The Jan. 15 deadline for eligible non-seniors to declare themselves eligible for the 2012 NFL draft is rapidly approaching, and one big name has made official what we all expected to happen.
Baylor QB Robert Griffin III will skip his senior season and enter the draft, and with USC's Matt Barkley and Oklahoma's Landry Jones returning to school, Griffin has shot to No. 2 on the quarterback board. This week he moves all the way into the top three in my ranking of the top 32 overall prospects.
Griffin's rise has pushed the top cornerback on the board out of the top five overall, while a fast-rising redshirt-sophomore defensive lineman continues his ascent and a physically-gifted linebacker has tumbled to the edge of the top 20.
This week's ranking also features the reappearance of a powerful defensive tackle and a playmaking tight end. Here's how the entire list falls into place as the pre-draft process begins kicking in to high gear.
Analysis: Finished his college career with a bang, showcasing his entire skill set while completing 27 of 31 passes for 347 yards and two scores in the Fiesta Bowl. Next stop, Indianapolis? Last week: 1
Analysis: Kalil is clearly the top offensive lineman in the board, with his combination of light feet and good balance as a pass-blocker and the edge he flashes in the running game. He's ready to start from day one. Last week: 2
The 2011 Heisman Trophy winner continues to rise. He won't pass Luck on my board, but Griffin's mobility, quick release and arm strength have helped him narrow the gap and create some intrigue as teams potentially jockey for a chance to select him, perhaps as high as No. 2 overall. Last week: 6
Richardson is clearly the top running back in the 2012 class -- and one of the highest-rated backs in recent years -- thanks to an elite combination of size, speed, power, balance and vision. Last week: 4
Analysis: There are questions about Coples' work ethic and motor, but his huge upside as a pass-rusher makes him a prospect that teams will covet early in the first round. Last week: 5