Mel Kiper Jr 2012 NFL Mock Draft: Biggest Reaches from ESPN's Expert

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IApril 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Defensive lineman Dontari Poe of Memphis takes part in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

When Mel Kiper Jr speaks on the NFL draft, we all listen.

The ESPN expert may have got too much of a whiff of his hairspray before completing his final 2012 mock (ESPN Insider), though, because there are a few selections that just don't add up.

Of course, that doesn't mean it can't go down the way that he projects on draft day. After all, we've all witnessed teams making massive reaches for players they fall in love with during the scouting process.

That being said, here are the biggest reaches from the Hairdo's latest mock.


Dontari Poe to the Carolina Panthers at No. 9

Poe is a workout warrior. He dominated the NFL Scouting Combine and has since rocketed up draft boards from the second round and into the Top 10. A more appropriate grade would be somewhere in the middle-to-late first round.

There's no doubting that Poe has as much—if not more—potential to become a star than any defensive tackle in this year's draft, but he is far from a safe pick at this stage. 

The Panthers do need to draft a defensive tackle, but the player that Kiper should have had them take is Fletcher Cox. 

Poe is way too raw and was far too unproductive in college against relatively weak competition to have him going this high. 


Courtney Upshaw to the New York Jets at No. 16

GAINESVILLE, FL -  OCTOBER 1:  Linebacker Courtney Upshaw #41   of the Alabama Crimson Tide chases quarterback Jeff Driskel #16 of the Florida Gators October 1, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Im
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Having missed out on Melvin Ingram, the Jets won't take Upshaw instead to rush the passer from the outside linebacker position. 

Upshaw is a one-trick pony who isn't any good in coverage and would be better suited to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.

He is short and stout and knows how to use his hands better than anyone in the draft, but isn't explosive off the line and won't be able to bully NFL offensive tackles like he was able to do against lesser competition in college.

Mike Tannenbaum might get run out of town if he ends up taking Upshaw at No. 16. If the Jets are looking to take a pass-rushing outside linebacker at this point in the draft, they'd be better off taking USC's Nick Perry instead.


Chandler Jones to the San Diego Chargers at No. 18

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 11:  Chandler Jones #99 of the Syracuse Orange looks on during the game against the Washington Huskies on September 11, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

This is the biggest, most surprising reach so far from Kiper's mock draft.

Jones is a tantalizing pass-rushing prospect, to be sure, but he's as raw as they come and won't make an impact right away for the Chargers. He has never played in a two-point stance and won't make the transition easily.

I see Jones playing better at the next level as a 4-3 defensive end. He isn't particularly fast, having run a 4.8-second 40-yard dash at the combine, and his frame will easily hold another 15-20 pounds as he ages.

The Chargers definitely need to select a pass-rusher at some point in the first few rounds. However, if they were to take one at this point in the draft, they would find a more polished and well-rounded player in Nick Perry.


Derek Wolfe to the New England Patriots at No. 31

Kiper really outdid himself with this one.

Wolfe isn't a first-round prospect. Wes Bunting of—one of the most respected scouts in the industry—has Wolfe rated as his 18th-best defensive end.

The Patriots would easily be able to draft Wolfe in the third round, and there's a chance he'd even be available in the fourth.

Sorry, Mel, I have to let you have it on this one. Turrible, just turrible (in my best Charles Barkley voice).