Wes Bunting of the National Football Post, one of the most highly-respect NFL draft analysts in the business, is out with his Big Board of draft prospects today. In terms of some of the prospects we have been discussing as possible selections for the New York Giants, I was surprised to see where they landed on Bunting's board.
Bunting has Alabama running Mark Ingram ranked seventh, USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith 10 and UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers 13th. Bunting's grading system leans toward rewarding players ready to contribute Day 1, more than developmental players. By way of full disclosure here, I should also note that SB Nation and National Football Post are partners on the NFL side of things. Take that for what it's worth, but it should be out there.
Bunting's current mock draft has the Giants selecting Wisconsin's massive offensive tackle Gabe Carimi with the 19th selection of the first round. Carimi is 20th on Bunting's Big Board, one slot ahead of Mississippi State offensive tackle Derek Sherrod.
Here are a few other notes from Bunting's Big Board.
- Baylor offensive guard Danny Watkins is 16th.
- Fullbacks Henry Hynoski (Pittsburgh) and Owen Marecic (Stanford) are 25th and 26th, respectively. No way they go in the first round, but Bunting sees them as starting-caliber players.
- Small-school offensive tackle Ben Ijalana of Villanova is ranked 29th by Bunting, ahead of Anthony Castonzo of Boston College (32nd) and Nate Solder of Colorado (60th). Both Castonzo and Solder are often connected to the Giants as possible first-round picks.
- Washington outside linebacker Mason Foster is ranked 33rd by Bunting.
- North Carolina outside linebacker Bruce Carter is ranked 73rd. Carter will be a really interesting case in the draft. He might have been a top 10 pick before tearing his ACL during his senior season. Let's see how far he falls, and who gambles on his return to health. If he is still sitting there in the third round when the Giants pick I would love to see Jerry Reese grab him.
Of course these rankings are subjective -- just one man's opinion. Yet, Bunting knows how NFL teams look at players much better than we do, and has access to a lot more tools than we do. The Big Board provides a nice baseline for observation as the NFL Scouting Combine approaches at the end of this month.