ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has produced his final Big Board for the 2011 draft
The Big Ten could have a sizable presence in the first round of this year's draft, as Kiper shows. Kiper lists five Big Ten players among his top 25 and has Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, who played his entire career in the Big 12, at No. 9.
Here's where the Big Ten players stack up, according to Kiper.
No. 11: Illinois DT Corey Liuget
Analysis: Reads game well; strong against the run or the pass. Has good leverage, is disruptive, is not elite pass-rusher. Solid workouts.
No. 18: Wisconsin DE J.J. Watt
Analysis: Has shown athleticism and versatility at full 290 pounds. Has great motor and good diagnostic skills; is impressive pass-rusher.
No. 20: Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn
Analysis: Better fit for 4-3 DE. Really good motor; batters O-linemen. Needs to refine rush skills; gets very high marks from those he's gone against.
No. 23: Wisconsin LT Gabe Carimi
Analysis: Monster year of tape, battling a number of high draft picks. Better footwork in 2010; added consistency. Excellent frame; could move along the line.
No. 24: Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan
Analysis: Has limited physical skills but elite instincts and ball awareness. Is a TFL machine, even against double-teams. Should shake tweener tag.
The real Big Ten drama on draft night is which player gets selected first. I'd be surprised if the first pick isn't Liuget or Watt, but I see both men being selected around the same spot, so either could go first.
Should be an interesting Thursday night at the draft.