The Carolina Panthers kicked off the 2011 NFL Draft by selecting QB Cam Newton with the first overall selection. (Photos: Getty Images)
1. Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton, QB - Auburn - 6'5", 248 lbs
Notes: The new era in Panthers football will begin with Cam Newton, whose size and athleticism only compliment his potential as an NFL passer. This is the third straight year a quarterback was selected first overall. Newton is coming off a season in which he won a Heisman Trophy and led Auburn to a BCS title.
2. Denver Broncos
Von Miller, OLB - Texas A&M - 6'3", 246
Notes: Miller has elite skills for a linebacker and will be a playmaker on a defence that lacks them. Miller is an explosive pass rusher and will team up with sack specialist Elvis Dumervil, and as the Broncos begin to rebuild on defence.
3. Buffalo Bills
Marcell Dareus, DT - Alabama - 6'3", 319
Notes: The versatile Dareus can get to the quarterback, but is also an effective run stuffer. With the strength and size to play any position along the defensive line, Dareus will give the Bills a strong presence on their defensive line and will spend his Sundays chasing Tom Brady and Mark Sanchez in the AFC East.
4. Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green, WR - Georgia - 6'4", 211
Notes: With Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens possibly on the way out in Cincinnati, Green arrives as a game-changing wideout. With the Bengals offence in flux, and QB Carson Palmer flirting with retirement, Green could quickly become the star in Cincy.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Patrick Peterson, CB - LSU - 6'0", 219
Notes: Peterson has good size for a coverman, and will have an immediate impact on the Cardinals' secondary. Peterson, who may be the best prospect in the draft, will join a defensive backfield that already features S Adrian Wilson and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
6. Atlanta Falcons (via Browns)
Julio Jones, WR - Alabama - 6'3", 220
Notes: The Falcons feel like they are close to making a Super Bowl run and as such they traded up from the bottom of the first round to the sixth spot to take Jones, who is a legitimate receiver and will pair with Roddy White to form a potentially lethal receiving duo.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Aldon Smith, DE - Missouri - 6'4", 263
Notes: Smith is a physical freak and despite suffering a broken leg during this year's campaign, he still posted 5.5 sacks, to follow up his 11.5 as a freshman. Smith has a chance to develop into something special as a pro playing with Pro Bowl LB Patrick Willis in San Francisco.
8. Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker, QB - Washington - 6'3", 231
Notes: After being considered a potential top pick a year ago, Locker entered the draft process this time around with questions about his accuracy. The Titans suprised many by taking Locker in the top ten, but he will immediately become their quarterback of the future, replacing the departing Vince Young.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Tyron Smith, OT - USC - 6'5", 305
Notes: This is the first time Jerry Jones has selected an offensive tackle in the first round, but Smith could be the answer to the Cowboys' questions on their offensive line. Smith is an underclassman who forced scouts to notice his ability during this year's testing. In a year where there is no consensus top tackle, Smith emerged as a top ten pick and will help protect QB Tony Romo.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (via Redskins)
Blaine Gabbert, QB - Missouri - 6'4", 234
Notes: Gabbert was the early favourite to be the first passer off the board, but he was overtaken by Newton's raw potential. The Jaguars moved up to get Gabbert, despite the fact they have David Garrard under contract. Gabbert may sit behind Garrard as he learns the pro system.
11. Houston Texans
J.J. Watt, DE - Wisconsin - 6'5", 290
Notes: Watt has the build to play anywhere on the Texans D-line, and has the type of attitude to have success early on in his career. A disruptive five-technique player with Watt's talent was too much for the Texans to pass on at this stage in the draft. He will bookend the Texans' defensive line with All-Pro Mario Williams.
12. Minnesota Vikings
Christian Ponder, QB - Florida State - 6'3", 228
Notes: The Vikings found the replacement at quarterback for Brett Favre as they took Christian Ponder. Ponder became the fourth quarterback off the board early and unless the Vikings can find a veteran passer to lead the team in 2011, Ponder will likely take the reigns in Minnesota.
13. Detroit Lions
Nick Fairley, DT - Auburn - 6'4", 291
Notes: Defensive Rookie of the Year Ndamukong Suh has a new friend on the Lions' defensive line. Fairley, who was one of the most effective players on the big stage as Auburn captured the BCS Championship. While he was considered a potential top pick at one point, his stock took a hit due to questions about his work ethic and attitude. However, Fairley will find a happy home on the Lions' defence.
14. St. Louis Rams
Robert Quinn, DE - North Carolina - 6'4", 265
Notes: Quinn may have fallen due to questions about his health and off-field issues at North Carolina, but the Rams weren't scared away. At just 20-years-old, Quinn is an incredibly dangerous sack artist and projects to continue that trend as a pro.
15. Miami Dolphins
Mike Pouncey, C/G - Florida - 6'5", 303
Notes: After watching his brother Maurkice get selected by the Steelers a year ago, Mike Pouncey heard his name called even earlier in the first round this season. Pouncey didn't need to lift at the combine to show that he has the elite qualities scouts are looking for. His performance in the drills was enough to make a team like the Dolphins realize just how valuable he could be on the interior of their offensive line.
16. Washington Redskins (via Jaguars)
Ryan Kerrigan, OLB/DE - Purdue - 6'4", 267
Notes: Kerrigan has a non-stop motor and although he doesn't have top flight speed, he still finds a way to get pressure in the backfield. by pairing the former Boilermaker with Brian Orakpo, Washington is poised to get after the quarterback.
17. New England Patriots (via Raiders)
Nate Solder, OT - Colorado - 6'8", 319
Notes: Solder could develop into the best offensive lineman in this draft class, and the Patriots, who are in need of help on their aging line, are willing to take that chance. The former tight end is quick on his feet, and could be the next in a chain of productive offensive lineman drafted by New England.
18. San Diego Chargers
Corey Liuget, DT - Illinois - 6'2", 298
Notes: The Illinois product brings a compliment of pass rush skills to the field and is well versed in getting to the quarterback from the inside of the line. Liuget will be an interesting addition to the Chargers' front seven depending on how they plan to use him within their scheme.
19. New York Giants
Prince Amukamara, CB - Nebraska - 6'0", 206
Notes: Amukamara's slide down the draft ended with the Giants, who add one of the draft's best corners in the second half of the first round. Amukamara will need to improve his ball skills downfield, but the Giants get good value at the 19th pick.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Adrian Clayborn, DE - Iowa - 6'3", 281
Notes: For a young team that came up just short of the post-season, the Buccaneers are a piece or two away from seriously contending and Clayborn fits the bill. There isn't an aspect of the game that Clayborn can't perform well, and that well rounded skill set will help him contribute early on for the Buccaneers.
21. Cleveland Browns (via Chiefs)
Phil Taylor, DT - Baylor - 6'3", 334
Notes: Taylor was diagnosed with a foot condition, but reports on the subject may have been overblown. Under normal circumstances, Taylor is the best nose tackle available and the Browns recognized that. Finding a high quality nose tackle is a challenge and the Browns are willing to take the risk on a talent like Taylor.
22. Indianapolis Colts
Anthony Castonzo, OT - Boston College - 6'7", 311
Notes: Protecting Peyton is at the top of the tasklist in Indianapolis. After dealing with injuries the last couple seasons, the Colts decide to shore up their line with Castonzo out of Boston College. While he may not be a homerun prospect, he can give Indy a solid blocker on either edge of their line and will eventually become Peyton's protector on the offence.
23. Philadelphia Eagles
Danny Watkins, OL - Baylor - 6'3", 310
Notes: The 6'3", 310-pound native of Kelowna, B.C. was chosen fourth overall in last year's CFL anadian College Draft by the B.C. Lions, but he will head to the Eagles to join Andy Reid and company. The former firefighter has the raw talent to succeed blocking for Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy.
24. New Orleans Saints
Cameron Jordan, DE - California - 6'4", 287
Notes: The Saints could use reinforcements in their front seven and Jordan could be the man to bring it. Despite adding veteran DT Shaun Rogers, the Saints won't be scared to stockpile quality linemen. The Saints get excellent value with an extremely hardworking defensive lineman in Jordan, who plays strong against the run and has the ability to disrupt an offence.
25. Seattle Seahawks
James Carpenter, OT - Alabama - 6'4", 321
Notes: With Russell Okung locking down the left tackle position, the Seahawks tab James Carpenter as their right tackle. The Alabama product will help balance Seattle's line, improving both their pass blocking and run blocking, as Pete Carroll attempts to establish his offence in the NFC West.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (via Falcons, Browns)
Jonathan Baldwin, WR - Pittsburgh - 6'4", 228
Notes: After the Baltimore Ravens failed to get their pick in, the Chiefs stepped up and added a new weapon for QB Matt Cassel. Baldwin has a the height and frame to work over the middle and underneath routes and gives the Chiefs a reliable target in the passing game.
27. Baltimore Ravens
Jimmy Smith, CB - Colorado - 6'2", 211
Notes: The Ravens could have used a receiver who can stretch the field, but they were even more desperate to find help at cornerback. Jimmy Smith is a physical corner with the size to matchup with any of the league's top wideouts. Character concerns are haunting Smith's draft stock, but the Ravens core of veterans won't let that be an issue.
28. New Orleans Saints (via Patriots)
Mark Ingram, RB - Alabama - 5'9", 215
Notes: The Saints moved back into the first round to get a full-time workhorse back, who can do it all. With Sean Payton not sold on Pierre Thomas and with Reggie Bush working as a third down and slot back, Ingram is the solution the Saints are looking for in their backfield. Coming out of a winning program at Alabama, the Heisman Trophy winner could do well in the Big Easy.
29. Chicago Bears
Gabe Carimi, OT - Wisconsin - 6'7", 314
Notes: The Bears can't afford to overlook their offensive line, unless they are willing to watch Jay Cutler sit on the sidelines full-time. Carimi is adaptable enough to play any position on the line and his maturity and experience make him a perfect fit for the Bears franchise.
30. New York Jets
Muhammad Wilkerson, DE - Temple - 6'4", 315
Notes: Wilkerson is a big man who has the agility to play any spot on the Jets' defensive line. The Temple lineman flew under the radar for much of the college season, but with his size and strength, Wilkerson could develop into a force on Rex Ryan's defence.
31. Pittsburgh Steelers
Cameron Heyward, DE - Ohio State - 6'5", 294
Notes: The Steelers used their pick to bolster the defensive line with Heyward. The hardworking defender comes from a storied program and will join a legendary franchise. Heyward will be able to learn from the veterans on the Steelers defensive line and won't be rushed into action, giving him time to adapt to the pro game.
32. Green Bay Packers
Derek Sherrod, OT - Mississippi State - 6'5", 321
Notes: The defending Super Bowl champions decided to increase their protection of star QB Aaron Rodgers by selecting an offensive lineman. Sherrod is a student of the game and has the size to take over at left tackle when the Packers veterans lose a step.