The NFL Draft starts tonight at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET. In our preparation for this national event, we've been talking a lot about Cameron Jordan, Shane Vereen, Mike Mohamed and Chris Conte. These are the guys that everyone expects will be selected this weekend to get their chance at the big time. But where do the NFL draft experts (i.e. people with impressive mancaves and excellent predictive powers) have them ending up? Let's take a look at some of their prognostications, and there's only one true consensus forming on where one of the Bears will end up.
#97 is almost certain to be picked tonight in the first round of the NFL Draft. But by whom?
SB Nation's own mock draft has Jordan going to the San Diego Chargers with the 18th pick. A writer from Bolts from the Blue (our Chargers SB Nation site) explains the pick at Mocking the Draft, saying Jordan won't need to pass rush that much on this team, instead occupying blockers for the San Diego linebackers to attack and fill in the gaps. This fits pretty well with what we know of Jordan, so I think he could work well here.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated also has Jordan going to the Chargers, as does Russ Lande of the Sporting News, as does Draft Countdown, as does Draft Site.
More on Jordan after the comments. CGB commenters, project in the comments where you think our Golden Bears will end up in the NFL Draft!
Scouts Inc. ranks Jordan as the 19th best prospect overall.
In Mel Kiper's final (I think) mock draft ($), he has Cameron Jordan being taken by the New England Patriots with the 17th pick. The Patriots struggled to get any movement on the line when they were being eliminated by Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets, and Jordan could prove them with that versatility they so desperately need.
Don Banks of Sports Illustrated has Jordan rejoining with his battery mate Tyson Alualu with the Jacksonville Jaguars (16th pick).
Walter Football has Jordan being taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will trade up to the 15th spot and try and grab much needed pass rush as a 4-3 DE. Jordan would join Gerald McCoy and our old buddy Brian Price--talk about a fearsome young trio to face for the rest of the NFC South.
NFL Draft 101 has Jordan going high with the twelfth pick to the Minnesota Vikings, which would soon put him to the task of tracking down famous Bears like Jahvid Best and Aaron Rodgers.
Vereen is ranked as the ninth best tailback available according to Sports Illustrated, trailing familiar names like Mark Ingram and Kendall Hunter.
Walter Football puts Vereen somewhere midway in the fourth round with the 108th pick, as he gets swooped up by our BFF Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers. Vereen could try and take over the role Brian Westbrook filled last season as a pass catcher and change of pace back from the workhorse Frank Gore.
Draft Site also has Vereen to the Niners ... but a round earlier (3rd) with the 76th pick.
Russ Lande has Vereen near the end of the fifth round (28th pick of the 5th), going to the New England Patriots to try and finally give Bill Belichick some run stability to support Tom Brady.
Draft Countdown predicts Vereen ends up in the third round, and will be taken by the Denver Broncos with the 67th pick. Denver has no clear number one starting tailback (certainly not with the injury-prone Knowshown Moreno), and Vereen might be just the fit for a team that needs tailbacks and lacks a run attack.
SI ranks Conte as the fifth best safety available.
Draft Site has Conte being drafted as early as the third round with the 90th pick of the Baltimore Ravens.
In a draft bereft of safeties, Walter Football believes Conte gets picked up by the Houston Texans in the fifth round with the 138th pick as Houston looks to solidify their defensive back talent.
Lande has Conte being taken with the 25th pick of the fifth round, heading to Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks.
Mohamed is ranked as the fifth best inside linebacker available, according to SI.
The Atlanta Falcons worked out Mohamed privately early this year, and they'll swoop up and take him in the 7th round with the 229th pick according to Walter Football. Atlanta is in need of linebacker help and Mohamed will give them depth at this position.
Lande has Mohamed going high, ahead of even Vereen: 25th pick of the 4th round to the Buffalo Bills.
CGB Official Projections
Jordan: Higher than projected (just like Alualu). I think he comes off the board very quickly (maybe not top-5, but perhaps top-10, and I'm 95% certain he'll be gone by the top 15).
Vereen: Sometime on Saturday during the 2nd to 3rd rounds.
Conte and Mohamed: Sometime on Sunday. I'd guess Conte goes earlier than Mikey Mo, since this is a very weak safety class.
So if any of these picks turn out to be even close to correct, just remember you found them right here at CGB! Come back around 4:30 PM PT/7:30 PM ET for our NFL Draft Open Thread.