Mel Kiper told us a couple weeks ago that he liked Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson as Miami’s potential first round pick, and that’s who he listed in his first mock draft Wednesday.
Patterson, 6-3, had 46 catches for 778 yards as a junior this past season. Of course, if the Dolphins add a top receiver in free agency, this Kiper projection likely would change.
Here’s what Kiper wrote on ESPN.com about Miami’s pick at No. 12: “The Dolphins nailed their quarterback pick in taking Ryan Tannehill in 2012, but when they dealt Brandon Marshall to the Bears, they also left Tannehill without a wide receiver who opposing defenses truly fear as a matchup problem. Patterson had just one year against top competition after spending two years at the junior college level, but he has very good hands, can beat cornerbacks with his height and strength, and will go up and beat defenders for 50-50 balls. He also has big-time ability to run after the catch, and this slot matches up with his current value.”
He’s the only receiver Kiper has being drafted before Baylor’s Terrance Williams at No. 23.
Here’s Kiper’s first ESPN.com mock draft, followed by highlights from his conference call today:
1) Kansas City: Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel
2) Jacksonville: Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore
3) Oakland: Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei
4) Philadelphia: Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner
5) Detroit: Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones
6) Cleveland: FSU defensive end Bjoern Werner
7) Arizona: Alabama guard Chance Warmack
8) Buffalo: Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o
9) Jets: LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo
10) Tennessee: Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan
11) San Diego: Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher
12) Dolphins: Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson
13) Tampa Bay: Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree
14) Carolina: Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson
15) New Orleans: Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins
16) St. Louis: Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro
17) Pittsburgh: BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah
18) Dallas: North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper
19) Giants: LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery
20) Chicago: Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert
21) Cincinnati: Wisconsin running back Montee Ball
22) St. Louis: Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker
23) Minnesota: Baylor receiver Terrance Williams
24) Indianapolis: FSU offensive tackle Menelik Watson
25) Seattle: Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins
26) Green Bay: Stanford tight end Zach Ertz
27) Houston: Cal receiver Keenan Allen
28) Denver: FSU cornerback Xavier Rhodes
29) Baltimore: LSU linebacker Kevin Minter
30) San Francisco: Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd
31) New England: Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins
32) Atlanta: SMU defensive end Margus Hunt
### Just the Dolphins’ luck: The draft is deepest in Miami’s deepest area (front seven). “Half the first round will be front seven defensive players,” Kiper said. “A tremendous number of defensive linemen are first-round worthy --- the most I can remember in years. A ton of defensive tackles.”
Defensive line becomes a big need only if Randy Starks leaves in free agency; Miami is making an effort to re-sign him.
### Besides the prominent receivers (Patterson, Tennessee’s Justin Hunter, Cal’s Keenan Allen, Baylor’s Williams, Clemson's Hopkins and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin), among other receivers Dolfans should keep an eye on is Marshall receiver Aaron Dobson, “a guy people are not talking about who could emerge maybe in late first round, or in the second round discussion,” Kiper said.
### Kiper said Floyd is the best of the Gators: “Most years, he would be a mid first-rounder.” Matt Elam “is the No. 2 safety behind Kenny Vaccarro. Elam is more of an early to mid second.”
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins “is probably more of a third to fourth round type of pick. I project him lower than the other two.”
Tight end Jordan Reed “can stretch the deep middle. It’s not a great year for tight ends. Eifert and Ertz are first-round tight ends. Michigan State’s Deon Sims and Reed are next in line. Reed is probably in the third round discussion, maybe second if he runs a great 40.”
### Kiper doesn’t have a quarterback in his first round because he said teams picking lower than eighth (really ninth, because the Jets pick ninth) don’t need a quarterback. And he can’t justify any going in the top 10.
“Kansas City, Arizona and Buffalo are second-round possibilities. Do you trade late in the first round to get a Matt Barkley, Geno Smith or Mike Glennon? They could. [People] thought that would happen with Andy Dalton and it didn’t.”
### Kiper was asked why West Virginia’s Geno Smith, a Miramar alum, isn’t a guaranteed first-rounder. He pointed to him benefitting from the Mountaineers system: “The windows you throw into – some possible interceptions were dropped.”
### Not only has Barkley cost himself financially by returning for his senior year, but so has Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, whom Kiper pegs as a third to fifth rounder: “You see inconsistency with accuracy.”
### Kiper said a case could be made for the Chiefs taking Joekel, Moore, Lotulelei or Jarvis Jones No. 1 overall.
### If Jake Long leaves in free agency and Miami is looking for a right tackle, Kiper likes North Carolina’s Brennan Williams as an appealing third round option. The best natural right tackles are Fluker and Watson, both of whom Kiper pegged for the 20s.
### Kiper said FSU quarterback “E.J. Manuel won a lot of games. Not tremendously instinctive. You see some decision making, that bad throw, that leaves you scratching your head. Inconsistent. More of a fifth, sixth round possibility.”
### He said Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is a likely second-rounder, probably as a receiver: “He has great speed, great athleticism. He can catch the ball. I think he will be an offensive entity. He can return” kicks.
### “There are a lot of corners in the second-round discussion” -- including Washington’s Desmond Trufant, San Diego State’s Leon McFadden, Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks and Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer, with a possibility of Virginia Tech’s Logan Ryan and North Carolina State’s David Amerson (“who was beaten far too much for our liking.”)
Kiper doesn’t see Xavier Rhodes falling into the second round.