When Mel Kiper speaks, draftniks listen.
The ESPN draft analyst released his first mock draft on Wednesday. He has the Detroit Lions picking outside linebacker Jarvis Jones out of Georgia with the fifth overall pick.
Even though it’s early — the draft starts April 25 — it seems that cornerback Dee Milliner out of Alabama might be a better pick for Detroit, but Kiper has him going at fourth to the Eagles.
“At linebacker you could use Jones like a Von Miller has been used in Denver. It doesn’t have to be the 3-4 outside linebacker spot, that was kind of a misnomer. ... You see what Von Miller means for that defense in Denver,’’ Kiper said in a conference call on Wednesday.
“For me Jarvis Jones if he’s there at five, the only thing that would prevent him from going a little higher we’ll see how the medical checks out with the neck injury he got at USC,’’ KIper said. “I’ve had him No. 1 on the (big) board all year. If he’s there at five, I think he makes sense at that Von Miller type 4-3 OLB.’’
Jones played at USC as a freshman and suffered a neck injury that was diagnosed as spinal stenosis and the USC doctors would not clear him to play so he transferred to Georgia where he was cleared by doctors and played two seasons.
In his analysis on ESPN.com, Kiper writes about Jones: “He may not be a perfect fit in a 4-3 on the edge, but Jones is an exceptional pass-rusher, can line up on either side of Detroit's young and talented interior linemen and will flat-out make plays. He led the nation in sacks even as every team brought help to block him, and Jones not only uses great leverage to hold up as a run defender, but is vastly underrated in his ability to drop and cover. He brings a workmanlike effort and will sack quarterbacks, and skip the dance as he helps them up. A mature player and a good fit on any team, and within any system.’’
Jones had 12.5 sacks in the 2012 season and two more in the Capital One Bowl.
In his two seasons at Georgia, he had 28 sacks, 155 total tackles, 44 tackles for loss, nine forced fumbles, and one interception.