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Mel Kiper Jr.'s position rankings

3/13/2013

Yesterday we brought you the latest mock draft updates from Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay and as you can see from the post, there are as many as six Pac-12 players who could go in the first round.

Along with his mock draft, Kiper also updated his Big Board and top five player rankings for each position. There are just two players on the Big Board -- Dion Jordan and Star Lotulelei -- but among the position rankings the conference is well-represented. The position groups that don't have a top five player from the conference are fullbacks, offensive tackles, inside linebackers, safeties and kickers.

Here's how the Pac-12 players rank in their respective positions:

Quarterbacks

No. 2 Matt Barkley, USC

Kiper's take: I have Geno Smith now ahead of Matt Barkley, but Smith must perform well at his pro day this week.

Running backs

No. 3 Johnathan Franklin, UCLA

Wide receivers

No. 4 Keenan Allen, Cal

Tight ends

No. 2 Zach Ertz, Stanford

Kiper's take: (Notre Dame's Tyler) Eifert has created a little separation. He has the best range of traits and athleticism. Ertz is likely the No. 2 tight end taken. Both have the pass-catching skills of wide receivers and, given their size, can also overwhelm corners. There are about 10-12 intriguing tight ends in the class.

Offensive guards

No. 3 Kyle Long, Oregon

Kiper's take: The guy who has really leapt in the eyes of evaluators in recent weeks is Long, who worked out really well in Indy, and could at least fill in at tackle in a pinch, though guard will be his best position.

Centers

No. 2 Brian Schwenke, Cal

Defensive ends

No. 3 Datone Jones, UCLA

Defensive tackles

No. 2 Star Lotulelei, Utah

Kiper's take: Lotulelei is a certain top-10 pick if everything with his heart checks out, but we're waiting.

Outside linebackers

No. 2 Dion Jordan, Oregon

Kiper's take: Jordan has shown the ability to move and tackle in space, and really jumped from his combine performance.

Cornerbacks

No. 2 Desmond Trufant, Washington

Punters

No. 1 Jeff Locke, UCLA

No. 3 Josh Hubner, Arizona State

Kiper's take: Locke very well could end up being the top punter taken.