The pre-draft process is a long one, and this big board will serve as a pulse for the season to help you keep track of which players are making noise and which are fading into the background.
After a wild week of college football, which players have earned a move up the board, which are dangerously close to slipping and which have already dropped?
Here’s an updated version of my 2012 NFL draft big board.
Last Week: N/A
Griffin emerged on the scene with a huge Week 1 win over TCU. The combination of accuracy, speed and deep passing ability is making RG3 one of the more intriguing prospects on our watch list. There are concerns about his height, as he's just 6'2", but the better he plays, the less troubling those concerns are.
Last Week: 32
Irvin has done nothing great to move up one spot, but he takes the place of Nate Potter, who dropped off this week to make room for Griffin. Irvin is an incredibly solid linebacker and an ideal athlete for the weakside position in a 4-3 defense.
Last week: 26
Upshaw left Alabama's showdown with Penn State with what looked like a back injury. Before leaving the game, Upshaw was hot and cold. He continues to show potential as a pass rusher, but in coverage and run support, he looked slow and stiff. Upshaw needs to show up bigger in key games to regain his ranking.
Last week: 25
Floyd has as much talent as any receiver, but his off-field issues, coupled with sloppy play early this season, has me concerned. Floyd doesn't benefit from a great quarterback delivering the ball, so a drop in production shouldn't be alarming. What is bothersome are the lazy routes Floyd is running.
Last week: 24
Minnifield moves down more so because of other players moving up. The Virginia cornerback has looked good, and his consistency is perhaps his best attribute. Showing quicker hips and better agility in his back pedal would help move Minnifield up.
Last week: 27
The Georgia Bulldogs may be struggling this year, but it's not because of massive guard Cordy Glenn. Glenn is the premier run-blocking guard in college football. If he continues to play this well, the first round will be a very likely possibility. Glenn will be tested as Georgia gets into their SEC schedule, which is something to watch closely.
Last week: 23
Jeff Fuller is an interesting player, and one I'm looking forward to seeing more of, especially against a talented defense. That won't happen this week when Texas A&M faces Idaho. Until Fuller can show me something against a marquee cornerback, I'm temporarily moving him down in favor of other players who have impressed.
Last week: 28
In a shootout vs. Georgia, Gilmore showed the speed, agility and vision to be a No. 1 cornerback in the NFL. Playing against young players, Gilmore looked seasoned and confident. His play and skill set continue to impress week after week. Gilmore has a long season ahead of him, which gives plenty of time to keep moving up the draft board.
Last week: 29
Hightower looks like the speedy, tough sophomore who shut down SEC defenses during the 2010 season. An injury-plagued 2009 had Hightower's draft stock in question, but with every game this year, he has shown the talent and athleticism to transition well to the NFL. Hightower needs to avoid injury and show a little more burst. Once that happens, he could move up the board.
Last week: 21
Cliff Harris flat-out scares me. He has top 15 talent, but a seventh-round rap sheet. Harris has been compared to 2011 Top Five pick Patrick Peterson, and you can see why when Harris returns a punt or breaks on the ball. His closing speed is as good as any in the country. Harris needs to keep his name out of the police blotter and quiet critics with great play on the field.
Last week: 14
Before the 2010 season, no one had Cam Newton or Nick Fairley as a first-round prospect. Sometimes you hit on preseason rankings, and other times you miss. Jerel Worthy has yet to live up to his billing as a dominant three-technique tackle. The season is very young, but I'm not liking what I've seen from Worthy thus far.
Last week: 22
As a scout, you rely on notes from the previous season to make up your preseason player database and to start the ranking process. Luke Kuechly's ranking hasn't changed much from the preseason, but somehow, I forgot to note last week just how amazing he is in coverage. Classic 4-3 defenses should be lining up for Kuechly come April.
As little as pure stats matter, I have to note that Kuechly was amazing in a 17-tackle win vs. Central Florida. He was all over the field.
Last week: 30
Does any running back hit the hole harder than Lamar Miller? His burst and acceleration are off the charts. Miller is a true triple threat as a runner, receiver and return man. His stock is just starting to climb. Other than Trent Richardson, there isn't a running back in college right now that I like more than Miller.
Last week: 22
I took time this week to re-watch the Oregon-LSU game and came away even more impressed by Mo Claiborne. His ability to flip his hips and run with the Oregon wide outs was impressive, but what I liked best was his ability to close on the ball.
Whether it was to make a play on the ball or the receiver, Claiborne was always in position. He's a candidate for the top cornerback spot right now.
Last week: 19
Pass rushers will continue to be a premium position in the 2012 draft, and guys like Brandon Jenkins could capitalize on the market in a big way. Jenkins is the perfect blend of athlete and technician to impress NFL scouts this season. We will be keeping a very close eye on Jenkins as the season progresses.
Last week: 17
It is almost impossible to scout players evenly early in the season, when many teams are facing off against directional and state schools who lack the talent to compete against top prospects. A great example of this was Clemson facing off against Wofford. Seeing Brandon Thompson toss around FCS players will do nothing to aid the scouting process.
Last week: 16
Jared Crick does so many things well. If you haven't watched Nebraska play this season and you are a fan of the draft, you owe it to yourself to see him in action. Crick gets listed as a defensive tackle here, but he projects best as a 3-4 defensive end. The comparisons to 2011 first-rounder J.J. Watt are uncanny.
Last week: 15
I would like one more chance to see Alabama play a talented opponent this year before making this final, but Dre Kirkpatrick hasn't impressed me. He's often out of position, has given up containment several times and is getting beat deep routinely.
It could be poor safety play over the top—that's one thing I need to really study, but Kirkpatrick is letting too many receivers get behind him. That could be a huge issue if it continues.
Last week: 14
Despite an embarrassing showing by the Iowa Hawkeyes, Riley Reiff continues to look like a future bookend left tackle in the NFL. Reiff has the strength to power the run game, but he's also surprisingly nimble and agile. Reiff may not overtake the two tackles above him, but he is promising enough to hear his name called in the first round.
Last week: 18
Every time I start to write off Trent Richardson or even say anything negative about him, he reminds me just how good he is. Richardson's ability as not only a strong inside/outside runner, but the threat he poses as a receiver makes him one of the most dangerous offensive players in college football.
Last week: 12
Nebraska looked miserable against Fresno State, proving how much they miss shutdown cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. No. 15 is the gold standard among college cornerbacks, when healthy. Dennard is physical without being so big that he can't run with smaller, speedy receivers, yet he's nasty enough in coverage to hang with big receivers. Dennard has yet to show anything that would warrant a move down, but another week on the bench and I'll have to drop him.
Last week: 8
Zach Brown fans shouldn't worry too much. The talented outside linebacker has played well. His moving down is about getting a better feel for those players ranked in the Top 15 last week. Brown is one heck of an athlete on the edge. He has shown a good ability in coverage; I'm just waiting to see more in setting the edge vs. the run. A showdown with Virginia is looming, which will give Brown a showcase to shine on.
Last week: 11
Judging by his performance against Arizona, Blackmon is ready to take college cornerbacks to the woodshed all season long. Blackmon is reminiscent of a young Terrell Owens, minus the ego problems. His size, strength and power are tough for any college cornerback to compete with. Once Blackmon becomes a better route runner, the sky is the limit.
Last week: 10
Matt Kalil is as good as any offensive tackle entering the NFL draft since Jake Long left Michigan. Kalil isn't quite on Long's level yet, but his athleticism and reach are more than ideal for an NFL left tackle. Kalil is the total package. He has Top Five potential.
Last week: 9
Donte Paige-Moss may be the most raw of the top players, but his potential is through the roof. NFL teams hoping to find an outside pass rusher will fall in love with North Carolina's freakishly athletic defensive end. I prefer Paige-Moss in a 3-4 defense, but it's possible to see him playing right defensive end in a 4-3 set.
Last week: 7
Instincts are something that generally have no place in scouting players, especially early in the season. Our job is one of observation, not opinions. However, I would be lying if I didn't mention that my instincts regarding Barkley are telling me he's due for a drop soon. The production is there, but Barkley makes too many bad throws against subpar defenses. I'm watching him closely.
Last week: 6
Jeffery was once again solid for the Gamecocks as the team leaned on the running game and Marcus Lattimore. Jeffery hasn't been the focal point on offense, but he's still showing up big when SC calls his number. A questionable QB situation could mean a less productive season for Jeffery.
Last week: 4
You wouldn't expect the Duke Blue Devils to be talented enough to rattle a stud like Jonathan Martin, but it happened. Martin looked surprised at times by the Duke pass rush. He settled down in the second half, but the first-half play was bad enough to knock Martin down one spot this week. It could mean nothing in the long run, but it's worth noting to try to identify trends.
While Martin struggled at times with the outside rush, his run-blocking talent was on display as the Cardinal powered to 205 yards rushing. Martin had a big game as a run blocker, making up slightly for his less-than-amazing pass blocking.
Last week: 5
A big defensive lineman who can play inside or outside on the defensive line should have scouts drooling. Coples spent the 2010 season at tackle, and he did well enough to receive a first-round grade. He's moved to end this year and is flashing the dominant athleticism to become a very high draft pick.
Last week: 3
The critics will say that Landry Jones is the product of a system at OU that inflates the quarterback's stats. What QB isn't the product of a system these days? Ignore the stats, ignore the system, watch Jones throw the football and you'll see why he's a Top Five pick.
Last week: 2
Many were quick to comment on last week's big board or on Twitter about Vontaze having a bad game against Missouri. Burfict didn't have a huge impact in the win, but this is a great example of why you never make a decision on a player off of one game. Good or bad.
If Burfict struggles again this week, it may be time to review what's happening. For now, I am confident in him as my No. 2 player. Every player has a bad game and makes mistakes. We can't expect prospects to be perfect.
Last week: 1
Much like Vontaze Burfict, Andrew Luck had a so-so game against Duke, even in a win. Luck looked sloppy at times, impatient at others and down right perfect otherwise. I ignore the stat sheet when scouting and instead focus on the player. Luck had a down game against Duke early on, but by the second half, he was shining as usual.