Two B1G stars in top six of Mel Kiper Jr.'s 2017 Big Board
The NFL draft won’t kick off for another nine months. But it’s never too early for Mel Kiper Jr. to forecast his top prospects.
The ESPN draft expert came out with his updated Big Board, which features a few familiar faces for B1G fans. Malik McDowell and Jabrill Peppers are both among Kiper’s top prospects.
McDowell came in at No. 3 behind only Myles Garrett and Leonard Fournette while Peppers climbed all the way up to No. 6. Also cracking the top 25 were Jake Butt (No. 22) and Duwuane Smoot (No. 24).
Kiper offered up quite the evaluation of both of the B1G’s prospects. He even suggested that McDowell could go No. 1 overall:
McDowell has already jumped a few spots from his preseason ranking of No. 6. I want to see his production this season, but he’s a fantastic athlete with a huge frame (6-6, 290), and he can overwhelm blockers one-on-one. What happens when it’s all double-teams is a question. He could be the top pick when it’s all said and done.
Peppers, on the other hand, was actually outside of Kiper’s original top 10. But after watching the Michigan sophomore, he changed his tune a bit:
Coach Jim Harbaugh raves about Peppers, who might be the most versatile player in college football. I had Peppers just outside the top 10 in my last Big Board, but I had to move him up. At 6-0 and 210 pounds, he plays safety, corner and outside linebacker — he had a sack off the edge vs. Hawaii — and is even a dynamic returner. Could he become a Deone Bucannon at the next level? I expect him to test off the charts at the NFL combine. He has been the most impressive player on my Big Board so far this season.
The numbers back that up. Peppers currently leads Michigan with 16 tackles and he’s second with four tackles four loss. The linebacker/punt returner hasn’t played on offense yet, but he clearly impressed Kiper with his versatility.
So according to Kiper, the B1G has one prospect who could go No. 1 overall and another who has been the most impressive of any player on his board so far.