NCF Nation: Kevin Kowalski

Kiper: Kaepernick a top 5 QB

February, 4, 2011
Earlier this week, Mel Kiper updated his list of Top 5 players by position as we get closer to the NFL draft. He just so happened to update on national signing day, so forgive us for getting this to you a few days late.

One of the newest additions to the list: Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kiper now has him as the No. 5 quarterback available in the draft, following a good showing at the Senior Bowl last week. It is his first appearance in the top 5. Now, having said that, Kiper also throws in a caveat: "It's worth noting that Kaepernick is a tier below the top four. He's still very much a project at this point."

[+] EnlargeColin Kaepernick
Douglas C. Pizac/US PresswireNevada QB Colin Kaepernick's raw ability could send him shooting up NFL draft boards.
Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert is atop the list now, with Cam Newton, Ryan Mallett and Jake Locker behind him. Still, it speaks to the potential Kaepernick has to be included in the top 5 -- and ahead of TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, who also had a good week in Mobile, Ala.

So who could be the top non-AQ player off the board? Temple defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson, listed as the No. 23 tackle available, is No. 23 on the Big Board. Kiper writes that Wilkerson is "scheme-flexible, disruptive, strong penetrator, could work in 3-4 or 4-3." He also rates as a first-round prospect in the breakdown of players in the ESPN NFL Player draft rankings, coming in at No. 15.

Nevada outside linebacker Dontay Moch rates as the No. 4 player available at his position, while Charles Clay of Tulsa is listed as the No. 2 fullback and Kevin Kowalski of Toledo is rated the No. 4 center.

All these non-AQ players, except for Kowalski, have been invited to attend the NFL combine later this month. Here are the other non-AQ players invited to the combine:

Matt Asiata, RB, Utah

Nick Bellore, LB, Central Michigan

DeAndre Brown, WR, Southern Miss

Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State

Brandon Burton, CB, Utah

Marcus Cannon, OL, TCU

Chris Carter, DE, Fresno State

Ryan Colburn, QB, Fresno State

Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

Wayne Daniels, DE, TCU

Nathan Enderle, QB, Idaho

Alex Green, RB, Hawaii

Virgil Green, TE, Nevada

Jamel Hamler, WR, Fresno State

Daniel Hardy, TE, Idaho

Dwayne Harris, WR, East Carolina

Davon House, DB, New Mexico State

Rob Housler, TE, FAU

Andrew Jackson, OL, Fresno State

Jaiquawn Jarrett, DB, Temple

Lestar Jean, WR, FAU

Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy

Jeron Johnson, DB, Boise State

Elijah "Peanut" Joseph, LB, Temple

Shiloh Keo, DB, Idaho

Jeremy Kerley, WR, TCU

Curtis Marsh, DB, Utah State

Bruce Miller, DE, UCF

Jamar Newsome, WR, UCF

Derek Newton, OL, Arkansas State

Cheta Ozougwu, DL, Rice

Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State

Kealoha Pilares, WR, Hawaii

Jah Reid, OL, UCF

Aldrick Robinson, WR, SMU

Greg Salas, WR, Hawaii

DeMarco Sampson, WR, San Diego State

Caleb Schlauderaff, OL, Utah

Sealver Siliga, DT, Utah

Lee Smith, TE, Marshall

Willie Smith, OL, East Carolina

Vai Taua, RB, Nevada

Zane Taylor, C, Utah

Josh Thomas, DB, Buffalo

Brandyn Thompson, CB, Boise State

Isaiah Thompson, OL, Houston

Jeff Van Camp, QB, FAU

Ryan Winterswyk, DE, Boise State

Jimmy Young, WR, TCU

Titus Young, WR, Boise State

Non-AQ storylines in Senior Bowl

January, 24, 2011
Todd McShay listed his top storylines for the Senior Bowl Insider, set for Saturday in Mobile, Ala. The week kicks off today, with 100 prospects vying for the attention of NFL scouts, general managers and coaches.

Here are a few of the non-AQ storylines I am going to be following:

1. Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick. Two of the most underrated quarterbacks in college football get a chance to prove themselves in the senior showcase event. McShay says this of Dalton: "Dalton is one of the more underrated quarterback prospects in the class and this is a good opportunity to show NFL teams that he is capable of scanning the field and making all the necessary throws from within the pocket." And of Kaepernick: "Like Dalton, needs to look fluid dropping from under center and needs to make sound decisions."

Both quarterbacks were the unquestioned leaders of their teams and have the intangibles necessary to play quarterback. Dalton won 44 career games -- and went 25-1 over his last two seasons. Kaepernick guided Nevada to its best season this past year at 12-1 and became a master of the Pistol. Dalton would appear to be the most "NFL ready" of the two. The bigger questions surround Kaepernick, simply because he ran an offense that is completely different than what he will be asked to do in the NFL. McShay is right in that he is going to have to start taking snaps from under center -- remember that was a big question that hounded Tim Tebow at this time last season. But his athleticism, and improved passing, should make him somebody worth looking at on the next level.

2. Receiver competition. Plenty of big-time non-AQ players at receiver in this game. You have Austin Pettis and Titus Young from Boise State, Greg Salas from Hawaii, Vincent Brown from San Diego State and Dwayne Harris from East Carolina. Of that group, Pettis and Young are the most well known nationally. Young has incredible speed but is slightly undersized at 5-11. Harris has tremendous versatility. Pettis is as sure handed a receiver as you will find, though his speed may be called into question. Salas racked up the stats in the pass-happy Hawaii offense but could be labeled a "system guy." I am looking forward to seeing how they all do.

3. All-purpose players. Jeremy Kerley has had a tremendous career at TCU as one of the top all-purpose players in the country. So has Harris. It will be interesting to see how their skills translate into the next level. Kerley is small, at 5-foot-10, but he could make an immediate impact on special teams returning kicks. One player missing from this group who was scheduled to play in the game -- Troy's Jerrel Jernigan, who is out with a high ankle sprain. He hopes to be healthy for the NFL combine next month.

Here are other non-AQ players in the game:

Tulsa RB Charles Clay

TCU C Jake Kirkpatrick

Temple DB Jaiquawn Jarrett

Toledo OL Kevin Kowalski

Marshall TE Lee Smith

Mel Kiper's latest big board

September, 22, 2010
There are no non-AQ players on Mel Kiper's latest big board, released today. Though you will need an ESPN Insider account to look at it, there are some among his top five seniors at each position.

At quarterback, TCU's Andy Dalton moves into the No. 4 position thanks to his strong start to the season. He is completing 75 percent of his passes, with four touchdowns and two interceptions, and also has 113 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground. Nathan Enderle of Idaho is off the list, thanks in part to his five interception performance against Nebraska a few weeks ago.

Others to watch:

No. 3 FB Charles Clay, Tulsa.

No. 5 WR Jerrel Jernigan, Troy.

No. 4 OG Andrew Jackson, Fresno State.

No. 5 OG Marcus Cannon, TCU.

No. 5 C Kevin Kowalski, Toledo.

No. 3 OLB Dontay Moch, Nevada.

No. 5 S Shiloh Keo, Idaho.

No. 4 K Matt Szymanski, SMU.

There aren't as many non-AQ players on the non-seniors list. You'll have to check that one out for yourselves.