Mel Kiper is one of the longest-running draft gurus in the business. In fact, one could argue he basically invented the business of draft prognosticating, and he’s turned it into a year-round business. Thus, even though he’s been wrong quite a bit, when Mel Kiper speaks people generally give him a chance to say his piece.
Kiper released his first mock draft of the 2011 NFL Draft season and has the 49ers drafting North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn. Kiper has this to say about the pick:
It’s an understatement to say that Quinn will be fresh. After sitting out his entire junior year at Chapel Hill, it’s a testament to Quinn’s talent that he’s this high on the draft board. And make no mistake — scouts think extremely highly of Quinn. If his preparations for the draft process are up to par, at this spot he offers the Niners a pure pass-rusher at defensive end that can only be matched by Bowers.
Although Quinn is talented, selecting him this high would certainly be rather ballsy. Quinn was part of the group of players who were ruled ineligible because they accepted improper benefits. He apologized for his actions, but sitting out an entire season has not done well for players in the past. While character issues will be raised, I’m more concerned with the fact that he hasn’t played in a year. I don’t know if I want to roll the dice on “[i]f his preparations for the draft process are up to par.”