Preview The next major date to look at for the draft is April 6 when Judge Susan Nelson hears the injunction against the validity of the NFL Lockout. My guess is that she will rule the lockout invalid, meaning that Free Agency and Trades will be allowed sometime in mid-April (the injunction is expected to be ruled on within a week). This would give teams a small window of free agency before the draft, as well as allowing teams to trade players before and during the draft. Obviously anything can happen between now and the draft, and this may not occur, however, this is the scenario that I am basing this mock draft off. Trades - NE trades OG Logan Mankins + FS Brandon Meriweather + OT Nick Kazcur to Dal for 1 (9) This is a trade that I believe would benefit both teams because Dallas and the Pats seem to match up very in terms of trades. The Cowboys biggest needs are OL and the secondary, while the #9 will only really have 1 player available to fill one of those needs (Amukamara). The Pats wonât sign Mankins long term, so I believe the best option would be to trade him and get value for him now. I also think itâs time to move on from Meriweather because he is coming into the last year of his contract, and I donât see him being re-signed. I also donât see him as a great fit for the system and the âbend donât breakâ philosophy. This trade gives the Cowboys an All-Pro OG, a two-time Pro Bowl FS and a veteran RT, while giving the Pats another pick to add a blue chip player. Jerry Jones needs to sell ticket for his big stadium and a blockbuster like this will certainly raise attention. Jerry also wonât be afraid to shell out the money needed to retain these players long term. - NE trades OLB Tully Banta-Cain to Arizona for 6 (6) I think TBCâs time in NE is just about over. He can be a solid option for a team that desperately needs help at OLB like Arizona. Heâs still a semi-decent situational pass rusher so a 6th is fair value. - NE trades 1 (17) from Oak + 2012 3rd + 2012 5th to Det for 1 (13) The guy Iâm targeting fell to a reasonable spot to trade up to, so I make a move to grab him before the Rams at 14. Iâm concerned about the depth of next yearâs draft with all of the underclassmen declaring this year, so Iâd rather trade future picks to move up rather than current picks. Detroit seems like a good trading partner who doesnât really have a reason not to move down. They still get âtheir guyâ and pick up 2 future picks in the process. - NE trades 1 (28) to Buf for 2 (2) + 4 (3) If Pouncey were available here I would take him but heâs not, so I look to move down because I donât see great value on the board. Buffalo needs an OT to protect their new QB, so they move back into the first to get one. - NE trades 2 (1) to Oak for 2 (16) + 3 (17) I can see Al Davis falling in love with Wisniewski because of his family links to the Raiders, as well as filling a huge position of need. When Al loves a player he will go and get them, so I can definitely see him overpaying to move up to 33. - NE trades 2 (2) from Buf to SF for 2 (13) + 4 (11) + 5 (10) Once again the value of trading down from the top of the second round is too much to pass up, so we move down to allow the 9ers to grab Jake Locker. - NE trades 2 (16) to Wash for 2012 1st Washington seems like a logical partner to trade for a future 1st with. They donât have a 3rd or 4th round pick in this draft and they need playmakers. They added a DL in round 1 and a QB in round 2, now they need a weapon for that QB. Dan Snyder will be looking for a quick fix for this team so he makes a bold move and moves back into the 2nd using a future 1st to grab a WR. - NE trades 4 (3) + 6 (28) to Jax for 4 (17) + 4 (24) This is just a value trade. Most of the guys I like in the 4th round will be available in the middle of the round so this trade makes sense. - Tennessee trades 2 (7) + conditional 2012 2nd to Phi for QB Kevin Kolb Tennessee really needs a QB and they wonât get one in the first. They think they can compete now so they go with the Vet and make a move for Kolb. Philly wonât get a 1st for him, so they settle for similar value as they got for McNabb, A current 2nd and a future 2nd depending on performance. Free Agents/Re-signings Re-sign OT Matt Light- 2 years Re-sign S Jarrad Page Re-sign DL Gerrard Warren 1st Round Mock 1. Carolina- QB- Cam Newton- Auburn I think this pick will be a QB, and right now itâs a toss-up between Newton and Gabbert for #1. I currently have Newton ahead because of his upside but a good pro day from Gabbert could change that. 2. Denver- DL- Marcel Dareus- Alabama Moving back to the 4-3 Denver is in real need of DL. Dareus is the top rated DL in the draft so I think Denver takes him above Fairley, Quinn and Bowers 3. Buffalo- QB- Blaine Gabbert- Missouri Like Carolina I think Buffalo is set on taking a QB, and I think they will take whichever one Carolina doesnât take. Newton and Gabbert are pretty much interchangeable at these picks. 4. Cincinnati- WR- AJ Green- Georgia WR is a huge need for Cinci, and with no QB worth taking on the board they go with one of, if not the best player in this draft in AJ Green 5. Arizona- OLB- Von Miller- Texas A&M This just seems like a logical fit. The Cards need help at OLB and Von Miller is a beast. He is well rounded and will excel in Arizona 6. CLE- DE- Robert Quinn- UNC Like Denver, Cleveland is moving back to the 4-3 defence and is in desperate need of DL. At this point there are 3 options left, Quinn, Bowers and Fairley. I think DE offers more value for them, and Bowers injury concerns push Quinn ahead of him. 7. SF- CB- Patrick Peterson- LSU SF would probably be looking for a QB, but instead they will settle for the best player in this draft in Peterson. Just like Michael Crabtree fell to them a few years ago, Peterson does the same and SF gets one of the best CB prospects in a very long time. 8. Tenn- DT- Nick Fairley- Auburn No QB on the board means the Titans will probably be looking DL, so this pick will be between Bowers and Fairley, two guys who were that favourites to go #1 a few weeks ago. I think they go the bigger need at DT and take Fairley. 9. NE (Dal)- DE/OLB- DaâQuan Bowers- Clemson This draft falls perfectly for the Pats who get an absolute BEAST in Bowers. He is the perfect fit for the Willie McGinest Elephant role, and offers a ton of versatility to the front 7. He falls due to his knee injury, but the Pats are one of few teams that have the ability to be patient with Bowers because of the lack of holes and number of draft picks. 10. Wash- DE- JJ Watt- Wisconsin Most people will be mocking Julio Jones here, and that is very possible. I just have a gut feel that Washington will surprise us. Their three big needs are QB, WR, DL and OLB. They could reach for Jake Locker, and that wouldnât really surprise me. However, I think they go a surprise pick and go JJ Watt over Julio Jones and Aldon Smith. 11. Hou- CB- Prince Amukamara- Nebraska Houston are moving to a 3-4, so front 7 is a huge need. However, Prince is far too good to pass up here. CB is a huge need and Prince is a steal. 12. Min- DE- Cam Jordan- Cal With no QB available, Minny goes to another need at DE. Cam Jordan is a great fit to play opposite Jared Allen at DE. 13. NE (Det)- WR- Julio Jones- Alabama Despite his amazing combine, Julio falls a little because of the needs of teams picking ahead. If he gets past Washington at 10, he would be a lock to Stl at 14, so the Pats move ahead and get a blue chip WR. 14. Stl- DE- Aldon Smith- Missouri They would love to get Julio Jones, but with him off the board they go DL. They could go DT with someone like Corey Liuget, but instead go with the athletic freak Aldon Smith. 15. Mia- RB- Mark Ingram â Alabama They would love to move down and pick up a 2nd round pick, but most of the top talent is off the board so it would be difficult to do so. So they grab Mark Ingram who is the B.P.A. and also fills a huge need at RB. 16. Jax- DE- Ryan Kerrigan- Purdue This just seems like a good fit. Jacksonville needs help at DE, and Kerrigan is a blue collar, high motor pass rusher. Adrian Clayborn is another option, but Kerriganâs surprising workout at the combine has solidified this spot. 17. Det (NE)- OT- Nate Solder- Colorado Their biggest needs are LT and CB, and with none worth taking at 13, they move back and pick up some future picks. Solder seems to be the top rated tackle so they take him at 17. 18. SD- DL-Muhammad Wilkerson- Temple SD has a need at DE for their 3-4, and Wilkerson seems to be a great fit at DE. Some may be surprised that he goes this high, but this is just a good match. 19. NYG- OT- Tyron Smith- USC They could go a few directions with this pick, but I believe their best option is OT. Tyron Smith could easily be the #1 OT taken because of his elite athleticism and upside. 20. TB- DE- Adrian Clayborn- Iowa I donât think Iâve seen a more consensus pick in this draft. Just about everyone has Clayborn to TB, and itâs a great fit. No use trying to fix a good thing. 21. KC- NT- Phil Taylor- Baylor NT is a huge need for KC, and Taylor is the best one in this draft. He is rising up boards and I wouldnât be surprised to see him go as high as 11 to Houston. KC is a good fit, IF his off the field stuff checks out. 22. Ind- OT- Anthony Costanzo âBC OL has been a need for Indy for a while, so they address it with the best OT available. Costanzo is the one here, but the top 3 OTâs are interchangeable because it really comes down to which one the teams prefer.