We noted earlier that ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had changed his pick for the Minnesota Vikings at No. 3 overall in his latest mock draft, elevating LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne into a slot long held by USC left tackle Matt Kalil. ESPN's Mel Kiper joined McShay in that swap in an updated mock released Wednesday. Now let's take a look at their picks for the rest of the division:
19. Chicago Bears
Kiper: Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus
McShay: North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples
Seifert comment: There seems to be universal mock agreement that, all things relatively equal, the Bears will choose a defensive end rather than an offensive lineman in the first round. Mercilus was my choice in the ESPN blogger mock draft. Coples would be a fascinating debate if he falls as far as No. 19. He has top-10 talent but there are lingering questions about his work ethic after a lackluster 2011 season.
23. Detroit Lions
Kiper: Boise State running back Doug Martin
McShay: Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin
Seifert comment: I realize the Lions have a need in the backfield, but will they really spend a high draft choice on a running back for the third consecutive year? We've wondered collectively how valuable running backs really are here in the NFC North's Air and Space division. At this point in McShay's mock, three cornerbacks were already off the board.
Kiper: Boise State linebacker Shea McClellin
McShay: Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus
Seifert comment: We haven't had much of any discussion on the connection between Mercilus and the Packers, who run a 3-4 and presumably would need to use him at outside linebacker. I would be surprised if he is available at No. 28, but no one really knows anything at this point. McClellin was my choice in the blogger mock.
(Note: McShay's mock goes a full seven rounds. You'll need an Insider subscription to see beyond what I've provided.)