Big Ten juniors who could enter the NFL draft

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

OK, full disclosure here. I totally copied this idea from SEC blogger Chris Low because it's a good one and, well, the Big Ten is sort of quiet this week.

The Big Ten shouldn't take too big of a hit with juniors jumping to the NFL a year early, though the running back position might lose arguably its top two players. Here's a list of Big Ten juniors who could -- it's could, not should or will -- explore their NFL draft options. I realize some of these guys are long shots to leave early, but it's fun to speculate.


DE Jammie Kirlew -- It's highly unlikely he'll be gone, but after a tremendous season as a pass-rusher, Kirlew has put himself on the NFL radar.

DE Greg Middleton -- He was a likely candidate to leave early after leading the nation in sacks last year, but a disappointing junior season should keep him in Bloomington.


CB Vontae Davis -- He's got a brother (Vernon) in the NFL and the skills to make it on the next level right now. It could go either way, but I wouldn't be surprised if he bolts.


RB Shonn Greene -- The likely Doak Walker Award winner was the best running back in college football this season. At 23 years old, Greene is ready for the NFL and likely will go early.


DE Brandon Graham -- Head coach Rich Rodriguez said Graham will be back for 2009, but the dynamic junior definitely impressed NFL scouts this fall with a league-leading 20 tackles for loss.




WR Eric Decker -- He could make in the NFL as a slot receiver but probably will return after injuries slowed his progress late in the season.


DE Corey Wootton -- NFL scouts are certainly aware of the fourth-year junior after an excellent season, though Wootton likely will be back for 2009.


RB Chris "Beanie" Wells -- He's the most NFL-ready running back in the country and a likely first-round pick if he leaves school early. I wouldn't expect Beanie back for 2009.

WR Brian Hartline -- Ohio State's passing game struggled this fall, but Hartline is definitely on the NFL draft radar and could leave early.


DE Aaron Maybin -- The third-year sophomore was dominant this fall and could enter the draft this year. He likely would be a first-day draft pick if he comes out.