NFL Mock Draft: Predicting the Entire 1st Round

Justin EisenbandCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2011

NFL Mock Draft: Predicting the Entire 1st Round

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    PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal in action against the Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    As the NFL regular season and NCAA bowl games begin to wrap up, the mind naturally turns to the next stage in the football cycle: the NFL Draft.

    There are several intriguing quarterback prospects in the draft, including Auburn's Cam Newton, Stanford's Andrew Luck and Arkansas' Ryan Mallet.

    While some players have already hinted that they are likely to forgo any remaining years of eligibility, other stars such as LaMichael James and Terrelle Pryor have already indicated that they intend to return to their respective teams.

    Taking into account likely draft order, team needs and the fact that not every highly touted college player will turn pro, here is a prediction of the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft:

32. New England Patriots

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    AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 10: Jordan Shipley #8 of the Texas Longhorns wrestles for control of the ball with cornerback Jimmy Smith #3 of the Colorado Buffaloes for an incomplete pass on October 10, 2009 at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Tex
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

    New England may be dominating this season, but their pass defense has been seriously lacking. The Patriots are ranked just 30th against the pass this season.

    Smith could likely start in his rookie season across from Devin McCourty. A member of the All-Big 12 first team and a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, Smith is the second-best cornerback prospect in college this season to Nebraska's Prince Amukamara.

31. Atlanta Falcons

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    TAMPA, FL -  JANUARY 1: Lineman Gabe Carimi #68 of the Wisconsin Badgers sets to block  against the Tennessee Volunteers in the 2008 Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  The Volunteers won 21 - 17. (Photo by Al Mess
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

    The Falcons do not have many glaring needs, but Carimi is a big body that the Falcons could insert into their offensive line immediately. Atlanta could also go with a defensive lineman in this spot.

30. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 7:  Tyron Smith #70 of the USC Trojans stretches before the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 7, 2009 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.  USC won 14-9.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
    Jeff Golden/Getty Images

    Tyron Smith, OT, USC

    Smith is a versatile lineman, and he proved it by winning the 2010 Pac-10 Morris Trophy. Smith needs to put a little more bulk on his frame before he can move to the next level. The Steelers may even move Smith to guard if he cannot put on the size needed to play outside.

29. Baltimore Ravens

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    EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 31: Brandon Beachum #3 of the Penn State Nittany Lions hops over teammate Stefen Wisniewski #61 and Brian Peters #10 of the Northwestern Wildcats to score a touchdown at Ryan Field on October 31, 2009 in Evanston, Illinois. Penn Sta
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State

    The Baltimore running game was not as impressive as expected this season, and the problem laid within the offensive line. Wisniewski is an All-American second team center. He is highly skilled, physical and an extremely intelligent player who will fit nicely within the Ravens line.

28. Chicago Bears

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 01:  Ricco Sanders #11 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs rushes against the Michigan Wolverines during the Gator Bowl at EverBank Field on January 1, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida  (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
    Rick Dole/Getty Images

    Derrick Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

    The Bears had a variety of issues with their offensive line this season. Just think about the New York Giants game when Jay Cutler was knocked out of the game by a pass rush getting through an offensive line with more holes than swiss cheese.

    Sherrod is a second team All-American offensive lineman and could be an immediate plug-in player in his rookie season for the Bears.

27. New Orleans Saints

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    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 23:  Ryan Kerrigan #94 of the Purdue Boilermakers attempts to tackle Brandon Saine #3 of the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

    New Orleans has struggled with the pass rush at times this season, allowing too much time for opposing quarterbacks to sit back and throw. Kerrigan is one of the most dominant pass rushers in the college game today and should thrive on the next level. The Saints just have to hope that he falls to them.

26. Philadelphia Eagles

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    BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Orakpo #98 of the Texas Longhorns rushes against Nate Solder #78 the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 4, 2008 in Boulder, Colorado. Texas defeated Colorado 38-14.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Nate Solder, OT, Colorado

    The Eagles are set at the tackle positions with Winston Justice and Jason Peters, but for a team with so many strengths, it would not hurt to take Solder for depth purposes. Solder is an absolute monster at 6'8'' and 320 pounds.

25. New York Jets

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    COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 06:  Knile Davis #7 of the Arkansas Razorbacks is congratulated by teammates after scoring a touchdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas

    The Jets' biggest needs come on the offensive side of the ball. New York will continue to trust Mark Sanchez and give him time to develop. They also have a ridiculous amount of depth at wide receiver and running back. Therefore, offensive line is the only logical way to go with their first pick.

    Love is an absolute mauler out of Arkansas. He spent five years in college and is definitely ready to contribute in the NFL.

24. Kansas City Chiefs

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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

    Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

    The Chiefs had a great season thus far; however, the offense is entirely too focused on the running game. The only true wide receiver threat right now is Dwayne Bowe, who has been inconsistent this season.

    Pairing him with Julio Jones, a dynamic threat as a wide receiver, could put the Chiefs over the top as one of the elite teams in the NFL.

23. Green Bay Packers

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Cameron Heyward #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes chases after quarterback Matt McGloin #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

    Green Bay is really lacking depth and talent on the defensive line behind B.J. Raji. Heyward is an immensely talented player who can play anywhere on the defensive line because of his size. Green Bay should be a good fit for the Buckeye defender who was a member of the All-Big Ten Conference first team.

22. Indianapolis Colts

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Dave Shinskie #15 of the Boston College Eagles passes the ball in overtime as teammate Anthony Castonzo #74 blocks against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on September 26, 2009 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachus
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

    It was evident this season that Peyton Manning just didn't have the same kind of pass protection of previous years. Moreover, the running game just didn't have room to work in Indianapolis.

    Therefore, the Colts will go after an offensive lineman who can be a difference-maker. Castonzo fits the bill as a four-year starter and talented tackle.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 20:  Defensive linemen Adrian Clayborn #94 and Karly Klug #95 of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes celebrate a quarterback sack against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half of play at Kinnick Stadium on November 20, 2010 in
    David Purdy/Getty Images

    Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

    Tampa Bay could use some help with their rush defense, which ranked 28th in the NFL this season. Clayborn was undoubtedly both an emotional and physical leader on a stout Iowa defense, and he could immediately contribute to a Buccaneers defense that was good but not great this season.

20. New York Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 28:  David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by Barry Cofield #96 of the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on November 28, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Phillip Taylor, DT, Baylor

    The Giants produced an excellent pass rush from the outside this season but could use an upgrade from defensive tackle Barry Cofield in the middle. Taylor comes in with enormous size at 6'4'' and 340 pounds. Taylor is a riskier pick, but the Giants should be willing to take a shot on him.

19. San Diego Chargers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16:  Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans eludes the rush of Cameron Jordan #97 of the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 16, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Har
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Cameron Jordan, DE, California

    Jordan, an All-Pac-10 first selection, is an excellent pass rusher with a terrific burst off of the line and good size. The Chargers defense has been terrific this season, except for Jacques Cesaire, who should not be starting for any NFL team. Jordan would start as a rookie and could put up big numbers for such a talented defense.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars

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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

    Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA

    The Jaguars have to do something to improve their secondary, which was one of the worst in the NFL this season. Moore is one of the best safeties, if not the best, in the country at the college level. He could immediately contribute to a team that needs to do something to plug the gaping holes in the secondary.

17. Miami Dolphins

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes 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

    Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

    The Miami running game was not nearly as effective as previous years. The Ronnie Brown-Ricky Williams combination is simply not talented enough to be relied upon as a difference-maker.

    The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, Ingram is the type of playmaker that could come in and make a huge difference in a Dolphins offense that looked stagnant at times this season.

16. St. Louis Rams

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Ryan Broyles #85 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts in the second quarter while taking on the Connecticut Huskies during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Phot
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma

    The Rams, despite likely being a playoff team, have several holes to fill. The first should be finding a decent number one wide receiver for Sam Bradford to throw to.

    Another Sooner, Ryan Broyles, could be the answer. Broyles has all the tools to succeed in the NFL and could form a terrific connection with Bradford should the Rams draft him.

15. New England Patriots

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    AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 25:  University of Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert #7 scores a touchdown during the second half against Texas A&M at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2010 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Imag
    Darren Carroll/Getty Images

    Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

    The Patriots will get Oakland's pick from the Richard Seymour trade. The Patriots will continue to rebuild their defense with Miller, a First Team All-American and an absolute monster on the defensive side of the ball. Miller is one of the best pass rushers in college football and could replace the production that Seymour took with him to Oakland.

14. Minnesota Vikings

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 30:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies passes against the Stanford Cardinal on October 30, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Jake Locker, QB, Washington

    Locker lost a ton of value with his decision to stay in college last season. The Vikings are in desperate need of depth at quarterback, but will likely have to settle for Locker with Luck, Newton and Mallet off the board. Locker has all the tools to succeed and looks like the prototypical NFL quarterback, but he will have to convince scouts that this season's performance was an anomaly.

13. Washinton Redskins

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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

    Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

    Blackmon set all kinds of records at Oklahoma State and was the unquestioned number one wide receiver in college football this season. The Redskins could use some talent at wide receiver behind Santana Moss. Blackmon will be the type of difference-maker that can change an offense. It might take a few years, but Blackmon will be a top wide receiver in the NFL some day.

12. Tennessee Titans

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 30:  Janoris Jenkins #1 of the Florida Gators looks over the offense 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

    Janoris Jenkins, CB, Florida

    The Titans really struggled against the pass this season, ranked 28th and allowing over 250 passing yards per game. Jenkins was one of the few bright spots for the Gators this season. Jenkins has the ability to see the field well, has excellent hands and gets terrific jumps on the ball. The Titans have a lot of needs, but the secondary is one that should be addressed immediately with Jenkins.

11. Seattle Seahawks

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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

    Ryan Mallet, QB, Arkansas

    The Seahawks were able to compete in a weak NFC West this season, but mostly because of how weak the division really was. Seattle is looking for a replacement for Matt Hasselbeck, who did not have a great season. Mallet is a strong-armed, big quarterback who could very well end up being the best quarterback to emerge from the 2011 draft.

10. Detroit Lions

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 07:  Thaddeus Lewis #9 of the Duke Blue Devils is sacked by Robert Quinn #42 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina

    Quinn was suspended in his senior season for receiving improper benefits at North Carolina. Still, the defensive end is immensely talented despite his off-the-field troubles. The Lions will continue to revamp their defense and add yet another talented player to their defensive line in Quinn.

9. Cleveland Browns

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 02:  Marcell Dareus #57 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 2, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama

    The Browns were one of the worst teams against the run this season, allowing over 130 rushing yards per game. Dareus can play either inside or outside on the defensive line and is one of the best defensive line prospects in college football this season. As a junior, Dareus was selected to the All-American Third Team.

8. Houston Texans

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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: Prince Amukamara #21 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers misses a chance at an interception from Scotty McKnight #21 of the Colorado Buffaloes during the second half of their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Neb
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

    The Texans are another team that had major problems in their secondary this season. Amukamara  projects as an immediate starter in the NFL with the size and speed to translate his game to the next level. While he is sometimes considered overaggressive at the cornerback position, Amukamara is one of the safest picks in the 2011 draft and could be an NFL Pro Bowler within a few years.

7. Dallas Cowboys

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs rushes with the ball as J.J. Watt #99 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs after him in the first quarter of the 97th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Pho
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

    J.J. Watt still has some question marks whether he will enter the 2011 NFL Draft, but his talent will likely lead him towards declaring. Watt is one of the better leaders in college football and projects as a defensive standout and special player on the next level. The Cowboys could use some leaders and playmakers on the defensive end outside of DeMarcus Ware.

6. San Francisco 49ers

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    AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Defensive lineman Nick Fairley #90 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates a play during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

    The 49ers have several needs and quarterback could be one way to go. However, San Francisco is also in desperate need of a nose tackle who fits their 3-4 defensive scheme, as Aubrayo Franklin was simply underwhelming this year. Fairley is a special player that could immediately change the face of the 49ers defense.

5. Arizona Cardinals

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

    Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn

    The Cardinals seem like they are several players away from competing again, but quarterback is their most obvious and glaring hole. Max Hall and Derek Anderson have failed miserably this season.

    Newton is a risky pick because he has some bad habits that will not translate well into the pros. However, he also has the most upside of any offensive prospect in college football. Essentially, he could be Michael Vick with a better arm, or JaMarcus Russell.

    The talent is too good to ignore, so the Cardinals will scoop him up with the fifth pick.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

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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

    A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

    The Bengals will likely be without at least Terrell Owens and maybe Chad Ochocinco next season. Green is the type of prospect at wide receiver that can come in and replace the production that those veterans will take with them. Green has terrific size for the wide receiver position and has drawn some comparisons to Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

3. Buffalo Bills

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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

    Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

    Bowers is one of the most talented defensive prospects in college football this year. A member of the AP All-American First Team, Bowers has the size at 6'4'', 280 pounds and speed to be an absolute nightmare for opposing offensive lines in the NFL. The Bills could certainly use defensive playmakers on their defensive line, and Bowers will surely fit the bill.

2. Denver Broncos

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 20:  Patrick Peterson #7 of the Louisiana State University Tigers nearly intercepts a pass in the final seconds against Markeith Summers #16 and Korvic Neat #28 of the Ole Miss Rebels as time expired at Tiger Stadium on November
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

    Peterson is the best cover corner in the nation. NFL teams have been salivating at his talent since the 2008 season. The Broncos need to do something to improve their defense, and with many holes, the secondary is a great place to start.

    Peterson, a First Team AP All-American selection, will start opposite Champ Bailey right away and improve a Denver defense that allowed 387 yards per game this season.

1. Carolina Panthers

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    PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal in action against the Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Stadium on November 27, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

    Luck is pretty much the unanimous No. 1 pick in most mock drafts. The Carolina Panthers have mediocre quarterback options in Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen, but no real talent at the position.

    Luck still has question marks about whether he will leave school, but it will be tough to ignore the amount of money that will likely be thrown at him for a No. 1 selection.