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2011 NFL Draft: Replacing Mike Vrabel Is Key Says Mel Kiper

Mel Kiper, ESPN’s draft guru along with Todd McShay recently posted a column addressing veterans most likely to find an apprentice in this year’s draft, a la Aaron Rodgers being drafted to sit behind Brett Favre for a spell. For teams with depth, it’s a luxury to choose a player with high potential and let him learn from the storied veteran in place.

Mike Vrabel is one such player Kiper identifies as the key linebacker in this category, along with Arizona’s Joey Porter. Even with the extension signed by Andy Studebaker, many expect the Chiefs to address the OLB position early in April’s draft, so Kiper’s sentiments are hardly surprising. Here’s what he writes:

Vrabel is a stalwart in terms of his smarts and anticipation, while Porter always has been about getting to the quarterback. In both cases, these guys are well into their 30s and have made their money. It’s a need position for both teams, and the draft is stocked with top-end talent at this position. Both could address it early.