- Mel Kiper Jr., Football analyst
I simply can't remember a draft class where a day after the NFL combine, there's so little separation in potential value from my No. 1 to No. 25 prospects on the Big Board. It's amazing. The lack of a surefire top quarterback plays a role. The fact that there are so many great defenders plays a role. That there are incredible athletes who lack production, and great on-field producers with questions about athleticism, play a role. There are lots of questions still to be answered. It's crazy. But here's where it stands, at least for me ... at least for today.
Below, notes on performance traits remain similar week to week so you have a sense of the player, with updates on players each week as things shift. Please also see my rankings of the top 5 draft prospects at every position. Juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
Jarvis Jones *
Jones still must prove he belongs here with his pro day performance. He did not work out in Indianapolis. This reflects positional value and exceptional production for a player who is a very good, if not extraordinary, athlete. He combines explosiveness, discipline, relentless pass-rushing ability and great intangibles and effort. (He can also cover.) He profiles as a 3-4 outside linebacker but fits any system.
LAST WEEK: 1 | PLAYER CARD
Sharrif Floyd *
Stock is soaring. Showed exceptional power and athleticism in Indy, and he's still rounding into peak form short of his 21st birthday. Could be great in a 3-4 or a 4-3. Made major strides as the season progressed, the improvement in part stemming from a positional change and consistently improving technique. A star coming out of high school, Floyd has quickness for his size and an immensely powerful lower half, and he will drive linemen into the backfield.
LAST WEEK: 8 | PLAYER CARD
Continues to dispel doubts as the physical profile and strengths as an athlete match performance. Uses his length really well. Gets in a wide base, uses his arms to absorb pass-rushers and simply doesn't allow guys to get the edge on him. He often made it look easy in the MAC but also looked great when Central Michigan faced top competition; not a newcomer for scouts.
LAST WEEK: 7 | PLAYER CARD
There had been questions about his ultimate position, but in Indy he showed why he should be considered a potentially dynamic 3-4 OLB. He showed elite speed for his size, and alleviated questions about whether he can cover, even as he profiles as a very good pass-rusher. He went to Oregon with the possibility of playing either offense (tight end) or defense but has emerged as an athletic, long-armed pass-rusher ready to make a difference.
LAST WEEK: 9 | PLAYER CARD
Luke Joeckel *
Once a lock to be the first tackle taken, he now has serious competition. He's not overwhelming as an athlete, but the tape shows a player with the ability to just swallow up even really good pass-rushers, particularly those who try to beat him off the edge. (He's more susceptible to those who go inside.) Has a ton of experience, starting on the left since his freshman season. He can really drive people in the run game, even if he gets questions on whether he's a big finisher there.
LAST WEEK: 2 | PLAYER CARD
Mel Kiper ranks his top 25 prospects for the 2013 NFL draft. This week, players have shifted considerably based on NFL combine results.