This year's combine was rather uneventful. Most of the top players performed about how you would have expected them to perform. Cam Newton is one player who's stock went slightly down but most of the teams already knew that he would be a project and have to adapt to a pro style offense. You will have to continue on to see where he lands in this post-combine mock draft.
The departure of Julius Peppers left a huge hole in the Panther's defense and the new coach, Ron Rivera, will add a player that can come in instantly and command double teams and rush the passer. They will consider a QB but I think it is still too early to give up on Jimmy Clausen who they used a second round pick on only last year.
Denver has some good defensive ends but needs to shore up the middle of their defensive line. Before Nick Fairley had a breakout year, Dareus was considered the top defensive tackle prospect in college football and he showed why at the combine. He looked as athletic as Fairley despite outweighing him by almost 30 pounds.
Nick Fairley came into the combine under his playing weight at Auburn which may have hurt his status as a 4-3 DT but the lighter 291lbs Fairley might work better as a defensive end in a 3-4 system. It is very hard to tell what the Bills are going to do at this pick because they have so many needs on both sides of the ball but they have an opportunity to take maybe the best defensive player on the board and will grab Fairley.
Most mocks have the Bengals taking a QB here but the team refused to trade Chad Johnson/Ochocinco when he demanded a trade (despite the rumor of a ridiculous offer for him) and they will probably refuse to get rid of Carson Palmer. So, instead of a quarterback they will draft AJ Green and part ways with T.O and Chad Johnson in an attempt to get Palmer to reconsider.
The Cardinals are in full panic mode, trying to find a QB that will make Larry Fitzgerald happy. If they can not obtain Carson Palmer or Kevin Kolb through a trade they may sign Marc Bulger and draft Gabbert. Gabbert did not throw at the combine but was said to be impressive in the interview portion of the combine.
A little bit of a shocker here, but after Jones' performance at the combine some are questioning whether AJ Green is actually the top receiver in this draft class. Jones has drawn comparisons to T.O. and the Browns need a wide receiver who can help out their young QB, Colt McCoy.
The depth at CB in this draft is good so the 49ers probably wait to get a corner until round two or three but Patrick Peterson is too good to pass up at this spot. He not only has good height (6 feet) but he has a bigger frame for a CB (219lbs) and still manages to run a 4.3 40-yard dash. This means he is fast enough to keep up with the quick receivers but strong enough to contain the bigger wide-outs in the league.
Looked nearly unblockable in the senior bowl practices and will be a great fit in the Titans defense. They may also consider Von Miller but he is a little undersized and probably fits better in a 3-4 as an OLB and they need a corner but there is more corner depth in this draft and they can obtain one later on in the draft.
With Von Miller and Robert Quinn still on the board it would be tempting for the Cowboys to take one of them even though it is not a spot of need. Amukamara will be a welcome addition to an aging Cowboy secondary.
This just seems like a Daniel Snyder pick. With Donovan McNabb falling out of favor in Washington, Shanahan gets to have a physically talented, albeit raw, QB to develop. He has had success with athletic quarterbacks so this may be an ideal landing spot for Newton.
The Texans probably did not envision an scenario where they would have to pick between Von Miller and Robert Quinn. They take Miller here because they are obsessed with rushing the passer and rightly so in a division where you have to compete against Peyton Manning.
Robert Quinn could easily be a top five pick but after concerns about missing a year of football and not blowing the scouts away at the combine he falls to the Vikings at number twelve. This pick will give the Vikings insurance in case Ray Edwards decides to go elsewhere as a free agent. Quite a steal for the Vikings here especially because the top DT talent is already off of the board.
Smith was a big winner at the combine. Despite not doing any of the drill, he showed well in the bench press with 29 reps and had his arms measure at 36 3/8". He is a great physical specimen and will be the replacement for Jeff Backus. Hopefully this addition can help keep Matthew Stafford on his feet and off the injury list.
The Rams need a WR but the top two are gone, they could go Akeem Ayers but that is a bit of a reach and there is no OG worthy of the 14th pick. They could either trade down or take Watt, a talented DE who would be a nice compliment to Chris Long.
Ricky Williams is getting old and may move on, Ronnie Brown would be expensive to keep so the Dolphins take the best RB in the draft in Mark Ingram. The Dolphins are a run first team and Ingram will be a good lead back. Look for the Dolphins to also add a back-up running back later on in the draft.
Kerrigan is not exactly a pure pass rusher but he seems to always find himself in the backfield making tackles for losses or sacking the QB. He will fit in nicely with Tyson Alualu, giving the Jags a very good, young defensive line.
The Patriots continue to build their young, talented defense by adding a talented DE that they have been missing ever since the trade of Richard Seymour and this happens to be the pick they gained in that trade. He had a down season but the Patriots hope they can help him get back to his 2009 self, a year where he had 11.5 sacks.
Most Charger fans would probably rather have Aldon Smith at this position but I think they finally need to have a solid replacement for Jamal Williams. At 334 pounds, Taylor can clog up the middle in a 3-4 defense and open things up for Luis Castillo and their OLBs.
A four year starter at Boston College, Castonzo is a reliable tackle that the Giants need given their recent history of injuries along the offensive line. There is very little separating the tackles at this point of the draft and Castonzo's durability gives him a leg up at this spot.
The Bucs need to generate a pass rush and Aldon Smith is the perfect pick for them. He recorded 5.5 sacks in only nine games last year. If he improves his technique instead of relying on his physical ability he could develop into an even better pass rusher.
Sherrod is another 4-year starter on the offensive line. He started at right tackle his freshman year and left tackle for the last three. He is quick and athletic but needs to get stronger to be able to handle the elite pass rushers of the NFL. The Chiefs need to get younger at RT and they can either put Sherrod there or place him at LT and move Branden Albert across to RT.
A former tight end, Solder is a very good pass blocker and will fit in nicely with the Colts. The Colts have needed to address the LT spot but have tried to find players later on in the draft. This year they will get Peyton Manning some protection early on.
The Eagles could look for offensive tackle help here but Jimmy Smith falls into their laps. He is a big, physical corner-back who along with Asante Samuels would give the Eagles a great defensive backfield tandem.
Would instantly improve the Saints run defense and he has the ability to get in the backfield and get an occasional sack. New Orleans may also look at a running back here but that is something they could more easily address later on in the draft.
I am well aware that a lot of Seahawk fans are going to hate this pick but it does make some sense. Locker played in a west coast offense at Washington and played under Steve Sarkisian, a former Pete Carroll assistant. He is also a local kid and would sell some jerseys. If they bring back Hasselbeck for one more year then Locker would have some time to develop and would be a good fit.
Despite having one of the best defenses every year, the Ravens seem to struggle to find really good corners. Harris is very good in man coverage but still needs to work on his zone coverage.
Had a lack-luster senior season but is physically gifted and has the speed to play DE and is strong enough to play on the inside at DT as well. John Abraham is aging and the Falcons need help on the defensive line.
With the retirement of Stephen Neal, the Patriots may need a new started at RG and at least need some depth on the offensive line. Pouncey can play either guard position as well as center. His versatility makes him a great value at this point of the draft.
The Bears offensive line gave up a ton of sacks this year and Mike Martz would love to have a more solid line so that he could call the plays the way that he would like to. He could step in at RT right away and Mike Tice may be able to develop him into a starter on the left side.
After finally giving up on Vernon Gholston, the Jets need to add some depth at the OLB position. Houston could come in immediately as a pass rusher and with a little work on his coverage he could be a full time starter.
Cannon would be a good fit for the Steelers because of the versatility he would bring to the offensive line. He projects as a guard but can also play right tackle giving Pittsburgh depth across the line. They are likely going to cut ties with Flozell Adams and will need a backup RT. Ideally, they would hope to get the other Pouncey brother but he is off of the board.
The Packers have been the masters of the best player available theory of drafting. This year they get the best player available and also address a position of need, linebacker. Ayers bad 40-yard dash time has scared some teams off but he can at least contribute as a pass-rush specialist and may just be one of those players that has better game speed than test speed.