2011 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 1-10

| by Alex Groberman

With the college football season all but complete, and only a few weeks of postseason play in the professional ranks ahead – the time has come. You know, that wonderful period in a football fan’s life when mock drafts rule the world, and unproven collegiate talents are upgraded and downgraded on random lists based on arbitrary tests that can’t really gauge anyone’s future success.

At the head of the class on most draft boards this year is Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. The Carolina Panthers, given their status as painfully awful in 2010, get the privilege of selecting this flavor of the month passer in hopes that he can bring some talent to an offense that desperately needs a spark.

I’m not completely sold on Luck being a Top 5- or Top 10-caliber quarterback in this league, but there is no one else out there worth the No. 1 overall pick.

Therein lays the problem, actually. By making such top picks, NFL teams have to fork over a ton of money to sign players who will be under tremendous amounts of pressure. Maybe the Panthers would be better off selecting DaQuan Bowers out of Clemson to fill the playmaking hole on defense Julius Peppers left behind. Heck, what if A.J. Green is the way to go? After all, with Jimmy Clausen still at the helm and a quality receiving target like Green around for him to throw to, maybe the team’s offensive woes will solve themselves.

That likely won’t happen, though. Carolina will take the guy they’re supposed to take. And despite history proving that taking quarterbacks with this No. 1 pick is generally a mistake, and that talent can be found later in the draft, Luck is the guy they are supposed to take.

With more holes than a golf course, the Denver Broncos' decision at the No. 2 pick becomes a little simpler. They can take a look at whoever is on the board choose the best available talent. They don’t need take anyone. Their best bet would be someone for the defensive side of the ball, considering how thin this rookie group will be at quality running backs, and how painfully old they seem to be getting on defense. Prince Amukamara, Patrick Peterson or Bowers would all be appropriate with this selection.

The rest of the Top 10 will be determined by how these first two picks end up going. If someone other than the aforementioned players manages to sneak into the top two then this whole draft’s first round may end up in flux.

For now, here is the first version of the Opposing Views NFL Mock Draft Top 10 picks:

  1. Carolina Panthers – Andrew Luck, QB Stanford
  2. Denver Broncos – Patrick Peterson, CB LSU
  3. Buffalo Bills – Cam Newton, QB Auburn
  4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green, WR Georgia
  5. Arizona Cardinals – Marcell Dareus, DT Alabama
  6. Cleveland Browns – Prince Amukamara, CB Nebraska
  7. San Francisco 49ers – Blaine Gabbert, QB Missouri
  8. Tennessee Titans – Nick Fairley, DT Auburn
  9. Dallas Cowboys – Da’Quan Bowers, DE Clemson
  10. Washington Redskins – Jake Locker, QB Washington