There is growing buzz that the Carolina Panthers will draft non-defensive lineman with the No. 1 overall pick in April's NFL Draft. It's quite possible that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton could be the Panthers' choice with that pick. In his latest 2011 NFL Mock Draft for SB Nation, Brian Galliford has Carolina selecting the quarterback. Calling Newton more of a risk than Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, Galliford explains that selecting Newton would give the Panthers a player who could be on the talent level of other starts in the division (Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman).
If that turns out to be the pick, the Broncos have the entire field of defensive prospects from which to choose. Galliford has sticks with LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson but duly notes that defensive tackle is a large concern, especially with the release of Jamal Williams and Justin Bannan. However, both players were brought in for the team's previously-used 3-4 scheme. Fox and Dennis Allen are returning to a base 4-3 defense with some 3-4 looks. Defensive line would have been an area of need even with the two players still on the roster.
Two defensive tackles the Broncos could look at go in the latter half of the top 10 picks. At No. 6, the Cleveland Browns select Alabama's Marcell Dareus, who would join a defense that is also returning to the 4-3. Auburn's Nick Fairley, who had been thought of as the No. 1 pick, goes two picks later to the Tennessee Titans. Both are players who could anchor the middle of the defensive line.
In the end, Peterson may just be the best selection. He would provide an immediate impact playing across future Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey, he could play safety in certain situations and he is noted for his return abilities. He may just be the best player available in the draft.