Mel Kiper Big Board Februay 27, 2008Posted: February 28, 2008
* Asterisk denotes underclassman
1. *Darren McFadden, RB, Arkansas (6-foot-1, 208) | Previous: Same
The reasons for his dynamic performances throughout his career are excellent vision, very good balance, game-breaking speed and a passion for the game.
2. Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College (6-4, 223) | Previous: 3
He has the size and arm to wow the NFL brass during testing.
3. Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU (6-2, 292) | Previous: 2
Disruptive force along the interior. If there is one non-skill position player fans should watch, it’s Dorsey: He always makes plays or opens up space for his teammates.
4. Chris Long, DE, Virginia (6-4, 282) | Previous: 5
A 3-4 defensive end with great bloodlines who understands leverage and uses his hands as well as any D-lineman in the country.
5. Jake Long, OT, Michigan (6-6, 320) | Previous: 4
Top-drawer left or right tackle prospect.
6. Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC (6-1, 297) | Previous: Same
Tampa Bay Bucs-style DT with superior quickness and a nonstop motor.
7. *Vernon Gholston, DE, Ohio St. (6-3, 262) | Previous: 8
He took his play to a new level in 2007, showcasing the explosiveness to overpower offensive tackles at the point of attack. Gholston also has excellent closing speed, as evidenced by the 14 sacks he registered. He also has the versatility to play with his hand off the ground.
8. *Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas (6-1, 193) | Previous: 7
A game-changing cover corner who had 11 interceptions the past two seasons. Talib has outstanding recovery speed and tremendous leaping ability. He also showed his versatility by catching eight passes (four for touchdowns) on offense.
9. *Phillip Merling, DE, Clemson (6-4½, 272) | Previous: 10
An underrated standout, Merling might not be as flashy as former teammate Gaines Adams (the fourth pick in last year’s draft), but you can make the argument that Merling is a more complete player.
10. Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt (6-5½, 318) | Previous: 14
Top-drawer talent, possessing superior athleticism and good feet to neutralize outside pass-rushers.
11. *Ryan Clady, OT, Boise State (6-5, 320) | Previous: 9
An excellent left tackle prospect with athletic ability and solid technique that will make him a great blindside protector in the NFL.
12. *Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois (5-10, 224) | Previous: 17
Authoritative runner with a major league burst through the hole. Mendenhall’s hard-charging style makes him difficult to get to the ground.
13. Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina (6-4, 298) | Previous: 11
Unbelievably talented player who had a breakout season in 2007.
14. Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy (5-10½, 185) | Previous: 12
Not only is McKelvin a very good cover man with superior recovery ability (he runs in the 4.38 range) and the aggressiveness to get the job done in run support, he also has made a name for himself as the top return man in the entire nation. He has stood out this season in games against the likes of Arkansas, Florida, Oklahoma State and Georgia. With his speed and versatility, McKelvin will bring great value to a football team.
15. *Malcolm Kelly, WR, Oklahoma (6-3½, 219) | Previous: 13
He has the combination of size and speed that NFL teams covet, plus great hands; he’s also a tremendous competitor.
16. *Jonathan Stewart, RB, Oregon (5-10, 233) | Previous: 15
A strong and athletic, big running back who displays tremendous patience with the way he sets up his blocks.
17. *Calais Campbell, DE, Miami (6-7, 280) | Previous: 16
Physically imposing with his height and wingspan, Campbell is able to beat offensive tackles with either speed or power. He does a good job of varying his pass rush moves, while also proving to be solid against the run.
18. Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh (6-5, 339) | Previous: 17
Light on his feet for a huge bookend, Otah is still developing. He played only one year in high school and two at the junior college level. He also played basketball in junior college and is a tremendous athlete. His upside and potential will excite offensive line coaches in the NFL.
19. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB, Tennessee St. (6-1½, 183) | Previous: Unranked
After enjoying a stellar career at the Division I-AA level, Rodgers-Cromartie stood out against the big boys at the Senior Bowl practices, then wowed over the NFL brass at the combine. He has the height, athleticism, recovery speed and ball skills to be an outstanding cornerback in the NFL.
20. *Branden Albert, OG, Virginia (6-6, 310) | Previous: Unranked
A three-year starter for Al Groh, Albert also has the potential to operate as an offensive tackle in the NFL. Albert really commands attention by blocking in space and getting to the second level. In 2007, I saw Albert routinely deliver crushing blows on the move, showing agility and athleticism rarely seen in a player of his size.
21. *Derrick Harvey, DE, Florida (6-3, 250) | Previous: 25
A battle-tested SEC veteran with that quick twitch you look for in a pass-rusher. Harvey started slowly in 2007, but came on in the latter half of the season, finishing with 8½ sacks and 17 tackles for loss.
22. Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida (5-11½, 202) | Previous: 20
He has excellent recovery speed and the toughness you look for in a cornerback. His size allows him to match up with an opponent’s No. 1 wide receiver.
23. Keith Rivers, LB, USC (6-3, 233) | Previous: 24
He has the skill set to become a super blue-chipper. Rivers isn’t spectacular, but he’s a solid all-around player.
24. *Chilo Rachal, OG, USC (6-6¼, 339) | Previous: 21
He has tremendous size and plays with a defensive mentality. Rachal can match the speed and power of defensive ends he faces, which is why he has so much upside at the next level.
25. *DeSean Jackson, WR, California (5-11, 168) | Previous: Unranked
Exciting wideout and returner with very good natural pass receiving skills. Jackson has excellent speed and is a terrific open-field runner.
*Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas (5-11, 202) | Previous: 15
Tremendously explosive and versatile, Jones gained a whopping 8.7 yards per carry this season, while also excelling as a kickoff returner, gaining nearly 30 yards per return.
Fred Davis, USC (6-4, 253) | Previous: 21
Productive, consistent and multitalented. He has caught five or more passes in eight of 13 games while also doing a very capable job as an inline blocker. Davis stretches the deep middle of the field with big plays while bringing excellent physical and athletic skills to the tight end spot.
Dan Connor, LB, Penn State (6-2½, 231) | Previous: Unranked
Big-play performer who always seems to be around the ball.