Mock drafts are probably the single most enjoyable, yet frustrating things to work on in the offseason. Although the Combine hasn't taken place yet, here's our best projection at the first round before Combine and Pro Days take place. Feel free to criticize/praise/respond with your thoughts on any of the picks since there is always tons of room for change.
1. Carolina Panthers - Nick Fairely, DT, Auburn
A top-three player on every draft board, the Panthers have had poor defensive tackle play for the past few years now. He has some character concerns and was a one-year wonder, but no one can deny his play on the big stage.
2. Denver Broncos – Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Shutdown corner Champ Bailey probably played his last down as a Bronco and they will definitely need to draft a replacement for one of the best corners of all time. Peterson has elite athleticism and possesses terrific size at 6-foot-2, 211 pounds. He also is one of the top return guys in the country.
3. Buffalo Bills – Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
The Bills have a ton of options and could go with a defensive lineman like Dareus, Quinn or Bowers, but after last year’s selection of C.J. Spiller, you never know what to expect. Newton has a lot of intriguing athletic skills with his elite arm strength, running ability and size. I could see the Bills pulling a shocker and drafting their quarterback of the future although there are definitely many reasons to doubt Newton’s transition to the NFL.
4. Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
T.O. is a free agent and Ochocinco may be out as well. Who better to step in for two of the best receivers of this era then Green? His combination of size, speed and hands have drawn comparisons to Randy Moss. While he doesn’t have that elite (than again who does?) speed of Moss, he definitely is a No. 1 wide receiver at the next level and was very productive at Georgia.
5. Arizona Cardinals - Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M
The Cardinals’ pass rush took a big hit last year much in part due to the lack of quality options at outside linebacker. Miller exploded on the scene as a junior when he posted 17 sacks. He had a great Senior Bowl and is expected to blow up the Combine which should vault him into the top 10.