Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, November 14, 2013
Sure, it's only mid-November, but whenever ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. releases his initial NFL Draft Board, both college and NFL football fans across the nation take notice. Kiper Jr. recently released his updated big board, which features three Big Ten stars on it. Michigan senior OT Taylor Lewan headlines the list at No. 16 overall.
"Hasn't had the best year, but he can't fix a lot of mediocre play around him," said Kiper Jr. regarding Lewan. "He's been the steadiest player on a young line that has struggled some in Big Ten play"
Following Lewan is another talented offensive tackle prospect, Iowa's Brandon Scherff. The Hawkeyes' 6-foot-5, 315 pound junior comes in at No. 20 on Kiper Jr.'s list.
Rounding out the board is Ohio State junior linebacker Ryan Shazier (No. 25), who Kiper Jr. compares to former Nebraska standout Lavonte David.
"Shazier is a linebacker who looks like an oversized safety but does a great job of tracking and making tackles from the weak side," Kiper Jr. says. "He shows better leverage than you'd expect when blockers get on him, and uses his quickness and instincts to shoot gaps and make plays."
My take: Lewan has dropped because of his struggles this year, which I agree on. I was surprised not to see Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman on this board. He has NFL-ready size and has been a force on Minnesota's defensive front this season. The guy who I was surprised to see on this list was Branndon Scherff. He does have great size and power, but the same can be said for Ohio State's Jack Mewhort, who was left off the list and has paved the way for one of the top offensive attacks throughout college football this season.
Other Big Ten players who deserve consideration: Darqueze Dennard (Michigan State), Max Bullough (Michigan State), Shilique Calhoun (Michigan State), Ra'Shede Hageman (Minnesota), Bradley Roby (Ohio State), Allen Robinson (Penn State), Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), DaQuan Jones (Penn State), Jack Mewhort (Ohio State), Chris Borland (Wisconsin).
|About Sean Merriman||BTN.com web editor Sean Merriman covers football and men's basketball and provides original content for BTN.com. You can follow him on Twitter @BTNSean.|