Earlier this week, all four contributors to the blog posted their individual "picks" for how they see the first round of tonight's NFL draft unfolding. Today's piece will be a little bit different in that it's the "official" mock draft of Foxboro Blog and a combined effort from the four of us. We each took turns making picks round-robing-style and came up with the mock draft below. Stephen's picks will be in blue, Rick's in Red, Jason's in Green, and Derek's in Orange. It's an interesting look at how tonight's draft may play out, and, after viewing the results, I think Patriots fans could be pretty happy if that's the case.
1. Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
New regime has no ties to Jimmy Clausen, who flopped in his first year as a starter. Newton has the biggest upside of any player in the draft.
2. Denver Broncos - Marcel Dareus - DT, Alabama
Under new coach John Fox, this team has to address defense first, especially against the run. Denver was 31st against the run last season, and Dareus is a run stopper that can fit right in on the defensive line. Also, he knows how to get after the quarterback, so he can be used in versatile ways. One of the best defensive players, if not the best in this draft.
3. Buffalo Bills -- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
The Bills would probably love to shore up their run defense with this pick, but Peterson is the best player available by a wide margin. He would fill a need (Drayton Florence is a free agent), and Peterson has the raw physical tools and ball skills to someday rival the likes of Revis and Asomugha.
4. Cincinnati Bengals - Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri
With Carson Palmer continuing his refusal to play another game for the Bengals, Cincinnati drafts theist NFL-ready quarterback in the draft.
5. Arizona Cardinals - Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
Arizona would do cartwheels if Miller is still on the board. He's an explosive, elite athlete who will step in and be a double-digit sack artist in the Cardinals' 3-4 system.
6. Cleveland Browns - A.J Green, WR, Georgia
Colt McCoy is in need of a huge vertical weapon downfield. Green makes big plays and has maybe the best hands in this draft. Plus, he can make a direct impact right away as we saw at Georgia where the team struggled on offense until his return from a suspension in the tough SEC.
7. San Francisco 49ers - Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
The 49ers have a well-documented need at quarterback, but I'm not sure they're sold on anyone in this draft class except Gabbert. Quinn would give the San Fran defense an elite pass-rushing defensive end capable of taking some of the pressure off the secondary. If not for his medical concerns, he could have gone in the Top 3.
8. Tennessee Titans - Nick Fairely, DT, Auburn
With no reasonable QB available at #8, the Titans go defense. They benefit by picking up Fairely who is a steal at this spot. Were it not for his character concerns, it's possible that he could have been the top pick.