The NFL draft is about all we have to look forward to, now that the lockout is in full force. No free agency or player trades will happen until something gets worked out, and that will not be for a while. In the meantime, we always have our projected draft picks. SB Nation has released its latest mock draft, in which the lockout means nothing and there are some surprises.
Auburn QB Cam Newton, who is up and down in most mock drafts, is way up. He is projected to be the first pick overall, going to the Carolina Panthers. In fact, it appears that teams are making different moves with quarterbacks with the combination of a new rookie salary scale and the fact that the draft will be the only way to get a quarterback for the foreseeable future.
As stated, Newton goes number one overall to Carolina. Missouri's Blaine Gabbert is projected to be selected number three by the Buffalo Bills. Jake Locker, who recently was on NFL Total Access, continues his meteoric rise up the charts. He is projected to be selected by the Washington Redskins with the 10th pick in the first round. Locker as of just a month ago was not expected to go in the first round at all, let alone in the top 10.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M. There may not be a snugger fit between prospect, team, need, and scheme than Miller and Arizona. In a defense that relies on disruptive talent in its front seven, it is imperative that the Cardinals upgrade at outside linebacker.
The ROTB community may be a little worried. As noted in an article last week, Cardinals fans overwhelming selected LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson as the player they would like the least playing for an NFC West opponent. These projections have that exact thing happening, with Peterson being selected by the San Francisco 49ers at number seven.
Here is how the top ten rounds out:
1. Carolina Panthers: QB Cam Newton
2. Denver Broncos: DT Marcel Dareus
3. Buffalo Bills: QB Blaine Gabbert
5. Arizona Cardinals: OLB Von Miller
7. San Francisco 49ers: CB Patrick Peterson
8. Tennessee Titans: DE Da'Quan Bowers
9. Dallas Cowboys: CB Prince Amukamara
10. Washington Redskins: QB Jake Locker