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Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Kiper, McShay put Cam Newton at No. 1

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, our resident draft gurus, have put out the latest versions of their mock drafts and each is going three rounds deep.

They’re Insider content, so I’m not allowed to give away everything. But I don’t think I’m pushing the envelope by revealing Kiper and McShay both have Auburn quarterback Cam Newton going to Carolina. I also think the Panthers are leaning in the direction of drafting the quarterback who is visiting Charlotte this week for what might be a final checkup.

Here’s the link for Kiper’s mock Insider and here’s the link for McShay’s latest projections. Insider

As far as the rest of the division, McShay’s got a surprise for Tampa Bay at No. 20. He’s not going away from the defensive-end theory almost everyone expects the Bucs to follow, but he’s got a guy falling to Tampa Bay that most people thought would be off the board well before the draft got out of single digits. If he really tumbles this far, I don't see how the Bucs, who have been known to take some chances, can resist.

When it comes to Atlanta, McShay and Kiper don’t have the same players listed in the first two rounds. But they’re both going with a pass rusher in the first round and a speed receiver in the second. I think that’s very realistic.

Kiper and McShay each are going with a defensive lineman for the Saints at No. 24. McShay’s pick is what you would expect -- a defensive end. But Kiper goes to the interior of the line, which is a possibility because we don’t know what kind of impact Shaun Rogers will have or how much he still has left. I’m also really intrigued by Kiper’s third-round pick for the Saints. Let’s just say it’s a guy who would give coach Sean Payton another offensive toy.