Resident draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have the latest versions of their mock drafts out.
These are Insider posts and you can see Kiper’s draft here and McShay’s here. The notable thing is that they differ on their picks for the two NFC South teams that have first-round picks (the Falcons and Saints don’t have first-round picks).
Kiper has the Buccaneers taking Alabama running back Trent Richardson at No. 5, while McShay has Tampa Bay taking LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. I can see either scenario because the Bucs have needs at both positions. I know the growing thought is that you shouldn’t draft a running back in the top 10, unless he is truly special. But the Bucs might view Richardson as special. If not, Claiborne certainly would be a good fit. The only wild card I see in all this is if receiver Justin Blackmon somehow is still on the board. He’d have to be a consideration because the Bucs very much want to build up the supporting cast around Josh Freeman.
At No. 9, Kiper has the Panthers taking Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, while McShay has North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples as the pick. The Panthers already are in pretty good shape at defensive end, but Coples could be a great value pick here. Defensive tackle is the bigger need and Poe seems to be rising faster after a strong performance at the combine. But I also could see the Panthers using this pick on an offensive tackle.