<
>
Insider

Two spots could shake up the top 10

4/27/2011

As we continue talking to sources to gather last-minute information and piece together our final thoughts on the first round, here's a look at how things are shaping up with the first few picks.

1. Carolina Panthers -- We continue to hear Auburn QB Cam Newton will be the pick.

2. Denver Broncos -- At this point we believe the Broncos will go with Texas A&M's Von Miller, who is a little undersized (246 pounds) for a 4-3 defensive end but has room on his frame to add a few pounds.

If Miller is the choice it means Denver is choosing the top pass-rusher on the board rather than Alabama DT Marcell Dareus, who is strong against the run but provides only a little bit of a pass rush. Either way, the Broncos get one of the three elite defensive players on the board.

3. Buffalo Bills -- With Miller off the board, the Bills would likely go with Dareus, who is versatile enough to play anywhere along the defensive line and would fit well in the Bills' flexible 3-4 scheme.

4. Cincinnati Bengals -- The buzz continues to be that the Bengals will pass on Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert and go with Georgia WR A.J. Green.

5. Arizona Cardinals -- This pick will be up for auction when the Cardinals go on the clock and they will move back if the right deal is presented to them. If not, we're hearing LSU CB Patrick Peterson and, surprisingly, Green would be in play. Should Arizona end up trading down it sounds like it would be targeting North Carolina DE/OLB Robert Quinn.

6. Cleveland Browns -- It sounds like general manager Mike Holmgren will go with Alabama WR Julio Jones, who is a pro's pro already and would give second-year QB Colt McCoy a big-time target next season.

7. San Francisco 49ers -- It looks like Gabbert could fall to the 49ers, which would certainly be a pleasant surprise for new head coach Jim Harbaugh.

8. Tennessee Titans -- Nothing has changed here. We continue to hear Auburn DT Nick Fairley will end up in a Titans uniform.

9. Dallas Cowboys -- This is where things could get interesting. If the first trade is not at No. 5 then it could very well happen here, and while both organizations are close to airtight when we put the pieces together we begin to think the relationship between Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft could help lead to a deal.

The Patriots certainly have the ammunition to move up and the Cowboys might be willing to take slightly less than market value to move back. Based on the value of the picks we're guessing New England would swap the No. 17 and 60 overall picks for the ninth pick, and while many think the Patriots would target a pass-rusher we tend to believe they would have their eye on California DE Cameron Jordan.

Dallas could afford to take a little less in the deal because it could move back to 17 and likely still get one of the three players we've projected to them at No. 9: USC OT Tyron Smith, Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo or Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt. That's a good calculated risk for Jones and the Cowboys, one that would also net them an additional pick in the second round.