Mel Kiper Jr. has the third edition of his Insider mock draft and it has some surprising picks for the NFC South.
At No. 13, he has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking Utah Star Lotulelei. A lot of people have been talking about him as the potential No. 1 overall pick and I could see the Bucs pouncing on him if he’s available. Of course, that’s assuming that Lotuleli checks out medically. This would give the Bucs a defensive line that would start first-round picks Adrian Clayborn, Gerald McCoy, Lotulelei and second-round pick Da’Quan Bowers.
At No. 14, Kiper makes a pick for the Carolina Panthers that goes against the widespread speculation they’ll take a defensive tackle or cornerback in the first round. He has them taking West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Steve Smith isn’t going to play forever and this might be the best opportunity for Carolina to get a No. 1 receiver.
At No. 15, Kiper has New Orleans taking Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. This one’s not really a surprise because the Saints have a clear need at this position. But I think the Saints would be pleasantly surprised if Richardson were available.
At No. 30, Kiper has the Atlanta Falcons taking Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner. This might be a bit early to take Werner, but there’s a clear need for a pass-rusher in Atlanta. If the Falcons have to reach a little, it might not be a bad thing.