We've spent the past few months reviewing the various incarnations of mock drafts produced by ESPN analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, so let's take a final look at their latest. Kiper's went live late Wednesday night, and McShay's just posted.
I should also note that one of the country's most respected draft predictors, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, published his mock draft Thursday morning. You need Morning News subscriber access to read it, but he did predict an early run on quarterbacks that would leave the Minnesota Vikings choosing TCU quarterback Andy Dalton at No. 12 overall.
Pick: No. 12
Kiper: Washington quarterback Jake Locker
McShay: Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo
Seifert comment: McShay's mock illustrates the Vikings' positional problem. By taking Castonzo at No. 12, they miss out on the top seven quarterbacks of the draft. By the time their No. 43 pick arrived in McShay's 7-round effort, the following quarterbacks were all off the board: Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Locker, Dalton, Christian Ponder, Ryan Mallett and Colin Kaepernick.
Pick: No. 13
Kiper: USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith
Seifert comment: Conventional wisdom has suggested the Dallas Cowboys will take Smith at No. 9. But if Smith falls to the Lions, they would be getting the player generally considered the top offensive tackle in the draft. There is every reason to believe that general manager Martin Mayhew would make this choice if Smith is his highest-rated player at the time, regardless of need at other positions.
Pick: No. 29
Kiper: Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod
Seifert comment: Obviously, trades weren't a part of these mocks. Sherrod is the best tackle available in each case, but it's not clear if the Bears value him as a first-rounder or if they would trade down in this scenario.
Pick: No. 32
Kiper: Baylor guard Danny Watkins
McShay: Texas cornerback Aaron Williams
Seifert comment: It's almost impossible to predict what general manager Ted Thompson will do, given the relative balance of his roster, and it's very reasonable to expect him to consider a trade that would move out of the first round altogether.