Thursday, April 28, 2011
SEC expected to dominate top 10 picks
By Chris Low
ESPN's Mel Kiper has unveiled his final NFL mock draft, and if he's right, get ready to hear a bunch of SEC players' names right away on Thursday night from Radio City Music Hall.
Kiper is predicting that five of the first six picks in the draft will be SEC players, led by Auburn quarterback Cam Newton going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers.
The only non-SEC player in Kiper's top six is Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller going No. 2 to the Denver Broncos.
After that, Kiper has Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus going No. 3 to the Buffalo Bills, Georgia receiver A.J. Green going No. 4 to the Cincinnati Bengals, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson going No. 5 to the Arizona Cardinals and Alabama receiver Julio Jones going No. 6 to the Cleveland Browns.
Also in the top 10, Kiper projects that Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley will go No. 8 to the Tennessee Titans.
That would be six SEC players in the top 10 picks, which would be a record.
The SEC has produced four of the top 10 players in the draft on two different occasions. In 2008, Arkansas running back Darren McFadden went No. 4, LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey No. 5, Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey No. 8 and Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo No. 10. In 2005, Auburn running back Ronnie Brown went No. 2, Auburn running back Cadillac Williams No. 5, South Carolina receiver Troy Williamson No. 7 and Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers No. 9.
Overall, Kiper has nine SEC players going in the first round this year. The SEC record for first-rounders is 11, which was set in 2007.
Rounding out the SEC players projected to go in the first round, Kiper has Florida offensive center/guard Mike Pouncey going No. 15 to the Miami Dolphins, Alabama running back Mark Ingram going No. 28 to the New England Patriots and Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod going No. 29 to the Chicago Bears.