- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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With this year's NFL draft only a few hours away, it's time to see when and where the experts have last year's top college football players going.
ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper's final mock draft only covers the first round, while Todd McShay's mock draft takes us through all seven rounds. Kiper has 12 SEC players (13 if you count Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill) going in the first round. If 12 SEC players are drafted in Thursday's first round, it will set a conference record. The current record is 11, set in 2007.
McShay has 11 SEC players going in the first round. The only player difference between the two is that Kiper has Ole Miss offensive tackle Bobby Massie going No. 32 to the New York Giants. McShay doesn't have Massie getting drafted until the second round.
McShay predicts that more than 40 SEC players will be drafted this year.
Here's a look at Kiper's first round, and a little analysis of each SEC pick:
No. 3 to the Minnesota Vikings -- Morris Claiborne, S, LSU: "The Vikings could target the offensive line, as we've had them pegged throughout this process, or they could trade down. But my hunch for now says they'll go with Claiborne, the gifted corner out of LSU. It's a need spot, and if they can't get a deal done to move down (I believe that's their preferred route), he fits."
No. 4 to the Cleveland Browns -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama: "The Browns are in serious need of help on offense, and given that they have some talent along the offensive line, Richardson can be successful early and take a lot of pressure off the quarterback."
No. 7 to the Philadelphia Eages (from Jacksonville) -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State: "In this scenario, the Eagles move up to get a defensive tackle they covet, and Jacksonville gets to move down, because it can't maximize value for a top need here."
No. 8 to the Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M: "This really is the best setting for Tannehill, too. We know Miami lacks a long-range plan at quarterback, and while Tannehill isn't an immediate starter, you take him for the promise."
No. 14 to the Dallas Cowboys -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama: "Dallas has been aggressive in targeting the secondary in free agency, and Barron is another big upgrade to what was a really weak unit in 2011."
No. 15 to the Jacksonville Jaguars (from Philadelphia) -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina: "Gilmore is capable of coming in and starting right away, and the Jags were simply decimated in the secondary last season."
No. 17 to the Cincinnati Bengals (from Oakland) -- Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia: "A huge body, he'll knock people back in the run game, and he has the feet to pull and line up linebackers on the second level."
No. 27 to the New England Patriots (from New Orleans) -- Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama: "What he can do is immediately help a defense with his skills as a pass-rusher and his willingness to use leverage and vision to do damage against the run."
No. 32 to the New York Giants -- Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss: "Massie could actually go much higher, perhaps as high as Detroit at No. 23, so he's a solid value here."
McShay's first round:
No. 3 to the Vikings: Claiborne
No. 4 to the Brown: Richardson
No. 8 to the Dolphins: Tannehill
No. 9 to the Carolina Panthers: Gilmore
No. 14 to the Cowboys: Barron
No. 15 to the Eagles: Cox
No. 16 to the New York Jets: Ingram
No. 17 to the Bengals: Brockers
No. 20 to the Titans: Kirkpatrick
No. 22 to the Browns: Glenn
No. 24 to the Pittsburgh Steelers: Hightower
No. 29 to the Ravens: Upshaw
With this year's NFL draft only a few hours away, it's time to see when and where the experts have last year's top college football players going.ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper's final mock draft only covers the first round, while Todd McShay's mock draft takes us through all seven rounds.