Clemson won the national championship but the Southeastern Conference remains the country’s best conference for talent as evidenced by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.’s initial mock NFL first-round draft.
Kiper’s first round, released Thursday, had 14 SEC players, including 10 from the SEC West. Kiper has three Clemson players going in the first round. Alabama and Ohio State lead the way with four each. Oklahoma also had three. Florida, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State and Ole Miss each have two.
Considering that A&M played Clemson and also played Kentucky which has linebacker Josh Allen going with the second pick to San Francisco by Kiper which means A&M this past season faced 14 of Kiper’s 32 first-rounders.
In case you’re wondering, last year there were 10 SEC players taken in the first round.
Kiper doesn’t have a running back in his first round. That’s probably bad news for Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams who Kiper has as the sixth-best running back. Even if there’s a run on running backs in the second round, Williams might not go until late in the round, probably the third round, but that could change via the NFL Combine, etc. Kiper has a pair of tight ends in his first round – Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson and Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. And that’s probably good news for A&M’s Jace Sternberger.
If you want to see Kiper’s explanations on every one of his picks, you’ll have to be an NFLinsider or you can go to various NFL team fan sites and see it. Kiper does his homework and virtually every NFL team fan site wrote about what he said, including the synopsis on their potential new play. Hey, that’s how I got the list. It's also good reading if you are an NFL fan.
Kiper has three quarterbacks in his first round, led by Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins going to the Giants sixth. He’s got Kyler Murray going 13th to Miami and Duke’s Daniel Jones going 29th to New England. Come to think of it, Jones does look somewhat like Tom Brady.
KIPER'S MOCK FIRST ROUND
No. 1 Arizona (DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State)
No. 2 San Francisco (LB Josh Allen, Kentucky)
No. 3 N.Y. Jets (DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama)
No. 4 Oakland (CB Greedy Williams, LSU)
No. 5 Tampa Bay (OT Jonah Williams, Alabama)
No. 6 N.Y. Giants (QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State)
No. 7 Jacksonville (OT Cody Ford, Oklahoma)
No. 8 Detroit (LB Devin White, LSU)
No. 9 Buffalo (DE Rashan Gary, Michigan)
No. 10 Denver (CB Deandre Baker, Georgia)
No. 11 Cincinnati (OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida)
No. 12 Green Bay (DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson)
No. 13 Miami (QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma)
No. 14 Atlanta (DT Ed Oliver, Houston)
No. 15 Washington (OLB Jachai Polite, Florida)
No. 16 Carolina (OLB Brian Burns, Florida State)
No. 17 Cleveland (DT Jeffery Simons, Mississippi State)
No. 18 Minnesota (OT Greg Little, Ole Miss)
No. 19 Tennessee (TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa)
No. 20 Pittsburgh (LB Devin Bush, Michigan)
No. 21 Seattle (DE Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion)
No. 22 Baltimore (WR A.J. Brown, Ole Miss)
No. 23 Houston (CB Byron Murphy, Washington)
No. 24 Oakland (WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma)
No. 25 Philadelphia (DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State)
No. 26 Indianapolis (DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson)
No. 27 Oakland (TE Irv Smith Jr., Alabama)
No. 28 L.A. Chargers (DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson)
No. 29 New England (QB Daniel Jones, Duke)
No. 30 L.A. Rams (DT Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State)
No. 31 Kansas City (S Deionte Thompson, Alabama)
No. 32 Green Bay (from New Orleans, WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State)