With the Super Bowl over, it’s officially time to start NFL Draft Predictions. Justin Bucklin (JB) and Kyle Hughes from KRUI Sports fill us in on their picks for Round 1. Where will Adrian Clayborn go? Will Jake Locker be a Round 1 pick? Check out their predictions for your team below.
1. Carolina Panthers
Kyle’s pick: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Jr., 6’5 / 298 lbs
NCAA Football 2011 rating: 80
The Panthers need help all over the place but especially at defensive line. Anyone that saw the National Championship knows just how disruptive Fairley can be. Fairley may not be as good as Ndamukong Suh, but then again no one is.
JB’s pick: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
The Panthers will give into all the pressure and hype surrounding Fairley and make him the number one pick. Not worth it. I will be tweeting #SMH as soon as this happens.
2. Denver Broncos
Kyle pick: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Jr., 6’1/ 222 lbs
Patrick Peterson may be the most talented player in this draft. He has great size, cover skills, ball skills, and return skills. With Champ Bailey being a free agent this offseason, the Broncos are in prime position to pick up the best prospect at corner.
JB pick: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Jr., 6’4 / 280
NCAA rating: 96
John Fox settles in and makes Denver feel like home by taking Bowers and making him wear number 90 and putting Peppers on the back of his jersey.
3. Buffalo Bills
Kyle: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
Da’Quan Bowers was seen as a bit of a disappointment through his first two seasons at Clemson. Then this season he notched 15.5 sacks on his way to winning ACC Defensive Player of the Year and the Nagurski Award. He was the #1 prospect coming out of high school according to ESPN.com in 2008. He has the size and speed to get to the quarterback when he wants but he doesn’t appear to put forth his best effort at all times. The Bills would love to get Fairley here but it’s likely he’ll be gone already. They could also shop this pick to teams looking to trade up for Bowers, Gabbert, or Green.
JB: Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama
Jr., 6’4 / 306 lbs
NCAA rating: 95
Where do you even start with the Bills? By switching to a 3-4 they will need a rock and Dareus can provide that. But now the real question is where do you put Aaron Maybin? Poor Bills.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
Kyle: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Jr., 6’4 / 214 lbs.
NCAA rating: 97
Coming out of high school A.J. Green was hailed as the next Randy Moss. With his size, speed, and ball skills that comparison suits Green quite nicely. Despite being suspended for the first 4 games of this season for selling jerseys, Green still racked up 57 receptions and 848 yards. Doing that in 9 games with a freshman quarterback, Green shouldn’t slip out of the top 5.
JB: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Jr., 6’5 / 235
NCAA rating: 93
With Carson on his way out Cincy will need a QB. I truly believe that there is not a franchise quarterback in this draft but Gabbert will top most people’s QB rankings.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Kyle: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Some people are saying the Cardinals are satisfied with John Skelton at quarterback but I’m not buying it. The Cardinals have a limited time frame to satisfy Larry Fitzgerald before he becomes a free agent and that means they will either sign a veteran quarterback or draft the best one available. If Luck came out Gabbert wouldn’t have been taken in the top ten. Now he is the best QB available which means he’ll be taken early.
JB: Robert Quinn, OLB, UNC
Jr., 6’5 / 270 lbs.
Arizona is in a win now mode. I think they’ll trade for a Kolb, McNabb, or Palmer to satisfy Fitz and draft Quinn to provide them with some defense.
6. Cleveland Browns
Kyle: Marcell Dareus, DE/DT, Alabama
The Browns turned in a respectable season defensively despite having a significant lack of talent in their front seven. While adding Julio Jones to aid Colt McCoy and the passing attack is the most attractive option to most fans, Dareus would be able to rotate to all three spots on Cleveland’s D-Line and give them a needed boost in the pass rush. The Browns could also look for a rush linebacker like Von Miller or Robert Quinn here.
JB: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Have to be pleasantly surprised with how Colt McCoy played, especially without receivers this year. Add AJ Green to McCoy and Hillis and you suddenly have an interesting offense that might win 6 games in that division.
7. San Francisco
Kyle: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Jr., 6’6 /250 lbs.
Rookie Head Coaches like to start fresh and take stabs at franchise quarterbacks. I’m not sure if it’ll be Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallet, or Blaine Gabbert that Jim Harbaugh will be forever tied to but I’m sure it will be one of them. Newton has the most physical tools of all the QB’s in the draft and I think Harbaugh will salivate at the opportunity to mold and shape such a phenomenal prospect. Newton doesn’t have the best accuracy of the QB’s in the draft but his game tape and measurables alone are enough to get him drafted in the top 15.
JB: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Jr., 6’1/ 222 lbs
If Peterson falls this far, the 49ers should waste no more than 10 seconds to have their selection in. I have faith Harbaugh sees through this lackluster QB class and holds out because if there is a chance he can still get Luck, he’ll wait.
Kyle: Prince Amakumara, CB, Nebraska
Sr., 6’1 / 205 lbs.
The Titans gave up almost 6,000 yards to opposing offenses this last season with over 4,000 yards passing allowed. While they are in desperate need for a quarterback of the future, Jeff Fischer wants to win now and the only way to do that is improve the secondary. Plus a team in the same division as Peyton Manning can never have enough cornerbacks. Amakumara is a big, physical corner that will annoy opposing receivers by sticking to them like glue. His draft stock could be hurt if he posts a poor 40-yard dash time but he will be a good pro even if he doesn’t run a sub 4.5.
JB: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Jr., 6’3 /300 lbs
Still looking for a Haynesworth replacement.
Kyle: Derek Sherrod, OL, Miss State
Sr., 6’6 / 305 lbs.
The Cowboys need major help in the secondary but with Peterson and Amukamara gone they’ll address another need, the offensive line. When Tony Romo went down against the Giants it showed how vulnerable the Cowboys are against opposing pass rushers. Sherrod is a nice mixture of size and athleticism and could definitely be the first offensive lineman taken.
JB: Prince Amakumara, CB, Nebraska
The secondary needs to be addressed. The Mike Jenkins Island was a popular destination for opposing receivers and penalty flags. If the Prince is around you have to take him if you’re the Cowboys.
Kyle: Julio Jones, WR, Bama
Jr., 6’4 / 220 lbs.
With the top two quarterbacks off the board the Redskins take the top player available. Jones has great size and playmaking ability. He could end up a better pro than A.J. Green.
JB: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Jr., 6’6 /250 lbs.
Unless Rex is the future of the skins, they will take a QB. I think Cam is the best of the QBs and he knows how to win. Wait, that means he wouldn’t fit with the Redskins at all.
Kyle: Robert Quinn, OLB, UNC
Robert Quinn didn’t play at all last season and still might be the first player at his position taken. The Texans want an improved pass rush, Quinn can get after the quarterback.
JB: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
Jr., 6’4 / 255 lbs.
With Peterson and Prince gone I think they will wait for the secondary in round two. Linebacker is a weak position for them, besides Cushing. Adding Ayers should help that D.
Kyle: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Sr., 6’3 / 230 lbs.
The Vikings haven’t been shy about expressing their desire for a quarterback and Ryan Mallet is too immobile to play behind a bad O-line like the one the Vikings have. Locker having a nice combine will make GM’s ignore his lack of production his senior season.
JB: Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
Jr., 6’6 / 238 lbs.
He has the strongest arm of any statue ever. Minnesota seems to like guys who sling the ball around don’t they?
Kyle: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Jr., 5’11 / 195 lbs.
The Lions need secondary help and if they cant trade down they’ll be willing to reach for it. I see Harris or Aaron Williams ending up in a Lions uniform.
JB: Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
Sr., 6’3 / 243 lbs.
The Offense is set in Detroit. Bring in the best pass rusher of this class to come off the edge and Suh destroy everything in the middle and this defense gets exciting too.
Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A&M
The Rams could go for help at receiver but will gladly take Von Miller if he is still around at pick 14.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Jr., 6’6 / 265 lbs.
My “I called it” pick. Bradford likes throwing short to mid ranges passes and is borderline great at it. They’ve got WRs coming back from injury and Rudolph will instantly become Bradford’s top pass catcher. A la Jermaine Gresham and OU.
15. Miami Dolphins
Kyle: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Jr., 5’10 / 215 lbs.
Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are likely out in Miami so they’ll make a splash by taking former Heisman winner Mark Ingram with their first pick.
JB: Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois
Jr., 6’1 / 230 lbs.
I just have a hunch.
Kyle: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Sr., 6’4 / 285 lbs.
I had this picked before Mel Kiper did. Clayborn is a great fit in Jacksonville. His numbers were down this past season but if he performs well at the Combine he’ll still be a mid-1st round pick.
JB: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
Soph., 6’5, 260 lbs.
The Jaguars are needing a pass rusher, and will go with Aldon Smith because he will look sweet with his shirt off.
17. Patriots (from Raiders)
Kyle: Gabe Carimi, OL, Wisconsin
Sr., 6’7 / 327 lbs.
Everyone saw how the Jets got to Tom Brady and with a couple o-linemen being free agents this summer the Patriots will definitely go for an offensive lineman. Carimi started almost every game during his 4 seasons at Wisconsin. He’d be a nice addition to any line.
JB: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pitt
Jr., 6’5 / 230 lbs.
Baldwin will provide Brady with the deep threat. I think they will look hard into Julio Jones if he is still around, but pass for Baldwin because he fits in their system better.
Kyle: Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue
Sr., 6’4 / 263 lbs.
Larry English tanked as the replacement for Shawne Merriman this past season. Kerrigan was constantly in the backfield terrorizing Big Ten opponents this season. He’ll be a great pure pass rusher.
JB: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
Jr., 6’3 / 258 lbs.
With Merriman gone and English not panning out they will need to get a pass rusher. “Houston we’ve solved the problem”…yeah.
Kyle: Mikel LeShoure, RB, Illinois
Jr., 6’1 / 230 lbs.
The Giants find their replacement for the disgruntled Brandon Jacobs with another big physical running back in Mikel LeShoure. If LeShoure is a flop at the combine he probably won’t go this high, especially if the Giants think they could get him in the 2nd round.
JB: Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois
Jr. 6’4 / 250 lbs.
Really in need of a LB to go with that secondary and Dline. Wilson is a beast.
Kyle: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Jr., 6’5 / 291 lbs.
Tyron Smith doesn’t look like an offensive lineman. He looks more like a 6’5 Dwight Howard. He is by far the most athletic tackle in this draft and he will be shooting up team’s draft boards after the Combine. The Bucs offense will look to lock down a franchise tackle with Smith at the 20th pick.
JB: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Why not? He makes sense and gives the Bucs a solid front line. If he doesn’t pan out at least they’ll have a sweet patty cake player on their team.
Kyle: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
The Chiefs pick up a nice linebacker that can play in both the 4-3 and the 3-4.
JB: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
Too much talent to pass up with Jones. He gives Bowe some relief and Cassell gets a true weapon.
Kyle: Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
Sr. 6’4 / 310 lbs.
Solidifying the offensive line will make Peyton Manning a happy camper. Pouncey can play all the interior positions and has good size. He’ll probably be the only guard taken in the first round.
JB: Gabe Carimi, OL, Wisconsin
Sr., 6’7 / 327 lbs.
Just feels right.
Kyle: Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State
Sr., 6’1 / 240 lbs.
Jones failed to make an impact in a couple of games this season and the effect to the Spartan defense was devastating. He is still the best inside linebacker by far and will be a good pro. This may be a little high for him to go, especially considering Stewart Bradley was solid for the Eagles this season. But the Eagles allowed 1766 yards rushing to their opponents this season.
JB: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Jr., 6’5 / 291 lbs.
Just feels even more right.
Kyle: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
Soph., 6’5, 260 lbs.
The Saints were awful against the run this past season. They will probably try to upgrade their front seven. Aldon Smith is an athletic DE with good pass rush skills. He could be an asset to Greg Williams’ defense that tries to get after the quarterback. Saints could also go DT, OLB, or safety here.
JB: Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma
Sr., 6’3 / 267 lbs.
A great pass rusher to accompany Will Smith. I see these two working nicely together and getting jiggy wit it.
Kyle: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
Sr., 6’1 / 311 lbs.
The Seahawks have a lot of needs. Offensive line, Quarterback, Running Back, Defensive Line, Linebackers… it goes on. They were especially bad against the run. An upgrade at defensive tackle would be their best option.
JB: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Sr., 6’4 / 282 lbs.
Hawks need d-line. And he’s from the Pac Ten. Anyone who thinks they will go QB is wrong. Pete will end up with a USC Qb somehow. Trade for Carson or sign Leinart or Booty or draft Mustain. Best bet, however, is that they hold out for Barkley next year.
Kyle: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
Jr. 6’1 / 195 lbs
The Ravens should reload in the secondary if they want to compete in a league where the quarterback is king. Williams offers the size and skill set that the Ravens like their corners to have.
JB: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Fills the hole at corner and is from Miami, so Baltimore must take him.
Kyle: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Sr. 6’9 / 315 lbs.
The Falcons were good in pass protection for most of the year but then they gave up 5 sacks to the Packers in the playoffs. Solder is enormous and will be able to handle some of the most athletic DE’s in the league.
JB: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
Jr., 6’6 / 292 lbs.
I’m not real sure what the Falcons need. May go with best player available and that could be JJ for them.
Kyle: Anthony Castonzo, OL, Boston College
Sr., 6’7 / 295 lbs.
The way the Pats normally operate, this pick will likely be traded. If they keep the pick they should grab another lineman to protect Brady. Castonzo is the best remaining at this point.
JB: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
I do think Mark Ingram will be a really good player in the NFL. That being said, he’s not really great at any one thing and will slip. I think the Patriots get an every down back to go with their 2 third down backs.
Kyle: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
The Jets need another end in their 3-4 and Jordan has experience at that position. He would be a great fit in Rex Ryan’s defense.
JB: Muhammed Wilkerson, DT, Temple
Jr. 6’5 / 305 lbs.
The Jets could do nothing against the Steelers run game and need to fix that hole unless Rex Ryan wants to become Andy Reid. They NEED someone to help stop the run. Plug in a 310 pounder and that should help.
Kyle: Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pitt
This would be an exciting pick for the Bears that would take their offense to the next level. Baldwin had a bit of a down season but he was arguably the best receiver in college football a year ago. Great size, and a good red zone target.
JB: Derek Sherrod, OL, Miss State
Someone needs to protect Cutler so he won’t have to come out until the 4th quarter.
Kyle: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
The Packers keep Watt in the state of Wisconsin and add some depth at DE with this steal of a pick in the late first round.
JB: Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech
Soph., 5’10 / 202 lbs.
Adds to the packs already prolific offense. Williams is a touchdown machine and can catch the ball. I believe he’s a great fit in Green Bay.
Kyle: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Heath Miller is a solid tight end but the Steelers can add a better one by taking Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph has great size, speed, and hands. Very good in the red zone.
JB: Mike Pouncey, G, Florida
I’d say his brother Maurice did alright and drafting his brother makes sense. Plus they could make a Disney movie or something out of the story.