Scout.com Mock Draft: Newton to No. 1

QB Cam Newton (US Presswire)

In this latest installment of Scout.com's mock NFL Draft, Cam Newton takes over for Jimmy Clausen, Da'Quan Bowers falls in Minnesota's lap and Mark Ingram gives New Orleans some more muscle.

Round 1
1
Carolina Panthers
Player: Cam Newton
Height: 6-5
Weight: 248
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
College: Auburn
Class: 2011 JR
Position: QB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 10
Pos Rank: 1

Head Coach: Ron Rivera

2010 Record: 2-14

What They Have: DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart make up one of the best running back tandems around, Charles Johnson can rush the passer and Jon Beason is a tremendous middle linebacker.

What They Need: More help along the defensive line, a play-making wide receiver to possibly replace Steve Smith and a quarterback of the future, since it doesn't appear to be Jimmy Clausen.

Another Possibility: Alabama DT Marcell Dareus

Never Considered: Texas A&M OLB Von Miller

ANALYSIS: There is no reason to believe Clausen is the quarterback of the future in Carolina, and while Newton is a risky No. 1, his upside is too high to ignore.

Round 1
2
Denver Broncos
Player: Von Miller
Height: 6-3
Weight: 246
Hometown: Desoto, TX
College: Texas A&M
Class: 2011 SR
Position: OLB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 3
Pos Rank: 1

Head Coach: John Fox

2010 Record: 4-12

What They Have: Ryan Clady is a franchise-type left tackle, no matter if he is protecting veteran Kyle Orton or youngster Tim Tebow, Knowshon Moreno has proven to be productive when healthy and Champ Bailey re-signed.

What They Need: All kinds of help along the defensive line, speed at both inside and outside linebacker, especially since Robert Ayers looks to be a bust, and a play-making safety to replace Brian Dawkins, who is 37.

Another Possibility: LSU CB Patrick Peterson

Never Considered: Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert

ANALYSIS: The Broncos were ranked dead last in the league last year in defense, so Miller can come in right away and help the front seven get after the passer.

Round 1
3
Buffalo Bills
Height: 6-3
Weight: 319
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
College: Alabama
Class: 2011 JR
Position: DT
Rating:
Overall Rank: 2
Pos Rank: 1

Head Coach: Chan Gailey

2010 Record: 4-12

What They Have: Running back is set with the combination of Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, Steve Johnson emerged as a go-to option at receiver and Kyle Williams might be the best defensive lineman you've never heard of before.

What They Need: Pass-rushing help at defensive end and outside linebacker is a must, a tight end to throw to would be a quality addition and another quarterback of the future has to be considered, even if Ryan Fitzpatrick still starts in 2011.

Another Possibility: North Carolina DE Robert Quinn

Never Considered: Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara

ANALYSIS: Dareus might be listed as a D-tackle, but he actually played D-end in Nick Saban's version of the 3-4 and could be dynamite next to Williams.

Round 1
4
Cincinnati Bengals
Height: 6-0
Weight: 219
Hometown: Pompano Beach, FL
College: LSU
Class: 2011 JR
Position: CB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 1
Pos Rank: 1

Head Coach: Marvin Lewis

2010 Record: 4-12

What They Have: It wasn't that long ago when Carson Palmer was an elite QB, Cedric Benson is coming off back-to-back years of 1,100 yards and change on the ground and Johnathan Joseph is a great corner -- if he returns, of course.

What They Need: A receiver to replace the production provided by the soon-to-be-departed Terrell Owens, better pass rushers inside at tackle and outside at end and an injection of youth at both of the safety positions.

Another Possibility: Georgia WR A.J. Green

Never Considered: Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt

ANALYSIS: While this isn't a need pick, especially if Joseph returns as a restricted free agent, every secondary will be much improved by adding Peterson.

Round 1
5
Arizona Cardinals
Player: Robert Quinn
Height: 6-4
Weight: 265
Hometown: North Charleston, SC
Class: 2011 JR
Position: DE
Rating:
Overall Rank: 6
Pos Rank: 2

Head Coach: Ken Whisenhunt

2010 Record: 5-11

What They Have: One of the few game-changing receivers in the league in Larry Fitzgerald, a difference maker along the defensive line in Darnell Dockett and an interception waiting to happen in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

What They Need: A legitimate quarterback that can get the football consistently downfield to Fitzgerald, better blocking at every position available on the offensive line and an outside linebacker capable of putting pressure on the passer.

Another Possibility: Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt

Never Considered: Auburn DT Nick Fairley

ANALYSIS: If Quinn can indeed be a stand-up outside linebacker in a 3-4 system, he should be a terror off the edge for an Arizona squad that needs a pass rush.

Round 1
6
Cleveland Browns
Player: Nick Fairley
Height: 6-4
Weight: 291
Hometown: Mobile, AL
College: Auburn
Class: 2011 JR
Position: DT
Rating:
Overall Rank: 4
Pos Rank: 2

Head Coach: Pat Shurmur

2010 Record: 5-11

What They Have: An offensive line led by a pair of Pro Bowlers in left tackle Joe Thomas and center Alex Mack, a bruising ball carrier in Peyton Hillis to pound it up the middle and a budding star at corner in Joe Haden.

What They Need: A No. 1 receiver to make some plays for young quarterback Colt McCoy, defensive line help inside and outside to smooth the transition from the 3-4 to the 4-3 and a pure right tackle opposite Thomas.

Another Possibility: Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara

Never Considered: California DE Cameron Jordan

ANALYSIS: Plugging Fairley in at three-technique tackle is a sound decision for a Cleveland team making a move from the 3-4 back to a more conventional 4-3.

Round 1
7
San Francisco 49ers
Height: 6-0
Weight: 206
Hometown: Glendale, AZ
College: Nebraska
Class: 2011 SR
Position: CB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 7
Pos Rank: 2

Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh

2010 Record: 6-10

What They Have: The offensive line is loaded with first- and second-round picks of recent vintage, Frank Gore is productive year after year despite little help at the skill positions and Patrick Willis is a special middle linebacker.

What They Need: The failure of former No. 1-overall selection Alex Smith can no longer be ignored, better players at outside linebacker would remove some of the burden from Willis and Nate Clements isn't worth all that money at corner.

Another Possibility: Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert

Never Considered: Georgia WR A.J. Green

ANALYSIS: Amukamara should be able to assist a San Francisco defensive backfield that gave up too many field-flipping plays in the passing game last season.

Round 1
8
Tennessee Titans
Height: 6-4
Weight: 234
Hometown: Ballwin, MO
College: Missouri
Class: 2011 JR
Position: QB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 11
Pos Rank: 2

Head Coach: Mike Munchak

2010 Record: 6-10

What They Have: Chris Johnson is one of the few 2,000-yard rushers in league history, Kenny Britt has a world of upside catching passes down the field and Jason Babin was among the NFL's leading sackers last year with 13.

What They Need: Quarterback is a big question mark since both Vince Young and Kerry Collins could be out the door, better play at D-tackle and D-end to help Babin is necessary and linebacker is also a weakness defensively.

Another Possibility: California DE Cameron Jordan

Never Considered: Alabama WR Julio Jones

ANALYSIS: Getting Gabbert is the best way to finally move on from the Young-Jeff Fisher era, even if it means having to release Young instead of trading him.

Round 1
9
Dallas Cowboys
Player: J.J. Watt
Height: 6-5
Weight: 290
Hometown: Pewaukee, WI
College: Wisconsin
Class: 2011 JR
Position: DE
Rating:
Overall Rank: 8
Pos Rank: 1

Head Coach: Jason Garrett

2010 Record: 6-10

What They Have: Tony Romo remains a fantasy-friendly numbers machine at the game's most important position, Dez Bryant is a star on the rise as both a receiver and a returner and DeMarcus Ware is a terror off the edge.

What They Need: Better offensive line play at both guard and tackle, corners and safeties that can slow the opposition down in the passing game and maybe another five-technique defensive end for depth.

Another Possibility: USC OT Tyron Smith

Never Considered: Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers

ANALYSIS: One of the hottest names on the board leading up to the draft, Watt should be a dynamo playing five-technique end for a D that needs bodies there.

Round 1
10
Washington Redskins
Player: A.J. Green
Height: 6-4
Weight: 211
Hometown: Summerville, SC
College: Georgia
Class: 2011 JR
Position: WR
Rating:
Overall Rank: 5
Pos Rank: 1

Head Coach: Mike Shanahan

2010 Record: 6-10

What They Have: What they hope is a left tackle for the next decade in Trent Williams, a scary pass rusher off the edge in Brian Orakpo and a Pro Bowl corner in DeAngelo Hall -- provided Jay Cutler is throwing the ball.

What They Need: A new quarterback to be excited about after the one-season disaster with Donovan McNabb, a nose tackle to anchor Jim Haslett's 3-4 scheme and a lot of help on special teams, which were downright despicable in 2010.

Another Possibility: Washington QB Jake Locker

Never Considered: Missouri DE Aldon Smith

ANALYSIS: This is about as low as you'll see Green going in any mock draft, but the Redskins will happily oblige and add him to what was a weak receiving corps.

Round 1
11
Houston Texans
Height: 6-4
Weight: 287
Hometown: Chandler, AZ
College: California
Class: 2011 SR
Position: DE
Rating:
Overall Rank: 13
Pos Rank: 4

Head Coach: Gary Kubiak

2010 Record: 6-10

What They Have: A terrific passing game with Matt Schaub throwing and Andre Johnson catching, a running back in Arian Foster that made everyone forget about Steve Slaton and a dominant defensive end in Mario Williams.

What They Need: Both corners and safeties to bolster a secondary that allowed 33 touchdown passes, another outside linebacker to rush the passer in their new 3-4 approach and a zero-technique tackle to line up over the enemy center.

Another Possibility: Alabama WR Julio Jones

Never Considered: Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan

ANALYSIS: Jordan can be effective in the 4-3 or the 3-4, so for a Houston defense switching from one scheme to the other, his versatility is attractive in Round 1.

Round 1
12
Minnesota Vikings
Height: 6-3
Weight: 280
Hometown: Bamberg, SC
College: Clemson
Class: 2011 JR
Position: DE
Rating:
Overall Rank: 14
Pos Rank: 5

Head Coach: Leslie Frazier

2010 Record: 6-10

What They Have: Probably the best pure running back in the league in Adrian Peterson, a playmaker in the slot when Percy Harvin isn't battling migraines and a productive defensive line led by sack artist Jared Allen.

What They Need: A promising young arm to potentially stop the revolving door of veterans, corners and safeties to augment what was a banged-up secondary a season ago and a receiver to replace Sidney Rice if he departs in free agency.

Another Possibility: Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett

Never Considered: Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

ANALYSIS: In the mix for No. 1 overall not too long ago, injury issues push Bowers down to 12th, but he's too talented for the Vikings to ignore at this spot.

Round 1
13
Detroit Lions
Player: Julio Jones
Height: 6-3
Weight: 220
Hometown: Foley, AL
College: Alabama
Class: 2011 JR
Position: WR
Rating:
Overall Rank: 9
Pos Rank: 2

Head Coach: Jim Schwartz

2010 Record: 6-10

What They Have: A quarterback in Matthew Stafford that everyone loves when he's actually on the field, a cornerback's worst nightmare in Calvin Johnson on the outside and the NFL's defensive rookie of the year: Ndamukong Suh.

What They Need: Some outside linebackers to slow down the merry-go-round at those two positions, at least one corner to help a pass defense that has been below par for years and more offensive linemen to protect Stafford in the pocket.

Another Possibility: Colorado CB Jimmy Smith

Never Considered: Alabama RB Mark Ingram

ANALYSIS: Detroit has taken so many receivers early over the years, but that does not change the fact that Johnson needs a partner -- Jones can be that guy.

Round 1
14
St. Louis Rams
Player: Aldon Smith
Height: 6-4
Weight: 263
Hometown: Raytown, MO
College: Missouri
Class: 2011 JR
Position: DE
Rating:
Overall Rank: 18
Pos Rank: 3

Head Coach: Steve Spagnuolo

2010 Record: 7-9

What They Have: A home run in 2010 No. 1-overall pick Sam Bradford running the offense, one of the league's few remaining workhorse backs in Steven Jackson and an unquestioned leading tackler in James Laurinaitis.

What They Need: A primary target down the field to take advantage of Bradford's talent in the passing game, a safety to replace the departed Oshiomogho Atogwe and a weak-side linebacker that can run sideline to sideline.

Another Possibility: Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan

Never Considered: USC OT Tyron Smith

ANALYSIS: When in doubt, take a defensive lineman since there are so many good ones this year, plus Smith is a Missouri native with tons of natural ability.

Round 1
15
Miami Dolphins
Player: Jake Locker
Height: 6-3
Weight: 231
Hometown: Ferndale, WA
College: Washington
Class: 2011 SR
Position: QB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 21
Pos Rank: 3

Head Coach: Tony Sparano

2010 Record: 7-9

What They Have: An offensive line that is always going to be a strength when Jake Long lines up at left tackle, a receiving corps with a true alpha dog in Brandon Marshall and an out-of-nowhere phenom pass rusher in Cameron Wake.

What They Need: Another quarterback of the future since everyone soured on Chad Henne so quickly, a ball carrier to breathe new life into what used to be a great running game and another pass catcher to make Marshall's life easier.

Another Possibility: Alabama RB Mark Ingram

Never Considered: UCLA OLB Akeem Ayers

ANALYSIS: Since the Dolphins have failed time and time again taking QBs in the second round, selecting Locker officially closes the book on Henne before long.

Round 1
16
Jacksonville Jaguars
Height: 6-4
Weight: 267
Hometown: Muncie, IN
College: Purdue
Class: 2011 SR
Position: DE
Rating:
Overall Rank: 19
Pos Rank: 6

Head Coach: Jack Del Rio

2010 Record: 8-8

What They Have: A do-it-all running back in Maurice Jones-Drew that has a nose for the end zone, young talent at offensive tackle that should only be improved and an outside linebacker in Daryl Smith that led the team in stops.

What They Need: A quarterback that can finally put an end to the roller-coaster ride referred to as the David Garrard Era, someone that can actually get after the passer consistently and a safety capable of taking away the big play.

Another Possibility: Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

Never Considered: Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi

ANALYSIS: Kerrigan has made it known he can play outside linebacker in a 3-4, but he's used to being a 4-3 D-end and goes to a Jaguars team that needs one.

Round 1
17*
New England Patriots
Player: Tyron Smith
Height: 6-5
Weight: 307
Hometown: Moreno Valley, CA
College: USC
Class: 2011 JR
Position: OT
Rating:
Overall Rank: 12
Pos Rank: 1

Head Coach: Bill Belichick

2010 Record: 14-2

What They Have: Tom Brady is the first unanimous MVP in league history, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were both tremendous rookies at tight end and Vince Wilfork is an immovable object at nose tackle.

What They Need: A pass-rushing outside linebacker that has been missing for quite a while, offensive linemen at any and all positions provided they are versatile and a running back that can lend more support to Brady and Co.

Another Possibility: Florida C Mike Pouncey

Never Considered: Colorado CB Jimmy Smith

ANALYSIS: The Patriots need some more offensive linemen, and since Smith is the best one available, he could eventually take over for Matt Light at left tackle.

Round 1
18
San Diego Chargers
Height: 6-3
Weight: 281
Hometown: Webster Groves, MO
College: Iowa
Class: 2011 SR
Position: DE
Rating:
Overall Rank: 24
Pos Rank: 7

Head Coach: Norv Turner

2010 Record: 9-7

What They Have: Philip Rivers is a cold-blooded killer at quarterback no matter who he's throwing to, Antonio Gates is one of his generation's most uncoverable pass-catching weapons and Shaun Phillips is a handful off the edge.

What They Need: More linebackers, both inside and outside, so Phillips doesn't have to do it all himself, a five-technique defensive end that can hold the point of attack and a right tackle to mirror Marcus McNeill on the other side.

Another Possibility: UCLA OLB Akeem Ayers

Never Considered: Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo

ANALYSIS: Clayborn has seen his stock nosedive the last week or two, but the Chargers take him off the board because they need front-seven defenders.

Round 1
19
New York Giants
Player: Gabe Carimi
Height: 7-7
Weight: 314
Hometown: Monona, WI
College: Wisconsin
Class: 2011 SR
Position: OT
Rating:
Overall Rank: 15
Pos Rank: 3

Head Coach: Tom Coughlin

2010 Record: 10-6

What They Have: Eli Manning has a plethora of skill-position talent at his disposal, both in the backfield and in the receiving corps, sacking the enemy quarterback continues to be a team strength and there is depth at safety.

What They Need: A talented linebacker can probably be an immediate starter at any of the three positions, corner is a concern due to injury and ineffectiveness and another offensive tackle wouldn't be a bad idea.

Another Possibility: Illinois DT Corey Liuget

Never Considered: Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward

ANALYSIS: While Manning has put up big passing numbers recently, Carimi can help the Giants get back to being a power running team like Coughlin prefers.

Round 1
20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Player: Akeem Ayers
Height: 6-3
Weight: 254
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
College: UCLA
Class: 2011 JR
Position: OLB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 25
Pos Rank: 3

Head Coach: Raheem Morris

2010 Record: 10-6

What They Have: A sensational young quarterback in Josh Freeman that is still somewhat anonymous across the country, a serious red zone threat in receiver Mike Williams and a promising D-tackle in Gerald McCoy, last year's No. 1.

What They Need: A pair of defensive ends that can make it easier on McCoy inside, a middle linebacker ready to step in and start assuming Barrett Ruud leaves via free agency and offensive linemen at every position.

Another Possibility: Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo

Never Considered: Illinois DT Corey Liuget

ANALYSIS: With most of the elite pass rushers already gone, Tampa Bay is hoping Ayers can play right away for what looks like a depleted set of linebackers.

Round 1
21
Kansas City Chiefs
Player: Mike Pouncey
Height: 6-5
Weight: 303
Hometown: Lakeland, FL
College: Florida
Class: 2011 SR
Position: C
Rating:
Overall Rank: 29
Pos Rank: 1

Head Coach: Todd Haley

2010 Record: 10-6

What They Have: Running back Jamaal Charles has a chance to go the distance every time he gets his paws on the football, Dwayne Bowe rebounded to have a productive year as a pass catcher and Tamba Hali had 15 sacks.

What They Need: Yet another big body in the trenches to help top-5 picks Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, Bowe could use a new partner in crime to augment the passing game and depth at offensive tackle would be a wise move.

Another Possibility: Georgia OLB Justin Houston

Never Considered: Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson

ANALYSIS: Casey Wiegmann is over the hill and needs to be replaced, and even if he goes one more year, Pouncey can bide his time at guard for a while.

Round 1
22
Indianapolis Colts
Height: 7-7
Weight: 311
Hometown: Fork Union, VA
Class: 2011 SR
Position: OT
Rating:
Overall Rank: 20
Pos Rank: 2

Head Coach: Jim Caldwell

2010 Record: 10-6

What They Have: Peyton Manning is a quarterback and an offensive coordinator rolled into one, Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme should be a dynamite combo at tight end and pass rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are still terrific.

What They Need: An offensive tackle can give Manning more time and hopefully open more holes for an unproductive run game, another receiver following injuries to Anthony Gonzalez and Austin Collie and more DBs would be welcome.

Another Possibility: Temple DT Muhammad Wilkerson

Never Considered: UCLA S Rahim Moore

ANALYSIS: Imagine how much damage Manning could do if he didn't have to get rid of the ball so quickly, plus Castonzo can help get the ground game going.

Round 1
23
Philadelphia Eagles
Player: Jimmy Smith
Height: 6-2
Weight: 211
Hometown: Colton, CA
College: Colorado
Class: 2011 SR
Position: CB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 16
Pos Rank: 3

Head Coach: Andy Reid

2010 Record: 10-6

What They Have: Michael Vick is again the NFL's most dangerous dual threat with his ability to throw and run, receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin have speed to burn and cornerback Asante Samuel has magnets for hands.

What They Need: Samuel must get some help in the secondary, both at corner and safety, more pass rushers are always necessary in such an aggressive scheme and offensive tackle could use an influx of talent.

Another Possibility: Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod

Never Considered: Georgia OLB Justin Houston

ANALYSIS: There are concerns about Smith's character, no question about it, but he's by far the top cornerback in the draft not named Peterson or Amukamara.

Round 1
24
New Orleans Saints
Player: Mark Ingram
Height: 6-9
Weight: 215
Hometown: Flint, MI
College: Alabama
Class: 2011 JR
Position: RB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 17
Pos Rank: 1

Head Coach: Sean Payton

2010 Record: 11-5

What They Have: A surgeon of a quarterback in Drew Brees that spreads the ball around beautifully, a receiving corps that seems to feature a new flavor of the week every Sunday and a leader at linebacker in Jonathan Vilma.

What They Need: The defensive line requires more bodies at both tackle and end, an outside linebacker to flank Vilma can contribute right away and it may be time to settle on a running back that can do it all and stay on the field.

Another Possibility: Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward

Never Considered: Mississippi State OT Derek Sherrod

ANALYSIS: While Ingram's workouts aren't going swimmingly, his ability between the tackles seems like a good complement to Reggie Bush's satellite skills.

Round 1
25
Seattle Seahawks
Player: Ryan Mallett
Height: 7-7
Weight: 253
Hometown: Texarkana, TX
College: Arkansas
Class: 2011 JR
Position: QB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 32
Pos Rank: 4

Head Coach: Pete Carroll

2010 Record: 7-9

What They Have: The franchise traded for Marshawn Lynch last year and believes he's a difference maker, Russell Okung showed a lot of promise at left tackle as a rookie and fellow first-year pro Earl Thomas looked special at safety.

What They Need: Matt Hasselbeck played quite well in the postseason but can't be the quarterback forever, an interior offensive linemen can help Okung be at his best on the blind side and cornerback is a genuine concern.

Another Possibility: Oregon State DT Stephen Paea

Never Considered: Colorado OT Nate Solder

ANALYSIS: If Seattle can squeeze just one more productive year out of Hasselbeck, then Mallett can grow up a bit and be named the starter come 2012.

Round 1
26
Baltimore Ravens
Height: 6-5
Weight: 321
Hometown: Caledonia, MS
Class: 2011 SR
Position: OT
Rating:
Overall Rank: 22
Pos Rank: 5

Head Coach: John Harbaugh

2010 Record: 12-4

What They Have: Nobody told Joe Flacco that young quarterbacks don't win playoff games on the road, Ray Rice is nothing short of dynamic both rushing and receiving and Ed Reed has a nose for the football like few others.

What They Need: Another outside linebacker to take some pressure off Terrell Suggs, a true left tackle so Michael Oher can go back to what is a better spot for him on the right side and a receiving threat with serious speed.

Another Possibility: Texas CB Aaron Williams

Never Considered: Baylor DT Phil Taylor

ANALYSIS: Making this pick potentially strengthens the Ravens at two positions, with Sherrod starting at left tackle and Oher then switching to right tackle.

Round 1
27
Atlanta Falcons
Height: 6-5
Weight: 294
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
College: Ohio State
Class: 2011 SR
Position: DE
Rating:
Overall Rank: 27
Pos Rank: 8

Head Coach: Mike Smith

2010 Record: 13-3

What They Have: Matt Ryan throwing to Roddy White is a beautiful thing to watch in the passing game, Michael Turner is one of the toughest tailbacks in the league to tackle and John Abraham must be accounted for as a pass rusher.

What They Need: Defense, defense and more defense, including another D-end opposite Abraham to pull the plug on the Jamaal Anderson experiment, outside linebackers to support Curtis Lofton and a corner that can cover.

Another Possibility: Colorado OT Nate Solder

Never Considered: Maryland WR Torrey Smith

ANALYSIS: Atlanta needs defenders in the worst way at most every position, so Heyward is probably the best one available at this spot to help immediately.

Round 1
28
New England Patriots
Height: 6-3
Weight: 270
Hometown: Statesboro, GA
College: Georgia
Class: 2011 JR
Position: OLB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 28
Pos Rank: 2

Head Coach: Bill Belichick

2010 Record: 14-2

What They Have: Tom Brady is the first unanimous MVP in league history, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were both tremendous rookies at tight end and Vince Wilfork is an immovable object at nose tackle.

What They Need: A pass-rushing outside linebacker that has been missing for quite a while, offensive linemen at any and all positions provided they are versatile and a running back that can lend more support to Brady and Co.

Another Possibility: Maryland WR Torrey Smith

Never Considered: Miami CB Brandon Harris

ANALYSIS: Houston went from a defensive end to a pass-rushing outside linebacker last year for the Bulldogs, which makes him an ideal fit for New England.

Round 1
29
Chicago Bears
Player: Nate Solder
Height: 7-8
Weight: 319
Hometown: Buena Vista, CO
College: Colorado
Class: 2011 SR
Position: OT
Rating:
Overall Rank: 31
Pos Rank: 4

Head Coach: Lovie Smith

2010 Record: 11-5

What They Have: Jay Cutler can spin the football as well as any quarterback in the league, Julius Peppers proved to be worth all that money at defensive end and the linebacking duo of Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs is scary.

What They Need: Any offensive linemen that can help keep Cutler upright in the pocket on passing plays, a penetrating defensive tackle since Tommie Harris is now history and a corner that can both cover receivers and support the run.

Another Possibility: Baylor OG Danny Watkins

Never Considered: Illinois MLB Martez Wilson

ANALYSIS: Solder's size can not be ignored by the Bears, who must do everything possible to fix what was the worst offensive line in football this past year.

Round 1
30
New York Jets
Player: Corey Liuget
Height: 6-2
Weight: 298
Hometown: Miami, FL
College: Illinois
Class: 2011 JR
Position: DT
Rating:
Overall Rank: 23
Pos Rank: 3

Head Coach: Rex Ryan

2010 Record: 11-5

What They Have: Mark Sanchez looks so bad at times but makes big throws when it counts in big games, LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene run the ball behind a terrific offensive line and corner Darrelle Revis can eliminate any receiver.

What They Need: A D-end sturdy enough to defend the run and speedy enough to rush the passer, an outside linebacker that can also get to the quarterback and a receiver since both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards are free agents.

Another Possibility: Baylor DT Phil Taylor

Never Considered: Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph

ANALYSIS: The Jets had a dynamite defense last year despite pretty average play from their line, so Liuget should be a big lift in the trenches for Ryan and Co.

Round 1
31
Pittsburgh Steelers
Height: 6-0
Weight: 204
Hometown: Austin, TX
College: Texas
Class: 2011 JR
Position: CB
Rating:
Overall Rank: 30
Pos Rank: 4

Head Coach: Mike Tomlin

2010 Record: 12-4

What They Have: A winner of a quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger, despite his somewhat unconventional way of doing things, a deep target in Mike Wallace that can burn past any corner and a defense that suffocates the running game.

What They Need: Better coverage in the secondary, definitely at cornerback but perhaps also at safety, a big right tackle so Flozell Adams can finally be put out to pasture and depth at linebacker -- linebackers are oxygen in this system.

Another Possibility: UCLA S Rahim Moore

Never Considered: Pittsburgh DE Jabaal Sheard

ANALYSIS: Maybe he's a corner, maybe he's a safety and maybe he's nothing more than a nickel back, but Williams can certainly help Pittsburgh's pass defense.

Round 1
32
Green Bay Packers
Height: 6-4
Weight: 315
Hometown: Linden, NJ
College: Temple
Class: 2011 JR
Position: DT
Rating:
Overall Rank: 26
Pos Rank: 4

Head Coach: Mike McCarthy

2010 Record: 10-6

What They Have: A future MVP quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, a pass-rushing beast in Clay Matthews and one of the most versatile defenders around in Charles Woodson -- they have the Vince Lombardi Trophy, too.

What They Need: More cornerbacks for a scheme that calls for a lot of nickel and dime packages, a receiver to replace the aging Donald Driver and another option or two for the offensive line, preferably a tackle.

Another Possibility: Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure

Never Considered: Arizona OLB Brooks Reed

ANALYSIS: With Cullen Jenkins a free agent and Johnny Jolly a big legal headache, Wilkerson is a need pick because he can play the five-technique position.

* from Raiders


John Crist is an NFL analyst for Scout.com, a voter for the Heisman Trophy and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.

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