If ESPN’s Mel Kiper is right — and that’s a big if considering his track record — Quenton Nelson will be reuniting with his former Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive line coach in Chicago.
Kiper has the Chicago Bears — who hired Harry Hiestand in January — picking Nelson at No. 8 and the Baltimore Ravens grabbing fellow Irish offensive lineman Mike McGlinchey at No. 16 in his new mock draft, released today.
This is the senior draft analyst’s first mock draft since the free agency period commenced, which explains why he moved Nelson from the No. 7 overall pick (by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) to No. 8.
In explaining the Bucs’ pick of Ohio State Buckeyes’ cornerback Denzel Ward, Kiper writes:
“Quenton Nelson might have been in play here, but the Bucs signed center Ryan Jensen in free agency and can move Ali Marpet back to guard. I think this pick has to be a defensive back -- the Bucs had the league’s worst passing defense in 2017. Tampa Bay could choose from the best corner or safety on its board, and Ward is the top corner in this class. Former first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III has not impressed, and Brent Grimes will be 35 when the season begins.”
We talked to Windy City Gridiron, SB Nation’s Chicago Bears site, for insight about this particular draft pick. In light of Kiper moving Nelson to the Bears, it’s definitely worth another read.
As for McGlinchey, Kiper writes:
“McGlinchey is a plug-and-play right tackle who would be playing on the same line as his college teammate Ronnie Stanley. McGlinchey played on the right side for Notre Dame two years ago, and he was dominant. Then he took Stanley’s spot at left tackle -- and was dominant. This move would also allow Baltimore to keep Alex Lewis at guard instead of trying him at right tackle. Lewis could also move to center to replace Ryan Jensen.”
Kiper excluded McGlinchey from his previous first-round mock, released Feb. 21.
The Ravens are currently picking McGlinchey in seven other mock drafts we’re tracking including SB Nation’s Dan Kadar (3/19), the Washington Post’s John Harris (3/22), NJ Advance Media’s Ryan Dunleavy (3/20), Riggo Rag’s Ian Cummings (3/19), MassLive.com’s Kevin Dillon & Nick O’Malley (3/8), NFL.com’s Charley Casserly (2/13) and Bleacher Report’s Steve Silverman (2/10).
Baltimore picks right before the Los Angeles Chargers, who are the destination for McGlinchey in 15 of the mock drafts we’re tracking. Will the Bolts move up for McGlinchey? There’s simply too many variables to say with any certainty.
Speaking of which, Kiper’s mock assumes no trades; history suggests there will be about six or seven during any given year.
No matter how connected Kiper is — or claims to be — his accuracy past the first few picks of any given draft is fairly low. Kiper isn’t unique in this regard. I mention it only because ESPN tends to treat these reveals as Moses coming down from Sinai with the tablets.