Just when you thought Todd McShay and Scouts Inc. were going to hog up college football's opening week with one of the most stupifying Top 32's ever committed to print, Mel Kiper Jr. swoops out of nowhere to take on the unenviable task of trying to out-stupid McShay and his evil empire (Todd seems like he'd make a great Grand Moff Tarkin; Kiper's more of a Boba Fett man). I was wondering earlier this week why Kiper's inaugural 2013 Big Board was nowhere to be found, and then I realized that he only strays from his coffin on Thursdays and Fridays. Sure enough, his Big Board was unearthed on Thursday afternoon, and the results were ... well, they weren't bad at all. Kiper's still in my doghouse for his repeated, nonsensical arguments about why Ryan Tannehill will be terrible as a pro (he's no Brian Brohm, that's for sure), but Mel won me back a little bit by posting a Big Board that actually looks like some thought went into its construction.
-Mel's certainly aware of the pass-rushers in this draft, with the big three (Jarvis Jones, Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo) all slotted in the top five. Awesome. He also notes that Montgomery bulked up to 260 pounds (he was listed at 245 last season) this summer. If the Dolphins are picking in the top five next spring (and I think they will), I'll settle for nothing less than NC State corner David Amerson or one of the big three. Give me liberty or give me death!
-Kiper likes Logan Thomas even more than Scouts, noting that Thomas is a highly polished quarterback prospect with good accuracy and the ability to put phenomenal touch on the football.
-Mel likes Amerson, but not nearly as much as Scouts, slotting him at No. 7. He'd be No. 2 on my Big Board, for what it's worth (yes, ahead of Barkley).
-Looks like Kiper's drinking the Justin Hunter kool-aid, ranking him in the top 12 on the board. Hunter's a stud, but I really wish analysts would stop with the A.J. Green comparisons. Seriously, just stop. Hunter gets the top receiver nod from Kiper based on his fluid route-running and berserk speed. Hard to argue, but he wouldn't be my first or second choice at the position.
-Kiper's not as big Star Lotulelei fan as I am, but ranks him in the top 10. Not surprisingly, Mel also picks up where he left off last season in terms of his unabashed love for Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te'o. Kiper loves him so much, he spots him an inch and nearly 10 pounds (I have it on good authority that Te'o is 6'1", 245).
-Unlike Scouts, Kiper remembers that Michigan's Taylor Lewan is in this draft class. In a twist, Kiper has Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel as the best offensive tackle in 2013. Tannehill would probably agree.
-Keenan Allen and Robert Woods both make the top 20, though I still think that's majorly low for the two receivers. Woods should be on the wish list of Dolphins fans everywhere. Allen also makes tons of sense as a WCO wideout, as he is a YAC nightmare. I am still taking Woods by a hair, though.
-The inclusion of two lesser-known corners on the top 25 is a nice surprise, especially considering the upside of both prospects. I won't give them away, though.
-Finally, some Tyler Eifert love. Scouts completely overlooked the Notre Dame tight end earlier this week, but Kiper notes the effortless nature of Eifert's hands, calling Eifert the best tight end in what may be a very talented positional group this year.
You can read Mel's Big Board here