Evan Silva

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Draft 2012: Mayock's Top Fives

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

As Senior Bowl all-star practices kicked off Monday in Mobile, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock released his top-five player rankings at each position. Mayock's ranks have not yet made their way onto NFL.com, so after reading this writeup, consider yourself early to the party. We don't like to be late.

(* = underclassman.)

1. Andrew Luck*, Stanford
2. Robert Griffin III*, Baylor
3. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
4-5. Open to competition.

Notes: Mayock left open slots four and five and says he's waiting for the next tier to create separation. Per Mayock, the "next" group is comprised of Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), Brock Osweiler* (Arizona State), Nick Foles (Arizona), Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), and Ryan Lindley (San Diego State). In terms of potential to be top-five draft-eligible passers, undersized Kellen Moore (Boise State) and Russell Wilson (Wisconsin) did not warrant mentions from Mayock, although he did praise Moore's football intelligence and compared Wilson to Doug Flutie.

Running Backs
1. Trent Richardson*, Alabama
2. David Wilson*, Virginia Tech
3. Lamar Miller*, Miami
4. Doug Martin, Boise State
5. LaMichael James*, Oregon

Notes: Mayock's rankings tend to change throughout "draft season," but Richardson won't be challenged for the top spot in this year's tailback class. Wilson and Miller are speed merchants in the Jamaal Charles/Chris Johnson/LeSean McCoy mold. There are mixed opinions about James, who has a reputation for shying from contact. Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead could pass James before this week is through.

Wide Receivers
1. Justin Blackmon*, Oklahoma State
2. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
3. Kendall Wright, Baylor
4. Alshon Jeffery*, South Carolina
5. Chris Givens*, Wake Forest

Notes: Givens' inclusion was interesting because he has received little fanfare since declaring for the draft on December 31. Givens beat out more high-profile receivers like Dwight Jones (North Carolina) and T.J. Graham (NC State) for first-team All-ACC honors as a junior and is expected to run in the 4.38-4.44 range at February's Scouting Combine. It's worth noting that Givens tallied 96 total yards in Wake Forest's 2011 matchup with Notre Dame. Mayock was in attendance as the Fighting Irish color commentator. Amid concerns about Jeffery's fitness and ability to beat press coverage, Blackmon, Wright, and Floyd seem to have emerged as the draft's consensus top-three receivers. Unfortunately, none of the above is attending the Senior Bowl.

Tight Ends
1. Dwayne Allen*, Clemson
2. Coby Fleener, Stanford
3. Orson Charles*, Georgia
4. Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette
5. Michael Egnew, Missouri

Notes: Fleener, who has drawn generous comparisons to Rob Gronkowski, declined a Senior Bowl invite for undisclosed reasons. Fleener remains this year's clear-cut top "in-line" tight end with the ability to impact games both as a blocker and receiver. Allen and Charles are "joker" tight ends, as Josh Norris likes to call them, posing matchup problems for defenses by lining up in the slot and stretching the field vertically. Green, who is in Mobile, has added ten pounds in the last year and should run in the 4.6s at the Combine. He is a lanky tight end at 6-foot-6, 237. Another terrific athlete, Egnew ran a 4.6-flat last spring and goes 6-foot-5, 251. Coming from Mizzou's Mike Leach-like spread offense, Egnew has Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman working against him as former Tigers tight ends who could catch but block too poorly for an NFL impact.

Offensive Tackles
1. Riley Reiff*, Iowa
2. Matt Kalil*, USC
3. Jonathan Martin*, Stanford
4. James Brown, Troy
5. Zebrie Sanders, Florida State

Notes: Mayock's ranking of Reiff as this year's top tackle goes against conventional wisdom, as Kalil is widely considered the best pass protector eligible for the 2012 draft. We'll be looking for an explanation in the coming months. Martin protected Andrew Luck's blind side for the Cardinal. Brown is a sleeper from the Sun Belt Conference. Mayock did not include Ohio State's Mike Adams, who by all accounts dominated on the first day of Senior Bowl practice.

Interior Offensive Linemen
1. David DeCastro*, Stanford
2. Peter Konz*, Wisconsin
3. Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
4. Cordy Glenn, Georgia
5. Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State

Notes: Glenn and Osemele are college tackles slated to move inside as pros. DeCastro is often compared to Steve Hutchinson as an NFL-ready guard coming from Stanford's pro-style offense. He is the lone guard tentatively expected to be drafted in the first round this April.

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Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Evan Silva

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