Here are 3 of the "big boards" by three of the formost "experts" in the bizz as of last week:http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft201 ... -big-boardMel Kiper
Originally Published: November 23, 2011
Big Board sees Matt Barkley rise
After some inconsistent play early, Matt Barkley is back in the top-five mix
Kiper By Mel Kiper
People talk a lot about the great benefit of playing early. They talk about the experience gained in getting those reps as an 18- or 19-year-old, the perspective gained from being forced to learn on a big stage. It can be overstated. From a scouting standpoint, there's also the problem of too much exposure. Think about USC junior quarterback Matt Barkley. He's made 35 college starts and is really starting to take off as a prospect. Yet you wonder how many people saw him early -- which could have been at least a dozen times before he'd turned 21 -- and formed a strong opinion. Barkley is still making plenty of mistakes and errant throws, and he's really just starting to take that next step in his growth. But the video piles up.
Earlier this year I dropped Barkley some on the Big Board, but he's since battled through some hiccups and has again shown that he didn't plateau. His growth goes beyond his numbers, where the improvement is clear. Barkley could return to USC next year, but his draft stock is rising. Read on and let me know who you think should be higher or who's been passed over. As always, juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
Andrew Luck *
He's battling through this year with limited help. I think he's unable to show off all he can do given the talent around him. Luck is the total package. Arm strength, size, smarts, demeanor. Still a safe bet to be No. 1 overall.
LAST WEEK: 1 | PLAYER CARD
Matt Kalil *
There aren't a lot of new things to say because Kalil just remains steady. He'll remind you of former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long, an athletic left tackle who has the full set of skills as a pass-blocker and as a strong, capable run-blocker.
LAST WEEK: 2 | PLAYER CARD
Trent Richardson *
I maintain that Richardson's splitting carries in his first two seasons will benefit him. Powerful, fast, with improved vision, he runs with good pad level and breaks tackles with ease. Solid year in a so-so offense.
LAST WEEK: 3 | PLAYER CARD
Justin Blackmon *
He should surpass last year's 111 catches, which is remarkable. A better prospect than recent OSU star Dez Bryant. Versatile and explosive and really works to get open. Great ball skills; breaks tackles. Exceptional work ethic.
LAST WEEK: 5 | PLAYER CARD
Morris Claiborne *
Just keeps showing up week after week. Big rise so far in 2011; now the top corner here. Exceptional pure cover corner with impeccable instincts at the position. Has solid ball skills for the position. Not a total burner but plenty quick.
LAST WEEK: 6 | PLAYER CARD
Landry Jones *
He misses Ryan Broyles. I like the way he's battled so far in 2011, but he has some interceptions and has made some odd decisions. Accuracy is still very good. Good size, strong arm but needs to improve footwork, particularly in traffic.
LAST WEEK: 4 | PLAYER CARD
Matt Barkley *
Has rebounded after some tough games. Accurate and showing growth year-to-year. To me, he's throwing a better ball and is really well on the move. Good, not great, arm. Pro-style skills are helpful.
LAST WEEK: 10 | PLAYER CARD
Jonathan Martin *
Trusted in the passing game as the blindside protection for Luck, Martin does a great job in the run game, given his athleticism, and Stanford has benefited. He gets to the second level and moves so well.
LAST WEEK: 7 | PLAYER CARD
Production is down, but skill set is hard to look past. The size and talent are there, but he'll need to add to his arsenal with increased blocking attention. Great size and length to hold the edge as a 4-3 defensive end.
LAST WEEK: 8 | PLAYER CARD
Riley Reiff *
Film is piling up. Reiff has probably the best tape of any left tackle so far because he's so complete. Durable, he has played from day one at Iowa. Gets under the pads of defenders very effectively but also can move well.
LAST WEEK: 9 | PLAYER CARD
Luke Kuechly *
I'm simply enamored with his instincts and have fewer doubts that he'll succeed. Dependable, a tackling machine, he makes great reads, sees the play develop and sheds blockers well. Cementing his status.
LAST WEEK: 11 | PLAYER CARD
Alshon Jeffery *
His production has taken a hit with the QB situation, but highlights are still there. Imposing presence, a matchup nightmare. Phenomenal hands, decent burst, elite size. Speed is a bit of a question.
LAST WEEK: 12 | PLAYER CARD
Manti Te'o *
Te'o has been steady this season. Not bad, not exceptional. He's making a ton of tackles in the middle of the field but has above-average range; some pass-rush skills. Rugged player with ideal size. Could be more consistent as a tackler.
LAST WEEK: 13 | PLAYER CARD
Scheme-versatile, Thompson might not get the sacks but manages to be a really disruptive force along the interior. Balances plugging running lanes with decent skills as a penetrator. Consistent season.
LAST WEEK: 14 | PLAYER CARD
Vontaze Burfict *
Little left to prove. Great instincts, makes plays sideline to sideline and is far more disciplined than he gets credit for. Maybe too much tape: has started since his first game as a freshman.
LAST WEEK: 15 | PLAYER CARD
Really experienced player whose best strength is versatility. Has spent time at tackle but can dominate at guard, and I'd expect whoever drafts him to ultimately have him blocking inside.
LAST WEEK: 16 | PLAYER CARD
Ronnell Lewis *
For me, Lewis is a little like Aldon Smith from last year, a guy who will benefit from a change of scheme. A defensive end at Oklahoma, he'll take his elite athleticism to outside linebacker at the next level. Speed fits the 3-4.
LAST WEEK: 17 | PLAYER CARD
A great penetrator, he has overcome health issues and has been extremely disruptive, breaking through double-teams to pile up TFLs. Maybe the MVP for that team this season. Could play a couple of spots at next level.
LAST WEEK: 18 | PLAYER CARD
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.
LAST WEEK: 19 | PLAYER CARD
An absolute flier, Brown isn't big, but he can get after the quarterback and back up and cover like a safety. Has a versatile skill set and can go outside in a 3-4 or be a good weakside in a 4-3.
LAST WEEK: 21 | PLAYER CARD
Plays taller than his 5-foot-10 frame with incredible leaping ability. Handles bigger receivers far better than the height implies. Has strong frame and great ball skills and is a big-time competitor.
LAST WEEK: 20 | PLAYER CARD
Jerel Worthy *
Has played better after an inconsistent start but still can have up-and-down stretches. Disruptive DT in a class that's a little shallower, and that could benefit him. Has good size and is tough to move -- just needs consistency.
LAST WEEK: 22 | PLAYER CARD
Quick as a cat with fluid hips and very good instincts for the position. He's a man among boys now at the Division II level, but must be exceptional there and answer questions. Has been dynamic as a punt returner this season.
LAST WEEK: 23 | PLAYER CARD
Robert Griffin III *
Has elite athleticism and has altered and improved his delivery, resulting in better accuracy on downfield throws. Smart kid who will shine during interviews. No ill effects from 2009 knee injury. Remarkable numbers.
LAST WEEK: 24 | PLAYER CARD
Michael Floyd *
Multidimensional receiver is able to beat you short or deep using a big frame to beat smaller cornerbacks. Played at 227 pounds in 2010 but dropped a little weight this season and does appear a little quicker.
LAST WEEK: 25 | PLAYER CARD
Mel Kiper has been the premier name in NFL draft prospect evaluations for more than three decades. He started putting out his annual draft guides in 1978 and started contributing to ESPN as an analyst in 1984. For more from Mel, check out his annual draft publications or his home page. He can also be found on Twitter here.http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft201 ... d-rankings
Originally Published: November 23, 2011
Five new names among top 32
Defensive tackles moving in and out; big-name running back makes his debut
McShay By Todd McShay
This week's edition of Scouts Inc.'s top 32 NFL prospects includes some big names on the move -- both up and down -- and a handful of rising players making their debut in the rankings.
Our top-rated defensive end is now among the top five, while a Big 12 quarterback makes the biggest jump this week, moving up seven spots and into the top 25. The top safety on the board also continues to shoot up the rankings and is now inside the top 15.
A former SEC cornerback now playing in Division II takes the biggest tumble, falling all the way to the edge of the top 30, and the five players who fall out of the top 32 this week include a pair of defensive tackles along with a linebacker, tight end and wide receiver.
Here's how things stand as we enter the final weeks of the 2011 college season.
Analysis: Luck is losing steam in the Heisman Trophy race, but he still has a stranglehold on the top spot on the draft board. His mental makeup and physical tools put him a cut above all other quarterback prospects in the 2012 class. Last week: 1
Analysis: Kalil continues to showcase his complete skills. He's consistent, and his impressive feet and balance in pass protection make him an NFL-ready left tackle. Last week: 2
Analysis: Size, speed, fluid hips and impressive ball skills make Claiborne the top draft-eligible cover corner in the nation. He is overshadowed some by playmaking teammate Tyrann Mathieu, but Claiborne is clearly a top-10 talent. Last week: 4
Analysis: An elite combination of speed, size, power, balance and vision makes Richardson far and away the best running back prospect in the class. Last week: 3
Analysis: Coples has enormous upside and impressive physical tools, but he needs to play with more urgency over the remainder of the season to maximize his stock. Last week: 6
Analysis: Barkley shined in an upset win at Oregon, throwing for 323 yards and four touchdowns. He is playing as well as any quarterback in the nation thanks in large part to impressive decision-making and poise in the pocket. Last week: 11
Analysis: Inconsistency has been an issue for Jones this season, but he has the build, arm strength and experience that teams look for in first-round quarterbacks. Last week: 5
Analysis: Martin is not as light on his feet as Kalil, but he does show good power as a run blocker and should have a long career as an NFL starter at right tackle. Last week: 8
Analysis: Blackmon continues to show off his ball skills, hands and body control. He's ultra-productive and also has strong character. Last week: 7
Analysis: Reiff isn't a mauler, but he's dependable, consistent and technically sound, and he shows good ability to slide and mirror in pass protection. Last week: 10
Analysis: Kirkpatrick might not be an elite man-to-man corner, but his frame and physical nature in run support to make him a solid first-rounder. Last week: 12
Analysis: Kuechly's elite instincts and ability to diagnose plays get him to the ball quickly and help mask his lack of elite athleticism. He's perhaps the most productive linebacker in the nation. Last week: 12
Analysis: There are questions about his tackling and lateral agility, but none about Te'o's instincts, toughness and leadership. Last week: 13
Analysis: Barron continues to rise as he puts last season's injury issues behind him. He is a complete safety who can be intimidating in run support and make plays on the ball in coverage. Last week: 18
Analysis: Burfict is a physical freak who can deliver heavy blows as a run defender and shows good range and awareness in underneath coverage. If he can answer questions about his on-the-field maturity and mental makeup, he has the tools of a top-10 pick. Last week: 15
Analysis: Miller's numbers have tailed off in recent weeks, but he runs hard and explodes out of cuts and looks to be an NFL-ready back right now. Last week: 14
Analysis: Stanford has had some issues in protection in recent weeks, but you can't blame DeCastro. He is the most dominant interior lineman in the country and is ready to step in as an NFL starter right now. Last week: 17
Analysis: Ingram is a bit of a DE/OLB 'tweener, but there's no denying his athleticism and knack for making big plays at the right time. Last week: 19
Analysis: Still continues to be the most disruptive defensive tackle I've seen this season. He doesn't have elite athleticism but has been good enough this season to move from the middle of Day 2 into the first-round mix. Last week: 25
Analysis: Cox has come on strong in recent weeks and gotten himself into the first-round discussion, thanks to both his own play and a relatively weak overall defensive tackle class. Last week: NR
Analysis: Upshaw is at his best using strength to set the edge against the run, and he also flashes some pass-rush ability. He would be higher if his first-step quickness were a bit better. Last week: 21
Analysis: Mercilus is an impressive edge rusher who has been very productive this season. Last week: NR
Analysis: Dennard is not an elite corner in any single category, but he does everything well and is continuing to improve. Last week: 20
Analysis: Tannehill is a former wide receiver and remains raw as a quarterback, but he's showing improved instincts and plenty of potential. He also has above-average ability to create something when the play breaks down. Last week: 31
Analysis: Wilson has good top-end speed to get around the corner, exceptional balance when finishing runs, and is also showing improved instincts and patience this season. Last week: NR
Analysis: Floyd has first-round size and ball skills, but there are still concerns about just how sudden he is as a route-runner. However, his ability to play the deep ball is elite, and that alone catches the eyes of scouts. Last week: 22
Analysis: Jenkins has good physical tools and has flashed big-play ability this season, but he's not dominating small-school competition as expected, and character issues continue to affect his stock. Last week: 16
Analysis: Questions continue to swirl about Jeffery's lack of quick-twitch athleticism and ability to separate from coverage at the next level, but he's like Floyd in that his skills when the ball is in the air are simply too good to overlook. Last week: 24
Analysis: Jones would do well to spend another year in Athens working on his strength and proving his durability, but he's been productive in 2011, and his raw physical ability puts him in the upper echelon of outside linebackers. Last week: 23
Robert Griffin III*
Analysis: Griffin has been rising all season, and his performance in an upset win over Oklahoma -- which included the game-winning touchdown pass with 8 seconds remaining -- has only hastened his ascent. He has great mobility, a quick release and good arm strength. Last week: 24
Analysis: Reddick is not quite as athletic as teammate Zach Brown, but Reddick is a better football player. He's tougher, more instinctive and more consistent throughout a game. Last week: 28
Analysis: Wright is consistently productive thanks to good hands, ability to create after the catch and solid top-end speed. He also shows the focus and body control to adjust to poorly thrown or deflected balls. Last week: NR
Todd McShay is the Director of College Scouting for Scouts Inc. He has been evaluating prospects for the NFL draft since 1998.
Follow Todd McShay on Twitter: @McShay13http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/stor ... -arms-raceRob Rang
If you're a fan of an NFL team in need of a young quarterback, this might just be your year. Everyone knows about Andrew Luck. Some argue that Southern Cal's Matt Barkley is as good or even better. After a stirring performance that led Baylor to its first win over Oklahoma in 21 attempts, Robert Griffin III has burst onto the scene as a potential high first-round pick, as well. Add to these three the high upside in Oklahoma's Landry Jones and Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill and we could see an even more quarterback-heavy first round than last year -- when four were among the first 12 picks of the draft.
Creating a "Big Board" at this point in the year isn't necessarily designed to predict who will be the first 32 picks of the 2012 NFL draft. Obviously, with a full season, all-star games, workouts and interviews each playing critical roles in determining a player's final grade, much will change between now and April.
1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: When an athlete is the "consensus" top prospect in the draft for a year and a half, it is only natural for some to poke holes in his game. Forget the questions about arm strength. Luck's anticipation and accuracy more than make up for this perceived weakness. Luck is worth the hype and will be the first pick of the 2012 draft, regardless of which team owns the rights to the pick.
2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama*: It is difficult to grade any running back on this level -- the value of the position simply doesn't warrant it. Richardson, however, is the elite talent likely to be available in 2012 not named Luck.
3. Matt Barkley, QB, Southern Cal*: I'm not willing to agree with University of Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian that Barkley should be drafted higher than Luck, but I do believe the Trojan junior has narrowed the gap and is an elite prospect in his own right.
4. Matt Kalil, OT, Southern Cal*: Kalil isn't as fundamentally sound and consistent as scouts would like, but he possesses such great size, athleticism and balance that being a top five pick (and future Pro Bowls) would appear likely in his future.
5. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU*: I argued that LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson was the top player in the 2011 draft. Shockingly, Claiborne has been even better this season than Peterson, the fifth pick of the draft, was last year.
6. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State*: Blackmon ultimately won't get drafted this high due to concerns about his straight-line speed, but he's virtually unstoppable at this level and will prove to be No. 1 option in the NFL.
7. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford*: In terms of consistent dominance, there hasn't been an offensive or defensive lineman I've graded higher thus far this season than DeCastro. Only the fact that he plays guard could keep him out of the top half of the first round.
8. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame: Big, physical and (like Blackmon) faster on the field than he'll ever be timed in workouts, Floyd has the makings of a top 10 pick -- as long as he can convince teams he has the maturity to handle the pressure on and off the field that comes with such lofty expectations.
9. Devon Still, DT, Penn State: Still's talent has always been obvious, but until this season it has lied under the surface. Just as Phil Taylor rode a dominant senior campaign into a first-round pick, don't be surprised if Still is able to do the same -- especially if he can follow Taylor's lead and enjoy a stellar week at the Senior Bowl.
10. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa*: Possessing NFL size (6-6, 300 pounds), sound technique and better athleticism than his former teammate, Bryan Bulaga, Reiff is viewed by scouts as a pro-ready tackle capable of helping immediately at either left or right tackle.
11. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama*: Kirkpatrick's size, speed and physicality are rare for the cornerback position. He remains a bit raw in his technique, which is why Claiborne has leapt him on many draft boards.
12. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: When playing with passion, the 6-6, 285-pound Coples is arguably the elite defensive prospect in the country. Coples, who is lining up at defensive end this season after starring last year inside, hasn't been playing with the same intensity and thus is slipping. His raw talent is undeniable and should generate top 10 consideration.
13. Courtney Upshaw, ILB, Alabama: Among the most versatile defenders in the country, Upshaw's burst and strong, active hands make him a natural pass rusher capable of seeing the field early whether as a 4-3 defensive end or as either an inside or outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.
14. Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska: Finally back to health, Dennard is showing signs of being the physical shutdown press corner that led some scouts to grade him this season as the country's elite senior prospect at any position.
15. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford*: Martin's size (6-6, 305) and athleticism is very intriguing -- especially in a zone-blocking offense. Scouts wonder, however, if he has the physicality to be successful in every scheme.
16. Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia: Glenn struggled in the opener against Boise State, but has rewarded my faith in him since with his improved play at left tackle. He may not be able to remain here in the NFL, but looks like a possible future Pro Bowl candidate on the inside.
17. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: Quarterback Robert Griffin III gets all of the hype, but the playmaking Wright is a legitimate first round talent himself. At 5-foot-10, 190 pounds Wright is significantly smaller than many of the other top receivers in this draft, but he brings very good open field running skills. Some scouts compare Wright to Carolina Panthers' star Steve Smith for their similar build and explosiveness.
18. Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State: Scouts will want to investigate Adams' maturity considering his suspension as part of Tattoo-gate, but since returning to the field for the Buckeyes, the 6-foot-6, 320 pounder has proven himself to be the top senior offensive tackle in the country.
19. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor: This is RGIII's first week on my Big Board. I had been impressed by the redshirt junior's athleticism and touch on the deep ball, but it was the poise and toughness he showed in upsetting Oklahoma that really caught my eye. Griffin isn't nearly as polished as Luck or Barkley, but he could prove a real gem, nonetheless.
20. Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame*: Instinctive, physical and athletic enough to beat backs to the edge, as well as remain on the field on third down, Te'o has emerged as the country's best all-around middle linebacker.
21. Mark Barron, SS, Alabama: A free safety for the Crimson Tide, I have some reservations about Barron being able to hold up at this position against top-notch NFL passing games. That said, his reliable open-field tackling and instincts make him the clear top safety prospect.
22. Mohammed Sanu, WR, Rutgers*: At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds Sanu possesses rare size and physicality to play outside in the NFL. He lacks elite speed, however, which limits his draft stock despite the fact that he's been as reliable as any receiver in the country this season.
23. Dontari Poe, DT/NG, Memphis*: At 6-foot-5, 350 pounds, Poe certainly has the bulk scouts are looking for. What is most impressive about him, however, is that at this size Poe is also light on his feet and plays with a high-revving motor. Poe is only a junior and is clearly raw, but in a relatively weak defensive tackle class, he could fly up the board.
24. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama: As expected, Jenkins has been a man among boys at this level after starring at Florida. He's the most talented senior cover corner in the country and has returned three punts for touchdowns this season, including a school record 93 yarder against West Alabama on Saturday that helped UNA advance in the Division II playoffs.
25. Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College*: Kuechly locates the football as quickly as any defender in the country and he is a reliable open field tackler. He's finished second in the entire country with 158 tackles as a true freshman in 2009. He led the country last season (183) and is averaging nearly 2.5 more tackles per game this season.
26. Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State*: Worthy, a junior, continues to struggle with consistency, but defensive tackles with his combination of size, strength and quickness don't last long on draft day.
27. Orson Charles, TE, Georgia*: Charles lacks the size at 6-foot-3, 242 pounds of the traditional tight end, but his athleticism, reliable hands and surprising physicality as a blocker makes him my top-rated prospect at the position.
28. Billy Winn, DT, Boise State: Kellen Moore gets all of the hype, but Winn is clearly Boise State's best pro prospect. Winn has been impressive against top competition and at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds has the versatility to play outside in the 3-4 or inside in the 4-3.
29. Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina: Brown's elite athleticism is going to draw raves at the Combine, but moderate instincts and physicality are potential red-flags that shouldn't be ignored.
30. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M: Texas A&M's struggles late in games is sure to rattle the confidence scouts have in Tannehill. However, the simple fact is he has all of the physical characteristics scouts are looking for and has thrown over twice as many touchdowns as interceptions in a pro-style offense over his career. Barring a horrendous finish, Tannehill deserves first-round consideration on upside alone.
31. Nick Perry, DE, Southern Cal: Upside is also the key word with Perry. He's enjoying a breakout season for the Trojans and appears to be just scratching the surface of his potential. Sources close to the team tell me that Perry could run in the 4.6s at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, which will intrigue teams needing pass rushers for the 4-3 and 3-4, alike.
32. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma*: There is no denying Jones' production, size or strong arm. I have reservations about his poise and mobility in the pocket, which could make Jones a poor fit in some NFL offenses, including the popular West Coast offense.