Thursday, May 10, 2012
Kiper: The Big Board just-missed list
By Edward Aschoff
On Wednesday, ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper released his first 2013 draft Big Board, which lists his top 25 players heading in to next year's draft.
Today, we're taking a look at some of the players who just missed his board . Kiper broke it down by juniors and seniors and there are a few SEC players lurking around, especially when it comes to juniors.
Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas: "Hamilton has what [Jarius] Wright and [Joe] Adams lacked -- elite size for the position."
One question: Where in the world is Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones? He was the Outland Trophy winner last year and is easily the league's top returning offensive lineman. He's versatile enough to play a few positions at the next level and might end up at center. He might not be as physically gifted as some of the other linemen on Kiper's list, but it's hard for me to see him not going in the first two rounds next year.
- With Hamilton's speed and playmaking ability, something tells me he'll be in there when all is said and done. Hamilton might have been overlooked at times nationally by his teammates, but he'll be front and center this fall.
Keep an eye one: Texas A&M running back Christine Michael. Though he tore his ACL last year, Michael should be back and healthy this fall for the Aggies. Michael led the Aggies in rushing before his injury, registering 899 yards (6 yards per carry) and scoring eight touchdowns. A good year in the SEC could propel him into or near the first round.
Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee: "Bray has continued to improve his accuracy and is the definition of a developing, high-ceiling QB prospect."
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas: "An injury derailed his 2011 season, but Davis should come back explosive and could push his way into the discussion as the top running back in the draft."
- There will be a lot of debate around here about if he or Arkansas' Tyler Wilson is a better pro prospect. Both have big arms and can be very accurate. But Wilson has a more intangibles on the mental side for now. Let's let 2012 decide this one for us.
Bennie Logan, DT, LSU: "Really brilliant when it comes to using his hands to shed. I can see him as a 3-tech at the next level if he plays at this size."
- Davis will compete with South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore as the SEC's top back, and maybe as the country's top back this fall. Both are great when healthy, but pro scouts are concerned about Davis' two injuries to the same ankle. A solid, injury-free year should help ease that worry.
Eric Reid, S, LSU: "He is quietly the best player in the LSU secondary, and he'll get a lot of opportunities on errant passes if the LSU pass rush is as good as it looks on paper."
- Logan is another player who was overlooked at times because of those around him. He registered 57 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and three sacks, last year, and defensive coordinator John Chavis thinks he's ready to really break out this fall.
Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU: "The knack for big plays is clear, but Mathieu must overcome questions about his size and develop his cover skills."
- Reid was best known for his tremendous, game-changing interception he made in the first Alabama game last year, but he did so much more for that LSU defense. He can play all over the field and makes it so difficult for quarterbacks to throw deep on the Tigers when he's in center field.
Keep an eye on: Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter. Yes, Da'Rick Rogers had a much better year in 2011, but if Hunter doesn't suffer that knee injury against Florida, I think we have a much different story. He's a physical freak and has tremendous speed. A good year from him could send him bolting to the NFL.
- He might have been the most exciting player to watch last season and he has an amazing ability for finding the ball, but he is undersized at the next level. Playing with a chip on his shoulder is nothing new for Mathieu and I'm sure the size knocks will be in the back of his head all fall.
Also: Look out for Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley. Pro scouts really like his athleticism and his tremendous ability to break through opposing lines. If he didn't hurt his knee against Florida State, he'd be getting a lot more attention this spring. If he comes back healthy and is as dominant as scouts think he can be, he'll make Kiper's list.