Mel Kiper's top 5 players by position

March, 1, 2012
3/01/12
9:30
AM ET
After the NFL combine, Mel Kiper has been hard at work to deliver us a handful of news and notes. It seems as though he works just as hard as the participants do throughout the week.

He has updated his list of the top five players at each position heading into April's NFL draft and the SEC is very well represented, getting 20 players on his list and having at least one player listed at each position.

Here is Kiper's updated list and a little analysis from him on some players:

QUARTERBACK
RUNNING BACK
"Richardson is a rare running back who has the chance to crack the top 10 on draft day, but he'll need to prove his knee is fine. My guess is he will."
FULLBACK
WIDE RECEIVER
TIGHT END
OFFENSIVE TACKLE
  • No. 5: Bobbie Massie, Ole Miss, 6-6, 316, Jr.
OFFENSIVE GUARD
"Glenn is a massive guy, a versatile lineman who can move outside to tackle in a pinch. I still think he's best suited at guard."
CENTER
DEFENSIVE END
"Ingram is closing, and had a good week in Indy. Branch has the size and athleticism to move to 3-4 outside linebacker."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE
"Brockers and Cox profile similarly in terms of scheme, as 4-3 defensive tackles or even 3-4 defensive ends depending on what kind of looks a team is working with."
INSIDE LINEBACKER
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
"I think Upshaw could be drafted into pretty much any scheme and succeed, but at 272 pounds, there are fair questions about whether he's a tweener -- too small to handle 4-3 DE, and too big to be an every-down 3-4 OLB. His talent is significant, but that's something we'll need to watch."
CORNERBACKS
"Claiborne was a revelation this season, and the film tells the story. The guy is exceptionally instinctive, and while he lacks the same level of athleticism as Patrick Peterson, he is every bit as good and probably better as a pure cover corner. Kirkpatrick has good size and maintains above-average quickness, and is safely in Round 1."
SAFETY
KICKER
"Going into the year, Walsh to me seemed like a lock to hold down the top spot. But his inconsistency became, well, consistent, and he dropped. He may need to battle through the UFA process if he wants to make a team."
PUNTER
"Butler actually boomed his punts farther as a sophomore, but over the past two seasons, he's become a master at getting maximum distance while eliminating returns. That's what NFL teams want -- a guy who can get off big punts, but not so long that they limit coverage."

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