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2011 NFL Mock Draft: SB Nation Arizona Writers' Mock Begins, Carolina Panthers Select...

We all love mock drafts. We read when Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have new versions up. With the return of Andrew Luck to Stanford this next year, we all want to speculate as to who will go number one overall. Will it be a quarterback (Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert) or a defensive player (Nick Fairley, Marcell Dareus, Von Miller, Patrick Peterson)? We also, for the sake of fandom, want to see the Arizona Cardinals make a strong pick. We want to avoid a bust.

Here at SB Nation Arizona, we wanted in on the fun. So starting today, a group of SBNAZ writers (Jess Root, Cory Williams and Scott Howard) will project the draft. Each day will be a new pick the selection of one of us will be revealed and then the next team and writer will be "on the clock."

So, to begin, the Carolina Panthers, via Jess Root, are the first to select.

And the number one pick of the 2011 SBNAZ Mock Draft is...

Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

Carolina, at 2-14 was a disaster at many positions, but as we know in this league it is all about having a franchise quarterback. The Panthers will follow the path of the St. Louis Rams in choosing the quarterback that could breathe life in to a franchise over the defensive lineman that can have an immediate and long-term impact.

With the likelihood of scaled back rookie salaries and first round picks in particular, the risk is not as high. Newton is the most raw of the quarterback class, but also has the highest ceiling. Carolina will look at the upside, his speed, arm strength and intangibles and choose the star of the draft.

For tomorrow...

Cory Williams and the Denver Broncos are on the clock!

If you also would like to participate in a community mock draft, head on over to revengeofthebirds.com.