1.1 - Carolina Panthers - QB Cam Newton, Auburn. Had Newton been chosen later, not as franchise savior, but as a player to be patiently developed, he might have had a better shot at success. As it is, I'm calling this a bust in waiting. In a weak draft class, the Panthers would have been better served drafting AJ Green, and seeing if QB Jimmy Clausen might progress in year 2. Worst case scenario, that fails and you're drafting at the top of the Andrew Luck draft class. Who is Newton going to throw to? Steve Smith is the only weapon, he's 31, and often injured. Grade: FAIL.
1.2 - Denver Broncos - DE/OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M. Good player, wrong team. John Fox will return the Broncos to the 4-3, and will try to fit Miller at end; his best position is 3-4 OLB. The correct pick is Marcel Dareus. Grade boosted because I like Miller. Grade: C.
1.3 - Buffalo Bills - DT Marcel Dareus, Alabama. Bills are smart to stay above the feeding frenzy of mediocre QBs and pass on Gabbert. Instead, they bolster their DL with Dareus, who will likely be a DE in their emergent 3-4 lineup. Solid pick. Grade: A.
1.4 – Cincinnati Bengals – WR AJ Green, Georgia. The Bengals have seen a precipitous offensive decline, and the disenfranchisement of Carson Palmer. In one stroke they may have fixed both problems. Grade: A.
1.5 –Arizona Cardinals – CB Patrick Peterson, LSU. IMO, the best three players went 3, 4 and 5. Kudos to Whiz for also staying above the slop of over-rated QBs in the first round. Unlike Buffalo, Arizona doesn’t even have a stopgap QB, so they could easily have made a pick from desperation, but it appears Coach Whiz would like to stick around for the long haul. Now the Cards have Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Patrick Peterson in the secondary. Grade: A.
1.6 – Atlanta Falcons – WR Julio Jones, Alabama. I think Jones is a nice-looking prospect and all, but I think the Falcons are fucking high. Atlanta gives up the No. 27 pick, a 2nd- and a 4th this year, and a 1st and a 4th next year. What they should have done is draft Gonzo’s replacement at 1.27, TE Kyle Rudolph, and found a WR at the end of R2. Just my opinion. If you’re giving up a boatload of picks, you’d better be getting Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson… It’s a big gamble, and WTF happens if Julio gets hurt? Grade: FAIL.
1.7 – San Francisco 49ers – DE/OLB Aldon Smith, Missouri. Could be a good pass-rusher, and the 49ers do need a pass-rusher, but they could have gotten far better value at the top of R2 (Brooks Reed, Justin Houston, Akeem Ayers). As it is, they over-drafted Smith by about 10 spots, about 550 trade value points, or a high second round pick. Correct answer at this spot was Prince Amukamura. Grade: D.
1.8 – Tennessee Titans –QB Jake Locker, Washington. Again, if you take a QB a round or two higher than he should go, force him into the top-10 pressure cooker, you’re setting up failure in advance. Locker might have done better being drafted late R1 by, say, Seattle, or in successive rounds. The Flaming Thumbtacks appear to have shat the bed in the wake of Vince Young’s departure and Ol’ Drunko getting too old to git ‘er done. Grade: FAIL.
1.9 – Dallas Cowboys – OT Tyron Smith, USC. Back in the fall I wanted Smith to be the Steelers draft pick, but his physical skills pushed him far out of our reach. But is top-10 too high for him? He’s a developmental prospect who’s less polished than Costanzo and Carimi, and who had meniscus surgery. I think he should turn into a top LT, but it’s a bit of a gamble in the top 10, where you want everything to be a slam dunk. Grade: B.
1.10 – Jacksonville Jaguars – QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri. Two Missouri guys in the top 10? Hell, 3 QBs in the top 10? The Jaguars are the latest team to flinch, giving up their R1 and R2 picks to the Redskins for a guy who will bust, for the reasons specified in the Newton and Locker reviews. Unlike those players, the Jaguars may decide to have him sit behind David Garrard, but you know that’s going to be a pressure cooker, with Garrard getting grumpy. Grade: FAIL.
1.11 – Houston Texans – DE JJ Watt, Wisconsin. New DC Wade Phillips is bringing the 3-4 to Houston, and converting the existing DL personnel to that scheme will be a challenge. But Watts is a phenomenal 3-4 DE selection, and if they can figure out who will anchor the NT, the transition may click right away. Not everyone will be as enamored of this selection, but I really like Watt. Grade: A.
1.12 – Minnesota Vikings – QB Christian Ponder, Florida St. Seriously? It’s like a bed-shitting contest at this point. Grade: FAIL.
1.13 – Detroit Lions – DT Nick Fairley, Auburn. Detroit badly needs OL help to protect Stafford, and Fairley was a potential bust in my book as a one-year wonder. But by lining him up inside beside Ndamakong Suh, I think the bust factor goes down and Detroit could have an interior DL that becomes the new version of Minnesota’s Williams Sisters. OT will have to be their R2 pick. Grade: B+.
1.14 – St. Louis Rams – DE Robert Quinn, N. Carolina. Had Robert Quinn not been tripped up in Agentgate, I think he could have been a top-5 pick. As it is, there are questions about all the suspended players that a year’s worth of evals would have supplied. He should be a solid bookend to Chris Long, but Corey Liuget may have been a good DT for their middle. Grade: B-.
1.15 – Miami Dolphins – C/OG Mike Pouncey, Florida. It either had to be Pouncey or Ingram here. It speaks to the fungibility factor with RBs that Pouncey got the call. Should be a solid pick, like his brother. Grade: A.
1.16 – Washington Redskins – DE/OLB Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue. Good move getting the extra R2 pick, bad move selecting Ryan Kerrigan over Cameron Jordan for your new 3-4 scheme. It proves once again that the reason many 3-4 teams fail is that their front office staff has no idea how to draft 3-4 personnel. Grade: C.
1.17 – New England Patriots – OT Nate Solder, Colorado. The pick received in the Richard Seymour deal had Cameron Jordan written all over it. Or, they could have gotten a top OT like Castonzo or Carimi. Or they could have bolstered their secondary with the unbelievably as-yet undrafted Prince Amukamura. I hate to second guess the mighty Belichick, but Solder? I just don’t think he’s a R1 talent, and may never be. The Patriots can pile up all the damned picks they want if this is how they plan to use them. Grade: C-.
1.18 – San Diego Chargers – DT Corey Liuget, Illinois. The Chargers are planning to fit Liuget as a 3-4 DE, which is stupid with Cameron Jordan on the board. Liuget, who’s sort of Ziggy Hood Lite, would be far better served inside on a 40 front. Grade: C-.
1.19 – New York Giants – CB Prince Amukamura, Nebraska. The Giants just got the biggest gift of the draft, thanks in part to the idiots drafting QBs far too soon. The Giants badly needed CB help in a division with the Eagles and Cowgirls, and they couldn’t have asked for a better setup at 1.19. Grade: A+.
1.20 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – DT Adrian Clayborn, Iowa. The Bucs got their man, as they were reportedly locked in on Clayborn. Clayborn’s play fell off his senior year, but it looks like a good fit. Grade: B.
1.21 – Cleveland Browns – NT Phil Taylor, Baylor. Really, the Browns could have picked ESPN analyst and progeria poster boy John Clayton, and they still would have come out ahead in terms of value in the rape of Atlanta. Taylor is tailor-made as a 3-4 NT, but the Browns will use him to replace Shaun Rodgers. Taylor, lining up beside Ahtyba Rubin, should flourish. Some will question the value here, but I think the Browns made a solid choice. Grade: B+ for player; A+ for player plus trade value.
1.22 – Indianapolis Colts – OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College. Funny stuff from Peter King at SI: Polian father and son take 3.2 seconds to call in the name of Anthony Castonzo at number 22. Peyton Manning takes 1.6 seconds to call Castonzo and say, "Be at the facility at 7 in the morning. Time to go to work.'' (Kidding. Probably.) Perfect match of player to need and scheme, and a great value. Grade: A.
1.23 – Philadelphia Eagles – OG Danny Watkins, Baylor. Watkins is a solid, ready-to-play guy who will contribute right away. Unfortunately, he’ll be 27 this fall, meaning he’s one contract cycle behind most other rookies. That alone should mean that Watkins was a R2 value, so the Eagles basically spent a R1 pick on a free agent who’s never played an NFL down. Grade: D.
1.24 – New Orleans Saints – DE Jordan Cameron. Again, good player, wrong team. Jordan is a perfect fit for a 3-4 team, but he’ll be adequate as a 4-3 end. It’s unbelievable that he fell into the mid-20s, and it’s unbelievable that the Chargers or the Patriots didn’t wind up with him Grade: B-.
1.25 – Seattle Seahawks – OT James Carpenter, Alabama. Footage of the Seattle war room showed a bunch of guys sitting around, presumably trying to dial up a trade back, and Pete Carroll sitting splay-legged in a chair as time ticked away. When time expired, did they select potential LT Gabe Carimi? Did they select potential LT Derek Sherrod? No. The fuckheads took R2 RT-only Carpenter, basically losing the equivalent of a top-10 pick in R3 in value. Seriously, what the fuck was going on in their war room? They must all have been high. Grade: FAIL.
1.26 – Kansas City Chiefs – WR Jon Baldwin, Pittsburgh. Chiefs traded back from 1.21, where they could have gotten a true 3-4 NT in Phil Taylor, to add a WR weapon next to Dwayne Bowe for Todd Haley’s offense. Seriously, the other WRs were Dexter McCluster (OK in his role), Chris Chambers (Geritol), Terence Copper (yawn), and worse. Seriously. Baldwin has the talent to be selected here and should a serious weapon to the offense.. I would have probably taken Taylor, but this is a nice skill position player and a good fit, and the Chiefs got an extra R3 pick. Grade: A.
1.27 – Baltimore Ravens – CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado. The knock on Smith was character, not talent. A perfect fit, although I did get sick of the talking heads saying how Ray Lewis and the boys would keep Smith on the straight and narrow. What’s Uncle Stabby going to do? “Look, kid, don’t do drugs or get shot in the off-season. I once helped cover up a stabbing of some guys and paid dudes off, but I learned from my mistakes and I have a really gay bird dance I do as the spiritual leader of this team. I’ll hire guys to follow you, and if you do dope, I’ll have them stab you to death, and I’ll do my gay spiritual dance on your grave.” Grade: A.
1.28 – New Orleans Saints – RB Mark Ingram. Saints cough up their 2012 R1 pick to the Patriots, who need more top picks. Great value for the Saints (who may release Reggie Kardashian), but why didn’t they simply select Ingram at 1.24 and find DE help in R2? A deep DL draft for 4-3 teams would have ensured some quality there. The tradeoff is a next year R1 versus the falloff from Jordan to a R2 4-3 DE, and I’m not sold on Jordan in the 4-3. Great player, poor trade value. Grade: C-.
1.29 – Chicago Bears – OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin. Bears are another team that got lucky this year. They should send those dumbasses in Seattle a gift basket with methadone in it. Carimi is a great fit here, at a position the Bears needed to fill. Grade: A.
1.30 – New York Jets – DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple. The Jets were in love with Wilkerson, who could be a great value for them here. Wilkerson’s played in a collegiate 3-4, and looks like a fit with the Jets. Arguably Wilkerson and Heyward were the best two values remaining on the board, so it just depends on how your team has them ranked; I would have given a slight edge to Heyward, but the Jets did fine. Grade: A.
1.31 – Pittsburgh Steelers – DE Cameron Heyward. For a while it looked like the Steelers might get one of the top OTs in the push-down, but given the choice between Heyward and OT Derek Sherrod, the Steelers did what they always do: they were patient, did not reach for need, and took the guy they ranked highest on their board. Heyward looks like a great fit, and with Hood we have the foundation of a DL for the future. In fact, I think Heyward was born to be a Steeler. He was my morning line prediction for the Steelers on draft day, and I don’t think anyone should be disappointed in the selection. The OT quality will thin out a great deal, but so will DE. Grade: A.
1.32 – Green Bay Packers – OT Derek Sherrod, Miss. St. The Packers took Bryan Bulaga last year but still needed to bolster their OL a bit, and now have two OTs who could possibly compete at LT. The Packers have few serious holes in their roster, and got a solid value by being patient, like the Jets and Steelers. Grade: A.