The time for mock drafts is coming to an end, as the actual NFL draft will be Thursday night. But ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay provided their final mock drafts of 2012.
Miami Dolphins (No. 8 overall)
Kiper’s pick: Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill
McShay’s pick: Tannehill
Analysis: I haven’t seen a mock draft in a while that doesn’t have Tannehill going to Miami. The need for a quarterback of the future and Miami's interest in Tannehill are obvious. If he’s there at No. 8, I agree that Tennehill is the pick. There’s been some speculation that Tannehill could go as high as No. 3 or No. 4, but that rumor appears to be losing steam the week of the draft. Miami likes Tannehill, but certainly not enough to trade the farm. The Dolphins can sit tight and take their chances.
Buffalo Bills (No. 10)
Kiper’s pick: Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd
McShay’s pick: Floyd
Analysis: Both Kiper and McShay also agree on Buffalo's pick. As we mentioned several times in the AFC East blog, the Bills are in somewhat of an odd spot. I like Floyd as a prospect and he does fit a need. But I’m not a big proponent of taking wide receivers in the top 10, especially if they're not the top player at the position. I think the safest pick for Buffalo at No. 10 would be linebacker Luke Kuechly, but McShay and Kiper both have Kuechly off the board when Buffalo comes up. Floyd is a decent pick, but I would rather Buffalo trade back and get additional draft picks, if possible. Other receiver prospects such as Stephen Hill or Alshon Jeffery might be available to Buffalo at No. 41 near the top of the second round, and that would provide more value.
New York Jets (No. 16)
Kiper’s pick: North Carolina DE Quinton Coples
McShay’s pick: South Carolina DE Melvin Ingram
Analysis: These are both interesting selections for the Jets. New York would be jumping for joy if Ingram is available at No. 16. It’s one of the worst-kept secrets in the draft that the Jets are high on Ingram. He can add a pass-rush to Rex Ryan's defense. However, I'm skeptical that arguably the best pass-rusher in the draft will make it this far. Coples is a player whose stock is taking a dip. There are questions about his motor. I also think Coples is a better fit as a traditional 4-3 defensive end, as oppose to playing in a 3-4. Coples would be a decent value at No. 16, but he doesn't fit New York's scheme as well as Ingram.
New England Patriots (No. 27 and No. 31)
McShay’s picks: Boise State OLB Shea McClellin and Smith
Analysis: Smith is being linked to New England a lot, and he is a prospect who is rising up the draft boards. The Patriots need help for their 31st-ranked pass defense. Smith has a good mix of intelligence and athleticism New England could use in its secondary. Both Kiper and McShay see the Patriots going outside linebacker with the No. 27 pick. I don't think New England could go wrong with Upshaw or McClellin. Both bring a good pass-rush.