Commentary

Big Board minus Barkley

Without Matt Barkley in the picture, there's a new quarterback hierarchy in place

Originally Published: December 23, 2011
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Matt Barkley's decision to stay at USC for his senior season has forced me to update the Big Board. When I released it Wednesday, Barkley was sitting at No. 6, the second-ranked quarterback on the Board. His departure from the draft proceedings certainly changes things for teams targeting quarterbacks early and also adds a new name to the Board.

As always, 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 and 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 and 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, explosive and really works to get open. Great ball skills; breaks tackles.

LAST WEEK: 4 | PLAYER CARD

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst