With Cam Newton the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, our attention turns to the rest of the top-10, where the picture remains unclear. While much of the top-10 remains in-flux, the No. 2 spot appears to belong to Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. The 2011 draft class boasts a wealth of depth at the defensive tackle spot, and Dareus has been the most steady performer leading up to the draft.
Where do the experts think Dareus will end up? A spin around the Internet shows an overwhelming majority of 2011 NFL mock drafts have him off the board at No. 2, to the Denver Broncos.
Rob Rang, CBS Sports: Defensive tackle is a big position of need for the Broncos and Dareus could immediately step in and plug a hole. Rang likes Dareus as the Broncos’ pick at No. 2, and expects Denver to take Dareus, calling him one of the safest picks in the draft.
The Broncos have a variety of needs, but none bigger than at defensive tackle. Denver finished 31st in the NFL in run defense last year and recently released former starters Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams. Dareus is the best run-stuffing defensive tackle in this class and among the safer picks.
Chad Reuter, CBS Sports: Reuter concurs with his CBS Sports counterpart and has Dareus heading to Denver with the No. 2 pick. Da’Quan Bowers had a chance to jump into the No. 1 spot on the defensive tackle board, but questions about his health and less than impressive workouts have him falling, to the benefit of Dareus.
Da’Quan Bowers failed to put up the exceptional pro day needed to quiet fears about his health, so Denver instead picks the playmaker on the interior needed to play off edge rushers Robert Ayers and Elvis Dumervil.
SB Nation’s latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft: Brian Galliford and Dan Kadar also have Dareus coming off the board at No. 2, but also note the Denver Broncos may be looking to trade down. With the NFL lockout still ongoing and teams only allowed to trade picks, putting together a package for the No. 2 pick looks to be nearly impossible. Forced to bite the bullet, the Broncos should scoop up Dareus with the pick.