They say that the worst thing for a top-level prospect, who's hoping to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick, is the passing of time. After all, more players than anyone would care to count who were at one point atop everyone’s draft boards found their weaknesses exposed, or somehow magnified as a result of too much time being devoted to studying their game.
In the previous version of this mock draft, Auburn’s Nick Fairley comfortably sat atop the draft board after an impressive showing in the BCS championship game. Has anything changed since then? Check the answer out in the picks below:
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- Carolina Panthers – Nick Fairley, Auburn. While some players may suffer from an extended period in the spotlight, Fairley isn’t one of them. The only player who could have unseated this excellent defensive tackle from the top spot was Stanford’s Andrew Luck, and he’s not around anymore. A new head coach who is all about the defense will want the top defensive talent in the draft – and that all but cinches it for the Auburn standout.
- Denver Broncos – Da’Quan Bowers, Clemson. Everyone and their mothers know that the Broncos old, slow-motion defense is in desperate need of a reboot. Now, despite the fact that their biggest offseason hire thus far has been one of the greatest offensive players of all time, Denver will aim to shore up the other side of the ball with the best available talent. Considering the fact that Bowers is the best pass-rusher in this entire draft, the Broncos would have to be crazy to not snatch him up as soon as they get on the clock.
- Buffalo Bills – Cam Newton, Auburn. I don’t care if I’m the only person saying it, I don’t plan on changing my tune. The Bills need a franchise quarterback, someone to build around. And while Ryan Fitzpatrick is serviceable as a clog in the offense until someone better comes along, this team’s reboot will not start until they bring in a player they can build around. Newton is an offensive specimen, a proven winner and he will undoubtedly be able to handle the pressure of being a struggling franchise’s savior – something he will definitely be in Buffalo.
- Cincinnati Bengals – A.J. Green, Georgia. There is no other player who has been shuffled around on these draft boards as much as Green. For whatever reason, despite being arguably the most talented skill player available in the entire draft, Green moves up and down more so as a result of where other players go than based on his own merit. With Terrell Owens and Twitter Dumber on their way out, a stud receiver may be just the thing to quiet Carson Palmers’ desperate pleas for a trade.
- Arizona Cardinals – Patrick Peterson, LSU. This is the toughest pick out of the entire top five to call. The Cardinals desperately need a quarterback, but their passer may very well come by means other than this draft. If that ends up being the case, then Arizona will want to shore up their secondary with the best available talent – Peterson.