Mel Kiper 2013 Big Board: Players Who Are Ranked Too High
ESPN's Mel Kiper recently updated his big board (per ESPN.com), and while he got a lot of the player rankings correct, there are some prospects who are ranked too high.
The NFL Scouting Combine did a lot to either hurt or help the respective draft stocks of some of these players, and we are beginning to get a better understanding of where these prospects will land as draft day approaches.
However, based on health concerns and overall combine performances, Kiper's board has some players out of place.
Let's take a closer look at which prospects fit the bill.
*Note: Players ranked too high in italics.
1. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
There is no doubt that Jones is one of the best, if not the best defensive talent in this year's draft, but concerns about his overall health should be factored into his position on the big board.
Jones has a condition called spinal stenosis, which has been known to cut NFL careers short in the past (see: Michael Irvin). Because of this, Jones' stock will take a hit and send him from a potential No. 2 pick to somewhere closer to the No. 10 pick or later.
Furthermore, Jones did not participate at the combine this past week, and that should have KO'd his top spot on Kiper's list.
I personally love what Jones can bring to the table, but he has too many negatives to overlook at this point. I wouldn't be inclined to name him the No. 1 prospect in this draft as a result.
2. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
Now, this one I can live with. Floyd had a great showing at the combine, and his stock has been soaring as of late. Granted, he could still be a bit further down on this list, but I can't argue too much with Kiper's positioning.
3. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
Fisher had a nice showing at the Senior Bowl and followed that up with an impressive performance at the combine, but I don't think this is the right spot for him.
Putting Fisher as the No. 3 prospect on the big board places him ahead of Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel, and I'm not sure he's proven he's better at this point.
In college, Joeckel faced a much tougher schedule, filled with some of the best teams in the nation. He was largely responsible for helping quarterback Johnny Manziel win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman.
Fisher, on the other hand, faced a much weaker schedule and doesn't have quite the same resume that Joeckel has. With things being equal based on their respective combine performances, I think Joeckel should be ranked ahead of Fisher on Kiper's board.
That's not to say that Fisher isn't deserving of a favorable position considering he is the second-best tackle in this year's class, but a ranking ahead of Joeckel isn't accurate.
4. Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
There is no telling where Jordan will wind up playing once he's drafted, but his performance at the combine showed he will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. You have to love his size and athleticism, and I have no problem with him being ranked this high at this point in the process.
5. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Again, Joeckel should be ranked as the No. 1 tackle come draft day, so I can't say I agree with his positioning on Kiper's board. Joeckel and Fisher had comparable numbers at the combine, but the former Aggies lineman's college career should help him trump Fisher on this list.
6. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
Despite his shoulder injury and impending surgery, Milliner had a solid showing at the combine overall and didn't hurt his draft stock at all. He is still the best corner on the board and a great talent, so Kiper got it right here.
7. Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
The combine was very friendly to Mingo, and his position reflects that. Mingo showed that while he is still a bit raw, he has the necessary athleticism and strength to be a terror on the edge in the future for whatever team that drafts him.
8. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Lotulelei's draft stock took a hit last week when it was discovered he had a heart condition. We still don't know just how serious that condition is, so I can't say I have a problem with him falling to this spot on Kiper's board. If his medical issue is serious, expect Lotulelei to drop much farther, unfortunately.
9. Chance Warmack, OG, Alabama
Warmack is still the undisputed best guard in this year's draft, and he is well-deserving of the No. 9 slot on Kiper's board. Warmack is an NFL-ready talent with his great size and should be a Top 10 pick come April.
10. Jonathan Cooper, OG, North Carolina
Not only did Cooper display his immense strength in the bench press at the combine, but he also flashed some athleticism during the other drills. I'm in between on Cooper being this high on the board, but I can't think of a good enough argument to honestly say he should be moved down.
11. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
Werner was once considered a Top 5 pick in the 2013 NFL draft, but after a combine that didn't do much to place him above the rest of the defensive players in this year's class, Werner has taken a slip. This is a fair spot to place him.
12. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Ansah had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and even performed well at the combine, so it's no surprise that his stock has soared. Ansah proved he's a great athlete with solid power. He should only improve in that department once he hits the weight room with whatever NFL team drafts him.
13. Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina
Williams is the second Tar Heel in the Top 15 of Kiper's big board, but this particular North Carolina product shouldn't be ranked so high.
In the combine, Williams didn't do much to distinguish himself as a top defensive lineman. His bench press total of 27 was 11 behind the top performer in Indianapolis. That's important because it takes strength to be an effective player up the middle in the NFL.
To further put his bench-press results into perspective, Williams finished behind other tackles who are ranked behind him on Kiper's board, such as Jesse Williams of Alabama and Sheldon Richardson of LSU.
Based on the fact that Williams didn't really shine in any of the drills at the combine, I have an issue with Kiper's ranking here.
14. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
Vaccaro is one of the most versatile players in this year's draft. Not only can he play both safety positions on the field, but he can also line up as a slot corner and match up with tight ends and some receivers. This spot is exactly where I would have him.
15. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
Johnson had a sensational all-around combine, and while he won't be threatening Joeckel's status as the top tackle in this year's class, he is certainly sniffing at Fisher's. Johnson not only displayed strength (he topped both Fisher and Joeckel in the bench press) and athleticism, but his footwork is so impressive to watch.
If anything, I'd have Johnson ranked higher in this deep offensive lineman class, but this position is sufficient.
16. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Austin wowed a lot of people at the combine by showing off the speed and explosiveness that will make him a great slot receiver in the NFL. With the growing importance of talented slot receivers in this league, Austin will be a marquee skill-position player in Round 1, and Kiper has him perfectly ranked.
17. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
Patterson is the closest thing to a receiver who can line up on the outside in this class, but he can also be an explosive slot receiver if necessary. I don't think he did enough at the combine to say that he's far and away better than Austin, so this spot behind the West Virginia product is doable.
18. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Eifert's combine showing didn't help him rise that far above the rest of the players at his position, but he did have the best overall showing of any tight end, so I'm not that shocked he's rated this high in Kiper's mind.
19. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
I'm not sure how much higher I would have Richardson ranked, but I know for certain he should be higher than North Carolina's Williams. The Missouri product outperformed Williams in the most important combine drill for defensive tackles—the bench press—by three full reps.
20. D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
This is a perfect ranking for Fluker, who didn't hurt his overall draft stock at all in the combine. He has been consistently ranked as the No. 4 tackle in this year's class, and that's exactly where Kiper has him listed. I expect him to go to the Chicago Bears with the No. 20 pick, barring a major slip for one of the top three tackles in the class.
21. Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame
Te'o did nothing to help his draft stock at the combine; in fact, he actually hurt his overall standing as draft day approaches.
The Notre Dame product had a horrid showing in the 40-yard dash and failed to stand out above the rest of the defensive players in all the other drills. Te'o might have been an elite linebacker in college, but it didn't look like that at the combine.
Clearly Te'o folded under the pressure, or you might make the argument he just isn't that good based on his poor National Championship performance against Alabama. Whatever the case may be, Te'o should be further down on this list for the time being. Te'o will hope to show he's better at Notre Dame's Pro Day.
22. Alec Ogletree, OLB, Georgia
I personally would have Ogletree ranked higher than Te'o on this board, but I have no problem with his position overall. Ogletree will be a late-round selection—likely in the 20s—and his spot on Kiper's board shows that.
23. Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
Trufant comes from a great football family, so teams will certainly take that into consideration when thinking about adding him to their roster. At this point, the cornerback rankings are up for debate, so Kiper isn't necessarily off with Trufant at No. 23 overall.
24. Datone Jones, DT, UCLA
I can't say I necessarily agree with Jones being ranked ahead of Alabama's Williams, but his combine performance makes it close. That being said, I'm not in love with this spot for Jones, but I can certainly accept it.
25. Matt Elam, S, Florida
Elam displayed both great strength and athleticism at the combine, and he is quickly making the case as the second-best safety in this year's class. Granted, it's between him and LSU's Eric Reid, so the case can be made for either landing in this spot on Kiper's board.
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