Commentary

Intrigue in latest draft rankings

Elite talent clearly a cut above, but there is plenty of depth on the board

Originally Published: March 14, 2012
By Todd McShay | Scouts Inc.

The way I see it at this point in the draft process, there are five elite players on the board -- Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Matt Kalil, Trent Richardson, Morris Claiborne -- with Justin Blackmon on the fringe of that group. However, there's a noticeable drop-off in talent after that point.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good football players to be had and many are worthy of first-round grades. But many of the players in this year's second tier -- which is dominated by defenders such as Melvin Ingram, Luke Kuechly, Quinton Coples, Dontari Poe, Mark Barron, Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Courtney Upshaw and Dre Kirkpatrick -- would figure into the third tier of talent in other recent drafts.

On the positive side, there is a lot of depth at key positions such as quarterback, offensive line, defensive line and cornerback, and the defensive end class is the most intriguing right now.

Some ends will convert to outside linebacker in 3-4 defenses, but after the top two tiers of Ingram, Coples and Upshaw, there are many quality players such as Andre Branch, Whitney Mercilus, Chandler Jones (who I contend is one of the most underrated players in this draft) and Nick Perry.

There are no defensive linemen in the top six overall, but 10 of the next 26 players hail from the defensive line. That should make a lot of playoff-contending teams happy.

Elsewhere, we still have only three quarterbacks in in the top 32, but names like Brock Osweiler, Nick Foles, Kirk Cousins and Brandon Weeden are in the top 51 overall.

Here's how the entire top 32 looks at this point, with underclassmen noted with an asterisk.


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