Big East and 2012 NFL draft

For those who missed it, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. is out with his early look at the top juniors and seniors at their respective positions. The Big East is represented with seven players. Let's start with the seniors:

Senior running backs

No. 4 Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati

Senior offensive guards

No. 5 Lucas Nix, Pitt

Senior defensive ends

No. 3 Brandon Lindsey, Pitt

Junior fullbacks

No. 1 Ryan Clarke, West Virginia

Kiper says: Don't tell Ryan Clarke he can't run the ball -- he got to carry it 80 times last year, and even broke off a 23-yarder. He even wears No. 32. That said, his best skill, like that of former Mountaineer Owen Schmitt, is as a lead blocker. But expect to see Clarke get more short-yardage looks this year; he scored an impressive eight touchdowns in 2010.

Junior receivers

No. 4 Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers

Kiper says: Both Sanu and Randle have had to deal with inconsistent QB play, but few question their talent.

Junior tight ends

No. 5 D.C. Jefferson, Rutgers

Junior centers

No. 2 Mario Benavides, Louisville