The Big Ten's top hopefuls for the 2010 NFL draft play along the line of scrimmage, and two players from the league appear in Todd McShay's mock first-round draft (ESPN Insider).
Iowa left tackle Bryan Bulaga, a junior who might declare a year early, comes in at No. 13 and will go to the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to McShay. Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick, the Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Year, comes in at No. 31 and will go to Indianapolis.
Here's McShay's take on each player:
Bulaga: Bulaga plays a bit high and his footwork could be better, so he would be a bit of a reach here, but Pittsburgh needs help at tackle and he's the best available.
Odrick: Odrick doesn't have great athletic ability but he's quick, flashes the ability to shed blocks quickly and plays with a nonstop motor, making him a good fit for an Indianapolis organization looking to upgrade its run defense.
Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham is the other Big Ten player pegged as a likely first-round choice. ESPN's Mel Kiper has Graham going at No. 25 in April's draft.
I have little doubt that both Odrick and Graham will be excellent NFL players next year. Both were dominant for much of the season.
Bulaga is an interesting case. He generated a lot of hype last year, especially after he shut down Penn State's Aaron Maybin, the Big Ten's top draft pick, in an Iowa victory. But he missed three games this season with a thyroid condition and had a few so-so performances.
The 6-6, 312-pound Bulaga still projects very well to the next level and has earned a ton of respect around the Big Ten, earning the league's Offensive Lineman of the Year award. He probably could benefit from another full season at Iowa, but if he's expected to go in the top 15-20, he should definitely go.