We're down to the final stretch for the 2011 NFL Draft, which takes place April 28-30. This time around Brian Galliford and Dan Kadar's 2011 NFL Mock Draft changes things up a bit with a number of projected trades. What doesn't change is the top of the draft. The Carolina Panthers still select Auburn quarterback and, more importantly, the Denver Broncos select Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus. There's just so many ways to say this pick makes perfect sense for the Broncos, so let's leave it at that.
Interestingly, five trades are projected and six quarterbacks go in the first round this time around. Only a few months ago it appeared that only two quarterbacks (Newton and Blaine Gabbert) would go in the first round, while Jake Locker had a chance. Now those three are joined by Andy Dalton (No. 23), Ryan Mallett (No. 15) and Christian Ponder (No. 28).
How exactly does that happen? Well, at No. 5, the Cardinals, who could use a QB like Gabbert, trade down with the Cowboys. Dallas takes Patrick Peterson, while the Cards take offensive tackle Tyron Smith. Gabbert went at No. 8 to the Titans. Jake Locker then goes with the next pick to the Redskins. Five picks later, the Dolphins decide to take the plunge on Mallett.
At this point, this is where the teams start moving back into the first round. The Bengals, who took WR A.J. Green at No. 4, send a second, a third and a 2012 pick to the Eagles in order to select Andy Dalton at No. 23. With Carson Palmer's future cloudy, a young tandem in Dalton and Green would establish a solid foundation. Then at No. 28, the Vikings send a 2011 second-round pick and a 2012 pick to the Patriots for it. They then select Ponder, what with Brett Favre gone and no long-term answer at the position.
This is very likely scenario, but I'm sure we'll have something wilder happen on Thursday night.