Ranking the Pac-12's NFL draft prospects

Mel Kiper has made two lists of top NFL prospects by positions: top seniors and and top juniors (or draft-eligible sophomores).

As for the Pac-12 prospects on his lists, it appears the conference is stronger among juniors than seniors. Of course, a lot of early-round talents don't last until their senior seasons. And the offensive talent far eclipses the defensive talent.

Here's where Pac-12 seniors rank among his top five seniors by position. (Note the lack of highly rated defensive players.)


No. 3 Nick Foles, Arizona

Kiper comment: "Is Foles more of a physical prototype than a QB?"


No. 4 Juron Criner, Arizona

No. 5 Chris Owusu, Stanford

Tight end

No. 3 David Paulson, Oregon

No. 4 Coby Fleener, Stanford

Offensive guard

No. 2 Ryan Miller, Colorado

Kiper comment: Miller could be the second top-OL guy from Colorado in as many years, following Nate Solder.


No. 4 Garth Gerhart, Arizona State


No. 5 Lance Mitchell, Oregon State


No. 1 Bryan Anger, California

And here's Kiper's take on Pac-12 juniors (and draft eligible sophomores).


No. 1 Andrew Luck, Stanford

No. 2 Matt Barkley, USC

Kiper comment: Amazing that, in terms of eligibility, Luck is still a junior. He'll command the most attention, for sure. Even with a new coach, he will be a front-runner for No. 1 in the 2012 NFL draft from August onward. Barkley has had two solid seasons at USC -- and this while thrown into a pretty tough situation.

Running back

No. 3 LaMichael James, Oregon


No. 5 Taimi Tutogi, Arizona

Offensive tackle

No. 1 Matt Kalil, USC

No. 2 Jonathan Martin, Stanford

Kiper comment: Kalil has been a guy pro scouts have known since he arrived at Southern Cal. He has the bloodlines, the frame and the footwork to be a future left tackle in the NFL. Nobody will be under a bigger spotlight at the position this year than Martin, who protects the blind side of Andrew Luck.

Offensive guard

No. 1 David DeCastro, Stanford

Kiper comment: Stanford has a wealth of talent on the offensive line, and the departure of Jim Harbaugh shouldn't diminish what they're able to accomplish. When it comes to the running game, watch DeCastro, who will maul on the interior.


No. 1 Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State

Kiper comment: There are some scary hitters on this list, starting with Burfict, who was most productive against ASU's toughest competition last season. The guy was a force, quite literally, the moment he stepped on campus. Imagine if he'd stayed with USC.

Outside linebacker

No. 2 Chase Thomas, Stanford


No. 2 Cliff Harris, Oregon


No. 4 T.J. McDonald, USC


No. 1 Jeff Locke, UCLA