I know the board could look alot different but I thought it would be interesting to get a projection for next year's 2011 draft.
Kiper's top 5s: Returning playersThink of this list as an early guide to the 2011 NFL draftEmailPrintComments
2Share retweet By Mel Kiper Jr.
Archive The focus now is on the 2010 NFL draft. This list, however, is made up of players who are not in the pool for this year's draft, but could have been had they opted to jump. You can think of it as an early road map for the 2011 NFL draft. Obviously, some of the top sophomores in the nation also will be in this mix next season.
Things will change greatly in the summer and fall, of course, but Ryan Mallett (even with the foot injury), DeAndre McDaniel, Marvin Austin and Terrance Toliver will be names to know and watch for.
This is the list to start studying the day after the draft.
Jerrod Johnson6-52432964973,57930827Analysis: This is now Locker's position to own for the next season. Locker, Mallett and Keenum should be on radar screens next fall for the 2011 draft, with Locker -- as I've said before -- a legit possibility to go No. 1 overall.
DeMarco Murray 6-12141717054.1841522
Roy Helu 6-02152201,1475.2919149
Evan Royster 6-12092051,1695.7616187Analysis: Based on where he's ranked here, you'd suspect Devine might be a high pick in 2011, but I have a hard time seeing him as a first-round guy. I suggested he jump this year because he'll have a hard time increasing his stock. That said, he gets this ranking until others step up as prospects. I suspect they will.[code][/code]
Quentin Castille6-12351063373.2118110Analysis: Havili never had full health this past season, and his regular presence would have helped QB Matt Barkley. He'll be coming back, which is quietly significant for the new USC staff. Marecic was one of the unsung stars of the season across college football, blocking for RB Toby Gerhart.
Niles Paul6-12154079619.97440Analysis: With Brandon LaFell gone, Toliver should see more balls headed his way this fall. He has a great frame. Binns is another guy to look at as he replaces Mardy Gilyard for new Cincy coach Butch Jones.
Jeffery Anderson 6-32552639815.33650
Zach Pianalto6-42553333410.12610Analysis: Stocker was on this list last week, too, as were Saunders and Williams. Stocker will be adjusting to a new coach and a new system in Knoxville, Tenn., this summer, but he could be a guy to watch.
Jason Pinkston 6-4305
James Carpenter 6-5300 Analysis: Castonzo should be a focus of this summer and fall, and is one of those athletic types an NFL coach like Mike Shanahan likes to use. Boling is a tremendous blocker as well.
Orlando Franklin6-7318 Analysis: Absolutely nothing changed here: All these guys are coming back to school. Watch out for Boren next season. Ohio State could be ranked as high as No. 2 or No. 3 in the preseason, and Boren will get some attention in big games.
Colin Baxter6-4295 Analysis: USC will be in a bit of transition next season with Lane Kiffin, but O'Dowd should be a rock for QB Matt Barkley and the rest of the offense.
Cameron Heyward6-6287 Analysis: Heyward came on strong this past season and should be an anchor of a top-five defense next season. Clayborn was a beast down the stretch, and it's huge for coach Kirk Ferentz to get him back as an anchor point for that defense, which loses significant talent elsewhere.
Drake Nevis6-1292 Analysis: Austin is going to be part of an excellent defense next season in Chapel Hill. I was a little surprised he opted to return, given how highly many people regard him, but he avoids being part of an immensely deep class and could do well if he stays healthy.
Mike Mohamed6-3237 Analysis: Jones is one of the purest tacklers you'll see in college football. His stock could rise next season on a potentially underrated Michigan State team, but he'll need to overcome questions about his size. I wouldn't be surprised to see him come into camp with 10 more pounds on that frame, which should help solidify his stock.
Ross Homan6-1229 Analysis: In all likelihood, Homan will be another Buckeyes linebacker to go within the first two rounds. Carter, like Austin, is a huge returning player for the Tar Heels. It's rare to get so much NFL-ready experience back for one more run, but Butch Davis has that in 2010.
Chimdi Chekwa6-1188 Analysis: Brown was the guy in coverage on Michael Crabtree's famous catch against the Longhorns two seasons ago, but he projects well as a pro and should be a Big Board fixture this fall.
Zac Etheridge 6-0212
Chris Culliver6-1190 Analysis: McDaniel hadn't previously cracked any of my lists, but he's long been on the radar of NFL personnel folks. Next season should be his official coming-out party.
Justin Kahut5-8176 Analysis: Forbath wasn't just 28-of-31; the only three field goals he missed this past season were from more than 50 yards, and he went 3-of-6 from beyond 50 overall. He's also 7-of-10 for his career. Definitely an NFL-caliber leg, and a rare junior who could have tested the waters.
Travis Baltz6-2200 Analysis: Donahue is a great net-average punter. He generates a lot of height on his kicks. Epperson (pictured) will battle him for top punter in 2010.
Sometimes running the Mularkey offense makes me feel like I'm in a prison.