Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, April 25, 2012
The NFL draft starts at 8 p.m. ET Thursday with the first round, continues Friday with rounds two and three before finishing Saturday with the final four rounds. For Big Ten players, questions linger. Which one will be the first off the board? Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff? Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus? Someone else?
Earlier I talked to some experts about a few bigger Big Ten names and you can find links to draft histories for all Big Ten teams over here. Following is a look at which Big Ten players may get drafted and where.
TOP PROSPECTS BY POSITION
Top offensive tackle: Riley Reiff, Iowa
Top guard: Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
Top center: Peter Konz, Wisconsin
Top receiver: Nick Toon, Wisconsin
Top tight end: Brian Linthicum, Michigan State
Top quarterback: Kirk Cousins, Michigan State
Top running back: Daniel Herron, Ohio State
Top fullback: Bradie Ewing, Wisconsin
Top defensive tackle: Jerel Worthy, Michigan State
Top defensive end: Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
Top linebacker: Lavonte David, Nebraska
Top safety: Aaron Henry, Wisconsin
Top cornerback: Alfonzo Dennard
Top kicker: Carson Wiggs, Purdue
Top punter: Brad Nortman, Wisconsin
TOP PROSPECTS BY SCHOOL
Illinois: Not a lot of depth, but quality. Jeff Allen and A.J. Jenkins are rising up draft boards and could be Friday picks.
OT Jeff Allen, 3-4th round
RB Jason Ford, 7th round
WR A.J. Jenkins, 3th-4th round
DE Whitney Mercilus, 1st round
Iowa: A deep collection of talent behind Riley Reiff. Don?t be shocked if Marvin McNutt sneaks into the second round.
G Adam Gettis, 3rd round
DT Mike Daniels, 3rd-4th round
WR Marvin McNutt, 3rd-4th round
OLB Tyler Nielsen, 7th round-FA
CB Shaun Prater, 4th–5th round
OT Riley Reiff, 1st round
OT Markus Zusevics, 5th-6th round
Michigan: No tantalizing prospects, but Mike Martin?s stock is gaining some steam. It?s too bad Kevin Koger is out with injury.
WR Junior Hemingway, 4th-5th round-FA
DT Mark Huyge, 7th round-FA
TE Kevin Koger, 7th round
DT Mike Martin, 2nd-3rd round
C David Molk, 5thh-6th round
DE Ryan Van Bergen, 7th round-FA
Michigan State: Most experts think there are five Spartans who are locks to be picked: Kirk Cousins; Jerel Worthy; Trenton Robinson; Keshawn Martin; B.J. Cunningham.
FB Todd Anderson, 7th round-FA
RB Edwin Baker, 6th-7th round
TE Garrett Celek, 7th-round-FA
QB Kirk Cousins, 2nd-3rd round
WR B.J. Cunningham, 7th round
TE Brian Linthicum, 4th round
WR Keshawn Martin, 3rd-4thth round
WR Keith Nichol, 7th round-FA
FS Trenton Robinson, 3rd-4thth round
DT Jerel Worthy, 1st round
Nebraska: Alfonzo Dennard hurt himself by his recent arrest. He could fall to Saturday because of it. Lavonte David?s speed makes him an attractive prospect, as he can cover in space in a pass-happy league.
DE Jared Crick, 1st or 2nd round
OLB Lavonte David, 2nd to 4th round
CB Alfonzo Dennard, 3rd to 4thround
OT Marcel Jones, 7th round or undrafted free agent
Ohio State: Mike Adams is one of the most talented left tackles in the draft. That?s why teams may still take him in the first round despite his failed drug test.
OT Mike Adams, 1st-2nd round
C Michael Brewster, 2nd-3rd round
RB Daniel Herron, 3rd-4th round
WR DeVier Posey, 3rd-4th round
LB Andrew Sweat, 7th round-FA
Penn State: Devon Still leads the way, but he seems to have slipped from the first round. After Still, there aren?t many elite prospects.
DE Jack Crawford, 5th round
DE Eric Latimore, 7th round-FA
CB D?Anton Lynn, 7th round-FA
WR Derek Moye, 7th round-FA
CB Chaz Powell, 7th round-FA
S Nick Sukay, 7th round-FA
DT Devon Still, 1st-2nd round
LB Nathan Stupar, 7th round-FA
TE Andrew Szczerba, 7th round-FA
Purdue: Slim pickings for the Boilermakers, who may not have any picks. The last time Purdue had no picks was 1997. The last Boiler kicker taken was Travis Dorsch in the fourth round in 2002 by the Bengals.
K Carson Wiggs, 7th round-FA
Wisconsin: Since the draft went to seven rounds in 1993, the most Badgers taken has been eight in 2001. Could that be eclipsed? Lots of potential picks, but only Peter Konz, Kevin Zeitler, Nick Toon and Russell Wilson are sure things to be picks.
DT Patrick Butrym, 7th-round-FA
FB Bradie Ewing, 7th round-FA
CB Antonio Fenelus, 7th round-FA
FS Aaron Henry, 3rd-4th round
C Peter Konz*, 1st
P Brad Nortman, 7th round-FA
OT Josh Oglesby, 7th-round-FA
WR Nick Toon, 2nd-3rd round
K Philip Welch, 7th round-FA
QB Russell Wilson, 5th round
G Kevin Zeitler, 1st-2nd round
The draft can be full of surprises but right now it doesn?t look like any players will be drafted from Indiana, Northwestern or Minnesota.
BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, and all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart. Send questions to his weekly mailbag, subscribe to his RSS feed, and check out his video Q&A.