First look at B1G and the 2014 NFL draft

May, 8, 2013
5/08/13
5:00
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The 2013 NFL draft definitely was one to forget for the Big Ten.

We don't have to rehash the numbers. They were bad. Historically bad. And reflective in a way of how the NFL brass views the Big Ten right now.

Let's move on instead to the 2014 draft. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper has written several pieces looking forward at 2014, starting with his first Big Board Insider.

The good news: Kiper predicts the Big Ten will have two top 10 picks in Michigan left tackle Taylor Lewan (No. 8) and Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby (No. 9).

The bad news: No other Big Ten players appear on the list of 25.

Still, this forecast is a bit sunnier for the Big Ten, which hasn't had a player drafted in the top 10 since Jake Long and Vernon Gholston went No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, in the 2008 draft. Lewan certainly would have been a candidate to go in the top 10 this year if he decided to skip his senior season. Roby projects very well to the NFL and could be the Big Ten's first nationally elite corner since Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins (No. 14 overall in 2009 draft).

Only one Big Ten player appears in Kiper's next 25 top draft prospects Insider, and like Roby, he plays for Ohio State's defense. Kiper projects Buckeyes linebacker Ryan Shazier at No. 26, praising Shazier's instincts on the field. Shazier will be a junior this season.

Kiper also looks at how the 2013 draft would have changed Insider if certain prospects had been eligible or declared. He mentions Lewan (who could have declared) as a likely Top 10 pick who might have been able to challenge Central Michigan's Eric Fisher for the top spot.

It will be interesting to see what other Big Ten players show up on Kiper's upcoming projections. Several seniors to keep an eye on: Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard, Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Wisconsin G/T Ryan Groy, Michigan State LB Max Bullough and Ohio State T Jack Mewhort.

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