Mel Kiper's Updated TOP 25 NFL Prospects - 1/31/05

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Dough Boy, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. Dough Boy

    Dough Boy Seldom Seen

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    Not sure where to place this, but here goes.

    By Mel Kiper Jr.
    ESPN Insider

    BIG BOARD: Kiper's Top 25 NFL prospects Jan. 31

    The underclassmen have declared and Senior Bowl week is over, so it's once again time to update my Big Board of the top 25 NFL prospects.

    He did not participate in the Senior Bowl, but Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards has moved up to No. 2 on the Board based on his overall body of work and his superior athletic skills. Oklahoma wideout Mark Clayton is back in the rankings after coming up big in Senior Bowl practices. Along the same line, Washington offensive tackle Khalif Barnes makes his Big Board debut after proving at the Senior Bowl that a late-season wrist injury is behind him.

    On the defensive side of the ball, LSU end Marcus Spears is back in the top 25 after impressive performances last week and Iowa end Matt Roth raised his stock thanks in part to some great battles with Barnes. And there is also one newcomer on defense, Oklahoma junior safety Brodney Pool.

    Overall, the board features eight juniors (four among the top 10) and players from 18 different schools, led by three from USC and two each from Auburn and Florida State. USC places one receiver and two defensive linemen on the list, Auburn has a pair of running backs and Wisconsin a duo from the defensive line, while Florida State's players represent the offensive and defensive lines.

    Here's how they fall into order:

    1. Cedric Benson, RB, Texas (5-10½, 222) | previous rank: same
    Benson is a strong, tough runner who has been incredibly productive in his four years in Austin. He has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons, and his ability to block and catch the ball make him a complete back. Benson has tremendous vision and quick feet, and thanks to his powerful lower body, the first tackler rarely brings him down. He is not flashy but puts up big numbers against top competition.

    2. Braylon Edwards, WR, Michigan (6-2½, 210) | previous rank: 5
    Edwards has been steadily moving up based on a tremendous overall season in 2004, when he took over games and showed off his unbelievable athletic skills. He has the size, athleticism and overall pass-catching skills to dominate cornerbacks and corrected the problems he had with concentration lapses and dropped balls. Without question, he's the top wideout on the draft board.

    3. Ronnie Brown, RB, Auburn (6-0, 230) | previous rank: 7
    Brown showed against Tennessee earlier in the year that he is one of the most complete backs in the nation, running and catching the ball with equal skill. He averaged over six yards per carry this season and had 34 catches. Brown has the size, instincts, power and quickness to put up unbelievable numbers and would have been a Heisman candidate if he were the clear-cut No. 1 on the depth chart. An explosive powerhouse and a complete back.

    4. Alex Smith (jr.), QB, Utah (6-3, 207) | previous rank: 3
    A mobile quarterback who rushed for 631 yards and 10 touchdowns, Smith is also a very efficient passer who completed 68 percent of his attempts with 32 TDs against only four interceptions. He is tremendously intelligent and will pick up an offensive system quickly at the next level, but the one knock is that he's somewhat of a finesse passer who did not have to muscle a lot of throws into tight spots in college. Smith has very similar ability to California's Aaron Rodgers but gets the nod because of his height advantage.

    5. Dan Cody, DE, Oklahoma (6-4, 265) | previous rank: 2
    Cody continues moving up the board because of his impressive overall body of work this season. He has been utilized as both a stand-up outside linebacker and a defensive end with his hand on the ground, in much the same way as former NFL standout Kevin Greene. This year Cody finished with 42 tackles (17 for loss, including 10 sacks) and 12 QBH.

    6. Adam "Pac-Man" Jones (jr), CB, West Virginia (5-9½, 191) | previous rank: 10
    Jones is lethal not only a a cover man but also as a kick and punt returner. He is a little raw technically, but he's still an outstanding cover corner. He has tremendous closing speed and is more than willing to give up his body in run support. In today's NFL, where the rules are tilted in favor of the receivers and corners are unable to become true "lockdown" defenders, that tackling ability in the open field will be just one more asset to combine with his speed, aggressiveness and special teams skills.

    7. Aaron Rodgers (jr.), QB, California (6-1½, 205) | previous rank: 6
    Don't put too much stock in Rodgers' performance in the Holiday Bowl, where he was without his top three receivers. A smart, accurate passer with good athletic ability, Rodgers completed 68 percent of his passes this season. His arm strength is good enough and his release is quick, and the fact that he seems a bit mechanical at times is simply a product of the way Cal head coach Jeff Tedford coaches his quarterbacks to hold the ball at shoulder level. Rodgers is a better prospect than former Golden Bears QB Kyle Boller, now of the Baltimore Ravens. Rodgers and Alex Smith have very similar abilities

    8. Carnell Williams, RB, Auburn (5-10½, 207) | previous rank: same
    A very creative and deceptively strong runner who has few peers in terms of pure running skills. Williams does not have imposing size but can still get tough inside yards, a skill which contributed to his 1,307 rushing yards and 17 TDs in 2003. He needs to work on catching the ball out of the backfield, but that's about it. Williams carried 239 times for 1,165 and 12 TDs last season.

    9. Heath Miller (jr.), TE, Virginia (6-4½ 255) | previous rank: 4
    Miller is a precise route runner with tremendous body control and great hands. He has three seasons of outstanding productivity under his belt, including 70 receptions in 2003. His yards-per-catch average has improved steadily during his career, and Miller is also a willing, reliable blocker who does a nice job augmenting the running game along the offensive line. One of the top overall prospects in the nation, Miller should end up being a top-15 selection.

    10. Derrick Johnson, OLB, Texas (6-3, 233) | previous rank: 13
    Johnson led the team in tackles each of the last two seasons, totalling 255 stops and a team-high 39 tackles for loss in that time. A great athlete who has a nose for the ball and is all over the field, Johnson forced nine fumbles this year and also had nine interceptions over the last three years.

    11. Travis Johnson, DT, Florida State (6-4, 292) | previous rank: 12
    Has improved significantly from where he was last year. Johnson has been dominating offensive linemen all year and has spent a lot of time in opposing backfields, collapsing the pocket or getting penetration against the run.

    12. Mike Williams (jr.), WR, USC (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) | previous rank: 9
    Williams dominated the collegiate game for two full years before his bid to join the NFL draft as a sophomore was ended by the courts and he was declared ineligible by the NCAA. Williams will be eligible for the 2005 draft, though. If Williams can keep his weight at or below 230, he should ultimately be a top-15 pick. Williams likely would have been a top-10 pick last season because his size, strength and toughness make him a tremendous package who can use his body control and hands to go after the ball over smaller defenders. His two-year totals at USC: 176 receptions, 2,579 yards and 30 TDs.

    13. Troy Williamson (jr.), WR, South Carolina (6-1½, 200) | previous rank: 11
    Williamson can flat-out fly and will likely end up being the fastest wide receiver in this year's draft. He put up 19.4 yards per catch this season in a non-passing offense. With with his size/speed ratio, Williamson should continue to zoom up the draft board.

    14. Erasmus James, DE, Wisconsin (6-4, 260) | previous rank: 16
    James missed most of last season with a hip injury but had a great showing in fall camp and carried that momentum over to the regular season. He nursed an ankle injury late in 2004 but still commanded double-team blocks. An outstanding pass rusher who is also strong against the run, James has dropped because of his injury history and must still prove his durability.

    15. Shawne Merriman (jr.), OLB, Maryland (6-3, 255) | previous rank: 14
    A combo guy on the edge who will test the charts. Merriman benches 385, squats 590 and has a 41½-inch vertical jump that is the best ever for a defensive lineman in Maryland history. But don't forget his production, as he led the Terrapins with 17 tackles for loss and 9 sacks. Merriman cold play outside linebacker in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme, or put his hand on the ground and play end in a 4-3.

    16. Marcus Spears, DE, LSU (6-4, 295) | previous rank: unranked
    Will not turn into a 10-12 sack performer at the next level because he lacks great closing speed, but Spears looks like a five-sack guy who will be an outstanding run stopper and disruptive to the passing game because of his size and long arms. He is a great athlete who began his career as a tight end and because of that will be able to play in any defensive structure and should be a solid pro. Boosted his stock with a terrific showing at the Senior Bowl.

    17. Alex Barron, OT, Florida State (6-7, 325) | previous rank: 20
    Athletically gifted with great footwork as a pass blocker, Barron started 30 games during his career.

    18. Antrel Rolle, CB, Miami (6-0½, 200) | previous rank: 17
    Rolle has consistently proven his mettle against the top wideouts in the country. A perfect example of that came last year when he shut down former Pittsburgh wideout and eventual No. 3 overall draft pick Larry Fitzgerald. Teams did not throw his way this season, yet he was still a force for the Hurricanes with solid run support and tackles in the backfield.

    19. Matt Roth, DE, Iowa (6-3½, 266) | previous rank: 24
    A fiery and intense player who is a tremendous natural pass rusher, Roth is a nice complement to standout tackle Jonathan Babineaux. Roth led the Hawkeyes with eight quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles during the regular season and tied for the team lead with eight sacks. His 14 tackles for loss were second on the team during the regular season. The overall consistency of his body of work elevated Roth.

    20. Shaun Cody, DT, USC (6-4, 289 previous rank: 18
    A versatile performer who can play either end or tackle, Cody helped the Trojans finish first in the nation in rush defense at 79.4 ypg.

    21. Brodney Pool (jr.), S, Oklahoma (6-2½, 200) | previous rank: unranked
    One of the top playmakers on a star-studded defense, Pool covers a lot of ground and shows very good anticipation. He is excellent in coverage and more than adequate in run support, diagnosing plays quickly and using his enormous physical gifts to get to the ball. A complete player who led the team with 92 tackles in 2004 while intercepting two passes and breaking up nine others.

    22. Anttaj Hawthorne, DT, Wisconsin (6-2½, 315) | previous rank: unranked
    Very quick for his size, Hawthorne knows how to handle double-team blocks and can create tackles for loss. Add his strength and overall athleticism to that size and experience and you have an ideal tackle for a 4-3 scheme.

    23. Roddy White, WR, UAB (6-1, 205) | previous rank: 15
    Runs a consistent 4.42 in the 40, giving him a size/speed combination in the elite category. White averaged 21.6 yards per catch last year and scored seven TDs, and this season he finished second in the nation in receiving yards per game (121.0) while averaging 20.0 yards per catch. White also held his drops to a minimum this year.

    24. Mark Clayton, WR, Oklahoma (5-10, 189 previous rank: unranked
    Clayton set OU records in 2003 with 83 receptions for a 17.2-yard average and 15 TDs. The best wideout after the catch we've seen in quite some time, Clayton led the Sooners in 2004 with 66 receptions and 876 yards. He also caught eight TD passes.

    25. Khalif Barnes, OT, Washington (6-5, 311) | previous rank: unranked
    A wrist injury cost Barnes the final six games of the season, but he was outstanding to that point. He has quick feet and good balance in pass protection, something he displayed in some outstanding one-on-one battles with Matt Roth at the Senior Bowl. Roth said afterward that Barnes is the toughest left tackle he faced all season. Barnes can also be effective in the running game and has all the necessary skills to be a good pro player.

    Carlos Rogers, CB, Auburn (6-0, 194)) | previous rank: 19
    Has 4.4 speed in the 40 and is a physical player who can tackle in the open field and is an asset in run support. Rogers is a respected cover man with good ball skills who has been Auburn's best defensive player this year. With good showings in postseason workouts and all-star games, he could ultimately move into the first round. Consistency, durability and experience against top-level competition in the SEC should all boost his stock.

    Jammal Brown, OT, Oklahoma (6-5, 313) | previous rank: 21
    Equally adept at run and pass blocking, Brown has long arms that allow him to get his hand on defenders and move them off the ball using his good feet and balance.

    Channing Crowder (so.), MLB, Florida (6-2, 245) | previous rank: 22
    Crowder has sophomore eligibility but is three years removed from his original high school and therefore eligible for the draft. He adjusted immediately to the level of competition as a freshman, finishing second on the team with 106 tackles and starting nine games, the most ever for a true freshman at Florida. Has great toughness and was one of the top-tackling linebackers in college in 2004 despite missing three games with a knee injury. Ideal physical ability for a guy in the middle.

    Thomas Davis (jr.), LB, Georgia (6-3, 233) | previous rank: 23
    A combo safety/outside linebacker in college, Davis is a weakside linebacker prospect in the mold of Derrick Brooks. Davis was limited at times this season by minor injuries, but he is an excellent blitzer and a punishing tackler who loves to get down in the box against the run. If his coverage skills were a little better, Davis could be a safety in the vein of Roy Williams, but as it is, he ranks as an excellent linebacker prospect.

    David Pollack, DE, Georgia (6-2½, 265) | previous rank: 25
    Not physically imposing, Pollack plays with incredible intensity and passion. He is quick off the ball, has great closing speed and wreaks havoc as a pass rusher, as evidenced by his 60 quarterback pressures over the last two seasons and 17.5 TFL (12.5 sacks) in 2004. Still, both Pollack and Matt Roth are going to have to prove their physical ability in workouts due to their lack of ideal size.
  2. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    His top 10 is loopy

    Rolle rank a joke.

    Pollack and Thomas Davis not in top 25? :rolleyes:
  3. D41lasCowboys31

    D41lasCowboys31 Member

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    Braylon Edwards is without question the best WR in the draft, thanks mel you know what your talking about there
  4. Hollywood Henderson

    Hollywood Henderson Benched

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    Yep, I would love it if Edwards lasted until #11...Doesn't look possible now...
  5. jlust22

    jlust22 Member

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    I am with you on Braylon Edwards. I am probably biased since I am a Michigan alum, but I think he is a stud. He single handidly took over games this year and willed Michigan to victory. But, I don't think he is going to be on the board when the Cowboys pick at 11. I would think he would go somewhere in the top 10. If in fact, the Cowboys do switch to the 3-4, I would assume they will take 2 defensive players in the 1st round. Currently, they do not have many players in the front seven to suit the 3-4. They will need to use the draft and free agency to acquire the personnel needed to play the 3-4.
  6. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    marcus spears kinda flew up mel's board there. too bad. i was hopin' he'd be there at #20. hope he bombs at the combine.
  7. Sitting Bull

    Sitting Bull Active Member

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    So Spears, one of the most well-known commodities in college football, rockets from oblivion to #16 on Mel's Big Board based on...a week of Senior Bowl practices? And you want to be my draft expert?...Amazing how Mel's board is starting to morph into a copy of everone else's. I predict that within a few weeks, his bizarre man-crush, Roddy White, will slide off the list, where he belongs...
  8. xpistofer

    xpistofer Active Member

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    shawne merriman and brodney poole, assuming we get cb and dt in free agency.

    would prefer braylon edwards, but he won't be there at 11.
  9. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Jim Rome, Imus, Howard Stern, Stephen A Smith

    They make a living pusing the envelope of controversy. We are talking about Mel's obvious loopy top 25. Yet we talk about it. If it was straight on like my top 25 no such controversy? ;)
  10. Tricky-22

    Tricky-22 Git R Done

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    One of the top two WR's should be on the board when we pick at #11. I would be happy with either of them.

    With the 20th pick, I would take whoever was left from this group: Merriman, DJ, Erasmus James, or Hawthorne. One of them will fall to 20. And I would be happy with any of them. Hawthorne would be a bit of a reach at 20 IMO, but I wouldn't complain if BP took him there.

    But my gut tells me that the 20th pick will be traded away. Bill will have a 3rd round pick.
  11. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    1 WILLIAMS Mike WR USC z 6- 5.0 236 4.56 447.08 447.08 (10.00) 437.08
    6 ROLLE Antrell . CB MIAM 5-11.5 205 4.51 428.02 428.02 1.00 429.02
    5 EDWARDS Braylon WR MICH 6- 2.5 209 4.45 428.35 428.35 - 428.35
    3 JOHNSON Derrick LB TX 6- 3.0 234 4.52 432.25 432.25 (6.00) 426.25
    10 BARRON Alex T FSU 6- 7.4 322 5.20 409.76 409.76 7.00 416.76
    4 POLLACK David DE GEO 6- 2.0 274 4.72 430.93 430.93 (15.00) 415.93
    2 WILLIAMS Carnell RB AUB 5-11.0 202 4.44 434.79 434.79 (28.00) 406.79
    XXX Rodgers, Aaron QB Cal 400.00 6.00 406.00
    9 JACKSON Marlin CB MICH 6- 1.0 208 4.47 414.22 414.22 (10.00) 404.22
    XXX Davis, Thomas S Georgia 405.38 (4.00) 401.38
    XXX MERRIMAN, Shawne BRID 6-4 1/2 262 390.00 10.00 400.00
    7 BROWN Ron RB AUB 6- 1.0 216 4.44 417.62 417.62 (18.00) 399.62
    8 BENSON Cedric RB TX 5-11.0 221 4.49 415.25 415.25 (19.00) 396.25
    12 CLAYTON Mark WR OKLA 5-10.0 185 4.45 397.75 397.75 (7.00) 390.75
    11 JAMES Erasumus DE WISC 6- 5.1 258 4.68 398.03 398.03 (9.00) 389.03
    XXX Miller, Justin CB Clemson 5-11 200 385.00 - 385.00
    XXX Smith, Alex QB Utah 369.00 15.00 384.00
    XXX Miller, Heath TE Virginia 6-5 254 378.88 5.00 383.88
    30 SPEARS Marcus DE LSU 6- 4.0 296 4.99 366.53 366.53 16.00 382.53
    17 BROWN Elton G VIRG 6- 4.5 338 5.33 377.85 377.85 - 377.85
    XXX Browner, Brandon CB 6-4 202 378.00 (2.00) 376.00
    13 FRYE Charlie . QB AKRON 6- 3.3 223 4.74 384.99 384.99 (10.00) 374.99
    26 WEBSTER Cory CB LSU 6- 0.0 202 4.57 368.29 368.29 6.00 374.29
    19 BAAS David C MICH 6- 4.5 322 5.39 374.77 374.77 (4.00) 370.77
    24 CODY Shaun DT USC 6- 3.5 285 4.92 368.94 368.94 1.00 369.94
    28 SMITH Alex TE STAN 6- 4.6 255 4.76 366.85 366.85 3.00 369.85
    29 JONES PAC MAN CB WV 5- 9.0 170 4.34 366.77 366.77 3.00 369.77
    XXX CROWDER, Channing LB 6-3 245 368.00 - 368.00
    32 CODY Dan . DE OKLA 6- 4.0 278 4.85 365.14 365.14 2.00 367.14
    21 ROGERS Carlos - CB AUB 5-11.8 197 4.45 372.36 372.36 (7.00) 365.36
    47 ROTH Matt DE IOWA 6- 3.0 262 4.78 358.20 358.20 7.00 365.20
    XXX TUCK, Justin DE/LB Notre Dame 400.00 (35.00) 365.00
    79 WILLIAMSON Troy WR SC 6- 1.0 180 4.37 347.68 347.68 17.00 364.68
    38 PATTERSON Mike DT USC 5-10.7 283 5.10 361.58 361.58 3.00 364.58
    18 HAWTHORNE Anttaj DT WISC 6- 2.5 312 5.15 376.04 376.04 (12.00) 364.04
  12. The30YardSlant

    The30YardSlant Benched

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    C-Bong at #1..... :banghead:
  13. Sitting Bull

    Sitting Bull Active Member

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    Nah. We only talk about it because Kiper has the forum to publish his guestimates. When his list changes so drastically it completely undermines his credibility. I'd rather be talking about Rick Gosselin's Big Board because it's been demonstrated to actually contain insight.
  14. ghosttown cowboy

    ghosttown cowboy Wyoming's #1 boys fan

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    Funny how Dan Cody was previously #2, drops to 5, and in the description Mel says he is continuing to move up the board. I have to question any board that has El Ced #1.
  15. playit12

    playit12 New Member

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    Mel's is too easy.... I'll pick on Nors instead

    First it doesn't represent draftable position very well.. 2 WRs in the top three? Both of those guys are good but they don't represent the kind of performance/cost ratio that you need unless they are the second comings of Jerry Rice. Even last year with one of the best WR drafts every we only had one in the top 5. And remind me again when the last time no QB was taken in the top 5?

    OT, DT, DE, QB, RB. Those go in the top 5. Every year you add in One or two physical freaks like Sean Taylor last year and Fitz that simply dominate at their posistion. I personally don't think Braylon is as good as the top 3 WRs drafted last year. However I do think the RB corp this year is much better. Ronnie Brown and Benson will go early.

    Too early for Marlin Jackson and Thomas Davis (who I don't think will be fast enough for Safety so will end up an undersized LB).

    Too Early for Merriman. He's good, but he looks best in a 3-4. Might not be good enough in Coverage for a true 4-3 LB and not big enough for a 4-3 end. He might still get drafted into a 4-3 but later in the first.

    I think Hawthorne goes in the top 15 or 20. Likewise I think Miller goes late in the first. Hawthorne has good size and power for a one gap DT. He's the best run interior run stopper in the top 30. Miller just isn't fast enough to be a vertical threat in the NFL. Only tight ends that can be a mismatch against a coverage LB or SS can go in the top 20.

    Too late for Cody... He'll probably go top 15 maybe earlier with a good workout. Also I think Roth will move up with his senior bowl performance.

    Finally you can put Pac Man higher on the list too. He'll be the fastest CB in the draft and will be compared to Hall from VT last year.

    Overall I just think it needs some changes to represent actual draft positions. Each spot in the draft represents a dollar value of that player. You have to weight that over the market value of that position.

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