SportsCentral's first NFL Mock Draft 2011 Picks 1-16

 
 

*Major contributions have been made to this article from Richard Moore. Richard is a draft nut with an extensive knowledge of this incoming class. Readers may have previously heard him on Bomani Jones' Radio show The Morning Jones.

1. Carolina (2-14)
Ideally Carolina would trade out of this pick and add more raw talent as they have a debt of talent across the board rather than a single glaring hole. Jimmy Clausen may or may not be the answer for the Panthers but Ron Rivera is going to be too tempted by the defensive talent available to him to take a risk on another quarterback.

Had Andrew Luck been available he would be set to land in Carolina but...

The Carolina Panthers select Da'Quan Bowers. DE. Clemson.
Julius Peppers still hasn't been replaced and Charles Johnson status remains uncertain because of impending free agency. The Panthers have a good secondary unit that is exposed due to a lack of pass rush up front. Bowers is only 21 years of age which means he has a great upside also.
It's doubtful that the Panthers change to a 3-4 scheme as Rivera only ever coached that style of defense in San Diego.

 

Richard Moore:
Cam Newton’s performance at the combine showed he’s not worth the first pick.  If Blaine Gabbert has a good pro day, there is a good chance he will be picked.  But there is a strong possibility that the panthers will trade down, all of their positions of need can be filled in the 2nd-4th round.
The safest pick for the Panthers would be to take Da’Quan Bowers but if they took Marcel Dareus I wouldn’t be surprised.

2. Denver (4-12)
Under Josh McDaniels the Broncos repeatedly refused to address their defensive issues in the draft. John Fox should instantly buck this trend and fortify a porous defense.

The Denver Broncos select Nick Fairley. DT. Auburn.
The Broncos will look to Fairley to change around their last ranked defense from last season and become  an impact Nose Tackle. Fairley spent limited time on the field in college with only one realistic year of film for scouts to watch. His draft stock will depend vastly on how far along he is as far as coaching goes.

 

Richard Moore:
Patrick Peterson would be a great pick up.  Champ could mentor him increasing his potential.  Nick Fairley is another option for the Broncos, he would start immediately with the expectation to play ever game.

3. Buffalo (4-12)
The Bills' head coach Chan Gailey loves an athletic quarterback. I don't necessarily agree with the decision but it's time for the icon to come off the board.

The Buffalo Bills select Cameron Newton. QB. Auburn.
The Heisman winner was a one year sensation last season on his way to a national championship with Auburn. He becomes the first quarterback off the board even though he is realistically not the best NFL prospect at the position. Newton at the very least would bring some excitement back to Buffalo making an interesting dynamic in the backfield between CJ Spiller and the former Auburn star.
 

Richard Moore:
 Ryan Fitzpatrick ruined the draft options for buffalo in the last quarter of the season.  Chan gaily loves athletic QB’s but Cam Newton isn’t the most athletic.  And the best option for buffalo is Ryan Mallet, if he falls to the second round!!
Expect Buffalo to add to the interior of their defensive line.  Buffalo will take Nick Fairley for sure.

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