The NFL lockout is in full force, but that doesn't matter. The draft is still going to happen. And since the 2011 NFL Draft is still going to happen, we still must make projections with mock drafts. SB Nation's latest mock draft is all about the quarterback this time. It seems that with a rookie salary scale that will take effect at some point and the uncertainty of team being able to trade for or sign a quarterback for next season has them willing to take the risk of selected a quarterback first.
The Carolina Panthers are projected to select Auburn QB Cam Newton as the number one pick overall. Many will fear a JaMarcus Russell-like bust, but the one thing that will be different is that he will not make the amount of money that Russell did.
Blaine Gabbert is projected to go number three to the Buffalo Bills. The surprise is the rise of Jake Locker. He was not considered even a first round pick a month ago. Now he is projected to go number 10 to the Washington Redskins.
The Arizona Cardinals are still sticking with Von Miller, who seems to be tailor-made for their defensive scheme. Here is what the mock draft says about him:
There may not be a snugger fit between prospect, team, need, and scheme than Miller and Arizona. In a defense that relies on disruptive talent in its front seven, it is imperative that the Cardinals upgrade at outside linebacker.
Another player moving up the ranks is Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed. In previous mocks, he was going in the second round, perhaps to the Cardinals. Mel Kiper has him going as the last pick in the first round to the Green Bay Packers. Now he is projected to go the New England Patriots as the 28th pick in the draft.
1. Carolina Panthers: QB Cam Newton
2. Denver Broncos: DT Marcel Dareus
3. Buffalo Bills: QB Blaine Gabbert
4. Cincinnati Bengals: WR A.J. Green
5. Arizona Cardinals: OLB Von Miller
6. Cleveland Browns: DE Robert Quinn
7. San Francisco 49ers: CB Patrick Peterson
8. Tennessee Titans: DE Da'Quan Bowers
9. Dallas Cowboys: CB Prince Amukamara
10. Washington Redskins: QB Jake Locker