Mike Mayock is arguably the best NFL draft analyst so I've been looking forward to his 2011 NFL mock draft. Despite trying to talk himself out of a quarterback at the top, QB Cam Newton is his No. 1 pick for the Carolina Panthers. Following that he has LB Von Miller to the Denver Broncos and DT Marcell Dareus to the Buffalo Bills at the third pick.
I can't argue a whole lot with that. I can easily see those three players picked in the top three but in various order. Dareus could still go No. 1 overall, Miller to No. 2 and Newton to No. 3. Or I could see Newton going first followed by Dareus and then Miller.
No position can change a franchise like quarterback so Newton will be a very high pick, if not No. 1 overall. But there's no consensus on the top defensive player in the draft. Mayock says Dareus is the best defensive player in the draft but others have compared Miller to Derrick Thomas so I think either way you're getting a player that's highly thought of.
Now that my top three rant is out of the way, here are a few other notes on Mayock's mock draft:
-Blaine Gabbert falls to No. 7. This is a little surprising because many have him going in the top five. The momentum in the last few days seems to have Gabbert falling past both Cincinnati and Arizona so he may not be a top five pick after all.
-Jake Locker to the Patriots? That's what Mayock has but he says that's only because the Patriots will trade the 28th pick to a quarterback-needy team.