ESPN's Mel Kiper put together a new 2015 NFL mock draft Thursday morning, and he decided to go three rounds with it. He said he was operating as the general manager of each team, and provides analysis as such. In discussing the "rules" of the mock, he said that at each slot, "I make a pick in the best interest of only the team with the pick. I won't pass on a player at No. 4 just because I like the team better at No. 5." Does that mean in his normal mocks he is moving it around to adjust for need later? I'm a little confused by this, and what it means about his approach to previous mock drafts.
For this draft, Kiper had the San Francisco 49ers addressing three needs we have discussed frequently. He went defensive line in the first round, drafting Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead In the second round he addressed the departures of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland by drafting Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney. In the third round he address skill position depth by drafting Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
Here is what he said in his analysis:
At this point, I'm not banking on the return of Justin Smith, and while we added Darnell Dockett, he's going to be 34 in May and is coming off a season lost to injury. Armstead is a player with star potential if we can develop him, and I think he represents good value in the middle of Round 1. (It wouldn't shock me at all if he came off the board inside the top 10.) The retirements of Patrick Willis and Chris Borland open up a void at inside linebacker, and while McKinney is limited in coverage, in our system I think we can do a decent job of limiting exposure and letting him do what he does best, which is tackle. He's a true thumper who will make hay against the run. While Armstead needs some seasoning, I think McKinney is ready to play right away. Diggs adds some explosiveness in the passing game and offers some depth behind Torrey Smithand Anquan Boldin. At this point, we don't know what we have in Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington, but it makes sense to add some competition. We also have a need at guard, but there are some good interior lineman who will be available with our next pick.
In case you are wondering about that first round pick, Kiper had a while bunch of wide receivers off the board when the 49ers pick rolled around. Here are the first 14 picks of the first round:
1. Bucs - QB Jameis Winston
2. Titans - QB Marcus Mariota
3. Jaguars - DT Leonard Williams
4. Raiders - WR Amari Cooper
5. Washington - OLB Dante Fowler
6. Jets - WR Kevin White
7. Bears - WR Breshad Perriman
8. Falcons - OLB Shane Ray
9. Giants - OT Brandon Scherff
10. Rams - WR DeVante Parker
11. Vikings - CB Trae Waynes
12. Browns - DT Danny Shelton
13. Saints - OLB Randy Gregory
14. Dolphins - WR Nelson Agholor
How do you view this haul for the 49ers? I think the positions fit, but obviously there will be plenty of disagreement over the players.