Kiper's top 5s for draft, 2012 season

January, 26, 2012
1/26/12
10:15
AM ET
ESPN's NFL draft expert Mel Kiper has revised his list of top 5 players at each position for the 2012 draft and compiled the top 5s among returning seniors for the 2012 college football season.

Big Ten players are on both lists, so let's take a look.

2012 NFL DRAFT
Thoughts: Center and defensive tackle clearly were the Big Ten's strongest positions in 2011. Worthy appears a bit lower than I thought and needs to help his stock in the predraft events. Dennard also has fallen off a bit. It will be interesting to see the order in which Konz, Brewster and Molk are drafted. Welch's placement above Dimke comes as a bit of a surprise, while I expected to see Wisconsin's Brad Nortman on the top 5 punters list.

TOP RETURNING SENIORS BY POSITION
  • Wisconsin's Montee Ball, No. 1 running back
  • Ohio State's Zach Boren, No. 2 fullback
  • Penn State's Mike Zordich, No. 4 fullback
  • Michigan's Denard Robinson, No. 2 wide receiver
  • Ohio State's Jake Stoneburner, No. 4 tight end
  • Nebraska's Kyler Reed, No. 5 tight end
  • Wisconsin's Ricky Wagner, No. 1 offensive tackle
  • Illinois' Graham Pocic, No. 2 center
  • Ohio State's John Simon, No. 2 defensive end
  • Purdue's Kawann Short, No. 1 defensive tackle
  • Penn State's Jordan Hill, No. 5 defensive tackle
  • Penn State's Gerald Hodges, No. 3 outside linebacker
  • Iowa's Micah Hyde, No. 3 cornerback
  • Michigan State's Dan Conroy, No. 5 kicker
  • Nebraska's Brett Maher, No. 3 punter
Thoughts: Robinson's name jumps out as Kiper has the Michigan quarterback listed as a wide receiver, adding that NFL general managers won't draft him unless he's willing to change positions. It will be interesting to see if Ball can hold onto the top spot among running backs on Kiper's board as Wisconsin's offense will have some new faces in 2012. Defensive tackle once again should be a strength for the Big Ten, and tight end and fullback could be positions to watch. Stoneburner could have a huge senior season at Ohio State, and Reed comes off an injury-plagued 2011 campaign.

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