I chose NFL Network to watch this draft because Berman is on ESPN. Any questions? I enjoy Rich Eisen's bonhomie, Mike Mayock's irascibility, and THEY HAVE MICHAEL IRVIN. I love Michael Irvin. He speaks only in caps or in a stage whisper and he peppers amazing wisdom with utter inanities.
He's basically a cross between Tracy Morgan and Winston Churchill.
I'll be excerpting The Playmaker throughout the analysis. Some of the quotes are actually real. Others could easily be.
1. Cam Newton - Carolina
I don't trust Cam Newton any more than he can throw a stolen laptop. Actually, he can throw a stolen laptop pretty far, so bad example. Cam has a counterfeit personality, he can only succeed in a spread, and he strikes me as someone who regards himself as too precious for coaching. Who runs this dude? Is he even in charge of his own life? On the plus side, like a Ben Roethlisberger, I don't think anyone can get him on the ground. He's ridiculously strong and mobile. Carolina just signed its franchise suicide pact, but what are they going to do - start Clausen?
It seems beneficial for Carolina that they have a strong running game to help a young QB, but that offense isn't the spread that Cam probably requires. Conundrum.
Irvin: HATERS ARE GOIN TO HATE THIS WHAT THEY DO
2. Von Miller - Denver
No-brainer. Put his hand down, point him at the QB, and defense gets easier. I'm glad he was drafted by a 3-4 team because playing him in a 4-3 would be a gross misuse of an elite first step.
Irvin: WHEN YOU TALK BOUT VAN MILNER YOU TALKIN BOUT A GUY WHO IS VOND MILLA
3. Marcell Dareus - Buffalo
Marcell Dareus has been a professional football player since he was a freshman. Now it's official. Remember when Ted Washington was young and he was both immovable and sneaky athletic? That's Dareus. He'll stop the run cold and give you some pressure.
Irvin: MARSHALL DOREUS OH LOOK AT YOU BIG FELLA (cackles at his own joke)
4. AJ Green - Cincy
Is there a surer offensive bet in this draft? He had putrid QBing in a garbage offense and he still dominated in every game I saw him. I consider Green, Peterson, and Von Miller the safest picks in this draft.
5. Patrick Peterson - Arizona
No brainer. The Cardinals now have Rogers-Cromartie and Peterson at CB. Gang up on the run, find a QB in free agency, and they've got a shot to turn it around quickly in a soft-ass division.
6. Julio Jones - Atlanta
Atlanta gave up a lot to acquire an incredible athlete who is still learning to be a WR and wears a bowtie. For all of his size and strength, good, physical corners gave Julio fits. He lacks the quickness to recover from re-routing. That written, playing opposite Roddy White would create opportunities for a scarecrow. The amount they gave up is irresponsible though. Are they trying to take their shot while Tony Gonzalez is still playing?
Irvin: HE AFLETE AND YOU MUST GRUDGINGLY RESPECK
7. Aldon Smith - SF
This pick will catch grief because Smith wasn't here in the mock drafts, but I've been a Aldon Smith fan since I saw him as a redshirt freshman at Mizzou. The 49ers are going to use him as a multiple front designated pass rusher (see Clay Matthews in GB) and he should produce in that system.
8. Jake Locker - Tennessee
Weird. Locker looks the part and I think his accuracy issues are exaggerated, but that was a really rough senior season. This selection begins a weird run on QBs that seem like they were graded against each other more than against an objective standard. Fashion a Jake Plummer style O with play action off of Chris Johnson, I guess. Locker is pretty special rolling out. In the pocket - not so much.
Irvin: I JUST GOT THE SHOCKER WITH JAKE LOCKER
9. Tyron Smith - Dallas
The Cowboys drafted right, by most accounts. I'm shocked. They usually get too cute for their own good.
Irvin: PROTECT THAT TONY ROMERO OR HE WILL RECEIVE INJURY
10. Blaine Gabbert - Jacksonville
I saw him play healthy once. He's tough, athletic, big, smart, has an arm and...I have almost no opinion of him. I'm trying to understand why that is as I usually manage an opinion on most things. Jacksonville is tired of Garrard and Gabbert will be starting sooner rather than later.
11. JJ Watt - Houston
They have a putrid secondary, a good pass rush, and a great offense. Peyton Manning is in the division. So they draft a pass-rushing specialist with very good corners left on the draft board. If they hit their CB pick right, they go 11-5 and make the playoffs. Now they've added a redundancy.
The Houston Texans, ladies and gentlemen. Cleveland with jobs and humidity.
Irvin: I AM NOT ACQUAINTED WITH THIS CRACKER INDIVIDUAL
12. Christian Ponder - Minnesota
Christian Ponder actually became pretty good at FSU after a rocky start and I was looking forward to touting him when he was drafted in the late 2nd round as a sleeper pick. Then this happened. Now, I'm very conflicted. I guess Minnesota really is going after McNabb. That makes four QB taken in the first 12 picks and I don't have great confidence in any of them.
13. Nick Fairley - Detroit
Fairley was the best defender on the field in every game I saw him play. High motor, mean as hell, and devastating against the run and the pass. Then he went under the microscope and everyone soured on him. Very Warren Sapp.
Now he's playing next to Suh, Vanden Bosch, and Cliff Avril in Detroit. Who is getting the double team?
Irvin: HE IS THE MEAN FOOTBALL ALL DAY LONG BOY
14. St Louis - Robert Quinn
He's fantastic, unproven, and he's 20 years old. This is a high risk pick that you have to make for the fact that Quinn might have the best long term upside of any player in the draft.
15. Miami - Mike Pouncey
Building a very nice OL down there.
16. Washington - Ryan Kerrigan
I didn't see him play in college. He's Big 10 fast!
Irvin: THIS KID IRISH AS HELL AND WHERE PURDUE LOCATED ANYWAY
17. Nate Solder - New England
Ridiculous physical specimen, but at 6-8, he doesn't have that ass anchor base that prevents a power rusher from pushing him back into the QB. New England doesn't ask much of their OL and his mobility should be a real asset in their draw/delay running game on the second level.
18. Cory Liuget - San Diego
I've never seen a down of football from the Illinois DL. Was he on Super Mario?
19. Prince Amakamura- NY Giants
Sporting a pink shirt and it looked good. Black guys can get away with a lot, fashion wise. I put on a light blue shirt and I look like a dick. The Giants sent the Texans a bottle of champagne after this one. Amakamura's family looked like they were plucked from Epcott's Wondrous Zamunda exhibit. Saw a yellow beadwork doily. I briefly mouthed a prayer of thanks that I didn't have to hear Chris Berman say New York Football Giants at any time during this pick.
Irvin: HE GONNA LOOK GOOD IN A GIANT UNIFORM HE A GIANT CORNABACK
20. Adrian Clayborn - Tampa Bay
Followed his career at Iowa and absolutely love him. This DL draft is deep and impressive.
Irvin: HE A BIG FELLA THEY CANNOT BRING A CAP BIG ENUFF
21. Phil Taylor - Cleveland
Didn't make a single play his entire college career. Pay him and he'll weigh 385 by mini-camp. Cleveland gets everything but the kitchen sink out of Atlanta for Julio Jones and they do this. Absurd. This is why they're the mistake by the lake.
The pick was announced by Cleveland RB Peyton Hillis, who credited Jesus for giving him the strength to announce the draft pick. The Jets fans then boo Jesus. Awesome.
22. Anthony Costanzo - Indy
I know nothing, but Peyton needed fresh OT play.
23. Danny Watkins - Philly
Baylor line dominance continues. Watkins is a solid pick for a desperate Eagles OL, but he's also 26 years old. He's Canadian, so I'm just happy he didn't take the stage in acid-washed jeans and an Edmonton Oilers jersey.
24. Cameron Jordan - New Orleans
I watched him play at Cal across the Bay. Really good DL. He's an effort guy and really gets after it.
25. James Carpenter - Seattle
A little surprising. In my very limited viewing of Carpenter, I saw him get worked some in pass protection though he destroyed as a run blocker. The Seahawks are desperate for any help they can get on the OL, so this is simply a matter of taking the best guy left on your board at a need position.
Irvin: ALABAMA HAVE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL IN THIS DRAFT HERE ANOTHER GUY
26. Jonathan Baldwin - KC
The Chiefs are going to load up on defenders later on, but this is an interesting complement to Bowe, Charles, Moeaki. Cassel has some real weapons. Basically, Baldwin is a really good athlete who wins jump balls downfield and is supposedly a pain in the ass to coach. Pioli researches character stuff exhaustively, so maybe the locker room cancer stuff is overdone.
27. Jimmy Smith - Baltimore
Very talented giant corner with good hips built to cover today's receivers. Also: a criminal. The Ravens are betting that Ed Reed and Ray Lewis can exercise authority over Smith and get him focused more on football than his next outrage. The Ravens need secondary help badly. The Wire tells me that Baltimore is a fine place for Smith to get his head together.
Irvin: HE THE TYPE WILL STAB A GUY WITH SCISSORS IF HE DOES NOT RECEIVE DEFERENCE AND I LIKE THAT VERY MUCH
28. Mark Ingram - New Orleans
Bye bye Reggie Bush. Crapping on Mark Ingram is a thriving industry amongst internet types, but running backs who run with economy are always underestimated. Ingram is instinctive, runs well inside, and he understands how to maximize a run with minimal bullshit. His hip strength is underrated and he has ability out of the backfield that Alabama never fully exploited. I'm a Mark Ingram fan and he'll be an asset in the Saints offense. The Saints were eager to ditch Reggie Bush and Ingram is a great replacement.
Irvin: HE IS A RUNNER WHO IS LIKE AN EMMITT SMITH NOT EMMITT BUT EXACTLY LIKE HIM
29. Gabe Carimi - Chicago
Blown away by him as a run blocker and technician, but he's limited athletically. How will he fare against elite NFL pass rushers? Is this your LT? The Bears fielded the worst OL in the league last year, so they had to grab him.
30. Muhammad Wilkerson - NY Jets
His draft party appeared to be at a NOI rally, but as long the Jets keep Jim Leonhard away from him, they should be fine. If Ryan wants a DL, it's a reasonable guess that he's good. Or he has sexy feet.
31. Cameron Heyward- Ohio State
He never dominated at Ohio State the way I thought he should have, but if you're drafted by the Steelers to play 5 tech, the vision they have for you is very specific and it's a good bet that they understand what you can do. No upside to questioning a Steeler draft pick, is there?
32. Derek Sherrod - Green Bay
Green Bay is the most complete team in the league and Sherrod looks to be a developmental pick that they hope to get something out of 2-3 years from now. I saw him at MSU and he was a load in the Dan Mullen offense collapsing the edge. He didn't pass block much, so I'm sure he has some skill development to do.
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