2011 NFL Mock Draft: Major Changes Throughout the Top 10

Lee NoeContributor IIMarch 17, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Major Changes Throughout the Top 10

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    Has Blaine Gabbert's pro day performance moved him into top pick consideration? Has Cam Newton's stock fallen? Is Patrick Peterson a Top Three pick or will he fall?

    These question will be answered, here and now.

    The latest in my mock draft series. This mock will focus on the Top 10 picks, all of which have been affected by the NFL Combine and each players' pro day since the last update was released about two weeks ago.

No. 1 Carolina Panthers

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    Cam Newton, Quarterback, Auburn

    While Cam Newton remains one of the most scrutinized quarterbacks to come out of college football in recent years, the man's skill set cannot be ignored.

    He possesses a tremendous arm, great mobility and is a successful and proven leader on the field. However, his accuracy and desire to live the game of football day-to-day have caused some to question his campaign to be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

    The Panthers are in a good spot, they can choose between four or five players who have a shot at being true superstars in the NFL.

    These guys are: Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Marcell Dareus, Patrick Peterson, and/or A.J. Green.

    With that, I think Newton will be the pick, because he wants to be the face of a franchise (although, I am 50/50 with Gabbert and Newton).

    With Ron Rivera at the helm, and Newton under center, the Panthers can look toward a brighter future. However, they may bring in a veteran quarterback to help Newton's progression for the 2011-2012 season...if there is one.

No. 2 Denver Broncos

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    Marcell Dareus, Defensive End/Tackle, Alabama

    I've had Da'Quan Bowers here for the past few mocks, but it seems as though he has lost some steam. Whether this is because of his injury or his "one year wonder" status, no one can be sure.

    This pick will probably come down to Dareus and Patrick Peterson, both of whom fill pretty big needs for the Broncos defense.

    In the end, I believe that the extension given to Champ Bailey will cause Denver to put the big bucks into a different position. Without a rookie cap, the Broncos would have way too much invested in two players who play the same position.

No. 3 Buffalo Bills

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    Blaine Gabbert, Quarterback, Missouri

    All reports from Blaine Gabbert's pro day today have been outstanding. Scouts and experts have said that Gabbert was on the money with all but one pass on the day.

    On top of that good news, Gabbert reportedly scored a 42 on his Wonderlic test, which is extremely impressive. Although there is good news regarding his accuracy today, questions still remain in regards to his footwork and his ability to play under center, much like Newton.

    The Bills could go with Gabbert or Patrick Peterson here, but in the end the Bills need to acquire the franchise quarterback that the team and fans have been hoping for since Jim Kelly.

    Gabbert should be trusted by the fans and the staff as he is a high-character guy that can help the Bills back to the playoffs after a decade-long drought.

No. 4 Cincinnati Bengals

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    Patrick Peterson, Cornerback, LSU

    Seeing as though Jonathan Joseph is a free agent, the Bengals will probably look to fill the void early. They also worked out Prince Amakumara at his pro day a few weeks ago, meaning they consider cornerback a big need.

    Peterson is a phenom who will help solidify the Bengals secondary—assuming they can get a competent safety.

No. 5 Arizona Cardinals

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    Von Miller, 3-4 Outside Linebacker, Texas A&M

    An absolutely dynamic pass rusher, Von Miller is one of the most exciting players in this draft. He could easily have a Clay Matthews-type impact on the Cardinals' defense if things work out (other needs must be addressed). 

    The Cardinals will not have a tough decision to make if Gabbert and Newton are off the board. Miller will be their guy here.

No. 6 Cleveland Browns

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    A.J. Green, Wide Receiver, Georgia

    The Browns need a go-to guy for Colt McCoy in a bad way. Brian Robiskie has been a huge disappointment, while the rest of the Browns' receivers haven't been any better.

    Da'Quan Bowers is an option here as well, but if Colt McCoy is going to be the future of the Browns, he needs to be surrounded with guys that can help him out in the passing game.

No. 7 San Francisco 49ers

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    Prince Amukamara, Cornerback, Nebraska

    Some might think this is a bit high for Amukamara, but he is a baller.

    Hands down. 

    With Taylor Mays presumably holding down the middle of the field, Amukamara will secure the outside and allow the 49ers to find a new quarterback in the next couple rounds.

    Nick Fairley is an option here as well, but his stock seems to be dropping fast.

No. 8 Tennessee Titans

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    Nick Fairley, Defensive Tackle, Auburn

    The Titans defense has struggled a bit since the departure of Albert Haynesworth, and while we can all laugh at that statement, it is true.

    This pick was between Da'Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn, and Fairley for me.

    I decided to go with Fairley, because teams never take a player at the same position in consecutive years in the first round. It is very rare to see a team go back-to-back at the same position, especially in the Top 15 picks both years.

No. 9 Dallas Cowboys

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    J.J. Watt, 3-4 Defensive End, Wisconsin

    I believe this pick should be Cameron Jordan, but J.J. Watt has literally shot up draft boards throughout the past two weeks.

    The Cowgirls need help at 3-4 defensive end, and it will probably come down to J.J. Watt and Cameron Jordan. All of it depends on their draft board.

    Da'Quan Bowers could be an option too, depending on his ability to play end in the 3-4 defense. 

No. 10 Washington Redskins

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    Julio Jones, Wide Receiver, Alabama

    A team needing a receiver (such as St. Louis) may trade picks with a team like Dallas to snag Jones before the Redskins can get their hands on him. Jones had an outstanding combine and could have passed A.J. Green as the top receiver in this year's class.

    Washington is out of luck in regards to quarterback and will have to look for a guy at the end of the first round or throughout the next couple.

    Or they can wait until they have a Top Five pick next year and select Matt Barkley or Andrew Luck, because the Redskins are going to be garbage this year.