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On the clock: Kiper's updated Big Board

3/6/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
You know it's starting to be draft season when Mel Kiper Jr. starts adjusting the Big Board. You can view Kiper's updated ranking of the top 32 players here, but for your convenience -- and especially for those with interest in Detroit (No. 1 overall) and Green Bay (No. 9) -- here is Kiper's 10 best players in the draft as of Thursday night:

  1. Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry

  2. Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree

  3. Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford

  4. Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith

  5. USC quarterback Mark Sanchez

  6. Texas defensive end/linebacker Brian Orakpo

  7. Virginia offensive tackle Eugene Monroe

  8. Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin

  9. Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji

  10. Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith

A few thoughts:

  • This is not a mock draft that predicts who will draft whom. It's simply Kiper's ranking of the best players.

  • Like many observers after the combine, Kiper now considers Curry the draft's best player. There have only been two linebackers taken No. 1 overall since the 1970 merger. Will Detroit make Curry the third?

  • Kiper now ranks Stafford ahead of Sanchez but is giving the latter more love than a lot of analysts. Sanchez didn't have a scintillating combine and his experience remains a question mark.

  • Andre Smith now ranks as Mel's 10th-best player, but the bigger question is how many teams will be scared away by his character questions.