By Mel Kiper Jr.
Between now and the NFL combine (Feb. 21-27 in Indianapolis), there will be only slight changes to my Top 25 Big Board. The movement you see on the board is based on film evaluation from a player's career. Expect more movement and changes on the Big Board after the combine and individual workouts take place.
1. Calvin Johnson*, WR, Georgia Tech (6-4, 225) | previous: Same
He's not only a tremendous athlete, but he's a hard worker and very team oriented. Based on the needs of the Raiders and Lions, Johnson might not be the No. 1 overall pick, but he won't fall out of the top five.
2. Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin (6-6½, 313) | previous: Same
Huge, quick and athletic with a long wingspan.
3. Adrian Peterson*, RB, Oklahoma (6-1½, 218) | previous: 5
The most talented running back in the draft with an excellent burst to the outside for his size. The concern with Peterson is his durability.
4. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame (6-3½, 225) | previous: 3
Poised, smart and at his best in pressure situations. Quinn did throw two interceptions in the Sugar Bowl after throwing just one INT in his previous eight games.
5. JaMarcus Russell*, QB, LSU (6-6, 260) | previous: 4
Big, strong signal caller with a powerful arm, and his decision-making improved significantly in 2006.
6. Jamaal Anderson*, DE, Arkansas (6-5, 270) | previous: Same
A gifted athlete who is coming off an exceptional 2006 season. Anderson is a complete player, equally solid against the run and as a pass rusher.
7. Alan Branch*, DT, Michigan (6-5½, 328) | previous: 8
Huge and athletic, Branch is a true space-eater along the interior. Once his technique improves, watch out!
8. Ted Ginn Jr.*, WR, Ohio State (5-11, 175) | previous: 9
Takes a backseat to no one in the speed department, brings a big-play dimension to the wide receiver position and also the return game.
9. Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville (6-1½, 298) | previous: 13
A four-year veteran, and he is only 19 years old. Okoye is quick and explosive and goes all-out on every play. He is not only good at eating up space but also gets good penetration into the backfield.
10. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson (6-4½, 260) | previous: Same
Flashes dominating ability with his athleticism and quickness. Adams led the Tigers with 10½ sacks and 15½ tackles for loss.
11. LaRon Landry, DB, LSU (6-1½, 205) | previous: 12
Four-year starter who has proven to be Mr. Reliable throughout his career.
12. Reggie Nelson*, S, Florida (5-11½ 198) | previous: 7
Outstanding player who can hit like a safety and excel in coverage like a cornerback. That unique combination makes him a highly regarded prospect.
13. Dwayne Jarrett*, WR, USC (6-4, 210) | previous: 14
Has the size and natural receiving skills to create mismatches against smaller cornerbacks. Jarrett also has better quickness out of his break than people give him credit for.
14. Levi Brown, OT, Penn St. (6-4½, 325) | previous: 19
Steady and reliable at protecting the quarterback's blind side.
15. Charles Johnson*, DE, Georgia (6-2, 280) | previous: 17
Not only gifted from a pure talent standpoint, but he also has the work ethic to match. Johnson is active, alert and extremely productive.
16. Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska (6-6, 298) | previous: 24
You don't see many defensive ends carrying 300 pounds who can move as well as Carriker.
17. Leon Hall, CB, Michigan (5-11, 193) | previous: 11
Tough customer who also shows very good anticipation and awareness in coverage.
18. Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU (6-2, 217) | previous: Unranked
Big and productive, Bowe runs excellent routes and has the toughness to catch the ball in traffic.
19. Robert Meachem*, WR, Tennessee (6-2½, 210) | previous: 15
Came through with a number of highlight-film plays in 2006. If he runs well at the combine, Meachem could elevate his status in the weeks leading up to the draft.
20. Sidney Rice*, WR, South Carolina (6-3, 200) | previous: 21
An angular wide-out with a nice burst out of his break and above-average hands. The key for Rice will be how well he runs at the combine workouts.
21. Lawrence Timmons*, LB, Florida St. (6-2¼, 233) | previous: 23
Moves right to the top of a very subpar linebacking group, particularly from the senior class. Timmons' production and consistency from game to game are what jumps out at you.
22. Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue (6-2½, 261) | previous: 25
He became a much more effective pass rusher in 2006 for the Boilermakers. The key at the next level will be his athleticism and versatility, because I project he'll be an ideal outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
23. Tim Crowder, DE, Texas (6-3¼, 273) | previous: Unranked
Consistent and reliable in his career, but became more of a playmaker for the Longhorns in 2006.
24. Marshawn Lynch*, RB, California (5-11, 224) | previous: 18
Complete big back, right on the heels of Adrian Peterson when it comes to who will be the top RB in the draft.
25. Aaron Ross, CB, Texas (6-0½, 196) | previous: Unranked
An instinctive tackler who has excellent ball skills. Ross led the Longhorns in 2006 with six interceptions and broke up 19 passes. He also finished third on the team in tackles with 80.
Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas (6-5, 308) | previous: 16
Ugoh's stock has been rising all year to the point where he's one of the more intriguing senior prospects.
Jarvis Moss*, DE, Florida (6-5, 250) | previous: 20
Speed rusher who is also excellent in pursuit, using his lateral quickness to chase down running plays before they can amount to anything.
Ryan Kalil, C, USC (6-2½, 292) | previous: 22
His performance during the latter stages of his career has been that of a first- or second-round draft choice.