|Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Matt Kalil (from left to right) are the cream of the crop in the 2012 draft class.|
My second edition of the "Hot 100" doesn't look drastically different from the first version. But now that the NFL Scouting Combine is upon us, there could be some movement among the prospects as the week goes on.
For team personnel, the combine is a way to confirm or re-evaluate the skills and abilities that have been scouted on tape for the past several weeks. For instance, some players could help or hurt their prospects with their performance in the 40, which could be good news considering the track is expected to be a fast one in Indianapolis this week.
With that out of the way, here's my updated list of the top 100 prospects:
1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
There's a reason for the hype. Luck very well might be the most NFL-ready player at his position over the past five or six drafts.
2. Matt Kalil, OT, USC
Kalil has quite the NFL bloodline. His father, Frank, played several seasons in the league and his brother, Matt, is currently a standout with the Panthers. The younger Kalil is one of the better USC linemen over the past five or six years.
3. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Griffin has recently become everyone's darling, in part because of Cam Newton's rookie success. The idea that RG3 could be the next Newton has elevated his evaluation process.
4. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Coples has great pass-rush ability, but he has to learn to play hard every down.
5. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
Claiborne is probably the best cover corner in draft. Combine his great coverage ability with his great kick-return ability and his value doubles.
6. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Richardson played at the same high school as Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, but might have more ability and speed than Smith did at the same point. Football is important to Richardson, but family is more important, which should go over well in interviews.
7. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
A broken foot will prevent Tannehill from working out until late March, but no QB prospect has progressed further since September. He hasn't started many games at QB after beginning his career at Texas A&M as a receiver, but he's believed to be the only signal-caller in college football history to beat Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska in a season, which he accomplished in 2010. He also suffered from 64 drops by his receivers in his senior season.
8. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
Reiff was a multi-sport high school phenom in South Dakota, highlighted by a 130-1 career wrestling record.
9. Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama
A product of Nick Saban's Alabama system, Upshaw is a very talented LB who can play on all three downs.
10. Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
Brockers is a defensive tackle, not a defensive end, but he has the talent and athleticism to be a Jason Pierre-Paul-type player.
11. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
Ingram is a very good pass rusher who could have entered the draft last season, but helped his draft stock by staying in school.
12. Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Kuechly doesn't have outstanding speed, but good recognition helped him lead Boston College in tackles for three seasons.
13. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
Blackmon has better tools than Michael Crabtree when the latter was coming out of Texas Tech. If Blackmon runs well at the combine, he can move up the board.
14. David DeCastro, G, Stanford
As a four-year player at Stanford, DeCastro was very good guard who can also play center.
15. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
Jenkins transferred from Florida, where he had off-field issues. But his excellent cover skills will make him an interesting prospect.
16. Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina
Jeffery wasn't as good in 2011 as he was in 2010. He has added some weight, which is a concern, but he has the potential to be a good player if he sheds some pounds.
17. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
Teams want tall corners and Kirkpatrick fits the bill. He's over 6-foot-1 and has good technique taught to him by Nick Saban's Alabama staff.
18. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
Martin has shown good footwork and seems suited to play left tackle in the NFL.
19. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
Floyd is a tall WR who ran into a bit of offseason trouble at Notre Dame. However, his ranking could fluctuate depending on how well he runs.
20a. Devon Still, DT, Penn State
Still has a respectable NFL pedigree as the cousin of former NFL defensive end Art Still and former Steelers LB Levon Kirkland. The younger Still had a very good senior year.
20b. Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
I talked to Randle about the possibility of coming to New York in April for the draft. He chuckled and reminded me I hadn't initially listed him in my Hot 100 and wondered if I had made a mistake by asking if he'd like to come. But Randle definitely deserves to be on this list because of his tremendous upside and his size as a vertical threat.
21. Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
Worthy has good size and lots of ability, but the knock on him is that he doesn't go all out every play.
22. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State
Burfict was the most highly recruited player ever to land at ASU. However, his anger management issues often overshadowed his outstanding ability.
23. Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina
Brown has better ability than his ranking shows, but is hurt in a draft where LBs aren't as coveted as DLs and OLs.
24. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor
Wright has great ability, especially when it comes to catching long balls, as he did frequently at Baylor. In addition to being a deep threat, Wright can be a weapon across the middle.
25. Nick Perry, DE, USC
Perry is a dual-position guy who has lots of upside. He can play with his hand on ground or could potentially play in space in a 3-4 defense.
26. Kelechi Osemele, OT, Iowa State
27. Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
28. Mark Barron, S, Alabama
29. Cordy Glenn, G, Georgia
30. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
31. Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
32. Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson
33. Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia
34. Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame
35. Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
36. Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (Fla.)
37. Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
38. Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
39. Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
40. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
41. Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
42. Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
43. David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
44. Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
45. Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
46. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford
47. Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska
48. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
49. Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia
50. Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
51. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
52. Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
53. Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State
54. Billy Winn, DT, Boise State
55. Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin
56. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
57. Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State
58. Josh Chapman, DT, Alabama
59. Ronnell Lewis, DE, Oklahoma
60. Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana
61. Bruce Irvin, DE, West Virginia
62. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
63. Doug Martin, RB, Boise State
64. Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
65. George Iloka, S, Boise State
66. Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse
67. Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
68. Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut
69. Tyrone Crawford, DE, Boise State
70. Chris Polk, RB, Washington
71. Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
72. Luke Nix, G, Pittsburgh
73. Andrew Datko, OT, Florida State
74. Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington
75. Joe Adams, WR/KR, Arkansas
76. Mike Martin, DT, Michigan
77. Nick Foles, QB, Arizona
78. Ben Jones, C, Georgia
79. Senio Kelemete, OT, Washington
80. Coryell Judie, CB, Texas A&M
81. Sean Spence, LB, Miami (Fla.)
82. Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State
83. Amini Silatolu, G, Midwestern State
84. Keenan Robinson, LB, Texas
85. James Brown, G, Troy
86. Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State
87. A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
88. Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech
89. Travis Lewis, LB, Oklahoma
90. Dwight Jones, WR, North Carolina
91. Nigel Bradham, LB, Florida State
92. Brandon Washington, G, Miami (Fla.)
93. Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State
94. DeQuan Menzie, CB, Alabama
95. Jarius Wright, WR, Arkansas
96. Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
97. Ryan Steed, CB, Furman
98. Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
99. Eric Page, WR/KR, Toledo
100. Josh LeRibeus, G, Southern Methodist