In part three of our continuing Be The GM series, we look at the mock draft of a man synonymous with the NFL draft, none other than Mel Kiper. Love him or hate him, his passion for the NFL draft is second to none. Here are his projections:
01. Carolina Panthers: Blaine Gabbert QB
02. Denver Broncos: Nick Fairley DT
03. Buffalo Bills: Marcell Darius DE
04. Cincinnati Bengals: Cam Newton QB
05. Arizona Cardinals: Von Miller OLB
06. Cleveland Browns: AJ Green WR
07. San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Peterson CB
08. Tennessee Titans: Da’Quan Bowers DE
09. Dallas Cowboys: Prince Amukamara CB
10. Washington Redskins: Julio Jones WR
11. Houston Texans: JJ Watt DE
12. Minnesota Vikings: Robert Quinn DE
13. Detroit Lions: Tyron Smith OT
14. St Louis Rams: Corey Lugiet DT
15. Miami Dolphins: Mark Ingram RB
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Aldon Smith OLB
17. New England Patriots: Ryan Kerrigan DE
18. San Diego Chargers: ???
A lot of football fans like to knock Kiper’s mock draft each year because of the number of inaccurate predictions (and really, who is accurate in a mock draft), but there is still something to be gained from reviewing his list. He may not nail every selection for every team. Heck, he may not nail any selections for any team. But he does a pretty good job of grouping players based on where they will go, which is a process that the Chargers are using in their own draft preparation.
Kiper’s first nine picks listed (Gabbert, Fairley, Darius, Newton, Miller, Green, Peterson, Bowers, Amukamara) are almost guaranteed to be the first nine players selected in the draft, regardless of the exact order in which they come off the board. The next four players listed (Jones, Watt, Quinn, T. Smith) are very likely to be part of the next group of players taken before the Chargers selection at #18. As GM, you can cross all of these players off the list for the Chargers, unless you are willing to trade up.
At pick 14 things begin to get interesting for Chargers fans. The Rams, Jaguars, and Patriots will all be trying to fill their own needs on defense, potentially grabbing the difference maker that the Chargers desperately need. Kiper believes Lugiet, A. Smith, and Kerrigan (along with running back Ingram) will be gone when the Chargers pick, leaving them with Cameron Jordan (Kiper’s pick for the Bolts), Akeem Ayers, Cameron Heyward, Muhammad Wilkerson, a number of solid offensive line candidates, or some unknown player AJ Smith has fallen in love with. Personally I like Jordan here as well, but I could see the Chargers going in a number of directions.
Luckily today, there is no AJ Smith. You are the GM, and you are on the clock. Do you agree with Kiper’s selection of Cameron Jordan at pick #18? Or do you see the Chargers going in a different direction? Comment below with the name of the player you are picking, and let us know if you have an interesting trade proposal.
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