Commentary

A QB race on the Big Board

Suddenly the gap between Matt Barkley and Robert Griffin III isn't very big at all

Originally Published: December 21, 2011
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Robert Griffin III is making the race to be the second quarterback taken in the 2012 NFL draft an interesting one. While I've heard some scouts and evaluators discusss Griffin in the same class as Andrew Luck, I'm not willing to go that far. I still think Luck is, by far in fact, the likeliest play for any team drafting No. 1 overall this spring. But Griffin's great year, combined with Matt Barkley's brilliant finish to his junior season, has made the race for the No. 2 QB to come off the board very interesting. And remember, Barkley could still return to USC. At this time last year, Luck was also a lock to be No. 1.

There are other moves, as well. Read on and let me know who should be higher or who's been passed over, in your opinion. As always, juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.

1
Andrew Luck *
AGE: 22
DOB: 9/12/89
HT: 6-4
WT: 235
POS: QB
Comp 261
Att 373
Pct 70.0
Yds 3,170
TD 35
Int 9

Luck was unable to show off all he can do given the talent around him in 2011, but he is the total package: arm strength, size, smarts, demeanor. He remains my pick to go No. 1 overall and could unseat Peyton Manning in Indy.

LAST WEEK: 1 | PLAYER CARD

2
Matt Kalil *
AGE: 22
DOB: 7/6/89
HT: 6-7
WT: 295
POS: OT
GP 12
GS 12

Kalil was steady the entire season and has the full range of skills for the left tackle position, not to mention the pedigree. He has announced he's in the draft, and could be challenged, but is currently a safe bet for the top five.

LAST WEEK: 2 | PLAYER CARD

3
Trent Richardson *
AGE: 20
DOB: 7/10/91
HT: 5-11
WT: 224
POS: RB
Car 263
Yds 1,583
Avg. 6.0
TD 20

The BCS title game should be his final one in college. Richardson's splitting carries in his first two seasons will benefit him. Powerful, fast, with improved vision, he runs with good pad level and breaks tackles with ease.

LAST WEEK: 3 | PLAYER CARD

4
Morris Claiborne *
AGE: 21
DOB: 2/7/90
HT: 6-1
WT: 185
POS: CB
Tkl 46
Sack 0
Int 6

Doesn't get the attention, but he's a very good player. Big rise in 2011; now the top corner. Exceptional pure cover corner with impeccable instincts at the position. Locates the ball and can catch it. Not a burner; plenty quick.

LAST WEEK: 5 | PLAYER CARD

5
Justin Blackmon *
AGE: 21
DOB: 1/9/90
HT: 6-1
WT: 208
POS: WR
Rec 113
Yds 1,336
Avg 11.8
TD 15

Blackmon had a remarkable regular season, eclipsing his 111 catches of a year ago. A better prospect than recent OSU star Dez Bryant. Versatile and explosive and really works to get open. Great ball skills; breaks tackles.

LAST WEEK: 4 | PLAYER CARD

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst