Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Pac-12 and the latest mock drafts
By Kevin Gemmell
Mel Kiper's Mock Draft 3.0 hit the Web yesterday with some risers and fallers from the Pac-12.
Oregon outside linebacker Dion Jordan has moved into the No. 6 spot where Kiper predicts he'll go to the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns had one of the worst pass rushes in the league last year, even with Jabaal Sheard around. Jordan is a long, explosive pass-rusher with freakish athleticism and an ability to work in space. This is a guy you want to unleash in a 3-4.
The biggest faller in his mock was Utah's Star Lotulelei, who still has some medical questions after he wasn't allowed to workout at the NFL scouting combine. Prior to the combine, some mocks had him as high as the No. 1 (and some still do, read on). But Kiper now has him at No. 13 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
This isn't the top need for the Bucs, but assuming everything checks out for Lotulelei on the medical front, he'd be a total steal here and allow Greg Schiano to create depth and make this a potentially dominant run defense going forward.
Rounding out the rest of the first 32 are Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen at No. 23 to the Vikings, Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant at No. 28 to the Denver Broncos and a surprise entry into the first round -- UCLA defensive end Datone Jones to the San Francisco 49ers.
This is a fairly stark contrast to Todd McShay's latest mock draft, released last week.
He still has Lotulelei as the No. 1 overall pick.
Most people will have OT Luke Joeckel going to the Chiefs, even after they franchised OT Branden Albert, and I think that's a viable option. But I'm also convinced that Lotulelei is very much in play for the Chiefs at No. 1. First off, the Chiefs have handled their business on offense with the trade for QB Alex Smith, the re-signing of WR Dwayne Bowe to a five-year deal, and placing the franchise tag on Albert. Don't be surprised if the focus shifts to defense in April's draft.
The Chiefs, under new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, will continue to operate out of a base 3-4 scheme. By adding Lotulelei at DE alongside former first-round picks NTDontari Poe and DE Tyson Jackson, it would give them a tremendously talented young front to build around. This group could become a brick wall versus the run, with Poe and Lotulelei capable of exploiting some one-on-one pass-rushing opportunities asTamba Hali and Justin Houston grab extra attention on the perimeter.
Like Kiper, McShay has Jordan at No. 6 to Cleveland. He's much higher on Allen, mocking him at No. 12 to the Miami Dolphins. No mention of Trufant or Jones in his first-round projections, but he does add Stanford tight end Zach Ertz at No. 30 to the Falcons. Worth noting that both McShay and Kiper have Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert in the first round (Kiper at 17, McShay at 19).
Will Tony Gonzalez retire? Will the Falcons persuade him to come back? If he sticks with his plans to retire, Ertz could fit here. He'd have Hall of Fame shoes to fill, but the Falcons could help him develop. He's quick off the line of scrimmage, while showing the ability to pace his routes and flash subtle head fakes at the top of routes to freeze defenders.