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Thursday, February 27, 2014
Kiper's latest Big Board: Burners rise

By Rich Cimini

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. posted his latest "Big BoardInsider," tweaking his top 25 based on the scouting combine. Interestingly, the most notable risers are skill-position players that figure to be on the New York Jets' radar with the 18th pick -- Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans (No. 6), North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron (No. 8) and, in a surprise, Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks (No. 17).

Kiper's take on Cooks: Cooks couldn't be covered during the season, and nothing could stop him in Indy. The small but explosive receiver ran a blazing 4.33, but also dominated in the agility drills and also showed a great vertical to go with pretty good strength for a player his size. In fact, he now looks like a oh-so slightly more athletic version of Tavon Austin, and Austin was a top-10 pick last year. Cooks won't go as high, but it's fair to say the combine numbers match the ridiculous productivity.

The reference to Austin is interesting. Austin was one of the top players on the Jets' draft board last year, and there's a chance they would've taken him with the ninth pick if the St. Louis Rams hadn't traded up for him. The Cooks-Jets speculation is sure to grow over the next two months.