It's a few short days until the NFL Scouting Combine begins, and just over two months until the NFL Draft. As such, all the draftniks are putting out mock drafts and rankings of players at each position and overall. Today, we examine two of the most well-known draft analysts and how their position rankings differ.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network has quietly become a great dual-threat for that network: an excellent color commentator, and a great talent evaluator for their NFL Draft coverage. Mayock recently released his rankings of the top five prospects at each position.
Mel Kiper is of course the walking oil slick and head draft evaluator over at ESPN, and he also has a big board of top prospects by position posted (Insider only, however). We'll take a quick look at how their rankings differ on some of the main positions of interest to the Green Bay Packers as they work through draft season.
Both agree on Eddie Lacy of Alabama as the top back, while Montee Ball is in the top three for both of them (Mayock 2, Kiper 3). However, Mayock has Andre Ellington of Clemson as his third-ranked back, while Kiper has him nowhere to be found. Ellington is a speedy back who had a productive career at Clemson, but he has durability issues.
Both analysts share four of their top five prospects, but Terrance Williams makes an appearance at number three on Mayock's board while being left off Kiper's entirely. Williams had a good senior bowl and plays very fast, even at 6'2".
The big surprise here is that Gavin Escobar from San Diego State is third on Mayock's board. Escobar is a definite receiving weapon, and could be seen similarly to how Jermichael Finley was coming out of college: as a raw, physical receiving threat who could grow into a game-changing tight end.
Kiper has stuck with most other analysts who put Star Lotulelei as the top tackle available, with Sheldon Richardson of Missouri and Sharrif Floyd of Florida rounding out the top three. Mayock has Floyd at the top instead. It's unlikely though that any of these players will be available at 26th overall.
It's fascinating to me that Kiper still classifies some players as defensive ends when it's all but certain that they'll end up as linebackers in a 3-4 system. Dion Jordan of Oregon and Barkevious Mingo of LSU are two of those players, who Mayock lists at OLB instead. Surprisingly, Mayock puts Jordan ahead of Jarvis Jones from Georgia and puts Mingo fourth, while Kiper had MIngo listed higher than Jordan at defensive end.
Those are the biggest positions of difference between the two television analysts. Do you strongly disagree with one or the other on any particular position?