The Bang Picks the NFL Draft First Round

We’ve been waiting since January, and it’s finally here. The Draft starts tonight from New York. More prospects that ever have been invited to the draft and here at the Bang, we went pick by pick to tell you whose names to expect to be called. Will your team get the piece that sends them to the playoffs or will they pull a Millen and doom your franchise for several years? It’s all here…
And as a side note: Like I said on the BangCast, yes, I know I left Von Miller out of the first round and that’s a huge mistake since he’s probably a top-5 pick. By the time I realized it, I has already been working on my picks for several hours and and didn’t feeling like shifting a bunch of picks. I’ll just eat the picks, screw it. EDIT: I also let Robert Quinn slip through, although there’s an outside shot that he’ll slide out of the 1st round. ::Crossing fingers::
1) Carolina
Armando: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
Fairley safe pick. (Pun intended, since Fairley was the consensus #1 until about a month ago: Carolina has finally come to terms that Jimmy Clausen is as good of a QB as a jar of pickles, and need someone to hang their franchise on.  CFN is that man.
Casey: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
The Panthers have so many holes, but getting a franchise quarterback is probably important to GM Marty Hurney. I’m not buying the rumors that they may pass on Newton.
TJ: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

2) Denver
Armando: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M;
Von, more than anyone, has really put his name on the map for this draft.  Denver could use a gamechanger at LB more than at DT, and Miller would be a great complement to the explosive D.J. Williams.
Casey:  Marcell Darius, DT, Alabama
The worst defense in the league needs help and they need it from a guy that can make an immediate impact.
TJ: Marcell Darius, DT, Alabama
3) Buffalo
Armando: Marcell Darius, DT, Alabama
Buffalo needs MUCH more than Dareus to have a fighting chance, but he’s a helluva start.
Casey: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
The Bills will be looking for the next Jim Kelly and while Fitzpatrick helped win games and performed well last year, he’s a placeholder and they’ll need something here. Expect the rest of the draft to be defensively focused.
TJ: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M;
Not sold on Gabbert and have the most anemic D this side of Houston 
4) Cincinatti
Armando: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
 Nope, not A.J. Green.  Julio is a better athlete, not quite as tall but a bit bigger, which is more important considering the physical secondaries of today.  Too bad there’s no one to throw to him… yet.
Casey: AJ Green, WR, Georgia
There won’t be anymore TO Show in Cinci. There may not even be the Ocho Show for very much longer, meaning the Bengals will have no vertical threat. Enter Green, one of the best in the SEC the last two years. 
TJ:  Blaine “Yo Gabba” Gabbert, QB, Missouri
5) Arizona
Armando: Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri
 Pretty much a no-brainer that they are vetting a QB, and although I think Jake Locker has more raw talent, Gabbert proved it last year.  Locker will still go in the first round, just not this high.
Casey: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Now I know they need a quarterback more than any other team. However, there are several good quarterbacks that will be available in the 2nd round. Think of the secondary of Patterson and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie. You’ve got a top line unit there that will get burned by the long ball far far far less.
TJ: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
6) Cleveland
Armando: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Maybe not their first choice as far as need goes, but they won’t give up the chance at so much value all the way at #6.
Casey: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
They could also go with a DE to anchor Dick Jaraoun’s new 4-3, but their depth at WR is nill. Jones is a legit #1 receiver with deep threat potential and good hands with some previously untapped speed.
TJ: AJ Green, WR, Georgia
Makes too much sense with a solid D and strong running game – streeeeeeeeetch the field
7) San Francisco
Armando: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Having a threat up-front to scare offensive lines will serve them well to help get Takeo Spikes and Patrick Willis loose and friendly with opposing QBs.  Could be one of the better defenses in the league as a result.
Casey: Prince Amakamura, CB, Nebraska
If the top six picks fall out as above, the 49ers could go with Amukamara or UNC’s Robert Quinn. But the 49ers pass D needs help (231 ypg, 24th) and having a coverage corner to go with Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes roaming the middle should bring those numbers down.
TJ: Prince Amakamura, CB, Nebraska
8) Tennessee
Armando: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
 One of the few sure picks in my eyes, along with ex-teammate CFN.  Has been hailed the next coming of Albert Haynesworth, AKA Sir-Stomps-A-Lot… I hope that’s wrong, but the Titans D will get a MUCH-needed shot in the arm.  Expect a QB in the 2nd round.
Casey: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Proved during the BCS Title Game why he deserved the 2010 Lombardi Trophy. He’s got the speed, agility, and footwork to make the Music City forget they ever had Albert Haynesworth. If Fairley does fall to the Titans, expect them to try to trade back into the first round to get either Colin Kapernick or Jake Locker, although I think Locker will be gone before they could get back in.
TJ: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
Too desperate not to.
9) Dallas
Armando: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Dallas’s O-Line and backfield are HORRID, and it’s a trickle-down effect that starts with the O-Line.  Smith is the cornerstone.
Casey: Anthony Costanzo, OT, Boston College
The Cowboys need someone to seal off the right side of the line. Castanzo is athletic, intellegent and durable, something they need after Marc Colombo has lost so much movement with his chronic knee problems.
TJ: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
Protect Romo and spring one of their three mediocre RBs.
10) Washington
Armando: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
University of Washington?  Washington Redskins?  Makes sense to me.  Plus Donovan McNabb has been outstaying his welcome since 04/05/10.
Casey: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
There are several glaring holes that need filled and there’s no telling what Snyder and Shanahan will do, but they will be desperate at QB. Donovan McNabb will likely not be back, Rex Grossman is the current starter, and the only other option is John Beck, who hasn’t thrown an in-game pass since 2007. While Locker cost himself millions by staying in Seattle for his senior season, he’s gotten better at reading defenses and his mobility outside the pocket will work well in Shanahan’s west coast offense. Washington will still have plenty of needs and expect them to take the best WR on the board in the 2nd round.
TJ: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
Snyder didn’t learn anything from Haynesworth.
11) Houston
Armando: Prince Amakamura, CB, Nebraska
Can a brotha get a secondary up in here?  Prince will go lower than his value would suggest, but he’ll make an immediate impact and play a key complimentary role to the Texans’ high-octane offense.
Casey: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
The Texans biggest needs are on the defensive side of the ball. And while new D-coordinator Wade Phillips would LOVE Amukamura to fall to them, it ain’t happening. Smith will give the pass rush a big shot in the arm and with the switch to the 3-4, the more pressure the line can get, the better the porous pass D will get. The best DB left will go to Houston in the 2nd round.
TJ: Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina
Possible that these two picks are backwards, but I stand by it.
12) Minnesota
Armando: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida
Minnesota will need a great presence to keep Kevin Kolb’s hands warm throughout long games at the Metrodome, and Pouncey is it.
Casey: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
The Vikings may lose Ray Edwards to free agency and while there is a huge need at quarterback, they make a move to keep their D-line at the top for years. Seriously, think about Jordan and Jared Allen as the bookends on a D that only allowed 102 rushing yards a game last year. Jordan’s got the talent to keep that up if Edwards leaves. A combination of size, strength, and versatility that impressed many at the Senior Bowl and Combines.
TJ: Cory Liuget, DT, Illinois
Not desperate enough to grab Mallett here.
13) Detroit
Armando: AJ Green, WR, Georgia
 Yep, A.J. Green will drop to 13th, mainly because there are greater needs than WR for most of the teams from Cincinnati down.  But Detroit can’t pass up on this value.  Also, Nate Burleson is a bum.
Casey: Tyron Smith, OT, USC
The Lions need to keep Matthew Stafford healthy and that all starts on the O-line. He’s taken too many hits the last 2 years and left tackle Jeff Backus and right tackle Gosder Cherilus are huge question marks. Smith is constant, reliable and had the hand and footwork to be a blind-side protector for years to come.
TJ: JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin
14) St. Louis
Armando: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
The Rams showed last season that they could hang with the cutthroat NFC West (giggle), but they could use a bit of a boost in the run defense department… thus Mr. Bowers.
Casey: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
The Rams have bigger needs at wideout and safety, but it will be tough to pass up a run stopper like Liuget. He’s got an explosive first step, has an extremely strong upper body and will challenge for a starting spot on day 1 of camp. Even though the Rams line performed well, its an aging unit that needs an infusion of young blood and since everyone else they’ve got an eye on will likely be gone at 14, I expect them to take Liuget here. It wouldn’t surprise me though if they reach up to get Mark Ingram to ease the load on Stephen Jackson or reach way up and take Notre Dame TE Kyle Rudolph. However, he’ll likely be available in the 3rd round.
TJ: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
And the Rams just got scary on offense.
15) Miami
Armando: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
 I don’t buy that Ingram is a twenty-something pick, and Miami really needs a stud RB.
Casey: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida
The Dolphins want to run the ball more this year and taking Mark Ingram if he’s still on the board wouldn’t surprise me, but I think they’ll go with Pouncey. They need the size, dominance and stability up front to re-establish the running game. Pouncey’s athleticism made him a standout in the SEC. While not as talented as his Pro Bowler of a brother, he’s pretty close.
TJ:   Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
Seems excessive, but Brown and Williams are just not sturdy these days.
16) Jacksonville
Armando: JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin
Casey: JJ Watt, DE, Wisconsin
The safety they really want won’t fall to them, so they’ll keep drafting building blocks. Watt is the perfect blend of size (6-5, 290) and strength so help a weak pass rush. Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan is also an option here.
TJ:  Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
He slipped this far because of questions, but the Jags can’t pass on him.
17) New England (from Oakland)
Armando: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
Casey: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
If the Patriots keeps this pick, they should take someone to help an aging D. Ayers would fit well in the Pats’ scheme and should help defend the short pass, since NE’s pass D allowed the 3rd most pass yards a game last season. Who’da thought that?
TJ: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
A Belicheck kind of player; also a chance NE trades this pick like always.
18) San Diego
Armando: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
Casey: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
The Chargers have a bunch of picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, so they can fill whatever holes they want to here. I think they’ll address the pass rush. They need help getting around the corner to the QB and Kerrigan will have no problem moving to that position. If they need him to, he could probably slide back to the linebacker position if the Chargers decide to throw in a 3-4 set. This could be Muhammed Wilkerson’s best shot to jump into the 1st round.
TJ: Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
Small chance that Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado goes here
19) NY Giants
Armando: Anthony Castanzo, OT, Boston College
Casey: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
An outside linebacker would make the Giants very happy here, but the only pick worth taking in the 1st round (Miller) will be a top-5 pick. Instead, they’ll address a need on the O-line. Age is hitting them hard and Solider could be the replacement they’re looking for. He’s got athleticism to play either left or right tackle.
TJ: Mike Pouncey, C, Florida
20) Tampa Bay
Armando: Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois
Casey: Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson
The Bucs need more pressure out of their D-line (26 sacks, 30th). Rahem Morris is a defensive minded coach and the fact that Bowers has fallen this far would excite him. Yes, there are health concerns but his athleticism will be hard for them to pass up.
TJ: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
Could also be Nate Solder, but I think their offense is fairly set.
21) Kansas City
Armando: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Casey: Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple
The Chiefs want a pass rusher and Wilkerson fits into many of their schemes. The biggest knock on Wilkerson is that he racked up some amazing stats in the MAC, instead of a BCS conference. If he played in the Big 10, he’s be the top 1 or 2 DT’s in this year’s draft.
TJ: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
22) Indianapolis
Armando: Cameron Jordan, DE, California
Casey: Derrick Sherrod, OT, Mississippi St.
The Colts will be looking at the best O-linesman on the board at 22 and Sherrod will be the best choice there. He’s ready to take a starting spot from day one and getting more pass protection for Peyton is always a great idea.
TJ: Anthony Castanzo, OT, Boston College
23) Philadelphia
Armando: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Casey: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
The Eagles need to get another corner to play opposite Asante Samuels and Smith would fill this roll well. Character issues could push him out of the first round, but Andy Reid does well with troubled players (Mike Vick) and could do Smith some good. He’s got the frame and athleticism for the NFL, but they’ll have to work on his ball skills.
TJ: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
These picks may be backwards, but protecting the QB is primary concern for both teams.
24) New Orleans
Armando: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
Casey: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
The Saints need someone to compliment Will Smith on the other end of the D-line. Clayborn should be the right anchor there, but just like Bowers, injury-trouble could push him out of the 1st round. They could take Cam Heyward too, but I think Heyward is a 2nd rounder whose steady but not flashy.
TJ: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
Will Smith 2.0, just like at OSU.
25) Seattle
Armando: Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
Casey: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida St.
Seattle wants out of this pick, their GM has said so. But they do need a quarterback. They can only put Hassleback back together with duct tape, chewing gum and super glue for so long. The Seahawks could get behind another undersized, gritty QB whose famous for coming back from injuries to deliver solid seasons.
TJ: Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
You’d panic too if “Football Jesus” was holding your clipboard.
26) Baltimore
Armando: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
Casey: Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona
The Ravens could use one more intense pass rusher to put that defense back over the top. Not like they’ve been slouching anyway, but the core of that unit is getting older and injuries could deliver a huge blow this season. Reed’s draft stock has been rising as he was part of one of college football’s best pass rushes for 2 years. There could be some issues if they try to use him at DE, but he’s well-suited for the outside linebacker, even though he’s a little undersized. Getting into an NFL training program with take care of some of those issues.
TJ: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado
And the Ravens secondary just got scary again.
27) Atlanta
Armando: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
Casey: Cameron Hayward, DE, Ohio St.
I couldn’t not put a Buckeye in the 1st round, even though I’m not sold on him as a 1st rounder. The Falcons need a bookend for an aging John Abraham. Hayward is a solid, steady linesman who will improve that pass rush that only got to QBs 31 times last season (20th).
TJ: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
Surprised he fell this far, but teams realized he was overrated.
  
28) New England
Armando: Christian Ponder, QB, Florida St.
Casey: Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
The Patriots grab another value pick to help protect Tom Brady. Watkins is a total package of an interior linesman and is nasty and scrappy to boot. The Patriots get a steal at 28.
TJ: JJ Houston, LB, Georgia
29) Chicago
Armando: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon St.
Casey: James Carpenter, OT, Alabama
This one is a stretch, but the Bears need help on the offensive line. I only have to point to the Giants’ nine-sack performance last year. Carpenter is versatile enough to play at all positions on the line.
TJ: Nate Solder, OT, Colorado
A no-brainer so that Cutler doesn’t become a no-brainer. 
30) NY Jets 
Armando: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
Casey: Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor
The Jets could use more depth on the D-line, especially with the loss of Kris Jenkins. Athletically talented but with some injury issues with his feet, the Jets are willing to take a risk with his size (6-3, 330).
TJ: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
31) Pittsburgh
Armando: Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State
RIP Iron Head… way too young
Casey: Aaron Williams, CB/FS, Texas
The secondary got torched in the Super Bowl, so that’s going to be fresh in the Steelers’ minds, especially with Ike Taylor eligible for free agency this year. Williams fits well at either CB or FS. Some concerns about his speed push him down the board, but he worked out well with teams and either way Pitt will address their top offseason concern.
TJ: Danny Watkins, OG, Baylor
The O-line is desperate for help.
32) Green Bay
Armando: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
Casey: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
The Packers have needs at defensive end, offensive tackle, and kick returner which got them into trouble during the playoffs. However, there is something to be said for taking the best player on the board and Ingram would be it. Plus, it takes care of a potential problem if Ryan Grant doesn’t come back to top form or if Brandon Jackson heads out due to free agency.
TJ: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi St.
Because you can afford to waste the pick when you’re this good
So that’s how we see it shaking out. Now the part where we make it a game. We’ll get points based on how far away from the player’s actual pick. It’ll break down like this: 

  • Dead on – 10 pts.   
  • 1 off – 7 pts.
  • 2 off – 5 pts.
  • 3 off – 3 pts.
  • 4 off – 2 pts.
  • 5 off – 1 pts.
  •  6+ off – Bugger all

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