Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay are held in high regard when it comes to mock draft analysis, and we’ll certainly be seeing a lot of them as we continue approaching the 2018 NFL Draft.
Of course, despite their knowledge/skills, ESPN’s top two draft pundits don’t often agree on prospect rankings, fits, or even mock draft positioning. Quenton Nelson, on the other hand, is a bit of an exception. In the latest from ESPN, Kiper and McShay square off in a dueling mock draft that happens to come to a consensus with the No. 8 pick, as each has Nelson being taken by the Bears.
McShay sees Nelson as a “big upgrade” with Josh Sitton gone to Miami. Kiper said taking Nelson with the eighth pick was a “no-brainer,” and has previously compared the All-American interior lineman to Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Steve Hutchison. Before this mock, McShay twice sent Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley to the Bears, while Ridley and Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds were mocked by Kiper. But priorities, like rosters, change. So Nelson to the Bears it is.
In an interesting twist of fate, both draft gurus have the Bears taking a stud SEC defender in the second round … but they went with two totally different players.
McShay has the Bears using their second-round choice on LSU cornerback Donte Jackson, who ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the Combine to match Ohio State’s Denzel Ward. The Bears selecting Jackson would soften the blow of missing out on one of the draft’s first-round defensive backs. Kiper sends Georgia edge defender Lorenzo Carter to Chicago with the team’s second-round pick. With the Bears being unable to draft North Carolina State pass rusher Bradley Chubb and choosing not to reach on UTSA’s Marcus Davenport or Boston College’s Harold Landry, the Bears turn to Carter as an answer to fill the team’s need at edge defender. Like fellow Georgia product Leonard Floyd, Carter has top-notch athleticism and showed off play-making ability as a outside linebacker for the Bulldogs.
The Bears could do worse than draft a pass rusher with upside or a speedy defensive back who can slide into the team’s defense almost immediately after knocking off their biggest need in Round 1. Let’s see if these two gurus are right.