Mel Kiper Releases Latest Mock Draft

ESPN.com has released the latest mock draft from Mel Kiper. . .dramatic pause. . .Draft Expert. This is the fourth incarnation of Kiper's mock draft thus far, and the first one that has extended to two rounds.

Like his colleague Todd McShay, Kiper goes with the obvious pick in Round 1, as he has Minnesota snagging USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil. Here's what Kiper has to say about the big man.

This is one more I'm going to stick with. We know Minnesota needs an upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is that rare rookie who doesn't need to spend some time on the right side. I think he can start his NFL career at left tackle and hold the position down, even though he'll face some serious competition in terms of NFC North pass-rushers. This pick is about giving Christian Ponder a chance to be successful.

This pick appears more and more to be set in stone, regardless of whatever smokescreens Rick Spielman wants to throw out there.

Kiper and McShay diverge on their second round pick, however. Where McShay had the Vikings taking South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, Kiper has the Vikings going in another direction, grabbing Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith with the 35th pick.

Kiper doesn't have a lot of commentary on the second round picks, saying simply "The Vikings are desperate for immediate help at safety, and Smith will pick things up quickly." Smith is regarded as one of the draft's top safeties (along with Alabama's Mark Barron), and would probably be an immediate starter.

As far as Jeffery is concerned. . .in Kiper's draft, the Vikings could apparently have a shot at him at the top of the third round, as Kiper doesn't have the Gamecocks' star going in the draft's first 64 picks.

Oh, did I say 64? Silly me. . .I meant 63. Sorry about that.

So, of the two ESPN expert mock drafts, which do you like more? Mel Kiper going with Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith, or Todd McShay going with Kalil and Alshon Jeffery?

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