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Mel Kiper 2012 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Picks Experts Will Get Wrong

Nolan AhernContributor IIIApril 23, 2012

Mel Kiper 2012 NFL Mock Draft: 1st-Round Picks Experts Will Get Wrong

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    ESPN’s draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. recently released his latest projections for the first two rounds of the 2012 NFL draft, which begins on Thursday.

    Kiper has made some minor tweaks to his mock draft, but he has remained too loyal to certain players whose stock has fallen recently and undervalued players who are on the rise.

    This slideshow points out seven picks in Kiper’s mock that are no longer the most logical draft scenarios for those teams.

    Note: This assumes that no draft day trades will take place, however unlikely that may be.

Jacksonville Jaguars: 7th Pick

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    Kiper’s Pick: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

    Better Pick: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

    The Jaguars do have a need on the defensive line, but their biggest weakness by far is their lack of targets for Blaine Gabbert in the passing game. There is greater value to be had at seventh overall, but Floyd would not last long if the Jags passed him up here or tried to trade down to take him at a better value.

    Jacksonville would be smart to trade down and look for a receiver like Kendall Wright or Stephen Hill later in the first round, adding another pick in the first two rounds to shore up the D-line. If any team outside the top eight wants to trade ahead of the Dolphins (No. 8 pick) to take Ryan Tannehill, Jacksonville may be their best option.

Carolina Panthers: 9th Pick

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    Kiper’s Pick: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

    Better Pick: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

    In this scenario, Ingram will slip past the Jags at seven, falling right into the lap of the Panthers. Ingram is a great value here, and Poe is really more suited to play nose tackle in a 3-4, not tackle in a 4-3.

    Ingram is versatile enough to play multiple positions on the line and will add some desperately needed athleticism to the Panthers’ defensive line. Other defensive tackles like Fletcher Cox and Michael Brockers may fill their needs more directly, but Ingram is too high of a value to pass up at this point in the draft.

Arizona Cardinals: 13th Pick

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    Kiper’s Pick: Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

    Better Pick: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

    In this scenario, Floyd will be off the board by now, so the Cardinals would be smart to fill a huge hole at right tackle and draft Martin here.

    Martin is one of two elite tackles in this class, according to NFL.com, and has the polished skills to make an immediate impact on the Cardinals line. With Larry Fitzgerald and a shored-up offensive line, Kevin Kolb will be out of excuses if he continues to struggle.

San Diego Chargers: 18th Pick

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    Kiper’s Pick: Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia

    Better Pick: Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

    The Chargers have a need at nose tackle, and out of all the defensive tackle prospects, Poe is the best suited to play nose tackle in a 3-4. At 6’3” and 346 pounds, he is a monster at taking on blockers and filling gaps.

    This is a terrific value pick at 18th overall. Poe is a plug up the middle, and should help a Chargers defense that was 20th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed last year.

Cleveland Browns: 22nd Pick (From Atlanta)

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    Kiper’s Pick: Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia

    Better Pick: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

    Cleveland needs all kinds of help on offense, and after taking Richardson with the fourth pick, they will want to add a receiver before there is no talent left at the position.

    Hill is a 6’4”, 215-pound receiver who ran a scorching 4.36-second 40-yard-dash at the combine. His combination of speed and height is exactly what Colt McCoy needs in the passing game, and with this pick Cleveland will have added two dynamic weapons to their offense.

Detroit Lions: 23rd Pick

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    Kiper’s Pick: Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

    Better Pick: Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia

    Martin should not still be around at this point in the draft, but the Lions do need to help their offensive line, and Cordy Glenn is the perfect candidate to come in and do just that.

    Glenn was a monster in the SEC, playing both tackle and guard, and the Lions happen to need improvement at both positions on the left side.

    Keeping Matt Stafford alive has to be the priority, and Glenn has the durability and athleticism to share in that responsibility.

San Francisco 49ers: 30th Pick

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    Kiper’s Pick: Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech

    Better Pick: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

    Hill is off the board in this scenario, but the 49ers luck out and get an outstanding value at a position of need with Janoris Jenkins.

    The former Florida corner has his off-the-field issues, but also brings great athleticism and coverage ability to a secondary that needs it. If head coach Jim Harbaugh is comfortable with his questionable decisions, Jenkins is a steal this late in the draft.

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