The Grand Poobah
Mel Kiper Jr.: 1/11 Underclassmen take over Big Board
Underclassmen take over Big Board
By Mel Kiper Jr.
*1. Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech (6-4, 225) | previous: UR
He's not only a tremendous athlete, but he's also a hard worker and very team oriented.
2. Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin (6-6½, 313) | previous: Same
Huge, quick and athletic with a long wingspan.
3. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame (6-3½, 225) | previous: 1
Poised, smart and at his best in pressure situations. Quinn did throw two interceptions in Sugar Bowl after throwing just one INT in his previous eight games.
*4. JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU (6-6, 260) | previous: UR
Big, strong signal caller with a powerful arm. Decision-making improved significantly this season.
*5. Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas (6-5, 270) | previous: UR
Gifted athlete, coming off an exceptional 2006 campaign. A complete player, equally as solid versus the run as he is as a pass rusher.
*6. Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma (6-1½, 218) | previous: UR
Talented RB with an excellent burst to the outside for a back his size. The concern is durability.
*7. Alan Branch, DT, Michigan (6-5½, 328) | previous: UR
Huge and athletic, Branch is a true space-eater along the interior. Once his technique improves, watch out!
*8. Marshawn Lynch, RB, California (5-11, 224) | previous: UR
Complete big back, right on the heels of Adrian Peterson when it comes to who will be the top RB in the draft.
9. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson (6-4½, 260) | previous: 4
Flashes dominating ability with his athleticism and quickness. Adams leads the Tigers with 10½ sacks and 15½ tackles for loss.
10. Leon Hall, CB, Michigan (5-11, 193) | previous: 3
Tough customer who also shows very good anticipation and awareness in coverage. Hall leads the Wolverines with three interceptions.
11. LaRon Landry, DB, LSU (6-1½, 205) | previous: 6
Four-year starter who has proven to be Mr. Reliable throughout his career. Landry lead LSU with 42 solo tackles.
12. Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville (6-1½, 298) | previous: 5
A four-year veteran, and he is only 19 years old. Okoye is quick and explosive and goes all-out on every play. He is not only good at eating up space but also gets good penetration into the backfield. He's second on the Cardinals in both sacks and tackles for loss.
13. Jeff Samardzija, WR, Notre Dame (6-4½, 215) | previous: 10
Super hands and concentration with outstanding speed-to-size ratio. He caught a touchdown pass in the final five games of the season.
*14. Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC (6-4, 210) | previous: UR
Has the size and natural pass receiving skills to create mismatches against smaller CB's. Also has better quickness out of his break than people give him credit for.
*15. Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee (6-2½, 210) | previous: UR
Came through with a number of highlight film type "wow" plays this season. If he runs well at the Combine, Meachem could elevate his draft position in the weeks leading up to the draft.
16. Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas (6-5, 308) | previous: 9
Ugoh's stock has been rising all year to the point where he's one of the more intriguing senior prospects in the nation.
*17. Charles Johnson, DE, Georgia (6-2, 280) | previous: UR
Shows natural pass rush skills and his workout numbers should be eye catching.
18. Levi Brown, OT, Penn St. (6-4½, 325) | previous: 15
Steady and reliable at protecting the quarterback's blind side.
*19. Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina (6-3, 200) | previous: Angular wide-out with a nice burst out of his break and above average hands. The key for Rice will be how well he runs at the combine workout.
20. Ryan Kalil, C, USC (6-2½, 292) | previous: 12
His performance during the latter stages of his career has been that of a first- or second-round draft choice.
*21. Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida St. (6-2¼, 233) | previous: UR
Moves right to the top of a very subpar LB'ing corps overall, particularly from the senior class. His production and consistency from game to game are what jumps out at you with Timmons.
22. Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska (6-6, 320) | previous: 8
You just don't see many defensive ends carrying 300 pounds who can move as well as Carriker.
23. Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU (6-2, 217) | previous: 13
Big and productive, Bowe runs excellent routes and has the toughness to catch the ball in traffic.
24. Marshal Yanda, OT, Iowa (6-4, 300) | previous: UR
Well coached with outstanding technique, Yanda has been enjoying a steady rise up the draft board. Also will provide a great deal of versatility at the pro level.
24. Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue (6-3¼, 273) | previous: 18
He has become a much more effective pass-rusher this season for the Boilermakers. The key at the next level will be his athleticism and versatility, because I project he would be an ideal outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
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