The scenario I have laid out below does involve some trades and I know that Nix is generally not a guy that likes to trade down much but I have it laid out based on how the first two picks fall and under the assumption that CHIX are targeting a certain player in the 2nd round that would compel them to trade their #3 pick - plus the offer is just too sweet. Although my head says we'll stick at #3, my gut says there may be, just may be, enough things going on that Nix will consider trading out of that spot. So without further ado, here it is.
1. Carolina: QB Cam Newton
I almost slotted Marcel Dareus here but Carolina has no viable option at QB. They need help here big time and given how poorly Clausen played last year and with a new regime in town they will want to get "their guy" and Newton has been the most talked about player this off-season. He has all the physical tools, and I'm starting to buy that he has the mental makeup for the position. Had Andrew Luck declared, he probably would have been the pick but based on the lack of a consensus #1 this year and a lot of pressure to get a QB, Carolina bites the bullet and gets the guy they think will be throwing to Armanti Edwards for a long time (Steve Smith is basically gone)
2. Denver: OLB Von Miller
I know what you all are thinking - every mock draft has Denver picking Dareus so what gives? John Fox has never spent a first round pick on a DT. He's spent one on DE, and that was Julius Peppers - we can all agree he is a special talent. I'm not sure if he simply doesn't believe that position warrants a 1st round pick or if there really weren't many options at the slot they were picking, but I'm going to assume the former and say that they have Miller graded out higher than Dareus. On the other hand, Fox has taken 3 LBs in the first round during his tenure at Carolina (granted Thomas Davis was a safety coming out of college but he transitioned to OLB fairly quickly). So, just as he picked made pass-rusher his first pick in Carolina in hopes of turning around a 1-15 franchise, Fox picks the best pass-rusher in this year's draft and hopes for a similar turnaround in Denver.
3: Buffalo trades pick to Houston in return for #11, #73, #138 and a 1st rounder in 2012.
Houston picks CB, Patrick Peterson
Houston is in win-now mode. No free agency yet, so they don't know if they can go after Asomugha and they decide not to risk and and get their shutdown corner. They try trading with the Bengals, but they don't want to move out of way and risk losing AJ Green. Arizona is either hoping for Gabbert or Peterson so they don't want to move either. Buffalo, on the other hand, doesn't believe DT is a position that needs to be addressed this high and were really hoping Miller would still be available. Houston comes along with a great offer and possibly giving them enough ammo next year to go and get Andrew Luck if they still need him.
4: Cincinnati: WR AJ Green
5. Arizona: OLB Robert Quinn
AZ tries to trade out of this spot once Peterson is taken, but they don't get good enough offers. They don't get any that are good enough. They like Dareus but they have a bigger need at corner, OLB, and QB. They're not sold on Gabbert and it's too early to take any of the other QB's so they "settle" for Robert Quinn and hope that he can learn something from Joey Porter other than talking smack.
6. Cleveland: DT Marcell Dareus
Cleveland cannot turn their card in quick enough. They end up getting a top-2 player, possibly even the best player in this year's draft and Dick Jauron can spend the rest of his picks on DB's now without thinking twice.
7. San Francisco: QB Blaine Gabbert
Jim Harbaugh has his guy, a mobile QB who fits in well into the West Coast system. Harbaugh actually recruited him a few years ago but we all know that didn't end up coming to fruition. So with a fairly talented roster and in need of a QB, Harbaugh picks the signal caller and doesn't look back.
8. Tennessee trades pick to Philadelphia for QB Kevin Kolb and #85.
Philadelphia: CB Prince Amukamara
Andy Reid has been targeting this guy all along and Tennessee panics when the 49ers take Gabbert just ahead of them.
9. Dallas: OT Tyron Smith
They draft a young blindside protector for Tony Romo and consider it a steal at #9. Jerry Jones then gets on the horn with Dez Bryant and threatens to move back up and pick Julio Jones if he keeps up his antics.
10. Washington: WR Julio Jones
Washington tried to move up earlier but to no avail - they don't have enough ammo to pull it off. So they stay put and Mike Shanahan gets his physical, run-blocking, speedy WR.
11. Buffalo: DE Cam Jordan
Buffalo is able to move down and get an experienced 5-technique DE who can do it all. He's physical, very good with his hands, has an explosive first step, and a strong run defender. He has scheme versatility so he can stay in for the 4-3 looks as well. He'll likely start from Day 1 and be a solid contributor to our defense.
12. Minnesota: DT Nick Fairley
The Vikes strongly consider QB but they're simply not sold that Locker will be an effective passer. Fairley is incredible value at this spot so they take him and don't look back.
13. Detroit: CB Jimmy Smith
They believe he's the best player available at this point and despite the character concerns they love his talent and gamble on keeping him in check off the field.
14. St. Louis: DE Aldon Smith
They were hoping for Julio Jones to drop but since he's not there they take the best pass rusher available - Spags loves his pass-rushers and Aldon Smith is under rated.
15. Miami trades pick to Pittsburgh for #31, #63 and a 5th rounder if needed.
Pittsburgh takes G, Mike Pouncey
Coach Mike Tomlin has reportedly handed down an "edict" for the personnel department to make it happen if Pouncey "starts to slip" in the second-half of the first round. (per Rotoworld) Miami really doesn't like anyone it sees and decides to stockpile some picks for a possible trade-up into the latter half of the first round.
16. Jacksonville: OLB Akeem Ayers
Short of options at the position, Jacksonville makes a solid selection and gets a very productive and versatile linebacker.
17. New England: OLB Justin Houston
New England needs to upgrade its pass rush and they think long and hard about an OT or a DL here but ultimately get their pass rusher.
18. San Diego: DE JJ Watt
A very good 5-technique player, Watt essentially falls into the Chargers' lap and AJ Smith is happy that he does.
19. New York Giants: OT Anthony Costanzo
Eli got killed last year behind that O-line and Coughlin is reportedly in love with Costanzo (on the football field anyways).
20. Tampa Bay: DE Da'Quan Bowers
The Bucs need help in rushing the passer and take the best player available in that department. Bowers is talented but his injury risk costs him millions as he slides from a potential top-3 pick all the way down to 20.
21. Kansas City: OT Nate Solder
22. Indianapolis: OT Gabe Carimi
Polian regrets not picking Roger Saffold last year and it's evident that the O-line needs to be re-tooled to make a run at a few superbowls before Manning rides off into the sunset.
23. Philadelphia trades pick to Buffalo for #34 and #73
Buffalo takes QB Christian Ponder
I don't think all the Christian Ponder love is a smokescreen. I just don't see Chix playing this game. They love Ponder for his toughness, athletic ability, accuracy, and experience in a pro system. They think he's got plenty of arm strength and like the fact that he's a very coachable prospect. They consider Locker, but really cannot take a chance on a guy that inaccurate and reckless with his body. Mallet is out of question with his character concerns. They know that Seattle, Arizona, Minnesota, and possibly Washington and Miami are looking for QBs. So in typical Nix fashion they don't take the risk, use the extra ammo from the Houston trade and go up and get their guy. Philly was all set at corner after picking Amukamara earlier so they're glad to stockpile picks in the mid-rounds.
I'm not even going to attempt finishing this round right now. There's enough here to hopefully occupy our time until Thursday night. Maybe you all can continue the mock and predict what the rest of the first round teams will do. This is my first and last mock for this year - fire away!