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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Early Projections Give Broncos LSU's Patrick Peterson

We're entering that phase of the NFL season when mock drafts start to come out fast and furious. Last week in this space, I suggested the Broncos draft Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley with their draft pick over a cornerback. A week later and now holding the No. 2 overall pick, the Broncos select a cornerback in two mock drafts put out by

Both mocks have the Broncos drafting LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. Peterson is a 6-foot-1, 222-pound junior who received a very positive review from SB Nation's Mocking the Draft a couple months ago. Both Chad Reuter and Rob Rang cite the potential loss of Champ Bailey as the reason for the Broncos to draft Peterson in their commentaries on the selection.

Reuther and Rang agree on the top three selections, with quarterback Andrew Luck going to the Panthers and receiver A.J. Green finding his way to the Cincinnati Bengals. After that, Reuter has three more quarterbacks going in the top 10: Auburn's Cam Newton, Arkansas' Ryan Mallet and Washington's Jake Locker.

That's double the number of quarterbacks that went in the entire first round in 2010, when 24 picks went by before the Broncos took Tim Tebow as the second QB of the draft (the Rams drafted Sam Bradford with the No. 1 overall pick).

What should become clear as the mock draft season moves on is that the Broncos will look for help on defense. Whether that will be on the defensive line or in the secondary will depend on what happens with Champ Bailey and who the new Broncos coach will be.