The big news this week is the first mock draft of the season is up. However, the Big Board is still important as a reference point for the value I currently have assigned to players. Remember that this is just the start of another long stretch of evaluations, from the All-Star games to the combine, and then finally to the many pro days in which players will be participating.
As always, read on and let me know who should be higher or who's been passed over, in your opinion. Juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
More Kiper NFL draft content:
Andrew Luck *
There's already talk that the Colts have locked on to Luck as the No. 1 pick. Not unexpected. I don't foresee a situation in which he relinquishes this spot before the draft. Has total package: arm strength, size, smarts and demeanor.
LAST WEEK: 1 | PLAYER CARD
Matt Kalil *
Kalil was steady the entire season and has the full range of skills for the left tackle position, not to mention the pedigree. He might not need time to develop at right tackle, and he could be challenged, but he's currently a safe bet for the top five.
LAST WEEK: 2 | PLAYER CARD
Trent Richardson *
Had a solid performance in his final college game. Splitting carries in his first two seasons has helped him. He looks as strong as ever. Powerful, fast and with improved vision and pass-catching skills; he runs with good pad level and breaks tackles with ease.
LAST WEEK: 3 | PLAYER CARD
Morris Claiborne *
Perhaps the lesser-known of the LSU corners, but the better one. He's just very good, an exceptional pure cover corner with impeccable instincts at the position. Locates the ball and can catch it. Not a burner, but plenty quick.
LAST WEEK: 4 | PLAYER CARD
Justin Blackmon *
Blackmon finished strong and cemented his gaudy film status. A better prospect than recent OSU star Dez Bryant. Versatile, explosive and really works to get open. Great ball skills, breaks tackles.
LAST WEEK: 5 | PLAYER CARD