Updated Mar. 6, 2011
1. Carolina- Blaine Gabbert QB, Missouri*
Since 2001, eight quarterbacks, one defensive end, and one offensive tackle have been drafted 1st overall. Likewise, if there is a quarterback concern on the NFL team that holds the 1st pick, that team should/will/must select a quarterback if they feel the top QB could be their franchise signal-caller. New head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Marty Hurney face a tough decision regarding the future of former second round pick Jimmy Clausen and I believe they’ll trade him once a new CBA is reached. Gabbert has very few weaknesses to his game; he’s big, accurate, athletic, and smart. He’s the only ideal signal-caller who could potentially start from day one.
Other Possibilities: Cam Newton QB, Auburn* & Nick Fairley DT, Auburn*
2. Denver- Nick Fairley DT, Auburn*
The Broncos are in the process of converting from a 3-4 to 4-3 front, and the team is in dire need of new personnel in the front seven. New head coach John Fox will likely convert linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers to 4-3 end, while addressing the defensive tackle position at #2. Fairley is a dominating force who works best as a three-technique tackle in a 4-3 defense. He has the length, strength, and speed to make an impact on all three downs at the next level.
Other Possibilities: D’Quan Bowers DE, Clemson* & Patrick Peterson CB, LSU*
3. Buffalo- Patrick Peterson CB, LSU*
We learned in last year’s draft that head coach Chan Gailey and general manager Buddy Nix favor the best player available philosophy, more specifically athletes. Either the Bills will address the quarterback position—though they may stick with Ryan Fitzpatrick over Cam Newton—or they’ll address the defensive unit. Cornerback may not be the Bills’ most pressing need, but Peterson is as athletic as they come and is consistently rated as the #1 player on draft boards. Peterson’s size, speed, and production appear fitting for the Bills new philosophy.
Other Possibilities: Cam Newton QB, Auburn* & Von Miller OLB, Texas A&M
4. Cincinnati- AJ Green WR, Georgia*
It’s almost certain that Carson Palmer will not be back with the Bengals whenever football resumes. Head coach Marvin Lewis and owner Mike Brown could address the quarterback position at #4, meaning Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton are serious options; however, expect the Bengals to look for an immediate veteran who can compete for the playoffs right away. Marvin Lewis knows he’s on the hot seat, and he doesn’t have the time to sit and wait for a quarterback to develop. Meanwhile, the offensive skill position starters are aging and few can be said to be long-term building blocks. Chad Ochocinco’s days in Cincy are numbered; the same with Terrell Owens. AJ Green adds an immediate vertical threat who will strive in the red zone. The Bengals cannot afford to downgrade at quarterback AND wide receiver.
Other Possibilities: Blaine Gabbert QB, Missouri* & Cam Newton QB, Auburn*
5. Arizona- Von Miller OLB, Texas A&M
The Cardinals draft more for need than most teams in the NFL and they’ll likely select an outside rush linebacker or quarterback at #5. I anticipate that they’ll address the quarterback position with a veteran such as Kevin Kolb or Carson Palmer, given that they’ll build the team around Larry Fitzgerald rather than an unproven rookie. Unfortunately, if no CBA is signed by April 28th, the Cardinals could panic and select Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert if available given the uncertainty at the position. If quarterback is not the option, then my bet is on Von Miller to play the WILL rush linebacker in their 3-4 defense. Miller is a speed demon off the edge who dominated the Senior Bowl and last week’s combine. He’ll be an immediate threat to rush passer off the edge.
Other Possibilities: Blaine Gabbert QB, Missouri* & Cam Newton QB, Auburn* Read more