Here’s my crack at Thursday night’s first round of the NFL draft, suitable for mocking:
1. Carolina QB Cam Newton, Auburn
Panthers G.M. Marty Hurney has worked overtime spreading the word that Newton is not a character risk. With top pick, he has no reason for misdirection.
2. Denver DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
Switching to a 4-3 scheme, the Broncos need an anchor. He’s no Ndamukong Suh, but Dareus is a nice start.
3. Buffalo OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
This is Buffalo’s do-over for having blown a first-round pick on Penn State’s Aaron Maybin in 2009.
4. Cincinnati WR A.J. Green, Georgia
Message to Chad Ochcocino: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Green easily the draft’s top wide receiver.
5. Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
Ken Whisenhunt can talk up John Skelton all he wants, but the Cardinals fell apart without Kurt Warner.
6. Cleveland DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
Another team switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4, and the Browns are a little light at defensive end.
7. San Francisco CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
No way Jim Harbaugh takes a quarterback inferior to Andrew Luck in Round 1, and with Von Miller off the board, this one is too easy.
8. Tennessee DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
It’s been a revolving door since they lost Albert Haynesworth, and Fairley is the man to bring stability.
9. Dallas OT Tyron Smith, USC
The Cowboys are looking for a starting right tackle. Smith, who played on the right side at USC, qualifies.
10. Washington WR Julio Jones, Alabama
This is a classic case of taking need over the best player available. Santana Moss is a free agent, and the position is a wasteland.
11. Houston CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
Texans are delighted to get second most coveted corner in the draft. Now if they can sign Nnamdi Asomugha . . .
12. Minnesota DE Cameron Jordan, Cal
Vikings need help with Ray Edwards a free agent, Jared Allen getting double-teamed. Jordan’s dad played with Vikings.
13. Detroit T Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
Job 1 for the Lions is to keep quarterback Matt Stafford upright, and Castonzo could be his body guard for a decade.
14. St. Louis DE Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson
Rams gamble Bowers’ knee is sound and get a top five quality pick to pair with Chris Long.
15. Miami QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
Once upon a time, there were rumors about Dan Marino and he fell to Dolphins. They’re hoping history repeats.
16. Jacksonville DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
Having scored with Tyson Alualu at defensive tackle last year, Jaguars get another piece for their defensive front.
17. New England OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
New England winds up with a solid offensive tackle with the pick they got from the Raiders for Richard Seymour.
18. San Diego NT Phil Taylor, Baylor
The Chargers really haven’t been the same defensively since Jamal Williams began to slip. They finally replace him.
19. New York Giants DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
When it comes to team building, the Giants can’t help themselves. They stock up on defensive linemen, and Liguet brings interior pressure.
20. Tampa Bay DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
The Bucs brought in Gerald McCoy and Brian Price to play defensive tackle in last year’s first round, and get a third piece in their defensive line puzzle.
21. Kansas City DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
Had 26 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and five forced fumbles as a senior. The Raiders are going to hate seeing this guy twice a year.
22. Indianapolis OT Nate Solder, Colorado
The Colts are structured around quarterback Peyton Manning, and he needs another body guard at tackle. Solder is the best one left at this point.
23. Philadelphia CB Jimmy Smith, Colorado
Smith gives the Eagles something they need desperately _ someone who can cover a wide receiver other than Asante Samuel.
24. New Orleans DE Aldon Smith, Missouri
A big part of Saints’ success in championship season came from forcing big plays with a pass rush. Last year, not so much.
25. Seattle QB Jake Locker, Washington
Ideally, they’ll hang on to Matt Hasselbeck for another year while Locker moves into a nicer residence in Seattle.
26. Baltimore CB Brandon Harris, Miami
They need a corner badly, and it’s between Harris and Aaron Williams. Ray Lewis votes for the Hurricane, and he’s the boss.
27. Atlanta TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
With Tony Gonzalez probably in his final season, the Falcons grab the only player at his position worthy of a first-round pick.
28. New England RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
Patriots passed on the former Heisman Trophy winner at No. 17 and are delighted to find him still on the board.
29. Chicago G-C Mike Pouncey, Florida
Any hopes Steelers of pairing Pouncey brothers evaporates 20 minutes before their turn comes up.
30. New York Jets DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
With Shawn Ellis at age 33 and Trevor Price near the end of the line, Heyward can step in as a youthful contributor on the defensive front.
31. Pittsburgh CB Aaron Williams, Texas
Memories of Packers receivers running free in the secondary make the best remaining cornerback an easy pick for Mike Tomlin.
32. Green Bay OT Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State
In need of a second tackle to team with 2010 first-round pick Bryan Bulaga as future protectors of Aaron Rodgers.