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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Mel Kiper's Updated Pre-Combine Big Board

    Russell moves past Quinn as top QB on Big Board
    By Mel Kiper Jr.

    Although Notre Dame senior Brady Quinn spent the entire 2006 season as the top quarterback in the country, LSU junior JaMarcus Russell has now moved ahead of Quinn on my Top 25 Big Board.

    Simply put, Russell's body of work was better than Quinn's. Russell's overall performance in big games against elite competition was better than that of Quinn's. Head-to-head in the Sugar Bowl, Russell looked better against Notre Dame than Quinn did against LSU.

    The NFL combine starts this week in Indianapolis, so you can expect more movement and changes on the Big Board and my first-round projections after the combine and individual workouts take place.

    1. Calvin Johnson*, WR, Georgia Tech (6-4, 225) | previous: Same
    He's not only a tremendous athlete, but he's a hard worker and very team oriented. Based on the needs of the Raiders and Lions, Johnson might not be the No. 1 overall pick, but he won't fall out of the top five.

    2. Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin (6-6, 313) | previous: Same
    Huge, quick and athletic with a long wingspan.

    3. Adrian Peterson*, RB, Oklahoma (6-1, 218) | previous: Same
    The most talented running back in the draft with an excellent burst to the outside for his size. The concern with Peterson is his durability.

    4. JaMarcus Russell*, QB, LSU (6-6, 260) | previous: 5
    Big, strong signal caller with a powerful arm, and his decision-making improved significantly in 2006.

    5. Jamaal Anderson*, DE, Arkansas (6-5, 270) | previous: 6
    A gifted athlete who is coming off an exceptional 2006 season. Anderson is a complete player, equally solid against the run and as a pass rusher.

    6. LaRon Landry, DB, LSU (6-1, 205) | previous: 11
    Four-year starter who has proven to be Mr. Reliable throughout his career.

    7. Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville (6-1, 298) | previous: 9
    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.

    8. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson (6-4, 260) | previous: 10
    Flashes dominating ability with his athleticism and quickness. Adams led the Tigers with 10 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.

    9. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame (6-3, 225) | previous: 4
    Poised, smart and at his best in pressure situations. Quinn did throw two interceptions in the Sugar Bowl after throwing just one INT in his previous eight games.

    10. Ted Ginn Jr.*, WR, Ohio State (5-11, 175) | previous: 8
    Takes a backseat to no one in the speed department, brings a big-play dimension to the wide receiver position and also the return game.

    11. Lawrence Timmons*, LB, Florida St. (6-2, 233) | previous: 19
    Moves right to the top of a very subpar linebacking group, particularly from the senior class. Timmons' production and consistency from game to game are what jumps out at you.

    12. Levi Brown, OT, Penn St. (6-4, 325) | previous: Same
    Steady and reliable at protecting the quarterback's blind side.

    13. Charles Johnson*, DE, Georgia (6-2, 280) | previous: Same
    Not only gifted from a pure talent standpoint, but he also has the work ethic to match. Johnson is active, alert and extremely productive.

    14. Dwayne Jarrett*, WR, USC (6-4, 210) | previous: Same
    Has the size and natural receiving skills to create mismatches against smaller cornerbacks. Jarrett also has better quickness out of his break than people give him credit for.

    15. Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska (6-6, 298) | previous: Same
    You don't see many defensive ends carrying 300 pounds who can move as well as Carriker.

    16. Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU (6-2, 217) | previous: 18
    Big and productive, Bowe runs excellent routes and has the toughness to catch the ball in traffic.

    17. Reggie Nelson*, S, Florida (5-11 198) | previous: 16
    Outstanding player who can hit like a safety and excel in coverage like a cornerback. That unique combination makes him a highly regarded prospect.

    18. Craig Davis, LSU, WR, LSU (6-1, 200) | previous: Unranked
    Possesses outstanding speed (4.35 40-yard dash) to go along with his size. Davis was steady and reliable for most of his career, then took his game to a new level late in the season.

    19. Leon Hall, CB, Michigan (5-11, 193) | previous: 17
    Tough customer who also shows very good anticipation and awareness in coverage.

    20. Alan Branch*, DT, Michigan (6-5, 328) | previous: 7
    Huge and athletic, Branch is a true space eater along the interior. Once his technique improves, watch out!

    21. Sidney Rice*, WR, South Carolina (6-3, 200) | previous: Same
    An 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 workouts.

    22. Aaron Ross, CB, Texas (6-0, 196) | previous: Same
    An instinctive tackler who has excellent ball skills. Ross led the Longhorns in 2006 with six interceptions and broke up 19 passes. He also finished third on the team in tackles with 80.

    23. Marshawn Lynch*, RB, California (5-11, 224) | previous: 25
    Complete big back, right on the heels of Adrian Peterson when it comes to who will be the top RB in the draft.

    24. Arron Sears, OL, Tennessee (6-4, 320) | previous: Unranked
    He played both guard and tackle in college and will give a team some versatility along the offensive line.

    25. Robert Meachem*, WR, Tennessee (6-2, 210) | previous: 20
    Came through with a number of highlight-film plays in 2006. If he runs well at the combine, Meachem could elevate his status in the weeks leading up to the draft.
    Some interesting rankings I think should be pointed out are:
    • Lawrence Timmons @ 11: Like many of us, Mel is obviously anticipating him living up to his workout hype.
    • Charles Johnson @ 13: Kiper's been high on Johnson for a while, but if he's right on that ranking, Johnson's an option for us.
    • Alan Branch @ 20: Kiper has Branch falling from 7 to 20 in his pre-combine ranking.
    • Patrick Willis once again not making the list, which continues to bring about value questions.

    This is the second place I've seen it reported that Branch is slipping, as ESPN's John Clayton not too long ago said Branch could fall into the mid first round. A potentially interesting development that could have a big impact on us.

  2. #2
    BIG-BLUE's Avatar
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    Re: Mel Kiper's Updated Pre-Combine Big Board

    Sweet, lets sign Kerney & YANK Branch off the board @ 13 & Crowder in the 2nd if he's still there

  3. #3
    viper's Avatar
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    Re: Mel Kiper's Updated Pre-Combine Big Board

    Any idea why Branch has fallen so much?

  4. #4
    smizzhfx Guest

    Re: Mel Kiper's Updated Pre-Combine Big Board

    If Alan Branch falls to us, I don't think theres any question we take him at 13.

  5. #5
    Revelstoke Guest

    Re: Mel Kiper's Updated Pre-Combine Big Board

    Quote Originally Posted by viper View Post
    Any idea why Branch has fallen so much?
    Earlier in the week i was reading an article and if i'm not mistaken there have been questions about his weight control, and as a result i believe some people are questioning his work ethic.

    Sorry but i can't remeber where i saw it.
    Last edited by Revelstoke; -02-24-2007 at 03:46 PM.

  6. #6
    HUbison's Avatar
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    Re: Mel Kiper's Updated Pre-Combine Big Board

    Anyone care to remember the last time we went with a top-notch DT/NT space eater that "fell" to us because of weight control and work ethic concerns?

    I'll give you a hint...his name starts with a "J" and ends with a "immy Kennedy".

  7. #7
    keith m. klink Guest

    Re: Mel Kiper's Updated Pre-Combine Big Board

    just because mel say's this and that and his big boardchanges are gospel around the world , doesn't mean a whole lot to any team that is looking for someone to fit their team, if adrian petterson is the best player in the whole draft, but a runningback isn't a need for a team until the 10th pick doesn't mean he'll go first. mel just adds up his scores and makes a pick on who he thinks is best this week or next week. if branch fell to #13 because of what mel said , i would soil myself 3 times a day for a month.


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