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Newton going No. 1 sets different tone for latest mock

 

» Wyche mock drafts: Version 1.0


All it takes is a couple of weeks, a few pro days, some personal interviews, and further film review to adjust some of the thinking teams start doing as we get closer to the NFL draft. We're about a month out, so the confluence of misinformation is being dealt hard.

What is becoming more apparent is that the more people who make actual football decisions perform their due diligence on Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, the more he seems to be liked. As I've written before, people are now sorting through the character concerns and starting to pay more attention to the football player.

I've spoken with too many people who say they're not overly worried about Newton's persona and ability to lead, and that his potential to play well early and for a longtime is very enticing. With the momentum he's gained, Newton enters my top 10 in this mock draft after I previously had him slipping to Minnesota at No. 12.

In fact, I've got him going No. 1 overall to Carolina and, as a result, this mock looks quite different than my first -- especially because Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert slides out of the top spot.

Two developments this week could also affect things moving forward: North Carolina's pro day on Thursday and the feeling teams take away regarding defensive end Robert Quinn and, maybe more importantly, defensive end Da'Quan Bowers' private pro day on Friday at Clemson.

Bowers was once mentioned as a possible No. 1 overall pick, and if he has a strong pro day that he can follow up with strong private workouts and solid interviews, his stock could rise drastically. Most important for him is how he checks out on follow-up medical evaluations and how his arthroscopically repaired knee looks for the projected long haul.

  1. Pick No.
    1
    CAR
    CAM NEWTON
    QB
    Auburn
     
    Newton's film is starting to speak more than his character is, and folks like what they see. He still has some developing to do, but that's what coaching is for.
  2. Pick No.
    2
    DEN
    MARCELL DAREUS
    DT
    Alabama
     
    If Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers checks out medically, he could go here. Either way, Denver has to buff up its defensive line.
  3. Pick No.
    3
    BUF
    VON MILLER
    OLB
    Texas A&M
     
    Buffalo needs a defensive playmaker. Gabbert could get some consideration, but the Bills could get a QB in the second round or trade up from the second to get into the late first round.
  4. Pick No.
    4
    CIN
    DA'QUAN BOWERS
    DE
    Clemson
     
    They could move on Gabbert, WR A.J. Green or DT Nick Fairley, but if Bowers' medicals check out, Bowers gives them the edge defender up front they've been seeking.
  5. Pick No.
    5
    ARI
    BLAINE GABBERT
    QB
    Missouri
     
    If Gabbert falls this far, the Cardinals will find it hard to pass him up. They could cross their fingers that they can acquire a vet in a trade/free agency once football is up and running again and swipe LSU CB Patrick Peterson here.
  6. Pick No.
    6
    CLE
    A.J. GREEN
    WR
    Georgia
     
    As much as a defensive tackle is needed, there will still be some good ones on the board later in the draft. Playmakers like Green won't be. Note: If Gabbert or Newton slips this far, this could be the spot we see a trade.
  7. Pick No.
    7
    SF
    PATRICK PETERSON
    CB
    LSU
     
    He is too good to let slip past them -- unless Newton or Gabbert is still available.
  8. Pick No.
    8
    TEN
    NICK FAIRLEY
    DT
    AUBURN
     
    Fairley is reunited with his collegiate position coach, Tracy Rocker. All concerns about Fairley's work ethic could be absolved. The Titans will either be reminded of the good Albert Haynesworth -- or the inconsistent one.
  9. Pick No.
    9
    DAL
    J.J. WATT
    DE
    WISCONSIN
     
    The Cowboys got handled a lot up front last season, and Watt could give them an anchor end who can help free up the OLBs and take heat off NT Jay Ratliff.
  10. Pick No.
    10
    WAS
    ROBERT QUINN
    DE
    North Carolina
    They'll have to tweak the front a little bit, but Quinn has too much upside and versatility to bypass.
  11. Pick No.
    11
    HOU
    ALDON SMITH
    OLB
    Missouri
     
    The Texans need help on the back end, but generating pressure is more important. Smith can play on or off the line. His versatility would be huge for a re-shuffled LB corps.
  12. Pick No.
    12
    MIN
    CAMERON JORDAN
    DE
    California
     
    Former Vikings TE Steve Jordan's son is an ideal end on the left side. He is stout at the point of attack against the run, and he could steer more traffic Jared Allen's way.
  13. Pick No.
    13
    DET
    PRINCE AMUKAMARA
    CB
    Nebraska
     
    Coach Jim Schwartz has been searching for a tough cornerback who can cover and tackle, and would be thrilled to get his hands on the Fresh Prince.
  14. Pick No.
    14
    STL
    JULIO JONES
    WR
    Alabama
     
    This is a no-brainer. The Rams need playmakers on offense, and he's the best available. To boot, the Rams must upgrade at WR.
  15. Pick No.
    15
    MIA
    MARK INGRAM
    RB
    Alabama
     
    This pick is getting softer, and QB Ryan Mallett could be in play here. Ingram fits a need, but there will be plenty of RBs available later.
  16. Pick No.
    16
    JAC
    RYAN KERRIGAN
    DE
    Purdue
     
    Kerrigan is a workhorse-type pass rusher whose game is compared to Aaron Kampman, who would line up at the other end spot.
  17. Pick No.
    17
    NE
    ANTHONY CASTONZO
    OT
    Boston College
     
    USC's Tyron Smith, who is gaining momentum, could be the pick, but Castonzo begins the long-awaited run on OTs.
  18. Pick No.
    18
    SD
    TYRON SMITH
    OT
    USC
     
    The Chargers could use help on the defensive line, but most of the elite prospects are off the board. Smith can compete to get into the mix quickly.
  19. Pick No.
    19
    NYG
    MIKE POUNCEY
    C/G
    Florida
    Pouncey is versatile, and he adds talent, depth and toughness. New York has to address OL now, LB later.
  20. Pick No.
    20
    TB
    AKEEM AYERS
    OLB
    UCLA
     
    Tampa Bay has to get a pass rusher (Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn could be in play). The Bucs could go CB here with Ronde Barber's career winding down and Aqib Talib's off-field issues.
  21. Pick No.
    21
    KC
    PHIL TAYLOR
    NT
    Baylor
     
    The biggest mover in the draft, he's a prototype 3-4 nose tackle, which makes him very valuable, especially for a team that's getting talented quickly on defense.
  22. Pick No.
    22
    IND
    GABE CARIMI
    OT
    Wisconsin
    Adding this big, nasty grinder will help in the running game and add depth to a group that's starting to show some wear and tear.
  23. Pick No.
    23
    PHI
    COREY LIUGET
    DT
    Illinois
     
    Liuget is another player making gains on draft boards, and the Eagles need to fortify the defensive interior.
  24. Pick No.
    24
    NO
    DE
    Ohio State
     
    Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes players he can use in multiple positions. This anchor DE can also slide to DT if needed. High character guy as well.
  25. Pick No.
    25
    SEA
    RYAN MALLETT
    QB
    Arkansas
     
    Some teams are afraid of his personality, off-field past and leadership ability. That aside, Mallett can play. With the right support, he can mature on and off the field.
  26. Pick No.
    26
    BAL
    JIMMY SMITH
    CB
    Colorado
     
    Smith wouldn't be available this late if not for character concerns. The veteran leadership will keep this immensely talented player in line.
  27. Pick No.
    27
    ATL
    ADRIAN CLAYBORN
    DE
    Iowa
     
    If Atlanta feels he can play on the left side, he could really fill a need and rotate to the right when John Abraham needs to be spelled.
  28. Pick No.
    28
    NE
    MUHAMMAD WILKERSON
    DT
    Temple
     
    We would all be surprised if the Pats don't trade out of this but, Wilkerson is a talent who could bolster the rotation.
  29. Pick No.
    29
    CHI
    NATE SOLDER
    OT
    Colorado
     
    At 6-8, Solder is athletic and nasty and just what the Bears need up at LT or RT. He still needs to develop, but OL coach Mike Tice can speed up the process.
  30. Pick No.
    30
    NYJ
    JUSTIN HOUSTON
    OLB
    Georgia
     
    Houston is a gifted athlete who has benefitted by playing a season in a 3-4 scheme in college. He could stand out quickly with the coaching he'll get from this staff.
  31. Pick No.
    31
    PIT
    OT
    Mississippi State
    Sherrod has the size and potential, and he addresses a need for team looking to find help up front for the short and long term.
  32. Pick No.
    32
    GB
    BRANDON HARRIS
    CB
    Miami
     
    The Packers could go in a lot of directions here, but with Charles Woodson close to the end of his career, adding a talented, coachable CB could turn out to be prudent.

 

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