Skip to main content

Highlights from Mel Kiper Jr.'s conference call

ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay released dueling two-round mock drafts on Wednesday, which Kiper followed up with a national conference call.

Kiper has the Lions selecting Missouri defensive end Charles Harris in the first round (pick 21) and Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson (53rd) in round two.

View photos of Missouri DE Charles Harris.

McShay also went the defensive end and cornerback route for the Lions with their first two picks, but chose UCLA's Takkarist McKinley in the first round and Colorado's Chidobe Awuzie in round two.

"Expect a defender for the Lions here (at 21), and I'm sticking with Harris, who had 16 sacks for the Tigers over the past two seasons," Kiper wrote. "He's another one of the versatile pass rushers from this class with 3-4 and 4-3 ability."

Kiper said Harris has one of the quickest first steps among all the defensive ends in this class and expects him to be drafted before defensive ends Taco Charlton of Michigan and Derek Barnett of Tennessee.

"I think Harris, opposite Ansah, would be a guy who would give (Detroit) that extra pass rusher," Kiper said. "That No. 2 pass rusher, instead of having it all on Ansah to get the job done and get after the quarterback."

Kiper also touched on a couple other subjects in the hour-long conference call:

-- When asked about linebacker options for the Lions at No. 21, he said he doesn't expect "red hot" prospect Haasan Reddick to still be available. Kiper think's he's a Top 10 talent and off the board at No. 11 to New Orleans.

He mentioned Florida's Jarrad Davis and Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham as other possibilities at No. 21 if the Lions want to get a linebacker with their first pick.

-- This is a very deep draft for teams looking for help on the outside at edge rusher and Kiper thinks teams will be able to find good ones all the way into the third, fourth and fifth rounds this year. Some of the names he mentioned for players who fit that projection are: Tarell Basham (Ohio), Trey Hendrickson (Florida Atlantic), Keionta Davis (UT-Chattanooga), Derek Rivers (Youngstown State), Tim Williams (Alabama), Ryan Anderson (Alabama), Vince Biegel (Wisconsin), Ejuan Price (Pitt) and Devonte Fields (Louisville)

-- Kiper expects two running backs (maybe three) to be drafted in the first round, but says it's a deep class overall.

"If you say, 'I don't want to take a running back in the first,' which has been my philosophy, you look at last year with Jordan Howard, a fifth-round pick to the Chicago Bears had a great rookie year," Kiper said.

"David Johnson, when he went to Arizona in the third round, and numerous other ones. That's my philosophy and I've always been that way."

But Kiper also said he has no problem with teams taking an "elite" back like an Ezekiel Elliott or Todd Gurley in the first round.The only player in this draft he said would kind of compare to those two is LSU's Leonard Fournette, but he didn't think Fournette was quite at their level.

Kiper has Fournette (LSU) and Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) off the board in the first round. Dalvin Cook (Florida State) in the late first round or early in round two. Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) in the second round. Samaje Perine (Oklahoma) in the second round. Alvin Kamara (Tennessee) in the second round. D'Onta Foreman (Texas) in the second or third round. T.J. Logan (North Carolina) in the third round. Kareem Hunt (Toledo) in the third or fourth round.

-- According to Kiper's evaluation, this class of cornerbacks is so deep that 18 to 19 players have at least a second-round grade. That means teams will be able to fill secondary needs deep into Day 2 of this draft with players that could help right away.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content