2011 NFL Mock Draft: Initial Look at How the First Round Could Shake Out

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2010

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Initial Look at How the First Round Could Shake Out

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 22:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell looks on as he stands on stage during the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 22, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    The scouts are completing their evaluation reports, and the draft boards are going up in each team's war room. College players will take more physicals in the next few months than some do in a lifetime. In February, the world's ultimate job interview will begin at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Let's take a look at the possible choices for next April's NFL Draft.

32) New England Patriots, Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 05:  Jonathan Baldwin #82 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers catches a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 5, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Why Baldwin is Special: He has the size (6-5, 225 lbs.) and athleticism to become a top receiver at the NFL level.

    Why Baldwin Goes Here: Too many games this season with three or less catches, but his supporters will argue that the Panthers were unstable at the QB position all season long.

    Why Baldwin Fits: New England needs a young, explosive receiver in its lineup since trading away Randy Moss.

31) Atlanta Falcons, Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

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    DALLAS - OCTOBER 02:  Cornerback Aaron Williams #4 of the Texas Longhorns drops a pass intended for Ryan Broyles #85 of the Oklahoma Sooners in the second quarter at the Cotton Bowl on October 2, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Ima
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Why Williams is Special: Scouts project him making an immediate contribution on special teams. Williams has blocked four punts in his college career.

    Why Williams Goes Here: He has gotten burned too many times this season by the talented group of receivers offered in the Big 12.

    Why Williams Fits: Atlanta needs to get more athletic in the secondary.

30) Pittsburgh Steelers, Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 15:  J.C. Brignone #70 and Derek Sherrod #79of the Mississippi State Bulldogs get ready on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 15, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Why Sherrod is Special: He has started at both tackle positions in his college career.

    Why Sherrod Goes Here: Good teams draft for depth on their offensive line.

    Why Sherrod Fits: Pittsburgh is getting old on the offensive line, as Ben Roethlisberger has taken too many hits this season.

29) Philadelphia Eagles, Von Miller, DE/LB, Texas A&M

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    AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 25:  University of Texas during the first half at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2010 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
    Darren Carroll/Getty Images

    Why Miller is Special: He is a natural pass-rusher from either the DE position in a 3-4 defense or from the outside LB position in a 4-3 set.

    Why Miller Goes Here: He has battled all season with an ankle injury.

    Why Miller Fits: Philadelphia has been looking for a pass rush all season, and Miller fits perfectly into their scheme.

28) New Orleans Saints, Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 04:  Ryan Williams #34 of the Virginia Tech Hokies against the Florida State Seminoles during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Why Williams is Special: He runs hard on every play, and has waited for his opportunity to shine in the Hokie offense.

    Why Williams Goes Here: There are issues with his ball security, as Williams has lost two fumbles that cost Virginia Tech key conference games.

    Why Williams Fits: New Orleans is looking for an effective running attack to compliment the arm of Drew Brees.

27) Baltimore Ravens, Quan Sturdivant, LB, North Carolina:

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Quan Sturdivant #52 of the North Carolina Tar Heels against the LSU Tigers during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome on September 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Why Sturdivant is Special: He has the skills to become a dominant inside LB, as Sturdivant makes quick reads in finding the ball-carrier in the backfield for losses behind the line of scrimmage.

    Why Sturdivant Goes Here: Some off-field issues (arrested for marijuana possession in July 2010) will scare away some interested teams from drafting him.

    Why Sturdivant Fits: Baltimore needs to begin the process of replacing Ray Lewis in the starting lineup.

26) New York Jets, Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Mike Shanahan #87 of the Pittsburgh Panthers is tackled by teammates Quan Sturdivant #52 and Bruce Carter #54 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Str
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Why Carter is Special: He has all the skills to become an effective outside linebacker in the NFL.

    Why Carter Goes Here: His skills still need some developing before achieving that level.

    Why Carter Fits: The Jets need a pass rush to have any shot of becoming a realistic Super Bowl contender.

25) New York Giants, Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 17: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15  and lineman Mike Pouncey #55 of the Florida Gators celebrate a win against the University of Arkansas Razorbacks October 17, 2009 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al M
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Why Pouncey is Special: One of the few players in the upcoming draft who can play multiple positions.

    Why Pouncey Goes Here: The Giants have been decimated all season with injuries to their offensive line.

    Why Pouncey Fits: No NFL team has enough depth on their interior line, and this choice is a no-brainer for the Giants.

24) Chicago Bears, Joseph Barksdale, T, LSU

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Offensive lineman Joseph Barksdale #78 and wide receiver Demetrius Byrd #2 of the LSU Tigers celebrate a touchdown catch by Byrd against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Auburn, Alabama. LSU def
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Why Barksdale is Special: He has shown the ability to neutralize effective pass-rushers this season in the SEC.

    Why Barksdale Goes Here: Some scouts project a rise on team’s draft boards after the combines in February.

    Why Barksdale Fits: Chicago hasn’t protected Jay Cutler in the pocket all season long.

23) Kansas City Chiefs, Anthony Costanzo, T, Boston College

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dave Shinskie #15 of the Boston College Eagles calls out the play late in the second quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies on September 25, 2010 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Why Costanzo is Special: He is the only tackle projected in the draft to start immediately next season.

    Why Costanzo Goes Here: Some concerns whether his size will allow him to last long-term in the NFL.

    Why Costanzo Fits: Kansas City needs one more piece to the puzzle before becoming an elite offensive line in the NFL.

22) Jacksonville Jaguars, Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame:

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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20:  Michael Floyd #3 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish loses his footing against the Army Black Knights at Yankee Stadium on November 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Why Floyd is Special: He just makes plays on the field, as Floyd possesses great hands.

    Why Floyd Goes Here: Health issues have been a concern for him at South Bend, as Floyd has missed time this season due to hamstring issues.

    Why Floyd Fits: Jacksonville needs some identity at the wideout position.

21) St. Louis Rams, Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

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    PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Stephen Paea #54 of the Oregon State Beavers loses his helmet as he tackles Tyler Gaffney #25 of the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Why Paea is Special: His natural strength and low-center of gravity provides great run-stopping skills.

    Why Paea Goes Here: His height (6-1) and lack of explosiveness to rush the QB have always been an issue.

    Why Paea fits: Coach Spags needs some more players to shore up his defense.

20) Green Bay Packers, Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after rushing for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Why Ingram is Special: His size and running ability will allow him to become an elite RB in the NFL for many years to come.

    Why Ingram Goes Here: He lacks the power to run effectively in short-yard situations.

    Why Ingram Fits: Green Bay has had too many injuries in its backfield this season, and injecting some youth could be the solution to the problem.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

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    STILLWATER, OK - NOVEMBER 27:  Wide receiver Ryan Broyles #85 of the Oklahoma Sooners leaps over cornerback Brodrick Brown #19 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  The Sooners beat the Cowbo
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Why Broyles is Special: A big-time playmaker who possesses soft hands and secures the football in heavy traffic.

    Why Broyles Goes Here: Scouts have issues with his undisciplined attitude early in his career.

    Why Broyles Fits: Tampa is one wideout away from becoming an elite team in the NFC.

18) Miami Dolphins, Jake Locker, QB, Washington

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    TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Huskies 44-14.  (Photo by Ch
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Why Locker is Special: He has all the physical tools to become an elite pocket-throwing QB in the NFL.

    Why Locker Goes Here: He made the mistake of not leaving school early, and Locker suffered through a horrible 2010 season.

    Why Locker Fits: Have you seen Chad Henne play? Enough said.

17) Indianapolis Colts, Rahim Moore, S, UCLA:

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    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Safety Rahim Moore #3 of the UCLA Bruins in the game with the Houston Cougars at the Rose Bowl on September 18, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 31-13.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Why Moore is Special: He is truly a ball-hawking defender, as Moore recorded 10 interceptions last season.

    Why Moore Goes Here: A bit leaner (6-1, 196 lbs.) than the other safety prospects available in this year’s draft.

    Why Moore Fits: The Colts cannot rely on Bob Sanders to stay healthy all season.

16) San Diego Chargers, Allen Bailey, DE, Miami

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    FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Defensive lineman Allen Bailey #57 and linebacker Colin McCarthy #44 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrate after scoring a safety against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Land Shark Stadium on September 17, 2009 in Fort
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Why Bailey is Special: He shows great bull-rushing technique in getting to the QB.

    Why Bailey Goes Here: A bit of tweener, as scouts cannot decide if he is a DE or DT.

    Why Bailey Fits: San Diego desperately needs to replace Shawne Merriman, as he has taken his talents to Buffalo.

15) Seattle Seahawks, Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

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    IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 20:  Defensive end Adrian Clayborn #94 of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes takes the field for the Ohio State Buckeyes NCAA college football game at Kinnick Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Iowa City, Iowa. Ohio State won 20-17 over
    David Purdy/Getty Images

    Why Clayborn is Special: He can effectively play the run and pass from the down line position.

    Why Clayborn Goes Here: He is still slowed by an ankle injury sustained in the 2008 season.

    Why Clayborn Fits: Seattle needs a presence on the defensive line.

14) New England Patriots (from Oakland), Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 20:  Patrick Peterson #7 of the Louisiana State University Tigers breaks up a pass intended for Korvic Neat #28 of the Ole Miss Rebels at Tiger Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Gett
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Why Peterson is Special: Possesses the size (6-1, 221 lbs) needed to shutdown the top receivers in the game.

    Why Peterson Goes Here: He needs to better recognize routes in order to become an elite corner.

    Why Peterson Fits: New England is near the bottom of the league in pass yardage given up this season.

13) Cleveland Browns, Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

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    STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 05:  Wide receiver Justin Blackmon #81 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys warms up before the college football game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Boone Pickens Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  The Cowboys defe
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Why Blackmon is Special: He completed a season that projects him to be a better talent than former teammate Dez Bryant.

    Why Blackmon Goes Here: Scouts would like to see more work on his resume before giving him the elite status.

    Why Blackmon Fits: Cleveland needs a playmaker to complement their QB, Colt McCoy.

12) Minnesota Vikings, Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

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    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 11:  Cam Newton, quarterback of the Auburn University Tigers, speaks after being awarded the 2010 Heisman Memorial Trophy Award on December 11, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Why Newton is Special: He was named the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner as the best collegiate player this season.

    Why Newton Goes Here: He has to show scouts that he is more than a run-first QB.

    Why Newton Fits: Minnesota desperately needs a QB, and controversy never seems to avoid this organization.

11) Houston Texans, Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 30:  Janoris Jenkins #1 of the Florida Gators watches the action during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at EverBank Field on October 30, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Why Jenkins is Special: He has the size and skills to become a starter in the secondary next season.

    Why Jenkins Goes Here: He is too aggressive in trying to make an interception, which results in missed tackles.

    Why Jenkins Fits: Houston’s secondary gave up way too many big-play passes late in the game this year.

10) Washington Redskins, Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

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    WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Quarterback Dan LeFevour #13 of the Central Michigan Chippewas is tackled by Ryan Kerrigan #94 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 20, 2008 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Why Kerrigan is Special: He explodes off the ball to create a disruption in the backfield on every down.

    Why Kerrigan Goes Here: Scouts feel he is average height (6-4) and weight (259 lbs.), but has above-average speed.

    Why Kerrigan Fits: Washington needs to begin a new era on the defensive line after the Albert Haynesworth fiasco last season.

9) Tennessee Titans, Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after a long reception against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Why Jones is Special: He has had another stellar season, as Jones is a four-year starter at Alabama.

    Why Jones Goes Here: There have been health issues as far as keeping him on the field.

    Why Jones Fits: Tennessee needs to get younger at the wideout position.

8) San Francisco 49ers, Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

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    PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Linebacker Akeem Ayers #10 of the UCLA Bruins in the game with the Houston Cougars at the Rose Bowl on September 18, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 31-13.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Why Ayers is Special: He has great skills to play the run and drop back to defend in obvious pass situations.

    Why Ayers Goes Here: Scouts question whether he could rush the QB.

    Why Ayers Fits: San Francisco needs to acquire more skilled players on the defensive side of the ball.

7) Dallas Cowboys, Prince Amukamora, CB, Nebraska:

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04:  Wide receiver Cameron Kenney #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs the ball against Prince Amukamara #21 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the Big 12 Championship at Cowboys Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Why Amukamora is Special: His physical play will make him a shutdown corner for many years to come in the NFL.

    Why Amukamora Here: It’s a crapshoot to pick players this high in the draft.

    Why Amukamora Fits: All season, Dallas has had problems defending the pass.

6) Arizona Cardinals, Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas

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    COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 06:  Ryan Mallett #15 of the Arkansas Razorbacks against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Why Mallett is Special: His talents have been talked about since his days at Michigan.

    Why Mallett Goes Here: No question that he is one of the top-rated quarterbacks in this draft.

    Why Mallett Fits: All season, Arizona has been trying to replace Kurt Warner in the offense.

5) Buffalo Bills, A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

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    AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 13:  A.J. Green #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Why Green is Special: He is an unstoppable threat from the outside position.

     Why Green Goes Here: He will be the first skill position player taken after a QB.

    Why Green Fits: Buffalo may take a QB with this pick, but Green’s play-making ability might be too tempting to pass up.

4) Detroit Lions, Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Robert Quinn #42 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after a sack with teammate Marvin Austin #9 against the East Carolina Pirates at Kenan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by St
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Why Quinn is Special: He has great size and speed to become a dominant pass-rusher.

    Why Quinn Goes Here: Don’t be surprised if he moves up to the top spot in the draft.

    Why Quinn Fits: Perfect complement for Suh on Detroit’s defensive line

3) Denver Broncos, Nick Fairley, DT/DE, Auburn

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    AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 23:  Mike Blanc #93 and Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers against the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Why Fairley Special: He was considered more valuable than Cam Newton to Auburn’s success this season.

    Why Fairley Goes Here: Too talented a group of defensive lineman.

    Why Fairley Fits: Denver needs to get younger on its defensive line.

2) Cincinnati Bengals, De’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

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    AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 18:  Da'Quan Bowers #93 of the Clemson Tigers against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Why Bowers is Special: He can rush the QB, as Bowers recorded over 13 sacks this season.

    Why Bowers Goes Here: He could end up the No.1 overall pick if John Fox remains in Carolina.

    Why Bowers Fits: Cincinnati has too many problems to solve this off-season, and they might as well start with the defense.

1) Carolina Panthers, Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

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    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 11:  2010 Heisman Trophy candidate Andrew Luck of the Stanford University Cardinals listens to a question at a press conference at The New York Marriott Marquis on December 11, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Im
    Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

    Why Luck is Special: He is a talented QB that will start immediately next season.

    Why Luck Goes Here: Scouts love his ability to read defenses.

    Why Luck Fits: The QB play has been the key to Carolina’s demise this season.

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