Mel Kiper Jr is considered the foremost NFL Draft expert. He has been around longer than most of us have been following the National Football League.
This doesn’t mean that “the hair” is right more often than he is wrong or cannot be questioned.
After all, he came out with the following about JaMarcus Russell during the 2007 NFL Draft.
This article is going to break down Kiper’s most recent mock draft.
1. Indianapolis Colts: QB- Andrew Luck, Stanford
Anyone that thinks the Colts will pass up on Luck later this month needs to be taken to a Fargo wood-chipper. There is no way that Jim Irsay and Co. go in any other direction. Kiper has it right.
2. Washington Redskins: QB- Robert Griffin III, Baylor
They did not trade up to the No. 2 overall slot to draft any other position than quarterback. With Andrew Luck off the board the Skins’ go in this direction and count their blessings.
3. Minnesota Vikings: OT- Matt Kalil, Southern California
There has been talk that the Vikings might go in another direction or trade down from this slot. I just don’t see that happening. They need to get a franchise tackle in order for Ponder to succeed.
4. Cleveland Browns: RB- Trent Richardson, Alabama
Kiper and myself are in agreement with this pick. It does seem that the Browns are going to choose between Richardson and Justin Blackmon. They get better value at a position of equal need here.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB- Morris Claiborne, Louisiana State
This is another selection that makes perfect sense. The Buccaneers aren’t sure what is going to happen with Aqib Talib and his legal troubles. They need to get a premier young corner and Claiborne is the consensus No. 1 at this position in 2012.
6. St. Louis Rams: WR- Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
Six for six, I guess “great minds” do think alike. The Rams would be doing cartwheels in the war room if Blackmon fell to them here. After all, they were considering him at No. 2 before trading down.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: DE- Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
I have the Jaguars going with Quinton Coples here. The reason for this is not because I am higher on him than Ingram, it is all about being a fit in Jacksonville’s scheme. Ingram seems better suited to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
8. Miami Dolphins: QB- Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Begrudgingly I have to agree with this selection. The Miami Dolphins have backed themselves in a corner and have to reach for Tannehill in the top ten. Most experts including Kiper agree that the Texas A&M product isn’t a top ten talent, but that really doesn’t matter.
9. Carolina Panthers: DL- Dontari Poe, Memphis
I initially had the Panthers going with Poe in this spot, but have since changed my selection to Fletcher Cox. Either way, Kiper and myself on the same page in regards to the position of need for Carolina.
10. Buffalo Bills: OT- Riley Reiff, Iowa
The Bills would definitely take a look at Reiff at this selection. However, I see them going with my No. 1 wider receiver in the 2012 NFL Draft Michael Floyd out of Notre Dame. They have been looking at this position in free agency.
11. Kansas City Chiefs: LB- Luke Kuechly, Boston College
There is absolutely no chance that the Chiefs go for Kuechly here. They have a myriad of different needs on both sides of the ball. Why reach for a player at a position of lesser need? Sorry Mel, it just isn’t going to happen.
12. Seattle Seahawks: DE- Quinton Coples, North Carolina
The Seahawks are definitely going to look for a pass rusher in the draft later this month. They need to get someone that can get to the quarterback on a consistent basis. If Coples is still available this will probably be there pick.
13. Arizona Cardinals: WR- Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
It really doesn’t matter who you have throwing or catching the ball when you have no one along the offensive line to pass protect. The Cardinals have ignored this unit in free agency after giving up a league high 54 sacks in 2011, don’t expect them to ignore it in the draft.
14. Dallas Cowboys: S- Mark Barron, Alabama
This seems like a bit of a reach for a safety, but the Cowboys are in need of help in the secondary. While I do think that they look at a safety in the draft, I am thinking pass rush here.
15. Philadelphia Eagles: DL- Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State
If Cox fell to the Eagles here it would be a coup. The problem with this equation is that there is no way the talented defensive linemen is going to be available at 15. Instead, look for them to go inside linebacker.
16. New York Jets: DE- Courtney Upshaw, Alabama
Yes, Rex Ryan has admitted that he is in love with Upshaw. However, that doesn’t really seem to matter. The Jets are going to have to have an agreement on what position they are going to look at later this month. I expect offensive line and wide receiver to be bigger needs.
17. Cincinnati Bengals: G- David DeCastro, Stanford
Of course the Bengals would select the All-American guard here if he were available. However, that just isn’t going to happen. I have DeCastro as a top ten pick right now. If not, some team will trade up past the Bengals to select him. Either way, this selection will not happen.
18. San Diego Chargers: LB- Chandler Jones, Syracuse
While Kiper has the right idea, the Chargers are not going to reach for a second-round talent here in the mid first-round. They are also going to take a deep look at an interior linemen. If San Diego does go pass rush it will not be Jones.
19. Chicago Bears: DE- Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
You don’t spend a first-round pick on a limited upside player and that is exactly what Mercilus is at this point. Instead, look for the Bears to go for a bigger need along the offensive line. Especially if Jonathan Martin is still available.
20. Tennessee Titans: CB- Dre’ Kirkpatrick, Alabama
My most recent mock has the Titans going with Peter Konz here. However, I did have them going corner in previous versions. Kiper is right to assume that they are going to look in this direction after Tennessee lost Cortland Finnegan to free agency.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: CB- Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina
Cornerback might not be a great need for the Bengals, but they would get tremendous value in Gilmore at this slot. You also have to take into account the age of Nate Clements and the fact that Leon Hall is coming off of a serious injury. Solid pick by Kiper.
22. Cleveland Browns: OL- Cordy Glenn, Georgia
Why would the Browns look to add beef to an offensive line that performed well in 2011 when they have glaring needs at skill positions? This selection makes absolutely no sense to me. Expect the Browns to go wide receiver here.
23. Detroit Lions: OT- Jonathan Martin, Stanford
This selection does seem to make a lot of sense. After all, a franchise quarterback isn’t worth much when you don’t have anyone to protect him. With that said, corner appears to be a larger need here.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB- Dont’a Hightower, Alabama
Much like the Lions before, these Steelers need to get some help along the offensive line in order to protect Ben Roethlisberger. Even if they look to the defensive side you can expect Pittsburgh to get help along the defensive line.
25. Denver Broncos: DT- Michael Brockers, Louisiana State
Yet another pick that Kiper and myself agree with. Brockers has seen his draft stock slip a great deal over the course of the last couple weeks. He would represent great value here and fit a position of need.
26. Houston Texans: WR- Kendall Wright, Baylor
The Texans are definitely going to look at receiver with this selection. The only difference of opinion between Kiper and myself is who. I have Wright going to the Browns a couple picks prior.
27. New England Patriots: LB- Shea McClellin, Boise State
Despite the fact that I am growing to be a fan of the Boise State product, I just don’t see McClellin giving any team value in the first round. Also, you have to wonder why they would pass up on corner here.
28. Green Bay Packers: LB- Nick Perry, Southern California
Perry doesn’t translate to the outside linebacker position in the 3-4 defensive scheme. He isn’t going to be selected by the Packers to play that position.
29. Baltimore Ravens: C- Peter Konz, Wisconsin
This pick makes a great deal of sense. The Ravens need help at both guard and center. Konz can slot in as a starter at either position immediately.
30. San Francisco 49ers: WR- Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
The 49ers signed Mario Manningham and Randy Moss in free agency. Any receiver drafted would be battling for the No. 4 receiver spot in 2012, not much value in that. Expect them to go with Coby Fleener of a guard here.
31. New England Patriots: DL- Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati
I have a third round grade on Wolfe and the Patriots needs a tremendous amount of help in the secondary. Probably the worst selection of Kiper’s mock draft.
32. New York Giants: TE- Coby Fleener, Stanford
If Fleener is available here he will probably be the pick. The issue with that is he wont be on the board, so they will have to go in another direction.
Check out the latest version of my mock draft here. Fantasy Knuckleheads also has a complete list of everyone’s 2012 mock drafts listed here.