NFC South: 2014 Mel Kiper mock 3.0 preview

Kiper's Mock 3.0: Buccaneers

March, 13, 2014
3/13/14
10:30
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After a 4-12 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold the seventh overall pick in the draft.

It's hard to predict what the new regime of general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith will do with that pick. But the Bucs definitely have options as they start a new era.

Even after signing veteran quarterback Josh McCown, Smith said it remains possible the Bucs could use their first-round pick on the position. That could come into play if Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr remain on the board when the Bucs pick.

If the Bucs don't go with a quarterback, there are other options on offense. Tampa Bay is overhauling its offensive line and tackles Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson could be options. If the Bucs really want to spice up their offense, wide receiver Sammy Watkins could be a possibility.

But Smith is a defensive coach and he might go with what he knows best. Outside linebackers Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr have been tied to the Bucs in some mock drafts.

Check out ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's latest mock draft to see which players he thinks Buccaneers should target with their first pick.

Kiper's Mock 3.0: Saints

March, 13, 2014
3/13/14
10:30
AM ET
Free agency hasn't helped much when it comes to narrowing down the New Orleans Saints' draft-day targets. It's probably a safe bet now that they won't draft a safety in Round 1, since they're set with last year's first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro and blockbuster free-agent signing Jairus Byrd. But a number of positions could still be in play at No. 27 for a New Orleans team that always likes to select the highest-rated player on its board, regardless of position.

The Saints will still likely address one or two of their most pressing needs in free agency so they can think more long-term with their draft picks.

For now, though, I still see cornerback as the Saints' biggest need overall, so TCU's Jason Verrett and Ohio State's Bradley Roby could make a lot of sense. And the Saints definitely need some new, young dynamic playmakers on offense after parting ways with running back Darren Sproles and receiver Lance Moore. So speedy receivers such as LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. and Oregon State's Brandin Cooks could be very attractive.

But the Saints won't reach for those spots if they have a higher grade on someone such as Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, Auburn pass-rusher Dee Ford or Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses (especially if they don't re-sign veteran free agent Zach Strief).

Check out ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's Mock Draft 3.0 Insider to see where he thinks the Saints might go with that No. 27 pick.

Kiper’s Mock 3.0: Falcons

March, 13, 2014
3/13/14
10:30
AM ET
The Atlanta Falcons added some key pieces through free agency by addressing needs along the offensive and defensive lines. Now, they might have to plug their other holes through the draft.

Securing a pass-rusher, offensive tackle and free safety will be vital as the Falcons continue the retooling process. The tackle position would appear to be the priority based on the need to keep quarterback Matt Ryan protected. The Falcons, with the sixth overall pick, are sure to check into three tackles in particular: Auburn's Greg Robinson, Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, and Michigan's Taylor Lewan. Expect them to conduct private workouts with all three players.

In terms of a pass-rusher, the first name that comes to mind is Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack, with the Falcons expected to use more of a base 3-4 defensive scheme. UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr also would be in that mix. But it would be interesting to see what type of choice the Falcons would have to make if South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney fell to No. 6 because he's not ideal for a 3-4 scheme.

It's highly doubtful the Falcons would target a safety in the first round unless they traded down and picked up an extra selection.

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