It's never too early to start looking to the future and ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. did just that Wednesday when he supplied us with a ton of info regarding some very early predictions he has for next year's draft.
Today, we'll look at Kiper's first Big Board for next year's draft. Real shocker at No. 1 with USC quarterback Matt Barkley topping the list, but right behind him is Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones. That happens when you accumulate 19.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in your first season in the SEC.
Kiper has four SEC players in his top 10, including LSU defensive ends Barkevious Mingo (No. 3) and Sam Montgomery (No. 5). Alabama offensive lineman D.J. Fluker comes in at No. 6. Keep in mind that all four are underclassmen.
Here's the list of all nine and a little analysis from Kiper:
No. 2: Jarvis Jones, LB, Georgia
"Explosive, relentless edge rusher, profiles well as a 3-4 OLB. Great first step, violent hands, extremely good burst off the snap, tackles well, closes fast."
No. 3: Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
"Exceptional length, still adding refinement, but he's well past a mere "athlete" label. Very good pass rusher, able to use speed to get up the field and turn the corner."
No. 5: Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
"Lacks the frame of a 4-3 DE at next level, but could still get there, because his frame can handle it. Athleticism and rush skills are there, underrated against the run."
No. 6: D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
"Strength is pass-blocking; quick feet for his size and can ride a speed rush up the field. Must improve ability to use size and engage and drive defenders as a run-blocker."
No. 13: Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
"Maybe the best passer in the class right now in terms of his ability to stare down pressure and deliver passes on time, and in stride."
No. 16: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
"A starter at left tackle since he landed in College Station, Joeckel specializes in pass protection and doesn't get rattled by quickness or secondary moves."
No. 19: Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
"Explosive, tightly-packed player who packs a punch but moves better than a player his size should. Elite if healthy."
No. 22: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State
"A very good man corner, he's excellent in his backpedal and turns well. Plenty of speed to stay with speedy WRs, has length to battle up high."
No. 23: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
"He thrives on quickness, with great burst off the snap and a few counters. A natural pass-rusher, he'll be one to watch."