With just over a week before the 2011 NFL Draft, many draft pundits have agreed on the top three picks in the draft. Many have thought Cam Newton will be the first pick overall to the Carolina Panthers. Blaine Gabbert, however, has been forecasted to go either to Cincinnati at the number four spot, Arizona at five, San Francisco at seven, Tennessee at eight and Washington with the number 10 pick. Will Gabbert fall like Aaron Rodgers and Brady Quinn did in past drafts? Not likely. Too many teams are in the market for a new quarterback this year.
1. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
With the play last year of Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen, Carolina is still in the market for a QB. Its somewhat unfair to give up on Clausen, a second round pick a year ago, so soon. I dont think Carolina can pass up the playmaking ability of Newton.
2. DENVER BRONCOS
Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Denver's defensive line needs major improvement. Even though he was really just a one year starter, Dareus racked up 11 sacks last year for Alabama.
3. BUFFALO BILLS
Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M
Buffalo's defense was awful last year. Anything will help. Many argue that Buffalo needs a QB of the future. Ryan Fitzpatrick should be a little better than average for a year or two while Buffalo shapes the defense. Buffalo's offense kept them in games last year. The 2010 Butkus Award Winner will help the edge pass rush for the Bills, as he collected 33 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in his college career.
4. CINCINNATI BENGALS
A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Here is where it gets sticky. Carson Palmer might retire, or be traded. Cincinnati apparently isn't in love with Blaine Gabbert, but they could be bluffing. If they aren't, A.J. Green makes the most sense, with Terrell Owens moving on. Not completely sold on this one though, it could easily be a number of other players.
5. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Patrick Peterson, CB, Louisiana State
Many have said Blaine Gabbert will be selected by Arizona in this spot. I think the Cardinals will be dealing or signing a veteran quarterback before the season begins. Kevin Kolb, Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer or Matt Hasselbeck have all been rumored. I dont think Arizona wants to wait to develop another rookie QB. Peterson would be give the Cardinals a shut down corner.
6. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Julio Jones, wr, Alabama
Cleveland needs a wide receiver badly to team with Colt McCoy. Recent high picks Brian Robiskie and Mohammad Massaquoi have been slow to develop. Jones would be a great fit for Pat Shurmur's west coast system. A defensive tackle like Nick Fairley might be another option.
7. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
Blaine Gabbert falls to the San Francisco 49ers, who will be looking to replace Alex Smith. The 49ers have a good nucleus of players and may decide to pick up a veteran instead. If they dont pick Gabbert, Tennessee would definitely grab him with the next pick.