By this point we all understand the relative insanity of January mock drafts. So much changes between now and April that there's almost no telling what will happen. This time last year it was a given that Ryan Mallett would be a 1st round pick, that was until teams met him and he opened his mouth.
That being said, Sports Illustrated's Andrew Perloff put out his model of the insanely early mock draft and it has a name I haven't seen mentioned from other pundits.
8. Carolina Panthers* -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
The Panthers have needs all over their defense and would benefit greatly by improving in the middle of the line. Brockers, a redshirt sophomore, will be the best prospect from LSU's outstanding defensive line if he declares himself eligible for the draft in the coming days.
Under the radar, and almost unmentioned it seems Brockers is a player nobody pegs to leave this year, but what if he does declare? While his numbers don't leap off the page (54 tackles, 2 sacks 1 FF) his gamelog is littered with big games against very good teams; 5 tackles against Oregon's potent offense, 7 tackles in the National Championship game (as well as a blocked FG), 6 against Georgia... the 6'6", 306 lb DT has been more or less off the radar.
More after the jump
I'll freely admit, I have been concentrating too much on guys I thought would leave that I have probably overlooked Brocker. However, much more knowledgeable people than I have called him a 'physical freak' and, ESPN Insider list him as the #1 DT in the draft, provided he declares.
Time will tell, but this definitely has given me some food for thought. It's a long road to April, but it's an exciting one.