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Jordan Phillips, Preston Smith could go in first round

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Mississippi State defensive end Preston Smith a first-rounder? Hey, don't be surprised if it happens.

Phillips (6-foot-5, 329 pounds) has shown up on some mock drafts throughout the pre-draft process and is seen as a first-rounder by two NFL Media analysts, with Bucky Brooks and Charley Casserly having him going to Detroit at No. 23 in their mock drafts. Phillips is a big body who is stout against the run, but consistency issues and a balky back (he needed back surgery in 2013 and missed most of the season) are negatives.

But Smith going in the first round would be a shocker of sorts, though analyst Brian Baldinger does have him going to New England at 32nd. Smith (6-5, 271) was a two-year starter for Mississippi State and had a strong senior season: nine sacks and 15 tackles for loss. But he might not be a good fit at end for a team that uses a 4-3.

Smith is solid against the run and has long arms. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein says Smith "could be an interesting prospect inside or in a hybrid 3-4 front."

Teams that could be looking for a defensive tackle such as Phillips later in the first round are Cincinnati (which picks 21st), Detroit, Indianapolis (29th), New Orleans (31st) and New England. Smith could appeal to Carolina (25th), Green Bay (30th), the Saints and the Patriots.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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