Football: Where will they go?

The NFL draft finally arrives tonight, and we finally get to see how accurate all the mock drafts have been over the past few months.

One thing seems pretty clear. Defensive end Cameron Jordan is destined to go between 10 and 20 in the first round. No. 12 to Minnesota has become a popular projection for Jordan, although you still see No. 17 to New England, No. 18 to San Diego and other possibilities. And ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. moved Jordan up to No. 9 (to Dallas) in his final mock draft.

Cal’s other three  legitimate NFL draft hopefuls seem to be a little bit more all over the board. Projections on running back Shane Vereen range from second round to fifth round. Vereen was told second round when he applied for feedback from NFL personnel evaluators, but most mocks don’t have him going in the second. It seems the most popular prediction is the third round, which would have him coming off the board tomorrow night.

None of Cal’s draft candidates seems to be more unpredictable than safety Chris Conte. Some like him in the third round; others say he won’t get drafted at all.  Kiper said Conte will have to fight just to get into the seventh and final round. If you take all the projections into consideration, it appears Conte is a mid-round pick.

Linebacker Mike Mohamed appears to be the most steady. He has always been projected as a 5th-6th round pick and it still seems like that is where he his slotted. There are some that say he may go later or not get drafted at all. After what happened to Zack Follett a couple years ago, nothing would surprise me.

The final four rounds are Saturday, so look for Conte and Mohamed to get drafted then. Wide receiver Jeremy Ross could slip into the seventh round after some good postseason showings  in workouts.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Bobby

    Kiper’s made his living by exploiting a market advantage–first to capitalize on the draft’s popularity (it combines two of America’s favorite sports, and nobody really “loses”). Kudos to him for getting rich in the process, but the dude’s predictions are generally WAY off base when it comes to the later rounds. For the first 2, he basically can hit up coaches/GMs to figure out what the common wisdom is. When it comes to his predictions in the later rounds, where, you know, he has to do his own work, he’s comically off-base.

    That’s a long way of saying we shouldn’t put any stock in where he says Conte, Vereen, or Mikey Mo will end up.

  • discdude

    He knows more than us! Seriously, it’s like a crapshoot after the first two rounds, there are hundreds of players, 32 teams, at least 5 to 10 people on each team deciding what players will fit, there are needs-based issues, etc. There are just a ton of things for each team to consider and Kiper can’t know it all. Most, if not all, analysts probably don’t do well in later rounds. Not that it matters anyway…Go Bears!

  • Bobby

    Of course he knows more than we do. But it’s his job to know all of the things you mentioned, and he seems to do a poor job at it. He’s a brand at this point, so people devour whatever he says, even if year after year his foot ends up in his mouth.

    For example, shouldn’t the best draft analyst in the country know that someone might take Locker in the top 10? Kiper had him going in the 20s at the highest

  • Uh oh

    Refresh my memory. What happened to follett?

  • discdude

    Well, someone (Tennessee) over-reached for Locker. But I’m not sure of your point, “seems” to do worse is not fact, and I’m not sure what criteria your holding him to, are you comparing him to other draft pundits? They are all pretty much the same.

    BTW, if Tennessee had interest in taking Locker at #8, there’s no way they’d say anything to Kiper because another team could scoop in and then try to trade out with Tennessee. It’s a big spy game. The fact that he had him in the first round is good enough for me, whether it’s 8 or 20, doesn’t matter. Everyone had Cam Jordan in first round, that’s where he went. Most analysts had ARodg in top 10, but when SF took Alex Smith, no one else needed a QB and he dropped. That’s not Kiper’s fault. Further, you said that he’s “comically off-base” in later rounds…I agree, *everyone* is off-base in later rounds.

    Kiper’s no better or no worse, he’s just more well known because he’s on ESPN.