2011 NFL Mock Draft Top 10: Auburn's Cam Newton or Missouri's Blaine Gabbert?

Grant Tucker@@grant_tuckerContributor IIApril 23, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft Top 10: Auburn's Cam Newton or Missouri's Blaine Gabbert?

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    As the end of April approaches, so does the NFL draft.  

    This year’s draft class is an interesting one, and many will be tuned in come Thursday.  

    The theme of this year’s draft seems to be the power struggle between two great quarterbacks, Cam Newton (Auburn) and Blaine Gabbert (Missouri).

    Here is my mock top 10 picks.

1. Carolina Panthers: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

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    Although there is much uncertainty surrounding the top pick, Blaine Gabbert would be a great quarterback/franchise player that the Panthers could center their offense around.

    Gabbert still has a lot of room to grow as a decision maker, but has the physical tools and skill to be a great NFL quarterback.  

    If Gabbert adjusts well to the NFL style of football, he should be a solid draft choice for the Panthers as their top pick.

2. Denver Broncos: Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

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    The Broncos will need to concentrate on defense this offseason as they were ranked dead last in total defense at the end of last year.

    Although they have not made it clear who they want, Marcell Dareus, a defensive tackle out of Alabama, would be a huge help to Denver’s lacking defensive line.

    Dareus is a great defensive tackle who has the ability to take over a game.

    They also could go with a player in the secondary as they are making an offseason transition to a 3-4 defense.

3. Buffalo Bills: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

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    Cam Newton is an extraordinary physical specimen who has the capability of being a great NFL quarterback.

    Newton would certainly fit in the Bills offense and could slowly be taught the art of being a quarterback in the NFL.

    Many teams do not want to carry the burden of Newton’s off-field issues, but it is hard to pass up a 6'6", 250-pound quarterback, who has 4.5 speed and a strong arm.

4. Cincinnati Bengals: AJ Green, WR, Georgia

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    Bengals head coach, Mike Brown, seems to be very resistant in releasing or trading the disgruntled, Carson Palmer, at quarterback.

    With this, the Bengals need a replacement for Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.

    So, in the eighth slot I see the Bengals taking the best wide receiver left on the board in AJ Green.

5. Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M

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    Although many think that the Cardinals will take a much needed quarterback in the first round, the Cardinals have faith in their two young, up and coming quarterbacks on the roster, Derek Anderson and Max Hall.

    A strong pass rusher would be the key to their success on the other side of the ball, as they gave up the third most points in the NFL this past year.

6. Cleveland Browns: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

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    Patrick Peterson may be the best player in this draft and his potential upside is remarkable.

    He has a lethal combination of both size and speed and will be a shutdown corner in the NFL.

    The Browns are desperate in the secondary and he could be looking at a starting spot right out of the gates, if Cleveland pulls the trigger on him.  

7. San Francisco 49ers: Da’quan Bowers, DE, Clemson

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    The 49ers are in dire need of a quarterback, but with the seventh pick Blaine Gabbert will already be chosen and Cam Newton does not fit into San Francisco’s system.

    San Francisco could be looking to possibly move themselves up on the draft board to snag one of those QBs.

    If they stay put, the 49ers may be able to get the best defensive end in the draft which would make an immediate positive impact on their defense.

8 .Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

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    The Tennesee Titans are also in need of a new franchise quarterback, but with Gabbert off their draft board, the Titans are not going to risk another “Vince Young-like” run first QB in Cam Newton.

    Nick Fairley could provide Tennessee with a solid presence in the trenches and with the recent hiring of Auburn’s defensive line coach, Fairley should excel with his old coach behind him.

9. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

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    The Dallas Cowboys had a dismal season last year.

    They did not live up to the expectations many had of them and the main reason was their pass coverage.

    Amukamara would be a great addition to the Cowboys' secondary and hopefully jump start a veteran group of players.  

10. Washington Redskins: Robert Quinn, OLB, North Carolina

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    At the 10th pick overall, Robert Quinn, would be a good fit for the Redskins defense, which was in the bottom quarter of the NFL in almost every defensive statistic.

    Washington finished last in the NFC East for the third straight year and they are desperate for a decent season.