Cimini's first-round mock draft

April, 28, 2011
Get ready for the most unusual NFL Draft in history. If you need me to explain the reasons, you're in the wrong place. Here are my fearless predictions for the first round:

1. CAROLINA -- Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
My take: Not a huge fan, but the Panthers are desperate for a quarterback and need to sell tickets.

2. DENVER -- Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
My take: Boss Elway's reasoning: I'll pick the defensive player I'd least want to see if I were playing QB.

3. BUFFALO -- Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
My take: The Bills need to draft an entire defense, but Dareus will do for starters.

4. CINCINNATI -- A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
My take: Best player available and best way to send a message to disgruntled QB Carson Palmer: You're stuck with us.

5. ARIZONA -- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
My take: Let's face it, the Cards are going to trade for a QB, probably Kevin Kolb.

6. CLEVELAND -- Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
My take: Here's the Browns' philosophy: Let's take the guy we know Eric Mangini would never pick.

7. SAN FRANCISCO -- Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
My take: A lot of people have QB Blaine Gabbert going here, but Quinn is a difference maker.

8. TENNESSEE -- Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
My take: At last, the Titans achieve closure to the Vince Young era. Frankly, I think Gabbert is over-rated.

9. DALLAS -- Tyron Smith, OT, USC
My take: The run on offensive linemen starts here. The Cowboys get a good one.

10. WASHINGTON -- Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
My take: Coach Shanahan picks up Albert Haynesworth Lite. He hopes Fairley can keep his hands to himself.

11. HOUSTON -- Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
My take: Team's play-by-play announcer will dread this pick, but the Texans need defensive help for Coach Wade.

12. MINNESOTA -- Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
My take: Brett Favre makes this pick from the ranch in Mississippi -- via text, of course.

13. DETROIT -- Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
My take: The Lions hope to pick up Kramer, Jerry and Elaine in the later rounds.

14. ST. LOUIS -- Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
My take: Coach Spags scored last year with QB Sam Bradford; now he works on the defense.

15. MIAMI -- Mike Pouncey, C/G, Florida
My take: Attention Giants followers: Your team never had any intention of picking Pouncey. Lots of misguided speculation out there.

16. JACKSONVILLE -- Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
My take: Every mock draft seems to have Kerrigan here -- which, of course, makes you wonder.

17. NEW ENGLAND -- Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal
My take: The first of 43 draft picks for Bill (Rings) Belichick. Jordan is his kind of player.

18. SAN DIEGO -- J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
My take: The Turners also consider "Who?" and "I don't know," but settle for Watt.

19. NEW YORK GIANTS -- Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
My take: It's Carimi or OT Nate Solder, with RB Mark Ingram and Liuget (if available) in the mix.

20. TAMPA BAY -- Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
My take: Yeah, the knee is an issue, but the Raheems figure the upside is too high to take a pass.

21. KANSAS CITY -- Danny Watkins, T/G, Baylor
My take: A classic Scott Pioli pick -- not sexy, but he gets a tough, smart, hardcore football player.

22. INDIANAPOLIS -- Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
My take: This is Peyton Manning insurance. You have to protect the franchise's blind side.

23. PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
My take: Here comes trouble -- a train wreck waiting to happen, but Eagles are seduced by his talent.

24. NEW ORLEANS -- Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
My take: There's a groan in the Jets' war room. He would've been a nice fit in Rex Ryan's defense.

25. SEATTLE -- Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina
My take: This is risky. Austin hasn't played in a year and there are questions about his attitude.

26. BALTIMORE -- Muhammad Wilkerson, DE, Temple
My take: Wouldn't be surprised if the Ravens trade out of this spot. If they stay, it could be Wilkerson or DE Cam Heyward.

27. ATLANTA -- Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
My take: Clayborn is a top talent, but has slipped because of a nerve condition in his shoulder. Good value here.

28. NEW ENGLAND -- Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
My take: Great value for the Belichicks. Bad news for the Jets because they'll have a new running back to worry about.

29. CHICAGO -- Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pitt
My take: Baldwin is a Plaxico-type player --huge target with mad skills. But also comes with a diva attitude.

30. NEW YORK JETS -- Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
My take: If they don't trade down, the Jets settle for the best-available outside linebacker. Brooks Reed also a consideration.

31. PITTSBURGH -- Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
My take: The Steelers' secondary, still smarting from the Super Bowl, gets some much-needed help.

32. GREEN BAY -- Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
My take: DE Cullen Jenkins is a free agent. Heyward would step in nicely on an already stacked defense.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter



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