Mock Draft

A very early 2012 mock draft

1.
Cincinnati Bengals
Andrew Luck
QB Stanford
If they land Gabbert or Newton obviously this won’t happen, but Luck would still go No. 1 – it’s just a matter of who trades up for him.
2. Carolina Panthers Quinton Coples DE North Carolina
Coples needs to build upon his 2010 season for this to happen, but he has Julius Pepper-type potential.
3. Arizona Cardinals Matt Kalil OT USC
If they don’t land Newton or Gabbert this could be a quarterback, but assuming they get a QB this year they’ll need to upgrade the offensive line in 2011.
4. Miami Dolphins Trent Richardson RB Alabama
Mark Ingram is good, but Richardson is elite. Probably the best running back to enter the draft since Adrian Peterson.
5 Denver Broncos Vontaze Burfict LB Arizona State
Burfict is an elite athlete who could probably play inside or outside in a 4-3 scheme like Denver’s. Read more
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft 2 Comments

McCrystal’s updated mock draft

1.
Carolina Panthers Cam Newton QB Auburn
In the eight years I’ve been posting this mock draft, this is just the second time I’m making a change at No.1 in April. And I could very well make another change before the draft. All signs are starting to point to Newton being the Panthers guy, but I still can’t say I’m any more than 60% confident. The Newton rumors could all just be an attempt to entice the Bills, Bengals or Cardinals to trade up into this slot for a chance to land their new franchise quarterback.
2. Denver Broncos Marcell Dareus DT Alabama
At this point I can’t see Dareus falling any further than No. 2. The Broncos are taking a defensive lineman here, and unless the Panthers grab Dareus at No. 1, I think he’s their guy. Dareus is a perfect fit at defensive tackle in John Fox’s 4-3 scheme. He isn’t quite in the same class as Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, but he’s a similar player who should join them as a top-three pick. If Dareus were off the board, the decision would come down to Fairley, Bowers and possibly Quinn.
3. Buffalo Bills Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
As the 1st round finally begins to take shape it’s starting to look like the Bills are targeting Miller, and will wait until the 2nd or 3rd round for a quarterback. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Last year Buddy Nix selected C.J. Spiller, at arguably the team’s only strong position, because he was the top player on their board. While they obviously need a quarterback, at least Miller fills a need. Despite the presence of former 1st-round picks Maybin and Merriman, Miller should have no problem starting from day one. Read more
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft Comments Off

McCrystal’s updated mock draft

1.
Carolina Panthers Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri
I still have no idea what the Panthers are going to do with this pick and you’re lying to yourself if you think you do. But here’s my best guess: they really want to trade down. So they’re making sure that no one knows who they want by saying they’re considering everyone. Their hope is that someone like the Bills or Bengals gets their heart set on one guy (Newton maybe) and trades up. But if they stay put, I think they’re going with a quarterback.
2. Denver Broncos Marcell Dareus DT Alabama
Dareus’ stock has been on the rise throughout the offseason, and now that Da’Quan Bowers’ knee injury is raising concerns I think Dareus may now be the favorite here. Additionally, I believe tackle is actually a greater need in Denver. Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers should give them serviceable ends, but Marcus Thomas and Kevin Vickerson aren’t going to get the job done on the inside. There’s also an outside shot that Patrick Peterson could land here.
3. Buffalo Bills Cam Newton QB Auburn
If it were completely up to Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey, I think the Bills would move forward with Ryan Fitzpatrick for another season. However, I believe owner Ralph Wilson is pushing for a quarterback. He wants to the see the Bills win sooner rather than later and believes (correctly) that you can’t win a title with a guy like Fitzpatrick. Newton is a big risk, but this franchise has been a mess for a decade and is willing to roll the dice. Read more
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft Comments Off

Mike Band’s latest NFL Mock Draft (updated April 1, 2011)

Happy Birthday Sean Taylor…

1ST ROUND

1. CAROLINA- Cam Newton QB, Auburn*

2. DENVER-Marcell Dareus DT, Alabama*

3. BUFFALO- Von Miller OLB, Texas A&M

4. CINCINNATI- AJ Green WR, Georgia*

5. ARIZONA- Blaine Gabbert QB, Missouri*

TRADE ALERT: DALLAS SENDS #9 & #71 (3rd) to CLEVELAND for #6 overall

Read more

Posted on by Mike Band in Mock Draft Comments Off

McCrystal’s updated mock draft

1.
Carolina Panthers Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri
I have no idea what the Panthers are going to do with this pick and you’re lying to yourself if you think you do. But here’s my best guess: they really want to trade down. So they’re making sure that no one knows who they want by saying they’re considering as many as eight players. Their hope is that someone like the Bills or Bengals gets their heart set on one guy (Newton maybe) and trades up. But if they stay put, I think they’re going with a quarterback.
2. Denver Broncos Marcell Dareus DT Alabama
Dareus’ stock has been on the rise throughout the offseason, and now that Da’Quan Bowers’ knee injury is raising concerns I think Dareus may now be the favorite here. Additionally, I believe tackle is actually a greater need in Denver. Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers should give them serviceable ends, but Marcus Thomas and Kevin Vickerson aren’t going to get the job done on the inside. There’s also an outside shot that Patrick Peterson could land here.
3. Buffalo Bills Cam Newton QB Auburn
If it were completely up to Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey, I think the Bills would move forward with Ryan Fitzpatrick for another season. However, I believe owner Ralph Wilson is pushing toward a quarterback. He wants to the see the Bills win sooner rather than later and believes (correctly) that you can’t win a title with a guy like Fitzpatrick. Newton is a big risk, but this franchise has been a mess for a decade and is willing to roll the dice. Read more
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft Comments Off

Updated 3-round mock draft

1.
Carolina Panthers
Blaine Gabbert
QB Missouri
I have no idea what the Panthers are going to do with this pick and you’re lying to yourself if you think you do. But here’s my best guess: they really want to trade down. So they’re making sure that no one who they want by saying they’re considering as many as eight players. Their hope is that someone like the Bills or Bengals gets their heart set on one guy (Newton maybe) and trades up. But if they stay put, I think they’re going with a quarterback.
2. Denver Broncos Da’Quan Bowers DE Clemson
Bowers stock has been called into question by some, partly due to injury concerns, but I still believe he is No. 1 on the Broncos draft board. He is a prototypical 4-3 defensive end and could fill the role that Julius Peppers played for years in John Fox’s defense in Carolina. As long as Bowers is able work out – even at slightly less than 100% – before the draft, he’ll come off the board in the top six. If Bowers isn’t their guy, Denver goes with Fairley or Dareus.
3. Buffalo Bills Marcell Dareus DE Alabama
The Bills need a quarterback, but I have a hard time picturing Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey buying into the Cam Newton hype. Just like last year, I think they’ll enter the draft with the mindset that they’re only going to draft a quarterback if he is truly the top player on their board. Given the Bills need and talent in this year’s class, I think both Dareus and Patrick Peterson are more likely options here than Cam Newton.
4. Cincinnati Bengals Cam Newton QB Auburn
I strongly believe that Newton is far from a top-five prospect, which is why it makes perfect sense that he’ll end up in Cincinnati. The Carson Palmer era is over and by the time the draft rolls around, owner Mike Brown will have come to terms with that fact. He’ll want to make a splash and will fall in love with Newton’s athleticism much like he did with Akili Smith in 1999… and the results this time around won’t be much better.
5. Arizona Cardinals Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
Von Miller has done nothing but boost his stock this offseason and he now looks like a pretty safe bet for the Cardinals at No. 5. The only scenario in which I could envision the Cards passing on Miller would be if Patrick Peterson were still on the board. Miller is slightly undersized for a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he is a truly elite athlete and would greatly improve the Cardinals struggling pass rush. He has the potential to be an instant-impact player. Read more
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft Comments Off

Updated Mock Draft

1.
Carolina Panthers
Blaine Gabbert
QB Missouri
The fact that, by my count, seven players could still wind up going No. 1 overall is amazing. I’ve had Bowers or Fairley in the top spot for the past month, but it’s starting to sound like the Panthers are leaning towards a quarterback. If GM Marty Hurney gets his way, Clausen will be given another year to prove himself, but new head coach Ron Rivera is apparently pushing for the opportunity to move on and put his stamp on the franchise.
2. Denver Broncos Da’Quan Bowers DE Clemson
Bowers stock has been called into question by some, partly due to injury concerns, but I still believe he is No. 1 on the Broncos draft board. He is a prototypical 4-3 defensive end and could fill the role that Julius Peppers played for years in John Fox’s defense in Carolina. As long as Bowers is able work out – even at slightly less than 100% – before the draft, he’ll come off the board in the top six. If Bowers isn’t their guy, Denver goes with Fairley or Dareus.
3. Buffalo Bills Patrick Peterson CB LSU
Buddy Nix showed last year that he is more interested in taking the best available player than filling a hole. While they have greater needs than cornerback, taking Peterson wouldn’t come as nearly the shock that the selection of C.J. Spiller did. He is clearly the best available player in this scenario and would start immediately (unlike Spiller). Leodis McKelvin is starting to look like a bust and Drayton Florence is a 30-year-old free agent.
4. Cincinnati Bengals Cam Newton QB Auburn
I strongly believe that Newton is far from a top-five prospect, which is why it makes perfect sense that he’ll end up in Cincinnati. The Carson Palmer era is over and by the time the draft rolls around, owner Mike Brown will have come to terms with that fact. He’ll want to make a splash and will fall in love with Newton’s athleticism much like he did with Akili Smith in 1999… and the results this time around won’t be much better.
5. Arizona Cardinals Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
Von Miller has done nothing but boost his stock this offseason and he now looks like a pretty safe bet for the Cardinals at No. 5. The only scenario in which I could envision the Cards passing on Miller would be if Patrick Peterson were still on the board. Miller is slightly undersized for a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he is a truly elite athlete and would greatly improve the Cardinals struggling pass rush. He has the potential to be an instant-impact player. Read more
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft Comments Off

Mike Band’s Mock Draft (2nd Edition)

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

Posted on by Mike Band in 2011 NFL Draft, Draft Links, Mock Draft Comments Off

Updated Mock Draft

1.
Carolina Panthers
Nick Fairley
DT Auburn
The Panthers haven’t tipped their hand at all, but the more I think about their situation, the more I think it has to come down Fairley and Bowers. With so many holes, spending a 1st-round pick on a receiver (A.J. Green) or a cornerback (Patrick Peterson) just doesn’t make sense. I think the edge has to go to Fairley right now. Defensive tackle is a greater need than end. However, if Charles Johnson is not re-signed, that could open the door for Bowers.
2. Denver Broncos Da’Quan Bowers DE Clemson
John Fox has stated that he’s committed to make the switch to a 4-3 defense, which means their defensive line needs to be addressed. Elvis Dumervil is probably the only lineman with a guaranteed job. However, Dumervil isn’t a great fit for Fox’s scheme. He’s an elite pass rusher when healthy, but not a true three-down lineman. Bowers is the most complete lineman in this year’s draft class and could fill Julius Peppers’ role in Fox’s defense.
3. Buffalo Bills Patrick Peterson CB LSU
Buddy Nix showed last year that he is more interested in taking the best available player than filling a hole. While they have greater needs than cornerback, taking Peterson wouldn’t come as nearly the shock that the selection of C.J. Spiller did. He is clearly the best available player in this scenario and would start immediately (unlike Spiller). Leodis McKelvin is starting to look like a bust and Drayton Florence is a 30-year-old free agent.
4. Cincinnati Bengals A.J. Green WR Georgia
Carson Palmer’s trade request probably won’t be honored, but the Bengals may appease him by toning down the “circus atmosphere.” That means Terrell Owens definitely won’t be back and Chad Johnson is likely to be traded as well. If either, or both, of their top receivers are sent packing, that position will immediately become their greatest need. Green is an elite talent that many have compared to Randy Moss. He has the rare potential to be a legitimate star from day one.
5. Arizona Cardinals Robert Quinn OLN North Carolina
Cardinals fans will be calling for a quarterback, but I suspect Ken Whisenhunt will be pushing for the team to bring in a veteran (Kolb? McNabb?) rather than go the route of an unproven rookie. That would mean their decision likely comes down to a defensive lineman or linebacker. Quinn may be the most NFL-ready pass rusher in this year’s draft class and has the athleticism to shift to linebacker in Arizona’s 3-4 scheme. He can be their version of DeMarcus Ware. Read more
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Mock Draft Comments Off