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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1 (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 04/14/11 01:21 PM ET   Updated: 06/14/11 06:12 AM ET

UPDATE: Click HERE to listen to Jordan Schultz break down the 2011 NFL Draft on Sports Talk 610 with host Nick Wright.

When Stanford’s superstar quarterback and clear-cut No.1 choice Andrew Luck announced he was returning to school, we should have known the trickle-down effect of insanity and confusion was coming. The NFL Draft (which begins April 28), is perhaps the most highly anticipated non-sporting event in the sports calendar, and yet, less than two weeks away, the only thing we can expect is the unexpected.

More so than ever before, teams with top ten picks have gaping holes in personnel. Six of those teams desperately need a quarterback, but enter the draft with a litany of other deficiencies. With the No 1. selection, Carolina could make an argument for five different players. The real wild card here though isn’t the teams or players themselves: It’s the NFL and its utter failure so far to reach a new labor agreement.

With hardly any glimmer of hope for a new collective bargaining agreement, GMs will be jockeying for field position on draft weekend and scouring the wires for trades, hoping to extract every last pound of valuable flesh they can. So while there may not be a football season come fall, we can certainly expect one wild draft full of quixotic front office ploys and tawdry gossip. Let the games begin…

(Note: Asterisks denote non-seniors)

1). Carolina - Cam Newton (QB, Auburn*)
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It's hard to remember a year with such uncertainty at the No. 1 spot. One thing we do know however? Carolina has clearly seen enough of Jimmy Clausen to know he's simply NOT their guy. Newton, while far from a flawless quarterback, has all of the physical tools and raw football ability to become a top-tier signal caller with time. His rocket arm and escape ability will draw comparisons to Vince Young. But, in reality, he is a much faster Ben Roethlisberger. Blaine Gabbert of Missouri is another possibility here, but Carolina's front office is in love with Newton's potential and rightfully so. The kid could be a superstar.
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