Ranking the Big Ten: Bryan Bulaga, No. 5

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ranking the Big Ten's top 30 players ...

No. 5

Bryan Bulaga, LT, Iowa, Jr., 6-6, 315

Why he's here -- One of the surprising things about these rankings is the lack of offensive linemen. It partly relates to the fact that we usually judge offensive lines as groups rather than as individuals. On the other hand, the Big Ten seems to lack many truly elite offensive linemen heading into 2009.

There are several solid players around the league -- Penn State's Stefen Wisniewski, Iowa's Kyle Calloway, Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi, Ohio State's Justin Boren and Mike Brewster, Michigan's Stephen Schilling -- but right now Bulaga is in a category of his own. He's the Big Ten's top left tackle and a player who will be on the NFL draft radar very soon.

Bulaga earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last season and created lanes for the nation's top rushing back, Shonn Greene, while protecting quarterback Ricky Stanzi. Iowa ranked 26th nationally in rushing and 33rd in scoring despite some ups and downs in the passing game.

If Bulaga continues on this trajectory, he'll likely have a decision to make next year regarding the NFL draft. He boasts the size and the skill to do some damage at the next level, and Iowa's normally tight-lipped coaching staff can't hide its excitement for what Bulaga brings to the table.

The Rundown