My friends, the dark times are now past. Football shall be played.
The NFL Lockout is officially over and now teams may seek out some free agents to fill their needs.
Free agency will certainly affect the draft, as teams won't have to build solely on the draft.
The Draft shouldn't change things up too much, but there will certainly be some modified picks as teams are able to go after some of the top players in the NFL.
Though Ron Rivera disagrees with the idea that there are no QBs worth taking No.1 overall, that doesn't mean he's about to grab one.
The top two QBs, Gabbert and Newton, both need time to develop and transition to a pro-style offense.
The Panthers don't have a legitimate starter, so they would have to thrust either one of them into the starting line-up.
Instead, they go with one of the safest picks in the draft. Peterson is a truly special cornerback who also doubles as a punt returner.
They can't go wrong with this pick.
I was considering having the Cardinals trade up to grab Miller, but I couldn't do it.
Instead, the Broncos pass up a need at the defensive tackle position in order to grab the best linebacker in the draft, Von Miller.
Miller is a fantastic pass rusher who would be able to help Denver right away. He is also a physical freak.
If the Buffalo Bills go defense here, that gives them more options in the second round to take a quarterback.
They would have liked to take Von Miller, but he's off the board already and they don't complain.
The Bills need another defensive lineman and Dareus is the top in the draft for his position.
Dareus had extremely impressive workouts and showed his athleticism at the Combine, which bumped him up past Nick Fairley.
The Bengals don't want to take a QB this early and the front office thinks they can work things out with Carson Palmer, so they go WR here.
Both Chad Ochocinco (god I hate that name) and Terrell Owens might not be returning to Cincinnati, and not having any WRs to throw to would hurt Palmer's chances of coming back.
They draft A.J. Green, the most talented wideout in the draft, who's leaping abilities and speed should make him an instant starter.
In an ill-advised move, the Redskins send this year's first round and next year's second round picks to the Cardinals in order to move up and take Gabbert.
Sure, Gabbert has prototypical size, a quick release, and excellent intangibles; but he isn't ready to start from Day One.
The Cardinals, in the meanwhile, don't want a QB. Whisenhunt has said he doesn't think the quarterback class is that strong, which is why it irks me when people mock a QB in the first round to the Cardinals.
If A.J. Green is gone, Julio Jones is certainly the way to go here.
The Browns could use this pick on a defensive lineman but Nick Fairley's character concerns push them away.
And of all the other defensive lineman, there aren't really any worth picking here.
Jones gives McCoy a home-run threat, something the Browns need at wide receiver.
Jones would be the No.1 receiver, bumping down all the other Browns receivers a spot on the depth chart.
Yes, it does look like Jim Harbaugh wants to bring Alex Smith back.
Yes, the 49ers do need a defensive tackle.
In fact, they recently worked out one of the draft's defensive tackles at fullback, strangely enough. Back to the point.
Fairley was dominant in his last season at Auburn, and despite being at one point in discussion for the No.1 overall pick he falls this far.
In a few years, Fairley could become close to as good as he was at Auburn.
This may be a bit high for Jordan, but he's exactly what Tennessee needs.
Tennessee has a ton of holes on their defense and Cameron Jordan could fill a couple of the holes. He is versatile enough to play DT or DE, and depending on who you ask, he may also be able to play LB.
Jordan could fill the DT or DE spots in the Tennessee Titan's 4-3 scheme.
The DT spot has been vacant since Albert Haynesworth left, and a high-character player like Cam Jordan could start immediately.
With the Lockout over, the Cowboys don't have to reach for an offensive lineman like Tyron Smith. They can just sign one in free agency.
They go with a high-character and hard-working defensive end in J.J. Watt who should be able to boost the Cowboys defensive line from Day 1.
J.J. Watt not only recorded sacks and tackles, but also forced fumbles and blocked kicks at Wisconsin.
He is one of those players that is willing to do anything to improve.
The Cardinals had good reason to trade down.
Whisenhunt doesn't want a QB and my best guess is that they take Quinn with the 10th pick.
The Cardinals knew that he wouldn't be gone at No.10 and figured that if they could get the same player as before but with an additional pick, why wouldn't they?
Quinn is a standout pass-rusher who missed a year due to the famous UNC scandal. He isn't strong against the run, but is probably the best edge-rusher in the draft.
The Texans were by far the worst pass defense in the league as opposing QBs racked up an astonishing passer rating of 100.5.
There were no corners on the Texans that did a great job and that needs to be fixed here.
Amukamara has the tools to be a shutdown corner in this league and has moved slightly up draft boards since the Combine.
Believe it or not, if Newton is drafted here Tarvaris Jackson will still be the starter.
Leslie Frazier, assuming he is the head coach, is not dumb and shouldn't take his chances on starting Newton too soon.
As amazing as he could be, Newton would not be able to adjust to his new offense immediately and would be in no position to start.
Newton sits out a year but is the Vikings QB of the future.
The Lions should be happy, as Smith could have gone to the Cowboys at No. 9 or the Vikings at the twelfth pick.
All these three teams get their needs, everyone is happy.
The Lions need some new lineman to come in and protect Matthew Stafford, who has quite the injury history.
Smith is a fast and athletic tackle who is versatile enough to play either left or right tackle in the NFL. He provides great value for a team that could use a new tackle.
A couple months ago, the man who'll be picked No.14 in this years draft was widely unknown.
Since then, he has shot up draft boards and become one of the top DTs in this entire draft.
Liuget excels as a run stuffer and should be able to do that for the Rams.
He's also improving as a pass rusher but didn't put up gaudy stats because he was double teamed a lot.
Liuget could add some youth and talent to a young Rams team that aims to take the NFC West.
The New Orleans Saints send their first and second round picks in this draft to the Dolphins in order to trade up and grab Da'Quan Bowers.
Bowers is a dominant defensive lineman who falls this far due to injury concerns and the questions that come with being a one-year-wonder.
Nevertheless, the former top recruit in the country has an opportunity to make all those who passed on him regret it.
The Saints grab a new lineman who could be a dominant player from the start.
For Ryan Kerrigan, this is a nice fit.
The Jags run a 4-3 defense which means that he will likely be able to stay at his college position of defensive end.
Had he had been drafted by a team that runs a 3-4, he would need to learn the ropes of being a linebacker.
The Big Ten's all time forced fumbles leader is also an excellent sack master who hopes to be able to start for the Jaguars, a team that desperately needs to upgrade their pass rush.
Gasp! The Patriots didn't deal away this pick?
The Patriots will certainly deal away at least one of their picks in the Top 33, but see the Dolphins traded back and pounce on Mark Ingram.
Ingram was the 2009 Heisman Trophy Winner and could start instantly for the Patriots.
Ingram has a good blend of speed and power and could have a monstrous year.
Smith is a bit of a "tweener" at defensive end and linebacker, but no worries, the Chargers could use him for either position.
The Chargers are famous for having the No.1 Offense and the No.1 Defense but somehow not making the playoffs. Instead, they end up with the 18th pick after paying the price for their abysmal start.
Smith is a long, athletic pass rusher that is a bit raw but will definitely see some playing time.
He will also make sure that the Chargers don't end up with the same fate as last season.
Castonzo is one of the draft's several versatile lineman who could play a couple positions if needed.
He is one of the more pro-ready offensive lineman in the draft. Castonzo should be an immediate starter.
Though he is pro ready, the one concern for Castonzo is that he has near reached his potential. But as they say, there's always room to improve.
The Giants won't shy away from this pick, as they feel the age affecting their offensive line and decide they need a new piece to it.
Clayborn is a talented player who just didn't have the senior year he was expecting.
Still, he has loads of potential and is a great pass rusher.
The Bucs are one of the younger teams in the NFL and look to be going in the right direction with Josh Freeman at QB, but their front seven just isn't settled.
Defensive need is the top need and should be the pick here.
Solder has slipped down many draft boards, but he's still worthy of a first-round selection.
Not only does Solder have great footwork, but he is also a strong and athletic tackle. He showed that he can be quick.
He could develop more in pass protection, but is an overall solid tackle.
Solder played left tackle in college and the Chiefs could move current left tackle Brandon Albert to another position.
In a draft loaded with offensive tackles, Carimi is probably the best run blocker.
Carimi thrived in a run-happy environment at Wisconsin. Once he latches on to a defender, it isn't easy getting away.
Taking over for Joe Thomas isn't an easy task, but Carimi did a fine job of it.
The Colts need to protect Peyton Manning and give a boost to the run game, so Carimi would be of nice value here.
Jimmy Smith is a top-15 talent but has the character of a mid-round prospect.
Being talented is much more important than character, and the Eagles need a cornerback to place opposite of Asante Samuel.
The Eagles put talent way ahead of character, as evidenced by the choice to bring Michael Vick to Philadelphia.
Smith seems to be a good value pick here and if he shores up his character concerns he could be an elite corner in several years.
The Dolphins decided not to take Mark Ingram, and knew that they wanted a QB as one of their top picks.
They have been eyeing Kaepernick for a while now and might not be able to get him in Round 2. So instead, the 'Fins make him their first-round pick.
Kaepernick comes from a pistol offense and has to make the transition to a pro-style offense. It helps that he has all the physical tools to be a successful QB in the future.
He sits a year or two and the Dolphins give Chad Henne one last shot.
The Seahawks fill the offensive line positions in another round and through free agency.
They could reach for a DT, but it's not worth it. So instead, they target a quarterback.
In-state product Jake Locker would be a great fit, as Matt Hasselbeck will re-sign with Seattle and help develop Locker into a starter.
If Hasselbeck can help Locker overcome his accuracy issues, watch out.
Harris is a very coachable cornerback who would be able to fit into the Ravens CB rotation immediately.
He is a strong cornerback who excels in man coverage.
There are some flaws to his game but he has outstanding work ethic and should be able to develop those deficiencies.
Even though Ed Reed is a beast, the Ravens still had a terrible pass defense. Look for them to improve that here.
Tony Gonzalez is getting old and the Falcons have a decision to make.
Should they grab Kyle Rudolph in the first round or take a defensive end? The answer is Rudolph.
This is a bit of a reach, but Scouts Inc. has him rated as their No.26 overall prospect. Without Tony Gonzalez, the Falcons don't have much of a passing threat besides Roddy White.
Rudolph is an oversized receiver who is also a suitable blocker as well.
The Patriots could use this pick on Mike Pouncey, but the promise of more picks lures Belichick into excepting the trade.
The Titans send their second and third pick to the Patriots for the 28th pick overall.
The Titans are in no position to thrust a QB into the reigns, but Ryan Mallett is widely considered the most pro ready QB in the draft.
They may not be able to get the rocket-armed Arkansas QB with their second rounder, so they trade up and grab him.
In need of a defensive tackle, the Bears are shocked to find Wilkerson here.
Though Jay Cutler is praying that they draft someone in the first round to keep him safe, his prayer isn't answered. Looks like you'll just have to toughen up, Jay.
Wilkerson is a small school prospect who was dominant against smaller competition.
Still, however, he is definitely a first round prospect and the Bears make sure he is one.
Should Rahim Moore have left last year, he probably would have been picked much higher than this.
In the 2009 season, Moore had 10 interceptions. That is an astounding number.
Moore is a great ball-hawking safety and is also a sound tackler. All that combined makes him the No.1 safety prospect in the draft.
The Jets lack a playmaker at the safety position and Moore brings exactly that to the table.
In a small draft day fall, the twin brother of current Steeler Maurkice Pouncey falls to the Steelers at No .31.
Obviously, he won't play center but will move to guard, where he is better suited to anyways.
The Steelers need some youth and talent on the offensive line and the Pouncey brothers will anchor that line, like they anchored the line at Florida in college.
After what happened to Johnny Jolly, the Packers are in no position to take a defensive end with a troubled past.
However, testing positive for marijuana is, in my mind, less concerning than having hundreds of grams of codeine. Twice.
Houston is a great pass rusher and falls this far because of the positive test, but many other players have tested positive for substances but still been taken in the first round.
The Packers add an outside linebacker here to complement Clay Matthews.