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2012 NFL Mock Draft: Mel Kiper's First Edition Has Lions Taking Zach Brown

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I'm of the opinion that it is still far too early for NFL mock drafts, but unfortunately with the Detroit Lions out of the playoffs, it is that time of the year. The majority of mock drafts so far have had Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard being selected by the Lions with the 23rd pick, but that's not the case in Mel Kiper's first mock draft. He has the Lions going linebacker and taking North Carolina's Zach Brown. Here's his reasoning:

Detroit again will go into the 2012 season with perhaps the best front four in the NFL. Martin Mayhew and Jim Schwartz calculated well that the secondary would make strides after being such a weakness in previous seasons. Where the Lions could use help is at linebacker, and Brown would be a good fit. Brown has great instincts as a rangy tackler, and he has a lot of speed and can run with tight ends. I certainly can see the Lions looking for help on the offensive line at this spot, but if a top tackle doesn't fall to them here, Brown makes sense.

If the Lions are able to re-sign Stephen Tulloch, I don't think they will have a need at linebacker since DeAndre Levy is a restricted free agent and should be back. Of course, the lack of a need hasn't dissuaded the Lions from selecting players in the past, but I have my doubts that Brown will be the best player available on their board.

Here is where Kiper has some notable names to Lions fans being selected: No. 6 CB Morris Claiborne (Redskins), No. 8 CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Panthers), No. 14 OG David DeCastro (Cowboys), No. 17 CB Alfonzo Dennard (Bengals). Interestingly enough, Kiper doesn't have Wisconsin C Peter Konz being taken in the first round.