NFL Mock Draft I Sees Nick Fairley Going No. 1 Overall, Cameron Jordan Going to Patriots at No. 17

NFL Mock Draft I Sees Nick Fairley Going No. 1 Overall, Cameron Jordan Going to Patriots at No. 17 The 2011 draft class looks amazing for teams that need help along the defensive line, but it’s scary for the franchises who want their quarterback of the future.

Interestingly, the quarterback-needy teams — there are as many as eight in the top 10 — could shape the entire first round, depending on their desire to select a quarterback or the best player available.

The Patriots have two first-round picks, and realistically speaking, this edition of the mock draft might have set them up with their two most ideal players at picks 17 and 28.

Let’s open up Mock Draft I, the first edition of 13 mock drafts that will run every Thursday until April 28.

(*Denotes picks will be determined by the outcome of the Super Bowl.)

1. Carolina Panthers
2010 Record: 2-14
Needs: Quarterback, defensive tackle, outside linebacker, guard, wide receiver, tight end, defensive end
The Pick: Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley
Analysis: This is Fairley’s spot for now, but he still has to prove it through a series of good pre-draft interviews. Otherwise, it could be Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers.

2. Denver Broncos
2010 Record: 4-12
Needs: Defensive end, cornerback, safety, outside linebacker
The Pick: Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers
Analysis: Switching back to the 4-3, the Broncos can pair Bowers with Elvis Dumervil at both defensive end spots. More enticing, Dumervil could line up as a rush linebacker alongside Bowers in other packages.

3. Buffalo Bills
2010 Record: 4-12
Needs: Quarterback, tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, tight end, cornerback, safety
The Pick: Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller
Analysis: Once thought to be a mid-first-rounder, Miller’s stock soared at the Senior Bowl, and he’d fit a great need for the Bills, who were so desperate for a pass-rusher last season that they acquired Shawne Merriman.

4. Cincinnati Bengals
2010 Record: 4-12
Needs: Defensive end, quarterback, running back, wide receiver, inside linebacker, safety
The Pick: North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn
Analysis: The Bengals aren’t scared of controversial players, and Quinn could play opposite of defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who entered the 2010 draft with plenty of question marks.

5. Arizona Cardinals
2010 Record: 5-11
Needs: Quarterback, left tackle, guard, outside linebacker, cornerback
The Pick: LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson
Analysis: Peterson looks like he could be a better version of Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. He’s got raw speed, but his quickness can be questioned, which could make him the contestant of the most anticipated cone drill ever (equal parts serious and sarcastic).

6. Cleveland Browns
2010 Record: 5-11
Needs: Wide receiver, tackle, guard, defensive end, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, cornerback, safety
The Pick: Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green
Analysis: This could be a best-case scenario for the Browns, who were starving for a wide receiver in 2010. Chansi Stuckey led Cleveland wideouts with 40 receptions.

7. San Francisco 49ers
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, outside linebacker, defensive tackle, defensive end, safety, wide receiver
The Pick: Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara
Analysis: The 49ers could go in a few directions here to add to their defense, but they ranked 24th against the pass and Amukamara could help the secondary move in a new direction.

8. Tennessee Titans
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, inside linebacker, defensive end, guard
The Pick: Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert
Analysis: Until the Titans hire a head coach, it’s hard to predict where they’ll go with this pick. But since they’re essentially turning over their organization, it makes sense to target a quarterback in the draft.

9. Dallas Cowboys
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Tackle, defensive end, guard, safety, cornerback
The Pick: Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus
Analysis: Dareus’ versatility along the line makes him an intriguing prospect, but he’d be a tremendous fit for the Cowboys’ 3-4 scheme.

10. Washington Redskins
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, right tackle, wide receiver, right guard, cornerback, safety, defensive end
The Pick: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton
Analysis: Head coach Mike Shanahan can extend his tenure if he sells owner Dan Snyder on the notion that he can develop Newton, but it could be tough to pitch to the fan base, which saw the Redskins take Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell in the first round in 2005.

Click here for picks 11-20  |  Click here for picks 21-32

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