With the NFL and the NFLPA agreeing to a week long extension of the labor talks and the Scouting Combine just completed, it seemed like an opportune time to put together a mock draft. I enlisted one of the most knowledgeable NFL fans I know, big Al, to help me work through the picks. Today, we are looking at picks 1-2.
With the first pick in the NFL draft, the Carolina Panthers select: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn. With the Panthers having traded their 2nd round pick last draft to the Patriots, they will have to decide how much they like Jimmy Clausen and that decision will alter their draft strategy. If they aren’t sold on him, then expect Carolina to draft a QB in round one, ensuring new coach Ron Rivera starts with a guy he believes he can work with. Recent reports have said that the Panthers are looking hard at the top two quarterbacks, and it is a position of premium value for the NFL. There is no consensus #1 in this draft according to most experts. While we agree on the position, Alex thinks the pick will be Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert. I think even though Newton didn’t amaze people at the Combine, his measurables and game tape will put him back on the top of the draft board of many teams by the time April comes around. Newton will be the new face of the Carolina Panthers. Clausen joins Carson Palmer on the trade block.
With the second pick in the NFL draft, the Denver Broncos select: DaQuan Bowers, Clemson. New coach John Fox is implementing a new 4-3 defensive scheme in Denver, and he will need a bookend pass rusher to build around. While Elvis Dumervil has performed great when healthy, it’s debatable whether or not he can handle defensive end in a 4-3 scheme at 5’11”, 248 pounds. The recent resigning of CB Champ Bailey made this an easy call. The Broncos need to address the front line of their defense. North Carolina DE Robert Quinn was also considered, but missing the 2010 season due to NCAA suspension makes him a riskier pick. Bowers should be healthy by the draft, and that will keep him in the top 5 picks.