2011 NFL Mock Draft: Is Bigger Really Better for the Carolina Panthers?

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Is Bigger Really Better for the Carolina Panthers?
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The Carolina Panthers have the hardest decision any No.1 pick has had in the last few years. Usually, there is that franchise quarterback who the team could have started signing after Week 17. This year, the lack of that guaranteed pick (Luck) has created a huge conundrum for the Panthers.

The first Mock Drafts from Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay both have Carolina selecting one of the many dominant linemen. McShay has Carolina selecting Da’Quan Bowers, while Kiper has the Panthers taking Nick Fairley.

I have seen Fairley, and I know how he can dominate a game; just ask Oregon. He had 11.5 sacks while playing in the SEC and this 6'5" monster defines what it means to be a pass rusher. It makes all the sense in the world for the Panthers to select Fairley.

Looking back, they haven’t had a good penetrating lineman since Brenston Buckner and Fairley could easily be the best the Panthers have ever had. Just look at the effect Damione Lewis had with the Panthers. Fairley could be five times better.

With all this being said, I’m not confident the Panthers should take Fairley. I am unsure if he can play the run as well as he did in college and only one year of success raises questions. The other options, besides a trade, are Da’Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn, Blaine Gabbert and A.J. Green.

Should Carolina take a monster in the middle, or will the need for speed (and a Gabbert) win out in the end?

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