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The Big East and the 2012 draft

While we breathlessly await the start of the 2011 NFL draft on Thursday night (well, maybe you do; I'll be watching Michael Scott's goodbye on "The Office"), draftniks are already preparing for the future. Mel Kiper Jr. recently revealed his Top 5 by position for the 2012 draft. If his future-telling formula works, perhaps he'll tell me who this year's Derby winner will be.

Anyway, let's take a look at the Big East rising seniors mentioned by Mel:

Running backs:

Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati, No. 3

Offensive guards:

Lucas Nix, Pittsburgh, No. 3

Chris Jacobson, Pittsburgh, No. 5

Centers:

Moe Petrus, Connecticut, No. 5

Defensive tackles:

Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati, No. 5

And that's it. I can't argue with Pead, and it's good to see Wolfe get some recognition -- I think he's in for a big season. Todd Graham would be happy if two of his inside linemen -- Jacobson moved to center this spring -- end up being top draft prospects. Petrus has been solid and probably underrated nationally. I was surprised Bruce Irvin wasn't on this list, though he is a tweener, and where is Dave Teggart among the kickers?

I think there are some other Big East guys who could move into high draft status, particularly some underclassmen if they have good seasons and declare. But this is a list for seniors only.