Mel Kiper released his “big board” back in May for the 2012 NFL draft. Yes, it was 11 months away but that’s what Mel Kiper does. If you are without ESPN Insider, Kiper had Oklahoma QB Landry Jones 10th overall, and Nebraska’s hulking defensive tackle Jared Crick 22nd. Jones put up beastly numbers in 2010 (4,718 yards, 38 TDs) and at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, he certainly looks the part of an NFL QB. Crick had nine sacks as a sophomore (when he teamed with that Suh fellow) and then 9.5 last year. (Since you probably care, I had both players in my Top 5 in my way-too-early-but-why-the-hell-not 2012 Mock draft.)
A guy by the name of Tony Pauline who covers the draft for Sports Illustrated, had this to say about Jones.
Tough, intelligent signal caller that does a great job commanding and controlling the offense. Always on the same page as his receivers, displays great timing and competitive. Lacks great physical skills and a pocket passer that does not possess classic size or arm strength.
Pauline gave Jones a 4th round grade. (He equally savaged two other Oklahoma players, WR Ryan Broyles and LB Travis Lewis, giving them 3rd and 5th round grades, respectively. In a cursory internet search, those are by far the lowest rankings for either player). I know what you’re thinking – Pauline is low-balling all these guys now, and then rocket them up the chart as they dominate for No. 1 Oklahoma. Except that all three are experienced players and NFL pundits are very familiar with their games. I can’t imagine any of these projections being accurate, but that’s why I’m doing this post – so that we can revisit it closer to the 2012 draft. But I’d love to see what QBs Pauline has ahead of Jones right now.
Explosive, competitive defensive tackle that plays with good mechanics, quickness and intensity. Not overpowering and does not make enough plays on the ball. Potential three technique lineman.
Obviously, there’s plenty of time before the 2012 draft (about eight months, to be exact). And as we saw with Blaine Gabbert, people do come out of nowhere. But Pauline seems to be going out on a short branch here with these crazy predictions. He’ll either look sage or play the, “well, those guys were really great this season and played much better than anticipated” card.