Thursday, March 13, 2014
Pac-12 players on updated draft boards
By Kevin Gemmell
The 2014 NFL draft doesn't kick off until May. That gives us plenty of extra time for speculation and guesswork.
Helping fuel that guesswork are the newest posts from Mel Kiper, who released his Mock Draft 3.0 , and Todd McShay, who posted his updated list of the top 32 NFL prospects.
Three Pac-12 players appear on each list.
UCLA’s Anthony Barr checks in as the highest-projected player from the Pac-12 to be drafted. Kiper has the outside linebacker at No. 11 going to the Tennessee Titans.
Barr has seen his stock slip some, but he put together a good pro day, and gives the Titans another pass-rusher aside from Derrick Morgan. In general, drafting the best possible player supersedes need unless the value lines up with need pretty well, but this is a spot where the needs are multiple and I can just see the team taking the best player. Barr can provide an early impact.
Wide receivers Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) and Marqise Lee (USC) are the other two Pac-12 players projected to be drafted in the first round.
In terms of ranking the prospects, McShay has Lee as the top-ranked player from the Pac-12 at No. 18, followed by Cooks at No. 22 and Barr at No. 23.
Here’s McShay’s take on Lee:
Lee didn't run a great 40 time at the combine (4.52 seconds), but he shows very good speed and explosiveness on tape, and is a big-play weapon after the catch and as a vertical route-runner. He had too many drops in 2013, but showed good ball skills during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
The conference has had at least one player drafted in the first round every year since 1967 -- and it looks like that trend will continue. Since 2000, 55 players from the league have been drafted in the first round.