Noon: Chat live with Gary Shelton
Ah, mock drafts. I'm still in New York for one more day, flying out tonight and bringing back a feature or two on other Big East stories to run during the NCAA Tournament. But the mock drafts carry on -- ESPN's two-headed draft monster of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have new projections out, and neither has USF defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in the top five.
McShay, who had excitedly bumped Pierre-Paul all the way up to third with the Bucs in early February -- other mainstream mocks have done the same since -- now has him way back down at No. 17, going to the 49ers. "Pierre-Paul is a risky pick because of his lack of experience at the FBS level, but he has rare upside, and 49ers head coach Mike Singletary is the kind of motivator who can help Pierre-Paul reach his potential," he writes.
Kiper, who had Pierre-Paul eighth in his last projection, meanwhile bumps him up one spot, going seventh to the Browns. "Pierre-Paul has the chance to be a dynamic star in the NFL if he continues to develop, and he would be a dangerous pass-rusher as he is now," Kiper writes. "With off-the-charts physical skills for his size, he's an exciting talent. I said before that he could be the Mario Williams of this draft, and I maintain that thought."
USF's Pro Day is still nearly three weeks away on March 30, but that's the next major event in the draft process -- neither projection has Bulls safety Nate Allen in the first round, but with him not running in Indianapolis due to a pulled quad, he'll have a chance to help himself with a healthy showing on campus at the end of the month.