It's fair to say the showdown between former high school darlings Jimmy Clausen and Jake Locker in South Bend, Ind., this past weekend showed me a lot. For starters, as I said last week, both guys were right on the edge of being included in the Big Board. Because both are juniors and thus not locks for the draft, I won't include them until they leap into the top 15 -- for an explanation on that, read this -- but this week, they both did.
In the case of Clausen, you're looking at the growth of a kid who always had the polish and now is gaining the intangibles, the patience and the accuracy. I'm impressed with how he always finds the open man and goes through his reads. He also has continued to thrive even after losing a star receiver to injury when Michael Floyd went down.
With Locker, you have a kid with unmatched physical skills finally learning to play the position at a high level. Considering what Washington was last year without him (0-12) and where the Huskies are now -- all without much of a supporting cast -- says all you need to know about Locker. He changes everything. I talk about these two, and my reasoning, a bit more in Behind the Big Board, but for now, on to the latest board.
Sam BradfordQB6-4223 Analysis: Has underrated arm, great feel for position; superaccurate. Last week: No. 1
Eric BerryDB5-11203 Analysis: Ultimate playmaker, in the Ed Reed mold. Last week: No. 2
Ndamukong SuhDT6-4300 Analysis: Explosive, relentless and consistent. Last week: No. 3
Jake LockerQB6-3226 Analysis: Developing talent whose physical tools are unmatched. Last week: NR
Gerald McCoyDT6-4297 Analysis: Disruptive force. Productive NFL career ahead. Last week: No. 4