Hooker Moving Up In Latest Kiper Mock Draft

The NFL "mock drafts"--put out by guys like ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay are far from an exact science. They just indicate the opinion of guys who have the ears of NFL scouts and GM's and reflect what teams may or may not be thinking. How accurate it really is will be determined starting April 27, when the draft gets started in Philadelphia. Nonetheless--right now, the news is very good for three members of last year's Ohio State secondary. 

The best news--if you prefer Kiper's mock--comes for safety Malik Hooker. Despite his off-season surgeries which have prevented him from doing pre-draft workouts, Hooker has consistently been projected in the top 10 and Kiper's latest mock--released Wednesday, has Hooker going No. 3 overall to Chicago. Kiper also projects defensive back Marshon Lattimore to be a top five pick, going No. 5 to Tennessee with corner Gareon Conley being taken 14th by Philadelphia. Kiper also has OSU receiver Curtis Samuel going in round two--with the 43rd overall pick--to Philadelphia.

McShay's mock--also released Wednesday--is not quite as favorable for the Buckeyes but still has them all solidly in round one. His projection has Hooker being taken No. 5 by Tennessee, Lattimore No. 10 by Buffalo and Conley No. 22 by Miami.

As for what the ESPN experts think of the Browns and Bengals--both are in agreement that Cleveland will take Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett No. 1 but then differ on Cleveland's second first round pick. Kiper has the Browns going with Clemson QB DeShaun Watson at No. 12, while McShay thinks the pick will be Alabama Tight End O.J. Howard. In terms of the Browns top second round selection--McShay thinks the Browns will go quarterback there--taking Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer No. 33, while Kiper has Cleveland picking controversial running back Joe Mixon of Clemson.

As for the Bengals, at No. 9 in the first round, both Kiper and McShay believe Cincinnati will go for a receiver, but they project different guys. Kiper has the Bengals taking Clemson's Mike Williams while McShay has Cincy going with Western Michigan's Corey Davis.

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