Here is some of my observations/predictions for the NFL Draft this weekend.
1) The mock drafts have been all over the place since the beginning of January. That is interesting, because not a down of football has been played since then. Anyone who has ever put on a jock knows that competition is different from workouts, practice, drills, and all-star games. Todd McShay was a backup quarterback at the University of Richmond, and should know better. I have a feeling, with the exception of the quarterbacks, is that the draft is going to be closer to January's than to April's mock drafts.
2) One thing I like about that top quarterbacks (Newton, Gabbert, Dalton, Locker, Ponder, and Kaepernick) is that they all look like quarterbacks. They just have that look. I still think the reason that Jeff George and Ryan Leaf did not have more success is that they did not look like or carry themselves like quarterbacks. (Note: Personally, except in Atlanta, Jeff George was misused and could have been an elite quarterback and Hall of Famer)
3) Most of the mock drafts have Nick Fairley (Auburn) going either 8th (Titans) or lower. All you need is one to fall in love with him, and I think he is going to go earlier. Anyone who watched the BSC Championship knows why. All the talk about taking plays off is bunk. As a defensive tackle, you can't play with your hair on fire all the time. Sometimes you have to hold the point of attack and let your teammates make plays. People who micromanage watching film lose sight of this.
4) There is no way Da'Quan Bowers (DE/Clemson) goes 17th-20th like many of the mocks suggest. Former #1 projection, again, only needs one team to love him. I just can't see him falling to New England, San Diego, New York Giants, or Tampa Bay. This guy is too physical, too productive, and too versatile to fall that far.
5) There are a lot of good defensive ends in this draft (Aldon Smith, Missouri; JJ Watt, Wisconsin; Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue; Bowers, Clemson; Cameron Jordan, Cal; Justin Houston, Georgia; Adrian Clayborn, Iowa; and Cameron Heyward, Ohio State) projected between 11 and 26. I am not buying it. I think the offensive tackles (Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin; Nate Solder, Colorado; and Derek Sherrod, Miss. St.), which I think is a much stronger group, bump a couple of these guys into the second round. Also, the top safety, second best guard, and second best running back, will also bump a couple of these guys down.
6) I think that Detroit will continue their run of good picks (Calvin Johson, Matthew Stafford, N. Su) with Prince Amukamara (Nebraska). I don't think he is Deion Sanders, but he will be a solid starter that will make many positions better. I think if Bradford stays healthy the Lions make the playoffs.
7) Anyone who sees the films can see that AJ Green (Georgia) is a better wide receiver than Julio Jones (Alabama). Stop focusing on stuff that doesn't matter and watch the games. Being a wideout is about two things: getting open and catching the ball. Green is superior in both of them.
8) I would not want the first pick. There isn't a sure thing is this draft. Also, Carolina drafted two quarterbacks last year (Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike). I don't envy their situation. There isn't a good pick for them. They should skip it, just so they can pay less. It would be a greater value, picking 3rd, but very bad PR. Note: at one point, both Clausen and Pike were top-10 projected picks.
9) The offensive tackle group is solid, but there isn't a Munoz, Pace, or Walter Jones in the bunch. There are some Matt Lights and Joe Thomases, however.
10) New England has the 17th and 28th picks in this years draft. I would hold pat (no pun intended), because both are great value picks. I can't justify a reason to trade up. They are however, in a great position to trade down, esp. if teams are antsy about missing out on a quarterback, defensive end, or offensive tackle. They like to stockpile picks. They also have the luxury of taking the "best available athlete".