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NFL Mock Draft 2012: Alabama's Courtney Upshaw Makes Jump Up Mel Kiper's Big Board

Courtney Upshaw put on a strong showing in the national championship game last Monday as the Alabama Crimson Tide shut out the favored LSU Tigers 21-0. In such a strong defensive display, players are bound to stick out and Courtney Upshaw is one such player. In fact, he was already climbing draft lists even before the game started — such as Mel Kiper’s Big Board. Kiper has Upshaw at No. 16 overall in his latest rankings and the DE/OLB could move higher if he shows strong at the NFL Combine.

Kiper writes, “A riser so far this year, he is showing improved pass-rush skills and should convert to 3-4 OLB at the next level. Great leverage player who uses hands well and battles against the run. Fits the LaMarr Woodley comparison.”

A player like Upshaw would be a value only addition for a team like the Chiefs, but it’s not out of the question for the Chiefs to grab him. They have Tamba Hali entrenched on one side of their linebacking corps and Justin Houston won the team’s rookie of the year award on the other side and came on strong later in the season. However, a team can never have enough rotational players among its pass rushers and Upshaw could move up draft boards to become the best value.