For years I, like I'm sure many of you, have wondered how Mel Kiper still has a job at ESPN. Former Colts GM Bill Tobin said that Kiper had no business guessing team's picks. This on-going segment will hopefully show that an average Colts blogger and fan, can do the same, or better than Kiper.
And yes, I know that many of you will disagree with these picks, but that's what Mock Drafts are. Also, if you want another Colts fan's perspective, be sure to check out Stampede Blue's Mock Draft guru Stephen Reed's mocks. Be sure to check out Kiper's mock draft as well.
But without further ado, here is the first edition of Me vs. Mel.
1. Tampa Bay - Mel's pick: Jameis Winston, QB. My pick: Marcus Mariota, QB
The only way the Bucs don't take a QB is if they go after (and acquire) Jay Cutler, which is certainly a possibility. Until that time, I'll slot a QB here. I just don't see Winston going to Tampa Bay, though. Mariota brings almost the same skill set, but with less off-field problems.
2. Tennessee - Mel's pick: Leonard Williams, DE. My pick: Leonard Williams, DE
I'll agree with Kiper on this one. With a plethora of defense linemen in this draft, it makes sense the Titans go after one. With everyone in the division chasing the Colts, it makes sense the Titans draft someone who can chase Andrew Luck. Williams is a monster (6'5'' and 290 pounds) and could bring some excitement to the Titans defense.
3. Jacksonville - Mel's pick: Shane Ray, DE. My Pick: Brandon Scherff, OT
Kiper has Jacksonville going defense, which I could totally see. However, Blake Bortles and Chad Henne got destroyed behind arguably the worst offensive line in the league. As an Iowa resident, I've seen Scherff play plenty of times (although I really don't like the Hawkeyes) and this kid is the real deal. The Jaguars could move back for him, but I don't see how they can pass on this kid.
4. Oakland - Mel's pick: Amari Cooper, WR. My pick: Amari Cooper, WR
Kiper is right on here, and this is a no-brainer. Derrick Carr is the real deal in Oakland, but he needs a real receiver. Cooper is a dynamic play-maker in the same mold as Julio Jones. I don't need to go into this much because, again, it's a no brainer.
5. Washington - Mel's pick: Randy Gregory, DE. My pick: Randy Gregory, DE
Again, I'm inclined to agree with Kiper. I think Shane Ray is the better player here, but the Redskins always seem enamored with athletic talent, which draws them to Gregory. Personally, I could see Gregory as one of the few players who could play outside linebacker or defensive end. Washington has a lot of needs, and a pass rush is always a good place to start.
6. New York Jets - Mel's pick: Marcus Mariota, QB. My pick: Kevin White, WR
I was so tempted to put Jameis Winston here, but the Jets couldn't possibly draft another QB early in the draft could they? Well, they are the Jets, so maybe. I just think pairing White with Percy Harvin (if he's back in New York) could be a lethal combination. I do think the Jets go offense here, regardless, though.
7. Chicago - Mel's pick: Danny Shelton, DT. My pick: Shane Ray, DE
This is such a gift for the Bears. When you play in the same conference as Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Teddy Bridgewater, you have to rush the passer. Jared Allen doesn't have many years left, and Ray could be the next big rusher in Chicago. Imagine also, the potential with Allen and Ray for this coming year, though. Also, John Fox always seems to have a solid defense, so it makes sense for the Bears to go on that side of the ball.
8. Atlanta - Mel's pick: Arik Armstead, DE. My pick: Andrus Peat, OT
Kiper has tons of defense ends going early in the draft. Sure they are important, but lots of quality defensive lineman can be found later. The Falcons need to protect Matt Ryan a little better, and Peat is a good way to do that. And yes, I know they went O-Line last year, but Ryan needs more protection. Despite Dan Quinn being a defensive coach, even he has to realize the strength of this team is the offense, and they need to keep Ryan upright so he can find Jones and Roddy White.
9. New York Giants - Mel's pick: Brandon Scherff, OT. My pick: Arik Armstead, DE
In the two Super Bowl years, the Giants had one of the best pass rushes in football. That has diminished greatly in recent years. With Steve Spagnuolo coming back, the Giants will look to rebuild the pass rush. With Armstead on the board, this is a fairly easy pick. With an offense dripping with potential, the defense is really where the Giants need to build again.
10. St. Louis - Mel's pick: Andrus Peat, OT. My pick: Jameis Winston, QB
If there's any pick in my mock that I am least confident in, it would be this one. If Winston is here, though, I think the Rams must pull the trigger. They can't rely on Sam Bradford to be healthy, and his contract expires soon anyway. The Rams go Winston, as Jeff Fischer looks for Steve McNair 2.0.
11. Minnesota - Mel's pick: Kevin White, WR. My pick: Devonte Parker, WR
I agree with Kiper that the Vikings go receiver. Parker is from Louisville, so I think the Vikings pull an Indianapolis (Luck and Coby Fleener) and go after a receiver that Bridgewater is familiar with. If the Vikings pass on Parker, it should be a red flag to other teams, if they don't want Bridgewater paired with his college receiver. Another threat could also open up the ability for the Vikings to use Cordarrelle Patterson.
12. Cleveland - Mel's pick: Devonte Parker, WR. My pick: Breshad Perriman, WR
With Parker, White, and Cooper off the board, Cleveland will have to reach for a receiver. Yes, they could trade back here, or move up to get someone else. Still, with Josh Gordon being suspended, the Browns need someone legit who can try to catch Johnny Manziel's passes.
13. New Orleans - Mel's pick: Dante Fowler Jr., DE. My pick: Trae Waynes, CB
Kiper could very well be correct in the Saints drafting Fowler. However, the defense was torched by many a quarterback this season. While a pass rush would help, many teams have shown having good corners helps a lot more. The Saints jump on the top corner in the draft in Waynes.
14. Miami - Mel's pick: Trae Waynes, CB. My pick: Danny Shelton, DT
The Dolphins defense is very good. I'm sure they would love to get another receiver for Ryan Tannehill, but there just isn't one right here. So instead, they bolster the defensive line with Shelton. He probably should be a top 10 pick, as Kiper has him, but I see him dropping down here to Miami.
15. San Fransisco - Mel's pick: Breshad Perriman, WR. My pick: Dante Fowler Jr., DE
As many of you pointed out in my Way Too Early Predictions, Justin Smith is on his last legs for the 49ers defense. While Fowler is a very different player, it makes sense for the 49ers to look for Smith's replacement. If Fowler can step in and play, it would take pressure off of Justin and Aldon Smith as well.
16. Houston - Mel's pick: Ereck Flowers, OT. My pick: Devin Smith, WR
Houston could go so many different routes here. They have no glaring needs (outside of quarterback) so the question becomes what they want to improve. The Texans have never had a good compliment to Andre Johnson, and drafting the speedster Smith out of Ohio State could be the answer. He could be Houston's T.Y. Hilton in compliment to their Reggie Wayne, if you will.
17. San Diego - Mel's pick: Melvin Gordon, WR. My pick: Eddie Goldman, DT
There is no way, I repeat, no way, the Chargers go after Gordon. Even though they are mild disappointments, they have Ryan Matthews and Donald Brown still on the roster. No way they drop a first rounder on a running back. The Chargers almost always go front seven in the first round, and I think it's no different here. Goldman gives them a solid presence right in the middle of the defensive front.
18. Kansas City - Mel's pick: Devin Smith, WR. My pick: Landon Collins, S
The Chiefs would love a receiver here, and they may move up for one, but in my mock, there is no one available at 18. With Eric Berry being a huge question mark with his health, the Chiefs will be forced to go with the best safety on the board. Sure, going safety in the first round can be risky, but it's something they need to do if it's an option here.
19. Cleveland - Mel's pick: Eddie Goldman, DT. My pick: Ereck Flowers, OT
With another first rounder, the Browns look to bookend their offensive line. Flowers could provide a great compliment to Joe Thomas on the other end of the line. Additionally, I think Thomas will be out of Cleveland within a few years, so Flowers could be the Left Tackle of the future as well.
20. Philadelphia - Mel's pick: Marcus Peters, CB. My pick: Marcus Peters, CB
If the Eagles don't make a move for Mariota (which they really might) bolstering the defense would be a great idea. The offense is set, but the defense needs to be better. When your division features DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz, and Odell Beckham Jr., you need to have a fairly good secondary. Again, if they don't move up for Mariota, Peters is the pick here.
21. Cincinnati - Mel's pick: Vic Beasley, DE. My pick: Vic Beasley, DE
Yup, I'm agreeing with Kiper again with this pick. The Bengals are another team who would love a receiver to pair with A.J. Green, but there just isn't one here. As Colts fans, we know well that the Bengals have trouble generating a pass rush, and Beasley will certainly help out there.
22. Pittsburgh - Mel's pick: Landon Collins, S. My pick: Jalen Collins, CB
I'm switching out on Collins from an SEC school for another. I think Pittsburgh would rather have a front seven player, but the secondary needs help too. They got smoked by the Ravens in the playoffs, and could use another quality player back in the secondary. While they don't normally move around much, I could see Pittsburgh going up or down to secure a front seven player.
23. Detroit - Mel's pick: Malcom Brown, DT. My pick: T.J. Clemmings, OT
I'm assuming Kiper is banking on Ndamukong Suh leaving, but I don't think he will. The Lions also have a pretty solid team, and solid teams can never have enough linemen. The Lions make the move for Clemmings, which will, undoubtedly, help out Stafford and the offense.
24. Arizona - Mel's pick: Jalen Collins, CB. My pick: Maxx Williams, TE
From his time in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, we learned that Bruce Arians likes utilizing his tight ends. Williams would finally give Arizona a tight end threat, and take some pressure off of Larry Fitzgerald (assuming he comes back). I could see Arizona going defense, though, but only if there is a value player here.
25. Carolina - Mel's pick: T.J. Clemmings, OT. My pick: Phillip Dorsett, WR
The Panthers need someone for Cam Newton to throw to other than Kelvin Benjamin. Dorsett is a small speedster in the mold of DeSean Jackson, and could be a perfect complement to Benjamin. Those two, plus Greg Olson (if the Panthers decide to actually use him) could create a dangerous offense.
26. Baltimore - Mel's pick: Maxx Williams, TE. My pick: Denzel Perryman, LB
The Ravens could go offense in order to give Joe Flacco more weapons. However, I don't have many other pass catchers being available, or worth a first round pick, being left here. I wouldn't be shocked at all if the Ravens trade down, but I don't project trades. If they stay put, adding another player to the front seven would be a prime plan. Pairing Perryman with C.J. Mosley also gives the Ravens a young core at the linebacker position.
27. Dallas - Mel's pick: Carl Davis, DT. My pick: Malcom Brown, DT
I agree with Kiper that the Cowboys go defensive tackle. The difference here is that I still have Brown on the board. Although, this pick may depend a little on if Jerry Jones can swing keeping Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray on the team. If he can't expect the Cowboys to draft one of those two positions. If they both stay put, fully expect the Cowboys to go defense here.
28. Denver - Mel's pick: Denzel Perryman, LB. My pick: Quinten Rollins, CB
After the Colts receivers torched Denver in the playoffs, it would make sense for the Broncos to try and bolster the pass defense. In an effort to help out Peyton Manning (if he returns) the Broncos will try and stop teams from scoring. Pairing a quick corner would help against some of the speedier receiver the Broncos must face.
29. Indianapolis - Mel's pick: La'El Collins, OT. My pick: Carl Davis, DT
Do the Colts need offensive line help? You betcha. And they could very well take Collins if they part ways with Gosder Cherilus this off-season. Until that happens, though, I'll stay away from picking an offensive lineman. After the defense was (again) crushed by the Patriots running game, the Colts look for a filler in the middle after Arthur Jones was a massive disappointment in his first year in Indy. They find it when Davis drops down to them.
30. Green Bay - Mel's pick: Jordan Phillips, DE. My pick: La'El Collins, OT
I could see the Packers picking up a receiver at this point in the draft as well. More than likely, they will move back and grab a receiver in the early second round, like they did with Jordy Nelson. If they stay put, getting Rodgers some protection would be ideal. If Collins is still here, he is the pick. The Packers suffered a lot of injuries at tackle in recent years, so more depth would be a smart move.
31. Seattle - Mel's pick - Phillip Dorsett, WR. My pick: Melvin Gordon, RB
Much like my too early predications, this is completely predicated on Marshawn Lynch not returning to Seattle. If he doesn't Gordon is the pick, since I don't think Robert Turbin can carry the load. Gordon provides a blend of speed and power that would complement Russell Wilson greatly.
32. New England - Mel's pick: Devin Funchess, WR. My pick: Devin Funchess, WR
I don't think the Patriots need a receiver, but if they want an upgrade over Brandon LaFell, this is the pick. Funchess is another big receiver that could draw some attention away from Rob Gronkowski. The defending champions have no glaring weakness, though, and I wouldn't be shocked if they move back to stockpile more draft picks.
Whew, so that's it. Obviously, this will change greatly in the next few months. Feel free to disagree in the comments, which I'm sure you will (especially with some of these picks). For all of Mel Kiper's descriptions of his picks, check out his Mock Draft (subscription required).