Five B1G East players crack Mel Kiper Jr.'s latest big board
Some guys are seemingly sure-fire locks to get drafted in the first round.
Barring some sort of setback, Jabrill Peppers and Malik McDowell appear to be heading in that direction. Then there are the fringe guys, like Raekwon McMillan and Jake Butt, both of whom could go in the first round or slip into the second depending on the next few months.
Then there’s the guy who never started in his career and becomes a projected first-round pick after five career starts. That’s Malik Hooker.
The Ohio State safety was one of the question marks entering the 2016 season. But after a blistering start for the nation’s top-ranked defense, Hooker already inserted himself into the NFL draft conversation.
Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest big board featured all five aforementioned B1G players, all of whom could wind up getting All-American accolades at season’s end.
Here’s where Kiper had each B1G player and why:
3. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan S
“Peppers just keeps moving up the Big Board. What else can I say about one of my favorite players in college football? He’s even a dark horse Heisman candidate as this point. Peppers (6-foot, 210 pounds) plays safety, corner and outside linebacker and is a dynamic returner, as he showed on a punt return TD this season.”
7. Malik McDowell, Michigan State DL
“He’s a fantastic athlete with a huge, 6-foot-6, 290-pound frame. I did drop him a few spots because at some point he has to get to the passer to be a top-five pick. I think that production will come because I see him overwhelming blockers one-on-one and/or winning with quickness, but he has only 6.0 sacks in his career.”
14. Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State LB
“This isn’t a new development; the former five-star prospect is a tackling machine who led the Buckeyes in tackles as a sophomore last season. He’s a big, rangy linebacker who still needs to show teams he is capable of being a three-down linebacker.”
15. Jake Butt, Michigan TE
“Butt has the length NFL teams covet (6-foot-6) and strong hands. He makes catches through contact and can pluck the ball away from his body. He isn’t a big-time athlete, but he is above-average and has everything else you’d want in a tight end. The Wolverines trust him to block too.”
19. Malik Hooker, Ohio State S
“Hooker is another third-year sophomore, and he’s a first-year starter. He’s already one of my top safeties, though, and he’s the best centerfield-type safety I’ve seen this season. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Hooker is dynamic, and he already has four interceptions, with one returned for a touchdown. He’s all over the field for the Buckeyes.”