Wednesday, January 18, 2012
SEC does well in Kiper's first Mock Draft
By Edward Aschoff
Now that you've seen what ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr., thinks of the SEC's draft talent pool, it's time to see where Kiper thinks those future pro stars will end up in April's draft.
Again, the SEC is well represented when it comes to Kiper's first Mock Draft. Obviously, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is going first in Kiper's mock draft, but he has 10 SEC players getting drafted in the first round, including four going in the top 10.
Alabama leads the way with four first-rounders.
Here's a look at where Kiper thinks all 10 of those SEC players will go in April's NFL draft and a little analysis from him on each player:
No. 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No. 6 Washington Redskins
- Alabama running back Trent Richardson: "Don't simply dismiss the idea that Richardson could land here because of the presence of LaGarrette Blount. For one, we know that if you want a potent running game in the NFL, it can't be built simply around one running back."
No. 8 Carolina Panthers
- LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne: "Currently a top-five player on my Big Board, Claiborne is the top cornerback in the draft. The Redskins will need help at corner headed into 2012, particularly in a division in which the Giants, Cowboys and Eagles have elite talent at wide receiver."
No. 10 Buffalo Bills
- Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick: "Were they to line up Kirkpatrick across from Chris Gamble, the Panthers would have a pair of corners with elite size and talent in a division in which you can't have enough good corners. Opponents completed a hair less than 65 percent of their passes against the weak Carolina secondary in 2011, and Kirkpatrick can provide an immediate upgrade."
No. 12 Seattle Seahawks
- Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw: "Upshaw is currently the best 3-4 outside linebacker in the draft, and he should be able to apply a lot of pressure to opposing quarterbacks from the edge for whoever gets him for 2012. No Buffalo player had more than 5.5 sacks in 2011, and the Bills simply can't get enough pressure without bringing extra players."
No. 16 New York Jets
- South Carolina defensive end Melvin Ingram: "So the work is up front and at defensive end for a team that was just 23rd in the NFL last year in sack percentage. Ingram is just big enough to fit this system as a 4-3 defensive end, and should add a boost to the pass rush early."
No. 18 San Diego Chargers
- Alabama safety Mark Barron: "In Barron, the Jets would get the best safety in the draft, a big, rangy talent with big-game experience and the ability to match up against taller receivers and tight ends. The Jets have schemed around a weakness at safety, but it's time to put a better talent back there."
No. 25 Denver Broncos
- Georgia offensive lineman Cordy Glenn: "The Chargers fell apart up front this past season, mostly due to injury, and Glenn is one of those really attractive picks who can help you immediately because he can play pretty much everywhere. That's what he did during his time at Georgia, as a dominating guard who also has worked on the edge at a high level."
No. 27 New England Patriots (from New Orleans)
- Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox: "The pass rush is there on the outside, but Cox is a guy who can penetrate and get tackles for loss from the inside. ... But the way the board falls here, Cox would be a good fit for a defense that better be elite as the offense attempts to find consistency."
No. 31 San Fransisco 49ers
- LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers: "Brockers could end up a lot higher than this when the evaluation process is over because his reputation is growing. I list him simply as a defensive lineman because the Pats could use him in a couple of different ways up front in that scheme."
- South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery: "Jeffery is an absolute beast, a guy who plays at more than 230 pounds and easily could top 6-foot-4 when he measures out. He goes up over corners and attacks the ball, catching it away from his body like a rebounder."