Panthers, Bills Among 10 Teams in Top Half of First Round Looking for Franchise Quarterbacks Before we begin a weekly run of mock drafts, it’s important to take some time to identify the needs of each team that is picking in the first round (sorry, Raiders).

Plenty could change from now to April — heck, the season isn’t even over yet — that could alter a team’s draft strategy. The uncertainty surrounding the collective-bargaining agreement also throws a gigantic wrinkle into teams’ offseason plans. Worst-case scenario, the draft could take place before the start of free agency, and that could really mess everything up.

Here’s a look at the top half of the first round and what each team will be eying through the draft process. Make sure to check back Sunday to read the second half of this list, and come back every Thursday through April to get a look at our updated mock drafts.

1. Carolina Panthers
2010 Record: 2-14
Needs: Quarterback, defensive tackle, outside linebacker, guard, wide receiver, tight end
Analysis: The Panthers’ roster has been in bad shape since it was gutted last year. They lost out on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who decided to stay in school, but the Panthers could be in contention for his services again in 2012.

2. Denver Broncos
2010 Record: 4-12
Needs: Defensive end, cornerback, safety, outside linebacker
Analysis: It looks like the Broncos are going back to the 4-3, and they’re going to have to figure out the edge positions. With the possibility that cornerback Champ Bailey could move on, the Broncos could be very enticed by LSU corner Patrick Peterson.

3. Buffalo Bills
2010 Record: 4-12
Needs: Quarterback, tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker, tight end, cornerback, safety
Analysis: The Bills desperately need two tackles, two defensive ends and help at outside linebacker, and they might have to replace cornerback Drayton Florence and safety Donte Whitner. They’ve got too many question marks to think about taking a questionable quarterback here.

4. Cincinnati Bengals
2010 Record: 4-12
Needs: Defensive end, quarterback, running back, wide receiver, inside linebacker, safety
Analysis: Defensive end Carlos Dunlap got off to a poor start to his rookie season, but he was a monster of a pass rusher in the second half. The Bengals need someone on the opposite side of him, though. Whether they trade Carson Palmer or not, the Bengals need to draft a quarterback, and they’ve also been linked to Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green with the fourth pick.

5. Arizona Cardinals
2010 Record: 5-11
Needs: Quarterback, left tackle, guard, outside linebacker, cornerback
Analysis: Their biggest needs are at quarterback and tackle, but they’d be overspending on either position with this pick. Therefore, they might look toward outside linebacker or cornerback here, and they’ll get a good one.

6. Cleveland Browns
2010 Record: 5-11
Needs: Wide receiver, tackle, guard, defensive end, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, cornerback, safety
Analysis: Quarterback Colt McCoy doesn’t have any legitimate wide receivers, and he also needs some better protection on the line. Head coach Pat Shurmur is switching to a 4-3 defense, so the Browns will need to make some personnel changes in the front seven.

7. San Francisco 49ers
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, outside linebacker, defensive tackle, defensive end, safety, wide receiver
Analysis: Linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive lineman Justin Smith have anchored the front seven, but the Niners need to upgrade almost everywhere else in the defense.

8. Tennessee Titans
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, inside linebacker, defensive end, guard
Analysis: There’s definitely some talent on the Tennessee roster, but the Titans don’t have a coach or a quarterback, so that’s an issue.

9. Dallas Cowboys
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Tackle, defensive end, guard, safety, cornerback
Analysis: The Cowboys are far and away the most talented team picking in the top 10, so they’ve got a great opportunity to improve here. They’d love to land a tackle at this spot, but they might be tempted by the high-caliber defensive ends who will be available.

10. Washington Redskins
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, right tackle, wide receiver, right guard, cornerback, safety, defensive end
Analysis: The Redskins basically need everything. Donovan McNabb has been a disappointment so they’ll probably address the quarterback position with this pick.

11. Houston Texans
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Cornerback, safety, outside linebacker, defensive tackle
Analysis: The Texans’ secondary is lousy, just lousy, but they’ll also have to make some changes in the front seven because new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is switching to the 3-4.

12. Minnesota Vikings
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Quarterback, defensive end, defensive tackle, left tackle, safety
Analysis: Defensive end Jared Allen dropped off last season, and Ray Edwards is a free agent. The Vikings will also have to prepare to move on from Pat Williams. Their best plan this offseason would be adding a veteran quarterback and drafting one of the better defensive linemen.

13. Detroit Lions
2010 Record: 6-10
Needs: Cornerback, left tackle, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end
Analysis: Remember what the Patriots did to the Lions’ secondary on Thanksgiving? Yeah, the Lions should probably make sure that doesn’t happen again.

14. St. Louis Rams
2010 Record: 7-9
Needs: Wide receiver, right guard, outside linebacker, defensive tackle, safety
Analysis: Quarterback Sam Bradford played well in the biggest game of his pro career, but his wide receivers let him down with an insane amount of drops in the season finale in Seattle.

15. Miami Dolphins
2010 Record: 7-9
Needs: Running back, quarterback, safety, wide receiver, tight end
Analysis: Running back Ricky Williams is gone, and Ronnie Brown is a free agent, too. Quarterback Chad Henne also took a major step back this season.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars
2010 Record: 8-8
Needs: Quarterback, defensive end, inside linebacker, safety, cornerback
Analysis: The Jaguars thumbed their nose at the host of people who criticized last year’s pick of defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, but now they’ve got to put some guys around him on the defensive line.