ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has released his first mock draft of the season and has the Detroit Lions selecting Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones with the fifth pick.
He projected the Chiefs to take offensive tackle Luke Joeckel No.1 overall, followed by Texas A&M defensive lineman Damontre Moore (Jaguars), Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (Raiders), Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner (Eagles) and then Jones.
Jones, 6-foot-2, 249 pounds, was a first team All-SEC performer this past season and broke Georgia's single-season sack record (14.5).
He finished 2012 with 86 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. His 28 sacks over the last two years led the Southeastern Conference.
"At linebacker, you can use Jarvis Jones like a Von Miller has been used in Denver," Kiper said in a conference call Wednesday. "It doesn't have to be a 3-4 linebacker spot.
"That was kind of a misnomer and was inaccurate when Denver was up. They said why would they take Von Miller? Well, you see what he means to that defense in Denver."
The Lions would certainly have to do their homework on Jones and he’d have to check out medically. Jones transferred to Georgia from USC after doctors would not clear him after discovering a "mild" case of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column.
"He may not be a perfect fit in a 4-3 on the edge, but Jones is an exceptional pass-rusher, can line up on either side of Detroit's young and talented interior linemen and will flat-out make plays," Kiper wrote on ESPN.com
"He led the nation in sacks even as every team brought help to block him, and Jones not only uses great leverage to hold up as a run defender, but is vastly underrated in his ability to drop and cover.
"He brings a workmanlike effort and will sack quarterbacks, and skip the dance as he helps them up. A mature player and a good fit on any team, and within any system."
Kiper said Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner was potentially the best fit for the Lions, but has him being selected one pick before the Lions to the Eagles at No. 4.
Kiper also said Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore (6-4, 250) would be a good fit for the Lions if he’s still on the board at No. 5.
"Damontre Moore played down (in three point stance) this year and up (two point) two years ago," Kiper said.
"He’s one of those DeMarcus Ware types. I have him going to Jacksonville at No. 2. I think he could end up being the No. 1 guy on a lot of people’s boards."
Kiper has Jones and Moore as the two best players available in April’s draft.
"If (Jones) is there at No. 5 and Damontre Moore is there at No. 5, I would go that route," Kiper said.