Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Fifteen SEC players in new mock draft
By Edward Aschoff
This year's NFL draft is just around the corner and ESPN's draft gurus are hard at work, getting tons of information about past college stars and their NFL futures.
Mel Kiper's two-round mock draft is out and it shouldn't come as a surprise that the SEC is well represented. Kiper has 12 SEC players going in the first around and 15 total getting drafted in the first two rounds.
Four SEC members -- running back Trent Richardson, cornerback Morris Claiborne, defensive end Melvin Ingram and quarterback Ryan Tannehill (sorry Big 12, but the SEC claims him now) -- are all slotted to go in the top 10.
Alabama leads the SEC with five players in Kiper's mock draft (all in the first round), while LSU is second with four.
Here's a list of all 15 SEC members and some analysis from Kiper:
4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (Cleveland Browns)
"At his pro day, Richardson confirmed that his knee is just fine, and while we know a running back is always a risk this high, here is a player gifted enough, and with such a remarkable physical profile and skill-set that you're comfortable making him an exception to the trend."
5. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
"What's not to like? Claiborne is hands down the best cover corner available in the draft, and the Bucs still need plenty of help with age and uncertainty dotting their secondary."
7. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina (Jacksonville Jaguars)
"As versatile a defender as there is in the draft, Ingram provides immediate pass rush help to a Jacksonville defense that sorely needs it, and he offers great flexibility to any coaching staff that wants to mix up their looks, which is pretty much all of them."
8. Ryan Tannehill QB, Texas A&M (Miami Dolphins)
"We know Miami lacks a long-range plan at quarterback, and while Tannehill isn't a guy I'd endorse as an immediate starter, his ceiling is so high you can take him here with a plan in place because his rate of growth."
14. Mark Barron, S, Alabama (Dallas Cowboys)
"I don't think another corner is out of the question at this spot, but Barron is the best safety in the draft, and the Cowboys can't go wrong if he's available."
15. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State (Philadelphia Eagles)
"Disruptive and explosive from the interior, Cox is another player you can take without worries about a scheme fit. He has a chance to become a Pro Bowl player regardless of where you line him up inside."
16. Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama (New York Jets)
"Rex Ryan should see Upshaw as a great fit for what he's trying to do on defense. Upshaw has size to hold up against the run even as a pass-rusher in a 3-4, making him an ideal fit here."
20. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama (Tennessee Titans)
"Really tall for the position, people see his size and assume he'd become a safety, but he does everything a shorter corner can do, and will utilize his length to become a guy who can be left on an island against big targets, even in the red zone."
21. Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina (Cincinnati Bengals)
"A starter since the day he stepped on campus at South Carolina, Gilmore is a smart, mature player who has good instincts, can be effective in press and will pick up concepts quickly."
22. Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia (Cleveland Browns)
"Glenn is versatile and can be moved around, but he has the chance to dominate on the inside."
24. Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama (Pittsburgh Steelers)
"He's recovered, and could become a star for the Steelers, with the size to hold up anywhere, and the athleticism to take on whatever role the Steelers need."
25. Michael Brockers, DT, LSU (Denver Broncos)
"So many guys made so many plays, you have to go back and look at where it started. In many instances, it was with the disruptive Brockers, who can create havoc from the inside, blowing up the run and penetrating against the pass."
47. Bobby Massie, OT, Ole Miss (New York Jets)
50. Rueben Randle, WR, LSU (Chicago Bears)
53. Brandon Taylor, S, LSU (Cincinnati Bengals)