- Mel Kiper Jr., Football analyst
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Editor's Note: Mel wanted to add five more names, so the file has been updated. Now 20 names, total.
Over the last 15 years, quarterbacks have been taken 12 times with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. The trend isn't a difficult one to dissect. In a league that is increasingly quarterback-driven, teams that have been drafting No. 1 overall have simply lacked elite play at the most critical position. And since cost certainty is locked in with draft picks for the better part of another decade, expect teams further down the board without a QB solution on the roster to move up via trades to target top talent. Washington gave up a ton to draft Robert Griffin III this year -- as much as we've ever seen -- but there's no reason to think a team won't follow the same strategy in the future.
It could start as early as 2013, as a number of possible targets jump out while reviewing the class today. While Matt Barkley has the early edge among evaluators heading into this season, I can see five others who could be in the mix to challenge him as the top QB taken next year. Two of them didn't crack my initial Big Board for the year.
Here is the list of guys that just missed among seniors and juniors, a total of 15 players.
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
Based on talent alone, Jones has the potential to be a top-10 pick. He struggled down the stretch last year (the absence of the great Ryan Broyles certainly didn't help) and looked like a player who was really trying to carry his team. He forced things, lost his mechanics a little and probably made the right decision to return for another year. I know he's working hard this offseason, and he could bounce back in a big way in 2012.
Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
8hEric D. Williams
22hBy Dan Graziano
2dMatt Walks, ESPN.com