Commentary

Updated Big Board

Can Alabama's Courtney Upshaw rise the way Von Miller did last year?

Originally Published: February 1, 2012
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

The Senior Bowl week did more to confirm what we already knew as it did offer some new names and surprises. That said, you will see a couple of moves this week after evaluations. One player who continues to rise is Alabama's Courtney Upshaw, a talent who can be a prototype pass-rusher in a 3-4 scheme. Can he make the same kind of rise Von Miller did at this time last year? I doubt it, but it's important to point out that guys really do rise and fall during this period. There are lots of evaluations left. Make sure to check my Top 5 players at each position group, as you'll see a lot of depth there.

As always, read on and let me know who should be higher or who has been passed over, in your opinion. Juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.

More Kiper NFL draft content:

Mock Draft 1.0 | Latest Big Board | Positional Ranks | Regrading the 2011 draft

1
Andrew Luck *
AGE: 22
DOB: 9/12/89
HT: 6-4
WT: 235
POS: QB
Comp 288
Att 404
Pct 71.3
Yds 3,517
TD 37
Int 10

No change here. My impression is the Colts have locked on to Luck as the No. 1 pick. Not unexpected. I don't foresee a situation in which he relinquishes this spot before the draft. Has total package: arm strength, size, smarts and demeanor.

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 all season and has the full range of skills for the left tackle position, not to mention the pedigree. He might not need time to develop at right tackle, a common break-in spot for many left tackles. Issue he now faces is the microscope of the draft process.

LAST WEEK: 2 | PLAYER CARD

3
Trent Richardson *
AGE: 20
DOB: 7/10/91
HT: 5-11
WT: 224
POS: RB
Car 283
Yds 1,679
Avg. 5.9
TD 21

Hard to believe he could be any more prepared for workouts, but I'm sure he will be. Splitting carries in his first two seasons has helped him. He looks as strong as ever. Powerful, fast and with improved vision and pass-catching skills, 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 51
Sack 0
Int 6

Was the lesser-known of the LSU corners, but easily the better one for me. He's just very good, an exceptional pure cover corner with impeccable instincts at the position. Locates the ball and can catch it. Not a burner, but plenty quick.

LAST WEEK: 4 | PLAYER CARD

5
Justin Blackmon *
AGE: 22
DOB: 1/9/90
HT: 6-1
WT: 208
POS: WR
Rec 121
Yds 1,522
Avg 12.6
TD 18

Blackmon finished strong and cemented his gaudy film status. A better prospect than recent OSU star Dez Bryant. Versatile, explosive and really works to get open. Great ball skills, breaks tackles, and I think scouts will love the intangibles.

LAST WEEK: 5 | PLAYER CARD


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst