seymour.
34. Cincinnati (2-9)- Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
Chad Ochocinco is aging, and Terrell Owens may not be back after signing just a one year deal. Cincinnati needs a new quarterback, but with nobody exciting on the board right here, and grabbing Robert Quinn in the first round, they must improve the wide receiver corps. Broyles is a speedy receiver who’s a bit smaller, but he runs great routes and has solid hands.
35. Buffalo (2-9)- Riley Reiff**, OT, Iowa
Buffalo really needs somebody to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Reiff is the best pass protector in the draft. He is quite raw, and may have to sit for a season, but he is very athletic and has quick feet. He does well punching the defender keeping them from getting in close to him.
36. Detroit (2-9)- Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State
Detroit’s offense isn’t really in question, and they need to continue to improve the defense to compete in the NFL. Jones is an excellent sideline to sideline tackler who wraps up better than any linebacker in the draft. Jones is very intelligent and has been a leader on a very stout Michigan State defense.
37. Denver (3-8)- Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
With Champ Bailey aging the Broncos need another corner to groom. They are terrible against the pass and really need a dominant corner. Dowling’s late season injury makes him fall out of the first rounds right into Josh McDaniels’ lap.
38. Dallas (3-8)- Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Alex Barron is a revolving door on the right side of the Cowboys offensive line. Carimi isn’t a left tackle in the NFL due to his poor footwork in pass protection, but he’s the most dominant run blocker in the draft. His pass blocking is still better than Mar Colombo as well, and Carimi is a veteran tackle who plays smart, and does a great job finishing his first block and getting to the second level.
39. Arizona (3-8)- Kyle Rudolph*, TE, Notre Dame
Arizona gets their quarterback in the first round, and now they get a great pass catching tight end. Kyle Rudolph has first round potential, but all of the talent in the draft pushes him to the second round. He is a sure handed tight end that plays like a bigger, more physical receiver.
40. Minnesota (4-7)- Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina
After grabbing a corner in the first round, Minnesota grabs a versatile linebacker in Quan Sturdivant. Quan is one of the better tacklers in the nation, and can play every linebacker position in a 4-3. He’s not bad in coverage, and excels against the run.
41. Cleveland (4-7)- Jerel Worthy**, DE/DT, Michigan State
Worthy is a long shot to come out, but if he does, he could shoot into the first round. However, as of now, he’s going to Cleveland to play next to Ahtyba Rubin on an improving Cleveland defense. The Browns need to improve against the run, and they do this by shoring up a defensive end spot in a 3-4. Worthy is a very strong defensive lineman who commands double teams and is a force against the run.
42. San Francisco (4-7)- Aaron Williams*, CB, Texas
One thing that’s hurt San Francisco all season is the play of the cornerbacks. Aaron Williams is a great coverage corner who is solid in run support. He’s a hard nose player and a Mike Singletary kind of guy. San Francisco could really use a guy that can stick with his man in one on one coverage.
43. Oakland (5-6)- Jake Locker, QB, Washington
This is a wild card pick. Al Davis is known for reaching for talent and taking players based on athletic ability alone. Despite Jason Campbell’s decent play in 2010, he’s not the quarterback of the future. Bruce Gradkowski can’t seem to stay healthy either, and Locker has all the tools to succeed in the NFL. He just needs a lot of work.
44. Washington (5-6)- Benjamin Ijalana, OG, Villanova
The Redskins need to find a way to protect their investment in Donovan McNabb. Ijalana is an athletic guard who excels in pass protection. He’s agile enough to fit in a zone blocking scheme, and is very intelligent. He could start from day one in Shanahan’s system in Washington.
45. Tennessee (5-6)- Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State
Tennessee needs a bit of an upgrade at offensive guard, and Hudson is perfect fit. Hudson’s size is a big of a concern, but his strength makes that point moot. He gets a great push in the run game, and isn’t too shabby in pass protection. He’s also quite athletic.
46. Houston (5-6)- Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
This could be a bit of a controversial pick, but Houston needs a legit penetrator next to Amobi Okoye and Mario Williams. Shaun Cody isn’t getting it done against the run, and Nevis is a good pass rusher who is above average against the run. Nevis is excellent at disrupting plays in the backfield as well.
47. Seattle (5-6)- Travis Lewis*, LB, Oklahoma
Lewis is quietly rising up draft boards, and Seattle needs an upgrade opposite former first round pick Aaron Curry. Lewis is a very quick, and very athletic outside linebacker who excels in coverage, and is a wrap up tackler. He’s also a very talented blitz specialist, often getting in the backfield making a tackle for loss. He plays very well in space.
48. Denver – from Miami (6-5)- Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland
After bolstering the defensive line with Marcel Dareus, the Broncos still need a sledgehammer at one of the inside linebacker spots. Wujciak is a sleeper to sneak into the second round. He’s a big kid at 6’3 255 pounds, and sheds blocks very well. He could afford to read and react a bit better, but he’s just what the Broncos need in the middle of the defense.
49. Jacksonville (6-5)- Rahim Moore, S, UCLA
Jacksonville gets a steal in the second round with Rahim Moore. Moore is a coverage specialist and a ball hawk. He’s also a very good wrap up tackler, helping the Jaguars to improve against the run. The Jaguars really need help in the secondary and Moore could lock up the free safety spot early in his career.
50. New York Giants (7-4)- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
The Giants could use some depth at the cornerback spot, and Jimmy Smith is just the guy they want in a physical NFC East. Smith is very fast, and his 6’2 210 pound frame makes him coveted even more. Smith is also a force against the run, relentlessly throwing out his body to make a stop.
51. Tampa Bay (7-4)- Quinton Carter, S, Oklahoma
Tampa Bay needs a safety that can do it all. They continue to get stuck with run stopping safeties that get beat down field in coverage. Carter is an excellent mix of coverage ability and run stopping ability. He wraps up on each tackle, and is a big hitter in the middle of the field.
52. Kansas City (7-4)- Aldon Smith**, DE/OLB, Missouri
The Chiefs are improving as a defense, and with the acquisition of Adrian Clayborn in the first, they get a pass rusher opposite Tamba Hali to throw in to the mix. Mike Vrabel occupies the spot right now, but he’s an aging vet, and Smith is very raw and will need to be groomed regardless. Smith is a pure pass rusher with excellent athleticism.
53. St. Louis (5-6)- Allen Bailey, DE, Miami (Fl.)
St. Louis’ defensive line has improved heavily in terms of pass rush ability, but they could still use improvement at defensive end. Bailey is a great pass rusher who is very could use work against the run, but has room to develop. Bailey could make an impact immediately as a situational pass rusher, and be groomed as a starter.
54. Indianapolis (6-5)- Nate Potter*, OT, Boise State
With injuries to the left tackle position, and inconsistent play, the Colts grab Potter who is a stud. Potter is a very intelligent player, and he uses his smarts and athletic ability to keep pass rushers off of his quarterback. Potter is just the kind of great character athlete that the Colts would love to add to the team.
55. Baltimore (8-3)- Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida
Baltimore needs to improve the guard play on the right side if they want to run the ball between the tackles with more efficiency. Pouncey has played center in his senior campaign, but he’s a natural guard. He’s a stud in the run game, and could replace Chris Chester and help the offensive line get a great push for their talented running backs.
56. Chicago (8-3)- Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State
The Bears could use an improvement in the wide receiver corps. Devin Hester just isn’t a true #1 receiver, and Johnny Knox needs another weapon opposite him. Pettis is a sure handed receiver who runs great routes. He can catch the ball down the field, and make plays in the middle of the field. He would compliment Knox very well.
57. San Diego (6-5)- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
San Diego could use more versatility at safety. Barron gives them a big hitter who also fares decently well in coverage. Barron is a good wrap up tackler who doesn’t get caught starring into the backfield. He’s been a leader the last two seasons on a tough Alabama defense.
58. Green Bay (7-4)- DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
Ryan Grant’s season-ending injury has shown to be a big problem for the Packers. Teams don’t fear Brandon Jackson or John Kuhn. While Grant will be back in 2011, it doesn’t mean the Packers couldn’t have a second stud at running back. Murray can do it all. He’s an excellent runner with good speed, and also has great hands out of the backfield.
59. Philadelphia (7-4)- Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
Philadelphia’s secondary has struggled with a few injuries. They lack depth at corner and if Asante Samuel goes down, they don’t have any great coverage corners. Brown is a very fast corner with excellent athleticism. He won’t make too many tackles for you, but he can stick his man.
60. Pittsburgh (8-3)- J.J. Watt*, DE, Wisconsin
The Steelers defensive line has been riddled with injuries. Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel have missed time, as well as Nick Eason. J.J. Watt is as good a 3-4 defensive end prospect as you can find in the second round, and Pittsburgh’s defense seems to always produce excellent defensive lineman. They may turn to a cornerback here as well.
61. New Orleans (8-3)- Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
The Saints are among the league’s worst in rushing on the right side of the line. Solder gives them a big, physical run blocker who has quick feet in pass protection. Solder is versatile enough to play left tackle if needed as well, and at worst could add depth.
62. San Diego (from NYJ) (9-2)- DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas
Like the Saints, the Chargers have struggled to run on the right side of the offensive line. Love is a dominant run blocker who excels in getting to the second level. Love could play left tackle with improved footwork, but may be best suited on the right side.
63. Atlanta (9-2)- Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech
Atlanta could use depth at corner. They constantly have to rely on the safeties to help break up plays, often opening up holes in the secondary for better passing offenses to take advantage of. Their defense has improved against the run, and if they can get a guy like Carmichael who’s excellent against the pass, they’ll be much improved going into 2011.
64. New England (9-2)- Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami (Fl.)
Not that the Patriots really need any more offensive firepower, but Hankerson gives them a legit physical presence at the wide receiver position that they have been missing since Randy Moss’ departure. Hankerson is a tall, lanky receiver with sure hands and is an excellent red zone threat.
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