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 NFL, Mel Kiper's Feb 8, 2017 Big Board: Who's rising, falling after season play

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PostSubject: NFL, Mel Kiper's Feb 8, 2017 Big Board: Who's rising, falling after season play   Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:35 pm

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Kiper's 2017 Big Board: Who's rising, falling after season

Feb 8, 2017

Mel Kiper Jr. shares his thoughts on Todd McShay's mock draft 2.0 with specific thoughts on Deshaun Watson going second to the 49ers and Corey Davis going fifth to the Titans. (1:01)
9:00 AM ET

Mel Kiper Jr.Football analyst

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Time for another Big Board, my last before the NFL combine at the end of the month. The big changes include a quarterback moving into the top 10, a defender moving into the top 20 after standing out at the Senior Bowl and a fast-rising tight end making his debut.

Check out Mock Draft 1.0 here, and come back for version 2.0 next week. Here we go:

One asterisk denotes a junior, and two asterisks denote a redshirt sophomore for the 2016 season.
1. *Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

Garrett had a frustrating season, hampered by a high ankle sprain he suffered in late September, and his 8.5 sacks were down from his freshman total of 11.5 and sophomore total of 12.5. The injury took away some of the explosiveness that makes him such a promising talent, but when he's on, he's a brilliant, natural pass-rusher. The injury shouldn't affect Garrett's draft status. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, he has the length, strength and ability to bend the edge. I think he's a top-five lock, and I expect him to impress at the NFL combine.

2. Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama

Allen was one of the top two or three defenders in the country the past two seasons. After having 12 sacks in 2015, he had 10.5 sacks in 2016, including one in Alabama's national title game loss. I wrote in October about Allen's performance against Texas A&M, in which he had a signature sack and returned a fumble for a touchdown. Defensive end, defensive tackle -- at 6-3, 264 pounds, Allen can play anywhere on the line, and coach Nick Saban loves him. He's in the mix to go No. 1.

Editor's Picks

Kiper's top NFL prospects by position for 2017

Mel Kiper releases his top 10 prospects across every position for the 2017 NFL draft. It's a class that looks strong at pass-rusher, cornerback and wide receiver.
Kiper's 2017 NFL Mock Draft 1.0: Two QBs in top 10

The countdown to the 2017 NFL draft is on, and the Browns are on the clock. Pass-rusher? Quarterback? It's time for Mel Kiper's first crack at predicting the first round.
McShay's 2017 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Who takes Watson, Trubisky?

Plenty of NFL teams have a need at QB, but who could be interested in Clemson's Deshaun Watson and North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky? Here's Todd McShay's second attempt at predicting the picks.

3. Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama

Foster is a big-time inside linebacker, and he might have been Alabama's best linebacker in 2015. Yes, better than Reggie Ragland, who went in the second round to the Bills in the 2016 draft and whom I had as the No. 24-ranked prospect. Foster (6-1, 240) has more range, runs sideline to sideline and is a more complete player. He's a terrific blitzer, too, and recorded five sacks this season. Expect him to follow in the footsteps of inside linebackers from Alabama who have gone in the first round, such as Rolando McClain, Dont'a Hightower and C.J. Mosley.
4. *Jamal Adams, S, LSU

Adams (6-1, 213) was a huge part of LSU's defensive success, even if it doesn't show on the stat sheet; he had one interception, one sack and one forced fumble this past season. He has great bloodlines -- his dad, George Adams, was the No. 19 overall pick in the 1985 NFL draft. He is built for today's NFL as a versatile safety who can play in the box effectively, make tackles against the run and move to the edges and track slot receivers.
5. **Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford

Thomas was one of the best defenders in the Pac-12 in 2016, when he was only a third-year sophomore. He plays like a veteran, causing disruptions in both the running and passing games. He had eight sacks this season while playing end, but at 6-3, 270 pounds, he could move inside and play tackle. The versatility is what stands out. And he has some speed -- check out this fumble return.
6. *Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

Fournette struggled with a gimpy ankle this season and played in only seven games. Don't worry about him, though. He's special when he's healthy. Fournette has an incredible combination of size (6-1, 235), speed and power that can make him look like a varsity player hanging with the JV. Mileage was a concern heading into the season, but that's less of an issue now. He had a whopping 300 carries in 2015 -- for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns -- and only 129 in 2016.
7. **Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

Lattimore (6-1, 190) was a first-year starter in 2016 who struggled with a hamstring injury during his first two years in Columbus. He was fantastic this season, standing out in a group of talented defenders and posting four interceptions, including a pick-six. He tackles well and locked down receivers he matched up against. The 2017 cornerback class could be special, and Lattimore is in the top tier.
8. *Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

Cook (5-11, 213) is a home run hitter who can turn small creases into massive gains. He finished the season with 100-yard rushing performances in nine of his last 10 games, including 145 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards in the Orange Bowl win over Michigan. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry this season -- after averaging 7.4 in 2015 -- and had 33 receptions for 488 yards. With good hands and the ability to find and pick up blitzes, he's versatile. He had a whopping 40 total touchdowns in the past two seasons.
9. *Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

Williams, my No. 1 receiver, has great burst and speed for his size (6-2, 225). He made some fantastic catches in the national title game, finishing with eight receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown. He put behind the scary neck injury that prematurely ended his 2015 season, and he was Deshaun Watson's go-to target this season. He had 98 catches for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2016. He also had more than 1,000 receiving yards as a sophomore in 2014, averaging a whopping 18.1 yards per catch.
10. *Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

I don't see a potential top-five talent at quarterback in this draft, but that doesn't mean a QB-needy team won't be desperate and pick one in the top five. I projected Trubisky, my top-ranked QB, to go No. 2 to San Francisco in Mock Draft 1.0. In his first year as the full-time starter, Trubisky (6-3, 220) completed 68.2 percent of his passes and had 30 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. He throws a nice ball, has some touch and velocity and is mobile, too. Experience is a question mark -- he just doesn't have a lot of tape.
11. *Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

Charlton was the best defensive player on the field in Michigan's loss to Ohio State in late November. The 6-5, 270-pound defensive end had 2.5 sacks and nine total tackles, showing off a full arsenal of pass-rushing moves. He finished the season with 9.5 sacks despite missing two games with an ankle injury. Charlton plays with good leverage for his height, has active hands and takes great angles when rushing. And he's helped by an incredible wingspan. Charlton can play on his feet, which means he could fit in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme.
12. Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA

Pac-12 offensive tackles had nightmares this season about McKinley, who is a dominant speed rusher. At 6-2, 240, he's not huge, but his explosion off the line is suited for today's NFL. A former junior college player, McKinley really came on as a senior, recording 10 sacks and three forced fumbles. McKinley impressed me with his motor, too, even while dealing with multiple injuries.
13. **Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan

Peppers, who finished fifth in the Heisman voting, is a polarizing prospect. At 6-0, 210 pounds, he is a tweener without a set position in the NFL, as I wrote in December. His potential is as an in-the-box safety or linebacker who helps in run support and goes out and covers receivers and tight ends, but he's not for everybody; not every team will give him a high grade. I expect him to test off the charts at the combine. He's a special athlete.
14. **Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Hooker, like his teammate Lattimore, is another third-year sophomore and first-year starter. He has incredible range and was the best center-field-type safety I saw this season. He had seven interceptions and returned three of them for touchdowns. The 6-2, 205-pound Hooker is dynamic; he was all over the field for the Buckeyes.
15. Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

Injuries to both ankles caused Davis (6-2, 226) to miss a few games late in the season, but he is a steady and reliable linebacker with a nose for the football. He could play inside or outside linebacker in the NFL, but he's not a pass-rusher, though he did have 5.5 sacks the past two seasons. Davis is an every-down linebacker at the next level -- he can cover tight ends and backs in the passing game -- and fits what teams are looking for these days. He could play all three positions in a 4-3 defense or the inside in a 3-4. I love his intangibles, too; he has tremendous character.
16. *Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

The Stanford offense was built around McCaffrey for the past two years. He runs, catches passes, blocks and returns kicks and punts. With 590 carries for 3,622 yards and 82 catches for 955 yards the past two seasons, he has shown that he can carry the load. McCaffrey (6-0, 200) has incredible balance and could be an every-down back in the NFL. And it helps that he played in a pro-style offense at Stanford. His father, Ed, had a long NFL career as a wide receiver, and his brother, Max, was a good receiver at Duke.
17. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama

Williams, the top-ranked prospect in my preseason Big Board, does one thing incredibly well: rush the passer. And that's what NFL teams are looking for. He's a fantastic pass-rushing talent who can be unblockable at times. Williams (6-4, 250) has improved with the other parts of his game -- he can adequately take on blockers and play the run. After 10.5 sacks in 2015, when he played only about 20 percent of Alabama's defensive snaps, Williams had nine sacks in 2016. He's likely to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 in the NFL, but he could put on some weight and play end in a 4-3.
18. *Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

One of the most productive receivers in the country over his career, Davis is a big-time playmaker with skills that will translate to the next level. He had 331 catches for 5,278 yards and 52 touchdowns in his career, and he led the country in receiving touchdowns with 19 in 2016. Davis has ideal size (6-2, 212) and length to be a great NFL wideout. I think he could be a lead option for an offense. He's considered one of the hardest workers on his team, too, and he really studies the game.
19. *Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

Tabor just makes plays. He shows up in big moments every time I turn on the tape, breaking up passes and locking down receivers. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns in 2015. He was all over the field this season, too. You could argue that Tabor (6-0, 201) was the most consistently effective Florida cornerback last season, and Vernon Hargreaves III went No. 11 overall to the Bucs. Tabor had four interceptions this season, including a pick-six, plus a sack.
20. Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU

White was impressive in his limited time at the Senior Bowl -- no receiver could get separation against him. He hurt his ankle in the middle of the week and didn't practice after that or play in the game, but I feel comfortable bumping him up a round after his solid senior season and how he looked against the wideouts at the Senior Bowl. White (5-10, 170) could have been a Day 3 pick a year ago but made the right decision to return to school. His six career interceptions, including two in 2016, are fewer than you'd like to see from a first-round cornerback, but his ball skills are OK. He needs to catch some of the throws he breaks up.
21. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

Howard hasn't been a prolific pass-catcher at Alabama, including only 37 catches this season, but he has all the tools scouts look for in an NFL tight end. He was the best prospect at the Senior Bowl. At 6-6, 250, he is going to light up the NFL combine. He can stretch the deep middle of the field and become a more dynamic weapon. He could be a playmaker in the NFL. Three of his seven career touchdowns came in national title games.
22. **David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.)

Njoku is one of the fastest risers in this draft. The third-year sophomore was fantastic down the stretch of the Hurricanes' season, with seven touchdowns over the last six games; he had just two career touchdowns before that. Njoku (6-4, 244) has stellar speed and is among the most athletic tight ends in recent years. He could be a weapon in the NFL. If he shows out for scouts at the combine, he could be the top tight end off the board.
23. *Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

Bolles started only one season for the Utes after coming over from a junior college, but he was tremendous in 2016. Playing left tackle for the Utes, he showed that he's a great run blocker who can drive defenders off the ball at the snap. Bolles (6-5, 300) is a mauler. He has nice feet but needs to work on his technique and improve his pass blocking.
24. *Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

This isn't a great class for top-tier blindside protectors, and some of that has to do with the lack of seniors. The first senior in my list of the top 10 offensive tackles comes in at No. 4. Robinson, a junior, was a starter from day one at Alabama and is already a known commodity around the NFL. At 6-6, 327, he's battle-tested and extremely consistent. I think he'd be better as a right tackle in the NFL -- he's a better run-blocker than he is a pass-blocker -- but he's probably going to get a shot on the left side. He has the talent to be the first tackle off the board.
25. *Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

Ramczyk has had an unusual -- and amazing -- path to the NFL. He started two years at Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point, transferred to Wisconsin and redshirted, then was an All-American left tackle as a fourth-year junior this season. At 6-6, 314, Ramczyk is another prospect who might be better served playing on the right side. His tape isn't overwhelming -- he's not a talent on the level of former Badger Joe Thomas -- but he can be a quality starting tackle in the NFL. Ramczyk just had hip surgery and should be fine long term, but he won't be working out at the combine.
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