In his latest chat on NFL.com, senior columnist Vic Carucci discussed a number of NFL Draft topics, including who he believes is the top prospect in the 2011 class. Here’s a hint — it wasn’t Auburn QB Cam Newton or LSU DB Patrick Peterson.
“I think the best player in the draft is [Alabama DT] Marcell Dareus,” Carucci said. “He is a dominant, game-changing force with tremendous strength, agility, and versatility. He will make an immediate difference for whatever team selects him.”
On the NFL.com Mock Draft Central page, our experts have Dareus going as high as No. 1 overall (Pat Kirwan) to the Panthers and as low as No. 8 (Charles Davis) to the Titans. Steve Wyche and Bucky Brooks both have Dareus coming off the board at No. 2 to the Broncos.
Carucci did discuss Newton as well, saying that the Panthers shouldn’t take him or Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert with the top pick because of the questions surrounding each quarterback. He believes the Panthers are “still going to be invested in Jimmy Clausen for at least another season.” It falls in line with what Carucci wrote earlier in the week, that we shouldn’t assume the Panthers will take a quarterback with the top pick.
While Carucci doesn’t see Newton as a fit in Carolina, he did suggest that he would be a nice option for the Bills with the third overall pick.
“They should strongly consider going with a quarterback,” he said. “And Cam Newton could very well be that guy for them. I think they’ve gotten the best that they can get from Ryan Fitzpatrick.”
If you want to see more of Carucci’s thoughts, click here to check out the full chat transcript.