Projecting Pac-12 NFL draft destinations

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
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What Would Mel Kiper Do?

Glad you asked. Kiper has projected how he would pick in the first three rounds if he were the GM of every NFL team.

Here are his picks for the NFC Insider and here are the AFC picks. Insider

You can also see Kiper's Big Board here. Insider And Todd McShay's top-32 prospects here. Insider

Before we give you his Pac-12 picks, here's what he says about the exercise:

For this, I was asked, "What would you do if you were picking?" So I gave it a shot. I've listed what I see as the top needs for each team, and I've gone ahead and made the picks that fill needs based on where I have players ranked. A few ground rules:
1. At each spot, I'm making the pick best for that team at that spot. I won't pass on an ideal pick for the Bills at No. 10 just because that player would be a great fit at No. 11.

2. There are no duplicates anywhere.

3. I will suggest good spots to trade down, but I won't rearrange the board.

4. This is for fun! One pick can derail a whole draft, so in no way do I think this is how it might look.

So here's what he thinks about Pac-12 players.

New York Giants: Rd 1 (32) TE Coby Fleener, Stanford

Comments: I've liked Fleener to the Giants for a while. I think he just provides something that passing game doesn't have. Remember, Fleener won't just line up off tackle; you can split him out and utilize his size and speed to work matchups with smaller corners or slower linebackers. Teams will spend a lot of time looking at how to slow the momentum the Giants should carry over with their passing attack, and Fleener adds something new to account for.

Minnesota Vikings: Rd 1 (3) OT Matt Kalil, USC (attempt to move down)

Comment: Corner is a big need for me if I'm Minnesota, which is why I can see them very tempted on Morris Claiborne, but left tackle is equally important. If they don't protect Christian Ponder, they really won't be able to effectively audit his progress. I put trading down as an option because I do it if it's clear a team will give up a ton of value to get into that No. 3 slot, so the Vikings should be entertaining offers all the way. But if that can't happen, they should be plenty happy to add Kalil, a rare tackle ready to come in and start right away on the left side.

Carolina Panthers: Rd 2 (40) DE Nick Perry, USC

Comment: Perry is just major value in Round 2. It honestly wouldn't shock me if some team took him in the mid-first round, so getting a pass-rusher like him here is a huge get.

Buffalo Bills: Rd 2 (41) OT Jonathan Martin, Stanford; Rd 3 (71) LB Mychal Kendricks, California

Comment: Martin is a guy who once carried a solid first-round grade and could be a total steal at No. 41. ... Kendricks has immense physical talent and could be plugged in immediately, something the team did with Kelvin Sheppard last year.

Cincinnati Bengals: Rd 1 (21) G David DeCastro, Stanford; Rd 3 (83) G Tony Bergstrom, Utah

Comment: DeCastro is a big-time prospect at guard, and the Bengals can draft him and assume improvement in the run game, where they really struggled in 2011. He may be the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson, and guard is a big need for them. ... Bergstrom can play early if needed, but is good insurance.

Indianapolis Colts: Rd 1 (1) QB Andrew Luck, Stanford

Comment: I'm a pretty savvy GM, taking this Luck kid, huh? Really out in front of the pack! Needless to say, I think Luck is a lock on my board and Indy's as well. That's your Week 1 starter.

Denver Broncos: Rd 2 (57) RB LaMichael James, Oregon

Comment: I love the idea of James keeping linebackers' eyes in the backfield on play-action fakes or swinging out into the flat for Peyton Manning. He's not quite Darren Sproles in terms of elusiveness, but he's in that category. He'll provide a change of pace the offense needs.

Kansas City Chiefs: Rd 3 (74) NT Alameda Ta'amu, Washington

Comment: Ta'amu is a wide body and good insurance piece for the Chiefs at NT. In fact, I can see Dontari Poe and him on the field at the same time.

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