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ESPN Mel Kiper 2011 NFL Mock Draft

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28:  Defensive lineman Nick Fairley of Auburn runs a drill during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive lineman Nick Fairley of Auburn runs a drill during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Mel Kiper has put out his final mock draft (In$ider) before tonight's first round of the draft, and he is sticking with the Titans taking Nick Fairley. My gut still tells me that since everyone is predicting that the Titans will take Fairley they won't, but it does make a whole lot of sense. I hated the pick at first, but I have made peace with it at this point.

Here is what Kiper had to say about the pick:

I'll stick with Fairley here. As I've said before, defensive line probably falls lower on the list of team needs behind the obvious question of who will be taking snaps, but it's not a minor need. And to get the most productive interior lineman in the college game last year, a player who was simply unblockable against really good competition, is a solid get for the Titans at No. 8 overall. Fairley gives you immediate help at a key position and he offers the value of a top-five pick. Disruptive versus both the run and the pass, he will help this defense now and the Titans can look for a linebacker later on. Why has Fairley fallen? For me, it's just mainly because of the fact that, while brilliant in that one season, he has less of a body of work. But he's by no means dropping on talent questions.

The good news is that in a few short hours we will have real results from the draft to look at instead of mocks.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare for it - NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft Hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft.