- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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As a former colleague of mine liked to say, it's time to mock 'till you drop.
Yes, the 2012 NFL mock draft season is officially upon us now that ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr., has dropped his first mock like it's hot. (And you thought I wasn't up on the 2004 hip-hop scene.)
You'll need an insider subscription to see all 32 picks, but I am authorized to bring you Mel's choices for the NFC North. The insightful comments are mine.
Kiper's pick: USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil
Seifert comment: Kalil is available because Kiper has the St. Louis Rams taking Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon at No. 2. The guess is the Vikings would have an opportunity to trade down in this scenario, especially if a team is hot after Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. But the Vikings need a left tackle, and it's hard to find a good one later in the draft.
19. Chicago Bears
Kiper's pick: Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd
Seifert comment: Everyone has the idea that the Bears will take Floyd, and it sure sounds good. But without a general manager in place yet, and with offensive coordinator Mike Tice now a head coaching candidate in Oakland, it's only a guess.
23. Detroit Lions
Kiper's pick: North Carolina linebacker Zack Brown
Seifert comment: One thing we've learned about Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is that his board is not arranged by need. If it were, defensive lineman Nick Fairley would be somewhere else. Whoever Mayhew takes at No. 23 will be the best player left on his board, regardless of position.
Kiper's pick: Illinois linebacker Whitney Mercilus
Seifert comment: We've been speculating for upwards of three years that general manager Ted Thompson will seek out more pass rushers for the Packers' 3-4 scheme. Maybe this is the year.
Related: ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay dropped his first mock last month.