Battles on the Big Board
LSU's defensive ends and A&M's tackles are about to face off; who will win?
You rarely get to see true one-on-one, prospect-on-prospect battles in the trenches like the ones you'll see this weekend when LSU and Texas A&M square off. LSU's pair of talented defensive ends, Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, will go against Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews, the best offensive tackle tandem in the country. It's one of those dream matchups from a scouting standpoint. Who performs best will be taken into account next week when these rankings are adjusted.
As you read below, the scouting perspective will remain similar week to week, but I'll note performance and matchup highlights. Plus, here are my junior prospect rankings and my senior prospect rankings. Juniors and draft-eligible sophomores are noted with an asterisk.
Jones is coming off a bye, and should be well-rested for Kentucky. He's an explosive, disciplined, relentless edge rusher who profiles as a 3-4 OLB. He has a quick first step and violent hands; he tackles well and closes fast. Solid against the run and can really cover.
Diminished totals this year, but Barkley hasn't done much to diminish his stock. He has limitations with physical skills, but he's very good across the board: ball placement, timing, use of his eyes, poise, leadership skills and experience. Great leader.
Makes a clear impact every week. Brings consistent, relentless effort. Demands double-teams and clogs the middle of the field. A great sense for disrupting the run game, with power to bull-rush. Quick off the ball, with great upper-body strength. Coaches rave.
Leverage has been an issue for me, but Mingo is so gifted athletically he finds a way. Mingo started playing football late, as a high school junior, but the talent is significant. Uses length and a great first step to turn the corner. His pass-rush skills are good but could be diversified. Still learning concepts but reads the game well despite lack of experience.
Leading the team in sacks and TFL, he's been the most productive. He added size and is looking more comfortable now; he's also now a fit in almost any system, given his range of skills. Athleticism and pass-rush skills are there, and he really holds up against the run. Max-effort player, natural athlete, instinctive rusher.
To see the rest of Mel Kiper's Big Board, you must be an ESPN Insider.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Rangers take Seahawks QB Wilson in draft
- Bears to start Cutler at QB against Browns
- Megatron to show Elam 'old man's strength'
- Redskins: RG III still starter entering 2014