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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Nick Fairley Projected No. 1, Patriots Still Slated With Cameron Heyward At No. 17

SB Nation's newest 2011 NFL Mock Draft is out and for the New England Patriots, not much as changed. 

They're still projected to take Ohio State's Cameron Heyward (DE) with the No. 17 overall selection. However, because of their unexpected early departure from the NFL Playoffs, the Pats are now also have the No. 28 pick, which according to SB Nation's Mock Draft, New England will use to take Jimmy Smith, a cornerback from Colorado. 

J.J. Watt would be a terrific selection here - the Patriots have a very young defense, and need to continue adding talent to it - but with Cameron Heyward already on board, the Pats can afford to look at another position. The Pats have a budding star at corner in Devin McCourty, but more depth is needed - and competition for Kyle Arrington (beyond Leigh Bodden) wouldn't hurt, either.

SB Nation's Brian Galliford has the Carolina Panthers taking Auburn's Nick Fairley with the overall No. 1 pick, an imposing defensive tackle who greatly improved his draft status with a dominating performance against Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game. 

There are a number of directions that Ron Rivera and the Panthers could take with this pick, and the majority of them would make the league's worst team much better on paper. Among those players, however, none would bring the type of attitude - aggressive or dirty, whatever you want to call it - that Fairley would. Nobody's draft stock is hotter right now.