California Show Me Love: First Big Board of the New Year

Daniel Kitchen, NFL Staff Writer

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Well it’s a new year. Time for 365 days of football! My resolutions will go unstated, but I assure you one was not to find an obsession shared by more than 15 people across the world. I have the updated draft order, and I may go forward with a 2 rounder here within the coming week. I have a three-five day period in New Jersey as well, so there’s plenty of opportunity! Now for my Big Board, Edition 3. (Time elapsed since BB2: 12 days) Plus, as a first-time bonus, I’m adding analysis at times!

DAN KITCHEN’S BEST AVAILABLE

1. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M (3)

Joeckel is arguably the safest prospect in the first round. Rated higher by at least one expert than Joe Thomas when he declared (Thomas is now one of the 5 best linemen in the NFL), Joeckel rises to #1 because of bad performances by the remainder of the top 5.

2. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah (1)

The only reason Star is not #1 is because he is a one-tool guy. If he can learn to utilize a mixture of his amazing agility with some bull strength thrown in, he’d be comparable to Ndamukong Suh in potential.

3. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia (6)

Similar to Lotulelei at 2, if Jones could learn a mix of strength and speed instead of just strength, he would be a much more appealing prospect.

4. Damontre Moore, HY, Texas A&M (5)

Reportedly declaring after seeing how high his stock is, Moore would offer this year’s top hybrid rusher. Many teams in the top 10 need a player like Moore.

5. Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame (4)

He may not have Patrick Willis’ physical abilities, but Te’o should be a top 3 pick in the draft. Unless a team owns a player like Willis or Ray Lewis as their field general at inside linebacker, Te’o would be an amazing add. He is one of the most inspirational and motivated leaders college football has seen in years, and not since Ndamukong Suh has a defensive player come so close to nabbing the Heisman.

6. Bjorn Werner, DE, Florida State (2)

Werner offers any team with a need at defensive end a better bet than most free agents, and any other pure end in the class.

7. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (7)

Your standard Michigan tackle product: strong, talented, and a typically safe bet to be a good/great player.

8. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (8)

Between experts rankng him highly all year, having a Hall of Fame OT daddy, and playing next to super tackle Luke Joeckel for years, Matthews seems like another great tackle in a deeper class than most in recent memory.

9. Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama (10)

Playing on one of college’s top O-lines this year, Warmack is the second “once in a decade” guard prospect in 2 years, along with Steelers’ guard David DeCastro. He’ll go around as high as well, in the mid twenties.

10. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama (12)

The best corner in a class devoid of any proven talent or elite prospects, Milliner is a risk, but still worth the last spot on the best available.

Biggest Risers: J. Jones +3

Biggest Fallers: Werner -4

Rose into Best Available: Milliner

Fell off Best Available: Jonathan Hankins

 

The Rest of the Big Board

11. Jonathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State (9)

A true nose tackle, lack of star performances have dropped Hankins down below where he usually is ranked.

12. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama (11)

I still remain the only draft analyst who ranks Jones in his/her top 20. Able to play any O-line spot at a starting caliber, as well as anchoring the best line in college this year AND winning the Outland Trophy last year and being a finalist this year, Jones should go much higher than where he will end up.

13. Dion Jordan, HY, Oregon (17)

A great Combine could lock Jordan in the top 20. Lack of concrete backing to his stats from 2012 is the only thing holding him back.

14. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri (13)

Rising with consistant play, Richardson will need good numbers to potentially unseat Hankins for #2 Tackle. Bad Combine numbers really won’t knock him down that much.

15. Jonathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State (15)

Another benefitter of a disappointing corner class, Banks offers a common theme in this draft: consistancy. Occasionally gets burned repeatedly by one target though.

16. Barkevious Mingo, HY, LSU (14)

Mingo has arguably the highest potential of any end or linebacker in the class. The problem is, unless he unlocks all the potential to become one of the best ends in the NFL, Mingo will be a superbust incapable of being on the punt team, let alone the starting line-up. For now, the boom side keeps Mingo afloat. He could fall incredibly far on draft day though.

17. Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia (16)

A recent riser in the draft, Ogletree’s biggest issue is character concerns. Keeping them mitigated recently, Ogletree was called in Sports Illustrated one of the Top 8 overall prospects in this class by a poll of NFL Scouts. He will be a similar prospect to Donta’ Hightower last year.

18. Sam Montgomery, HY, LSU (20)

Montgomery’s underperformance hurt him badly, as he would be on the Best Available board with good numbers. The potential is still there, so Montgomery will be gone midway through Round 1.

19. Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina (22)

Cooper’s position automatically pushes him up the boards, but many people, myself included, are just not sure how big a risk he is. For now, Cooper stagnates in the 20 range.

20. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan (25)

Fisher would be top 10 if he went to a bigger school. Either way, Fisher is getting a lot of attention with great play at a small school. In the mold of CMU product Joe Staley, a first-rounder years ago, Fisher is a great pick for any team needing a tackle.

21. Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU (46)

No one has risen more on defense than Ansah in the past 12 days. Before ranked in the mid-second round, he is now going mid-first in some drafts. While still nieve and learning the game fully, Ansah has so much natural ability that he is shining without complete knowledge of the strategy of the game.

22. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia (23)

Finally a quarterback! This is the worst quarterbacking class I have seen in my three years of draft analysis. Geno or someone will go number one overall, but only because Kansas City is so horrible in that department. With some work, Geno may be a 15 or so prospect, but I firmly believe he will not be a succesful enough QB to earn a first-round pick.

23. C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama (21)

Another Bama’ front seven memner. Not as talented as Hightower from last year, Mosley benefits from playing a key cog on the nation’s premier defense.

24. Kenny Vacarro, S, Texas (18)

Vacarro is another plaer who has risen because of his potential and lack of production by other members of his position. Solid production leading up to the draft bolts down Vacarro as the top safety in the class.

25. Keenan Allen, WR, California (27)

In another very weak class position, Allen is the best available. Injury concerns lower his stock, but fact fo the matter is he is the only receiver currently talented enough to break my Big Board, and even then just barely.

Biggest Risers: Ansah +25, Fisher +5, Jordan +4

Biggest Fallers: Vacarro -6

Rose onto Big Board:  Ansah, Allen

Fell off Big Board: Tyler Eifert, Eric Reid

 

Waiting In Line    (Analysis will now only be applied to selected prospects)

26. Eric Reid, S, LSU (24)

Inconsistant play lost Reid his top safety spot to Kenny Vacarro. A strong month and a half leading up to the draft could elevate Reid into the first half of Round 1. The talent is there.

27. Xaiver Rhodes, CB, Florida State (30)

28. Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor (33)

Could be the guy that emerges as the first good first-round receiver prospect this draft.

29. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia (36)

Has the potential to be a dynamic Wes Welker reincarnate.

30. Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State (35)

31. Mike Glennon, QB, NC State (NR)

Recently rising onto draft radars all over the country, Glennon has a slim chance to be the litle-known QB who baoons into the top 10 for a desparate team.

32. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas (31)

Injury concerns and the time away from the game because of it are the red fag here.

33. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame (19)

34. Matt Elam, S, Florida (29)

I forget where I read it, but someone said Elam should have an energy drink named after him. The man doesn’t have elite size, but he has an elite motor and drive.

35. Matt Barkley, QB, USC (34)

A bad year and injuries knocked him down to the point that the once-heralded “Super-QB” who became the first freshman full-time USC QB could last beyond Round 1. I think he will show through independent workouts that he deserves to go higher, and will rise back onto the Big Board.

36. David Amerson, CB, NC State (32)

I feel Amerson was unfairly criticized this season. How do you possibly ever play at the same level as the year before, if you had THIRTEEN INTERCEPTIONS in the previous season? Nevertheless, the player who some said could be the first corner ever picked first overall has fallen out of Round 1. I believe Amerson still warrants a ranking on my Big Board and a spot in the first round.

37. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA (NR)

Before I made this Big Board, Barr was pondering the opportunity to enter the draft. Today, I learned Barr will stay in school another year, which is a great decision. Jarvis Jones was ranked similarly to Barr last year, and another year in school shot him up to potential top prospect status. Barr’s stock could, and should, do the same.

38. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina (48)

Ranked highly because of his potential, Williams needs solidity to prove he belongs this high. If he gets it, he will automatically rise at least 10 spots on my next Big Board.

39. Arthur Brown, OLB, Kansas State (NR)

A linebacker who could surprise as a rookie like Bobby Wagner (Utah State) did last year.

40. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina (40)

Now I get called for playing favorites. Lattimore has been my favorite player in college football the past couple years. Everyone has him ranked as one of the last backs in the class. They all seem to forget that before he was hurt, he was ranked in the top 10. Lattimore is a major injury concern, but I think his enormous potential warrants a second round risk. Hey, no one questions Mingo in my top 20 or Wilson at 32, and they’re under the same situation as Lattimore,

41. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee (NR)

Another pick many will hate. Bray recently declared for the draft, and most project him as a third-round pick. Just like Mingo Lattimore, and Wilson, Bray just has something that drives people away fro the player that he could be. Bray was the consensus top QB in this class before last year started and he underperformed. He still has the most potential of any QB in the class, and he has the size to be a star. Until I see his potential start to escape him, I will not render harsh enough judgement to knock him down as far as everyone else.

42. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas (26)

Looking back on this pick, I wonder how Okafor is ranked so low. He is a far better player than his ranking shows.

43. Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama (39)

Another Bama defender who has first-round skill. Just caught in competition with an amazing DT class.

44. Giovanni Bernard, RB, North Carolina (38)

A name that stands out because of lack of running back talent. Not a first-rounder… yet.

45. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford (44)

46. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse (NR)

A great bowl performance has inserted Nassib’s name as one who could be ballooned into Round 1 because of his position.

47. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma (50)

Don’t know this kid much, but I know Landry Jones at Oklahoma usually throws 50+ times a game without much pressure on him, so Johnson must do his job well.

48. Dallas Thomas, OL, Tennessee (41)

Falling fast, but I rank Thomas higher than some others because he can play guard or tackle.

49. Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State (45)

50. Jonathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia (28)

Biggest Risers: Glennon +19, Barr +13, Brown +11, S. Williams +10, Bray +9, Austin +7

Biggest Fallers: Jenkins -22, Okafor -16, Eifert -14, D. Thomas -8, Bernard -6, Elam -5

Rose onto Waiting List: Glennon, Barr, Brown, Bray

Fell off Waiting List: Justin Hunter (42), Corey Lemonier (43), Kawann Short (47), Shariff Floyd (49)

 

This just shows how unpredictable the draft can be. We now have many quarterbacks on a board that was supposed to contain little to none. We had players fall 16 spots even though they are still a great prospect! Look and enjoy!

Also, after watching this year’s Outback Bowl while I type, I am just going out and saying that Jadeveon Clowney, the top prospect two years ago out of high school and consensus top player in college football, WILL be the first overall pick next season. He’s the first guy I can remember be the top star out of high school, and hold that through his college career. Amazing player!

God Bless and Happy New Year!

– Dan

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