I'm in agreement with NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. on far more selections than I differ with him in his latest mock draft (subscription required). However, there are a few picks that he projects where the teams would be foolish to follow his blueprint.
This is not to say I think he's projected these picks wrong, simply that it is the wrong pick for the team. I'll explain why below. You can also view his entire first-round mock below.
No. 4 Philadelphia Eagles: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
On the surface, this looks like a good fit. Geno Smith is the draft's best quarterback and he has solid mobility. And everything we know about Chip Kelly's offense is that he likes to have a quarterback who can move.
However, Smith is a good athlete, but he is not a great runner.
While he has the arm to make all the throws accurately, he has not shown consistency, and his decision making needs some work.
Kelly has never placed a big premium on getting an elite quarterback, and that doesn't need to change now that he is in the NFL.
It doesn't mean the Eagles shouldn't be on the lookout for a franchise quarterback, simply that if they are going to use a resource as valuable as the No. 4 pick, they better make sure that quarterback is an ideal fit, and Smith is not that fit.
No. 9 New York Jets: Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
It's not that the New York Jets don't need a pass-rusher, they do. However, the Jets must find a player more physically dominant at No. 9.
Mingo's numbers were underwhelming in 2012, as the former LSU defensive end recorded 38 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, and just 4.5 sacks. He is a an athletic player, but he relies almost solely on speed.
While he will be able to get to the passer with this speed, he will not be a consistent factor until he develops his pass-rush moves. He is also weak against the run and has a difficult time shedding blocks, and that is exactly why the Jets do not need to take him.
The Jets must get stronger in the trenches to get back to being a physical bully, and with a mauling guard like Chance Warmack available, the Jets will be able to do just that.
No. 20 Chicago Bears: Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
I don't get this selection at all. I mean the Bears definitely have a need at middle linebacker, however, Chicago requires their middle linebacker to cover a lot of ground.
The biggest knock on Te'o, on the field anyway, is that he lacks explosiveness and speed. While he can make up for that with superb instincts, this is only going to be amplified if he is asked to cover a lot space.
Te'o can be a quality linebacker in the NFL, but he is not a good fit for the Bears.
Kiper's First-Round Mock
1. Kansas City Chiefs—OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
2. Jacksonville Jaguars—DE Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
3. Oakland Raiders—DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
4. Philadelphia Eagles—QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
5. Detroit Lions—CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
6. Cleveland Browns—DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
7. Arizona Cardinals—OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
8. Buffalo Bills—OG Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
9. New York Jets—DE/OLB Barkevious Mingo, LSU
10. Tennessee Titans—OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
11. San Diego Chargers—OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
12. Miami Dolphins—OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers—DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
14. Carolina Panthers—DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
15. New Orleans Saints—OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
16. St. Louis Rams—WR Tavon Austin, West Virginia
17. Pittsburgh Steelers—TE Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame
18. Dallas Cowboys—DT Sylvester Williams, North Carolina
19. New York Giants—CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
20. Chicago Bears—LB Manti Te'o, Notre Dame
21. Cincinnati Bengals—OLB Alec Ogletree, Georgia
22. St. Louis Rams (via Washington Redskins)—S Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
23. Minnesota Vikings—WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
24. Indianapolis Colts—CB Xavier Rhodes, Florida State
25. Minnesota Vikings (via Seattle Seahawks)—LB Kevin Minter, LSU
26. Green Bay Packers—RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama
27. Houston Texans—WR Robert Woods, USC
28. Denver Broncos—CB D.J. Hayden, Houston
29. New England Patriots—WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee
30. Atlanta Falcons—OT Kyle Long, Oregon
31. San Francisco 49ers—DE Margus Hunt, SMU
32. Baltimore Ravens—S Jonathan Cyprien, Florida International
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