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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Nick Fairley Emerging As Consensus Top Pick?

There seems to be something of a consensus developing that Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley will go to the Carolina Panthers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and Mocking The Draft's latest mock is hardly the only recent one to put him there. (DC Sports Report has Fairley going with the top overall pick in 59 percent of recent drafts.) After Fairley, Mocking The Draft's No. 2 through 4 are LSU's Patrick Peterson, Alabama's Marcel Dareus and Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers.

Mocking The Draft has Alabama wideout Julio Jones - who's the consensus second-best receiver in this year's draft, behind A.J. Green - falling to the Rams at No. 14. This drops Pitt's Jon Baldwin, who's now the third receiver coming in on most mock draft boards, down to the Falcons at No. 27.

The basic strategy that many mock draft makers seem to be pursuing when determining the Steelers' pick seems to be to have them select the best overall offensive lineman who's still around when their turn comes up at the end of the first round. Who knows what the Steelers will actually do, but that's as good a guess as any right now. This time, it's Boston College's Anthony Castonzo, who falls to the Steelers after fellow offensive linemen Nate Solder, Gabe Carimi, Mike Pouncey and Derek Sherrod who go off the board before him.

Things could shake up quite a bit after the Senior Bowl ends this week.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.