NFL Mock Draft - Pre-Combine

Because of the nature of the NFL changing EVERY week, we won't know for sure what teams will be picking where. We also won't know all of the needs because before we get to the draft, we hit the situations of retirement, franchise tags, trades, and free agency. BUT, it wouldn't be fun to only have one mock draft 3 days before it actually occurs, so we will start putting these up week to week, and then after the major events when the off season comes (combine, pro-days, first week of free agency, etc.)

Even though the combine will start (or is ongoing by the time you read this), all of the information from this mock draft is consistent with everything that the player did on the field. It makes sense from what we know and what rosters currently look like. It doesn't include trades (although we expect a few big ones in the coming weeks). 

Check back often, because when the draft gets closer we WILL have a mock draft contest with prizes for the winners! 

1. Carolina Panthers

Nick Fairley

Fairley is at the top of most draft boards. The Ron Rivera lived and died by the rush of his front 7 in San Diego, so it's either Bowers or Fairley here. Fairley is the more important need. 

3. Buffalo Bills

Von Miller

Unless Buffalo actually falls in love with the questionable Newton or Gabbert, they need to finish the job of bringing in the necessary pieces to run the 3-4. Miller could be an amazing specimen to go with Buffalo's young D-Line and other linebackers. 

5. Arizona Cardinals

Blaine Gabbert

The Cardinals will most likely bring in a vet by free agency or make a trade at the QB position. Even if they do, they will still need a QB to build their franchise on and Gabbert could be the best player in this draft if he is given a few years to sit and learn, ala Aaron Rodgers. 

7. San Francisco 49ers

Marcell Dareus

The 49ers have questions at QB, but have an otherwise solid offense. They must address their questionable defense and will find no trouble getting Dareus onto the field to make plays. 

9. Dallas

Prince Amukamara

The Cowboys could very well take an offensive tackle here as they don't typically follow what people project as the best talent. That being said, Prince is possibly the Best Player Available and also satisfies a need. 

11. Houston

Jimmy Smith

A solid overall player, Houston needs to continue to add a few play makers on the back end of their defense while Wade Philips instills the 3-4 system. Smith is a solid prospect and will help this team for a decade. 

13. Detroit

Robert Quinn

The biggest need might be OLine, but none at this point have the upside that another solid playmaker like Quinn could. By adding his ability, the Lions will have a very respectable front 7 and will be on their way to the top. 

15. Miami

Mark Ingram

Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown might both be gone, and with only a semi productive Chad Henne, the 'Phins need a strong runner here if they want to win any games against the defenses of New England, New York, and even Buffalo in 6 chances.  

17. New England 
(from) Oakland

Aldon Smith

He could be a very versatile pass rusher for New England, and if he climbs the boards this high (or higher) it will be because of a stellar combine and amazing upside. 

19. New York Giants

Nate Solder

The Giants are in a lot better position personnel wise than many teams are. They can continue to add the best player they can as they grab (supposedly) the best tackle in the draft.

21. Kansas City

Cam Jordan

A defensive end that could be a top 5 to 10 pick in any other year, he will only fall because of the crowded defensive line class. He is a very good player and will help Kansas City try to repeat as AFC West Champs and head back to the playoffs. 

23. Philadelphia

Gabe Carimi

Some think he is "too" big to be an effective tackle at the pro level. But the Eagles have a need, and he only has to open up lanes for McCoy to run through as Jackson and Maclin can stretch the defense. 

25. Seattle

Cameron Heyward

A tremendous performance in the Sugar Bowl helped to show scouts why he is so special. He adds even youth and competition to Seattle's defense as they try to become a power in the NFC West.  

27. Atlanta

Titus Young

Atlanta can get Matty Ice a play maker who will play on turf and show off his speed each and every week. When the already well-built Falcons add a threat opposite of Roddy White ... just look out. 

29. Chicago

Ben Ijalana

Chicago needs offensive linemen. Despite being from a small school, Ijalana will help protect Cutler and will open up holes for Matt Forte as the Bears try to take a step forward. 

31. Pittsburgh

Mike Pouncey

His brother Maurkice helped raise his stock, he can play center in a pinch as well as any of the guard spots quite naturally. The Steelers should have Roethlisberger behind center next year, and they need to keep him upright as he continues to grow into his role as the cornerstone of the team.  

2. Denver Broncos

Da' Quan Bowers

The (possibly) top defensive linemen overall, he will be the best player available to a team who will already have the pass rushing ability of Robert Ayers and Elvis Dummervil.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

A.J. Green

Cincinnati could bring back either T.O. or Ochocinco (or even both), but Carson palmer is returning this year according to Marv Lewis. They have a young defense, and O-Line and running back are needs, but would be reaches here.

6. Cleveland Browns

Patrick Peterson

While Cleveland has many needs on the defensive front seven, they get (possibly) the most athletic player in the NFL draft to match up with an already promising group of  Joe Haden and TJ Ward. With a deep draft of D-Line, they can find trench help in the second round.

8. Tennessee Titans

Cam Newton

New Regimes mean new quarterbacks. Bud Adams will fall in love with Newton's athleticism as long as Newton can doubt critics when they cite his poor work ethic; the titans don't want a QB who is lazy or a troublemaker. 

10. Washington

Jake Locker

Locker might not be the best quarterback at this point in his career, but he has the arm and athleticism to run a system that Washington needs. Mike Shannahan could let Locker wait for a year or two until he is ready, but he also could be the starter by week 1.

12. Minnesota

Ryan Mallet

Leslie Frazier needs a quarterback. Tarvaris Jackson and Joe Webb showed legitimate play, but neither can start for a playoff caliber team. They could still pick up a piece for the defensive line, but they also need to find a quarterback somewhere.

14. St. Louis

Julio Jones

Sam Bradford gets a complete wide receiver in Jones, and their offense will continue to flourish as they take a step forward to claim the NFC West and try to recapture a "pretty good" show on turf. 

16. Jacksonville

Ryan Kerrigan

Simply put: a playmaker with a high motor and intelligence. The Jaguars have a lot invested in thier D-Line in the past few drafts, but that doesn't mean they won't take the best pass rusher in a class that may have as many as 8 or 10 first round grades at defensive end. 

18. San Diego

JJ Watt

Another player with a high motor and pure athleticism in a body of size and technique, some think Watt could go as high as the 5-10 range in the draft and his play will warrant the pick. 

20. Tampa Bay

Akeem Ayers

The Bucs need help on the back end of the defense, but a great player comes to them here as they get a linebacker with athleticism to try and lead them to the playoffs next year.

22. Indianapolis

Anthony Costanzo

The Colts don't need a flashy pick when they can turn undrafted rookies and division 3 products into potential pro-bowlers. They DO need to continue to upgrade their offensive line to keep Peyton Manning upright.

24. New Orleans

Adrian Clayborn

Clayborn may have a few questionable actions in his past, but a less than stellar last month of his college career won't stop him from becoming a force at the pro level. He has red flags, but he also has talent.

26. Baltimore

Tyron Smith

Tyron Smith has a lot of questions heading into the draft, but Baltimore has drafted extremely well. If they are taking Tyron Smith here, then he is going to help buy Flacco time and be the cornerstone for the Ravens for a dozen years. 

28. New England

Stephen Paea

He might not last this long as he was rising up draft boards before a leg injury. The Patriots might not want to draft yet another D-lineman early in the first round, but what other needs do they have that they can't satisfy with their remaining 5 picks between rounds 2 through 4?

30. New York Jets

Justin Houston

Here the Jets will "give up" on Vernon Gholston, and will show that you really can never have too many pass rushers. They could look to go corner back again as Kyle Wilson is questionable and Cromartie is leaving in free agency. 

32. Green Bay

Brandon Liuget

Though not well known until recently, Liuget will help the defending world champions try to repeat as they add yet another force to their already dominant defense.