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Tex's First Annual Mock Draft

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Well, everyone else does one nowadays, so I thought it was high time for me do my best Mel Kiper impression with a mock draft. Except I'll do mine with 95% less hair gel. So bring your best Todd McShay impression in the comments and tell me what I did wrong.

1. Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
I don't like the pick. But it seems to be pretty much assured at this point. He reminds me of Akili Smith with a quicker release, and we all know how well he turned out.

2. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Too good a prospect for the Broncos to pass over, given their horrendous front seven.

3. Buffalo Bills: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
I have a hunch that they're comfortable enough with Ryan Fitzpatrick that they won't reach for a QB here. Taking the best pass-rusher in the draft is a safer pick anyway.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
I know a lot of mocks have them taking A.J. Green here, but they can still use some help in their secondary. With Big Ben and Joe Flacco in the division, it's not a bad idea.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Derek Anderson. John Skelton. Max Hall. Richard Bartel. All of these bums played substantially for the Cards last year. Not this time around.

6. Cleveland Browns: A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
The Browns desperately need a playmaker to take some pressure off Madden cover man-to-be Peyton Hillis. Green fits need and value here.

7. San Francisco 49ers: Robert Quinn, OLB, UNC
Quinn would immediately help a struggling pass rush. The Niners would love to see Peterson or Green fall here, but will have to settle for help on the front seven.

8. Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
I could see the Titans trading down if Gabbert and Newton are both gone, but if they stay, they'll start rebuilding their defense from the middle.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith, OT, U$C
Jerry Jones doesn't want to see Tony Romo breaking any more bones. Now that he's proven that he can add weight and stay nimble, Smith sneaks into the top 10.

10. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
When was the last time the Redskins had a truly impressive physical specimen at wideout?

11. Houston Texans: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
The Texans need help all over the defense, but my money is that they think there will be a better-quality pass-rushers available in the 2nd round rather than corners.

12. Minnesota Vikings: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
It's too high for one of the second-tier quarterbacks here. I'm guessing the Vikes trade up into the bottom of the first round for a QB (I'll come back to that) and try to protect that next investment with a very good tackle prospect.

13. Detroit Lions: Aldon Smith, OLB, Missouri
If Amukamara goes to Houston, the Lions will grab a solid OLB candidate. I wouldn't be surprised if picks 11 and 13 are reversed though.

14. St. Louis Rams: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
I'm confident Steve Spagnuolo will be drafting defense, and I'm thinking he'll start up the middle. He already has a solid ILB in James Laurinaitis, and Liuget will help solidify the unit against the run.

15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Ricky Williams is old and baked. Ronnie Brown's just not that effective any more (3.7 YPC in 2010). Enter some new blood into the mix.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
The Jaguars either make surprising picks in the first round (DT Tyson Alualu, WR Matt Jones) or draft busts (DE Derrick Harvey). My money is on the latter.

17. New England Patriots: J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
A 3-4 team with playmakers at linebacker and in the secondary? Watt couldn't ask for a better situation than sliding in at 5-technique in Belichick's defense.

18. San Diego Chargers: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Another solid 3-4 end fits need and value here.

19. New York Giants: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida
The Giants' line has disintegrated faster than Michael Strahan's acting career. They need help all over, and with Maurkice Pouncey's success last year, they'll take a chance that his brother is the same kind of talent.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
I waffled a lot on this pick. Tampa needs help on the front seven, and Clayborn is probably the best end still available here.

21. Kansas City Chiefs: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
The Chiefs are built around the running game. They'll get the best run-blocker in the draft in Carimi.

22. Indianapolis Colts: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor
This is purely a hunch. I could also see the Colts going for O-line help or even trading down.

23. Philadelphia Eagles: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Vick will need more time to throw this season if the Eagles are to be a contender. Solder would be a great pick here.

24. New Orleans Saints: Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue
Kerrigan is another high-motor pass-rusher who will help a Saints team that has several quality QBs to contend with in their division.

25. Seattle Seahawks: Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
I resisted the urge to put Jake Locker here. Instead, Dalton's a more accurate passer who makes better decisions, and I think Pete Carroll leans towards him.

26. Baltimore Ravens: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
Character issues will only let Smith fall so far, and the Ravens' secondary was pretty rough last year.

27. Atlanta Falcons: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
Did they ever lay a hand on Aaron Rodgers in the Divisonal round playoff game? Wilkerson can play all over the line, and I'm a little surprised I let him fall this far.

28. New England Patriots (maybe): Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Here's where somebody makes a move. Tennessee, Minnesota, or Washington will package something together to move into the 28 spot for a quarterback. Depending on the team, I could see this pick being Christian Ponder instead, but I say the Vikes pull off the trade and take Locker.

29. Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
I'll resist taking a shot at Jay Cutler's toughness and just say that he desperately needs help up front if he is to stay alive, let alone be an effective quarterback. I'd love to see Sherrod fall to the Packers, but I just don't see it happening.

30. New York Jets: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
The Jets' defensive line is old. Stephen Paea is not. It's a match made in heaven.

31. Pittsburgh Steelers: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
It's a need pick here. The Steelers have been okay running out there with shorter corners in the past, and Harris will help the secondary improve.

32. Green Bay Packers: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
Finally, we get to our Packers. If Sherrod were available, I'd take him. Since he's not, it's between Justin Houston and Akeem Ayers for a pass-rushing OLB. Houston is the better pass-rusher and is faster, but Ayers seems like he's a little bit more complete of a player. If the recent drug testing issues weren't there, I'd say Houston would be the pick, since he seems to me to be a slightly better fit for the Packers' system after playing 3-4 OLB in college. However, Ayers has better reports on his quickness and agility, and is thought to be a better defender against the run. While pass-rushing ability is a key factor in this pick, Ayers doesn't seem to lag that far behind Houston, and he's a more complete player without the recent drug testing concerns. Ayers gets my vote.

Feel free to critique and analyze my picks in the comments, and don't forget to tune in for the first round on Thursday night. Now, please excuse me while I wash out that last 5% of Kiper's hair gel.