- Mel Kiper Jr., Football analyst
It's no surprise to see Andrew Luck here at the top. But while it can be rightfully pointed out that he would have been the No. 1 pick had he entered the 2011 NFL draft, and that he's almost guaranteed to be in that spot next April, Luck still needs to maintain his form this season. I don't have a reason to think he won't, but there is real competition among quarterbacks this year. Oklahoma has a player who has a lot of characteristics of a No. 1 pick, and USC does as well.
As for this list, here are a few highlights, since this hadn't been updated since the week following the NFL draft a few months ago. There are 20 juniors or draft-eligible sophomores on the list; there are three quarterbacks among the top 10 players; and Stanford has as many players in the top 10 as the SEC. In fact, the Pac-12 is a truly loaded conference this year. As always, a reminder: For me, this is a reflection of value, not some prediction about where guys will be picked. A lot of guys will rise and fall this year based on a number of factors. And as always, juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
Analysis: You know by now, Luck is the total package. Arm strength, size, smarts, demeanor -- it's all there. Can he keep the accuracy rate up? He completed 70.7 percent of his 2010 throws.
Analysis: Continues the recent run of defensive talent in Chapel Hill. Coples is next in line, a gifted pass-rusher suited to be a pure 4-3 defensive end at the next level.
Analysis: After a tough freshman year, Barkley has shown maturity and a high level of aptitude. Completed 62.6 percent of his passes as a sophomore and is piling up pro-style offense reps.
Analysis: An imposing presence at wideout, Jeffery has been unstoppable. Phenomenal hands, surprising burst for a long-strider, great work ethic. Tough matchup for corners at any level.
Analysis: Kalil has the size, athleticism, footwork and bloodlines. He projects as a blindside tackle and is just another NFL-ready offensive lineman at Southern California.
3hEric D. Williams