Editor's note: This comes from ESPN NFL Draft guru Mel Kiper, Jr. (personally, I prefer Rob Rang, but that's another story). In any case, UW quarterback Jake Locker impressed him a lot during the Notre Dame – enough to shoot up in the top five for prospects of the 2010 NFL Draft. He's the No. 1 Pacific-10 Conference player on the list:
It's fair to say the showdown between former high school darlings Jimmy Clausen and Jake Locker in South Bend, Ind., this past weekend showed me a lot. For starters, as I said last week, both guys were right on the edge of being included in the Big Board. Because both are juniors and thus not locks for the draft, I won't include them until they leap into the top 15 -- for an explanation on that, read this -- but this week, they both did.
In the case of Clausen, you're looking at the growth of a kid who always had the polish and now is gaining the intangibles, the patience and the accuracy. I'm impressed with how he always finds the open man and goes through his reads. He also has continued to thrive even after losing a star receiver to injury when Michael Floyd went down.
With Locker, you have a kid with unmatched physical skills finally learning to play the position at a high level. Considering what Washington was last year without him (0-12) and where the Huskies are now -- all without much of a supporting cast -- says all you need to know about Locker. He changes everything. I talk about these two, and my reasoning, a bit more in Behind the Big Board, but for now, on to the latest board.
BIG BOARD TOP FIVE1Sam Bradford, QB, 6-4, 223Analysis: Has underrated arm, great feel for position; superaccurate.Last week: No. 1
2Eric Berry, DB, 5-11, 203Analysis: Ultimate playmaker, in the Ed Reed mold.Last week: No. 2
3Ndamukong Suh, DT, 6-4, 300Analysis: Explosive, relentless and consistent.Last week: No. 3
4Jake Locker, QB, 6-3, 226Analysis: Developing talent whose physical tools are unmatched.Last week: NR
5Gerald McCoy, DT, 6-4, 297Analysis: Disruptive force. Productive NFL career ahead.Last week: No. 4