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Rick Gosselin's Mock Draft: Cameron Jordan, Danny Watkins To Patriots In First Round

It's the day of the NFL Draft which means some of the most anticipated final 2011 NFL mock drafts are being released. We've already touched on Peter King's and Mel Kiper's, and now Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, one of football's brighter minds, has unveiled his mock draft.

Like most, he has Cam Newton going to the Carolina Panthers with the No. 1 overall pick. But unlike most, Newton is one of five quarterbacks in his top-12: Blaine Gabbert to the 49ers, Jake Locker to the Titans, Christian Ponder to the 49ers and Andy Dalton to the Vikings

Another surprise is Alabama RB Mark Ingram going to the St. Louis Rams with the No. 14 pick, much higher than most have him projected. 

As for the New England Patriots, Gosselin has them taking DE Cameron Jordan (California) at No. 17, assuming they don't make a trade. 

The Patriots are likely to trade out of this spot. But Jordan here could be an inducement to stay put. He's a 3-4 end who fits the size prototype (6-4, 287) Bill Belichick covets. Bigger is always better in New England.

As for the Pats' second first-round selection, No. 28 overall, it's Danny Watkins, a guard out of Baylor: 

Watkins is the safest pick in the entire draft - the one player you can confidently say will be in the Pro Bowl in 2012. He's the best guard on the board, and some NFL teams were looking at him as both a center and tackle.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft order and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.