ESPN’s NFL Draft guru, Mel Kiper, has issued a mock draft that goes two rounds deep–63 projected selections. The draft is very heavy on ACC players.
Kiper has the first ACC player off the board in pick #11, with Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College to Kansas City:
Kuechly is a rare talent at linebacker — instinctive, explosive, able to make plays from sideline to sideline, but very sound in reading plays into the backfield and making stops. Kansas City has a need here, and Kuechly is a safe pick, a guy who can get on the field early and pick up the nuances of the NFL game right away. A tackling machine at linebacker, he’ll make any defense better.
At #12, Kiper goes right back to the ACC with Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina, to Seattle:
Even if Kuechly is still on the board, it would be tough for Seattle to pass on perhaps the safest 4-3 DE option available. Coples has prototypical size, can play every down as a pass-rusher and has a solid arsenal of moves to get to opposing quarterbacks, but with the size and discipline to be a force against the run. Seattle can’t go wrong here with either the top LB or DE available. This defense is close to being considered among the NFL’s finest.
At #18, rapidly rising Chander Jones, DE, Syracuse, is projected to go to San Diego:
Listed as a defensive end at Syracuse, Jones has the talent, upside and a great frame to make the move to OLB in a pass-rushing role. He’s still a little raw, but the instincts are there and offensive linemen have a really tough time getting their hands on him. Could blossom into a star for the Chargers.
At #30, San Francisco goes for offense with Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech:
Hill is the biggest home run threat in the draft when you combine his speed and size, and it’s no secret the 49ers need some help at wide receiver, even with the additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. He’ll need an adjustment period as he gets used to doing more in terms of scheme than he was asked at Georgia Tech, but he’s the kind of weapon this offense needs to expand.
Pretty interesting first round–not a single player from Miami, Florida State, Clemson, or Virginia Tech.
Here are Kiper’s second round projections:
Pick Team Player Position School
42 Miami Andre Branch DE Clemson
A great fit in Miami’s adjusted scheme, Branch offers late-first-round value at this spot.
46 Philadelphia Zach Brown LB North Carolina
A great athlete who can fill a big need at linebacker for the Eagles. Even with DeMeco Ryans, they need help.
51 Philadelphia (from Ariz) Dwayne Allen TE Clemson
My top tight end for much of the year, Allen didn’t test well, but he’s there on tape.
60 Baltimore Terrell Manning LB N.C. State
They lost another good OLB this offseason, and Manning makes sense as a reinforcement.
63 New York Giants David Wilson RB Virginia Tech
They lose Brandon Jacobs, but Wilson will bring some power of his own, with a lot more explosiveness.
So Kiper sees nine ACC players going in the first two rounds. Still nobody from Miami or Florida State though. That is pretty shocking really.