Stanford Football: Marc Tyler

With the combine completed, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have updated their respective rankings and boards. Kiper also offers his winners from the combine and those leaving us with questions.

Some of the Pac-12 winners include LaMichael James (Oregon, RB), Coby Fleener (Stanford, TE) and Matt Kalil (USC, OT).
If Fleener runs in the 4.5 range at his pro day, he could be in the first round. The Giants make sense. He is now an option as the first tight end off the board.

Question mark players include Vontaze Burfict (ASU, LB), Cliff Harris (Oregon, DB) and Marc Tyler (USC, RB).
(On Burfict) He already carries attitude questions, and Burfict needed to turn heads with workouts. Heads were turned, but for the wrong reason. He looked sluggish, to put it mildly. Once a first-round guy, he could be in the middle rounds if he doesn't recover.


Kiper also updated his top five players by position. The conference is well represented with Andrew Luck (Stanford, QB), James, Rhett Ellison (USC, FB), Fleener, Kalil, Jonathan Martin (Stanford, OT), David DeCastro (Stanford, OG), Burfict and Bryan Anger (Cal, P) and appearing in the top three of their respective position groups.

Finally, the rankings. No shock that Kiper and McShay both have Luck as the No. 1 overall pick. Here's McShay's take:
Luck's combine workout showed he is more athletic than most thought, and combined with his once-in-a-generation skill set he appears to be a lock as the No. 1 overall pick to the Colts.

Other conference players appearing in McShay's top 32 are Kalil, DeCastro, Martin and Brock Osweiler (ASU, QB).

While McShay ranks Robert Griffin III second, Kiper has Kalil in the No. 2 spot.
Kalil confirmed that he is a good athlete for his position. The tape is great, and it's hard to see him falling outside the top five. The plus for him is he might not need time to develop at right tackle, a common break-in spot for many left tackles.

Breakout RBs to watch in 2012

January, 27, 2012
Who are the potential breakout running backs in 2012? Glad you asked, because ESPN's KC Joyner tackled that very question and a pair of Pac-12 running backs landed on his top five list Insider.

USC running back Curtis McNeal checks in at No. 1 overall. With a moderate strength of schedule and four returning offensive linemen, here's what Joyner had to say about McNeal:
Losing first-round NFL draft pick Matt Kalil at left tackle is a negative, but getting the other four starting offensive linemen back means the quality portion of these numbers can be replicated. And since McNeal is likely to get a significant portion of the 125 carries Marc Tyler (lost to graduation) posted last season, it means McNeal's chances of getting an increased quantity of carries are also quite strong.

Not far behind McNeal in the No. 3 spot is Oregon running back Kenjon Barner, who is expected to have three of his big men back in front of him next season.

Here's Joyner's take:
The Ducks' run-blocking win rate was also quite impressive, so much so that Barner would likely have ranked higher than this were it not for Oregon losing two starting offensive linemen to graduation. Losing quarterback Darron Thomas also could cause some early transition issues, even though Bryan Bennett, Thomas' likely replacement, should be able to put together a strong season.

And even though he's not on Joyner's list, I'm going to throw Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor in there as well. Maybe I'm biased because I'm the Stanford blogger. Or maybe it's that the guy has rushed for back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons while in a four-back rotating system and no one outside of Palo Alto seems to recognize the skills. (Actually, five backs when you consider Stanford's use of the fullback.)

Granted, this list is "breakout" backs. But Taylor's contributions continually seem to get overlooked. So much so that every year it feels like he has to have another "breakout" season just to get recognition. So keep an eye on that guy also in 2012.


False Start For College Football Season?
Danny Kanell and Adam Rittenberg look back on Texas A&M and South Carolina from week 1. Did the first big game of the season point us in the wrong direction?