In Mel Kiper's mock draft version 1.0 he has the Carolina Panthers taking Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley with the #1 overall pick.
In so many ways Fairley makes the most sense with the #1 overall pick. While he doesn't address the abysmal offensive side of the ball, he does add a potential impact player to anchor the defensive line. I'm not sure the Warren Sapp comparisons are warranted quite yet, but from seeing the National Championship game, in addition to seeing Fairley in other performances he does look like he can be an impact player.
As it stands there is no true BPA in this draft with many scouts having AJ Green, Fairley and Bowers with the same grade. Of course, this wont last very long as it's likely the draft will stratify greatly once the pro-days and combine occurs.
For now though, it appears that many think Nick Fairley is the concensus #1 overall pick.
YEAR TOT SOLO AST SACK STF STFY FF BK INT YDS AVG LNG TD PD
2009 28 14 14 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2010 56 32 24 12 0 0 0 0 1 -1 -1.0 0 0 0
From ESPN here's first few tops in Kiper's V1.0 2011 draft:
The No. 1 overall player on the Big Board, and one who can pay immediate dividends. Fairley isn't just a safe pick because of his excellent burst, violent hand action and ability to effectively penetrate and be a constant nuisance against both the run and pass; he also has the chance to be a dominant player regardless of system. Detroit and Tampa Bay drafted the top defensive tackles at Nos. 2 and 3 last year. Carolina should start earlier in 2011. A slight mean streak in a DT isn't the worst trait. Even Ndamukong Suh showed a bit of one this season.
Denver CB Champ Bailey is a future Hall of Famer, but he's a free agent entering his 13th NFL season and Peterson has the physical skills to be an immediate starter in the secondary and a force in the return game. Denver has enough needs where it could go several directions with this pick, but getting the best size-speed combo in the draft, a guy who can help immediately, is a smart play. Simply an electrifying talent.
Buffalo has started to assemble the pieces for its 3-4 defense and Dareus has outstanding pass-rush skills and fits as a defensive end in the system. This is too early to take an offensive tackle in terms of value, but it's a good opportunity to land an ideal fit if the Bills don't want to trade down. I'm sure some Bills fans would clamor for a guy like A.J. Green in this spot, but after 2010 the Bills simply have to address the lines, and the development of Stevie Johnson limits the receiver need anyway.
Rookie Carlos Dunlap came on late for the Bengals and finished with 9.5 sacks, but the chance to draft the best pure pass-rusher on the board and immediately have in place a more formidable pass rush is too much to pass up. Bowers has the skill-set, explosiveness and relentless pass-rushing skills of a No. 1 overall pick. He's a good value, even at No. 4.
The Cardinals were a mess at quarterback in 2010, and while Max Hall and John Skelton showed glimpses, both are projects, and there's no real solution in place for next season outside of a trade. Gabbert will be under the microscope during the testing process perhaps more than any other player, but at this stage he's the most NFL-ready QB in the draft. Arizona is in a tough spot: If the Cardinals pass on Gabbert, there won't be a QB who can do more for them sooner than Skelton or Hall later in the draft. Gabbert offers a strong arm, protoype size, reads the game well and has a lot of upside.
The Browns need a No.1 wideout and Green has fit the profile since he landed between the hedges at Georgia. Green is a complete package, with size, speed and solid route-running skills, and he will be the best friend of a young quarterback as a player that's able to go up and take the ball away. Cleveland has some good pieces, and Green is exactly what Colt McCoy needs.
It's an understatement to say that Quinn will be fresh. After sitting out his entire junior year at Chapel Hill, it's a testament to Quinn's talent that he's this high on the draft board. And make no mistake -- scouts think extremely highly of Quinn. If his preparations for the draft process are up to par, at this spot he offers the Niners a pure pass-rusher at defensive end that can only be matched by Bowers.
Miller has the reputation of a big-time sack artist but his game is more diversified than he gets credit for. What Miller brings in Week 1 is a great third-down option. A gifted edge-rusher, he can get to the quarterback, but you can also mix it up and drop him into zone coverage, where he has speed and developing awareness at the position. A solid tackler, Miller will only get better in the 4-3 system as he adjusts to the NFL game.