Mel Kiper is one of the acknowledged media experts when it comes to the NFL Draft. Kiper's Big Board is the gold standard when it comes to ranking the players who will likely be drafted in just over 24 hours from now. This isn't a mock draft in the sense that Kiper isn't projecting what teams will do which is based on need and other factors. The Big Board simply ranks the prospects based on Kiper's opinion of their potential value as NFL players.
The number one slot in Kiper's Big Board stays with CB Patrick Peterson. "An extraordinary athlete, Peterson has 4.3-second 40 speed, safety size, good cover skills and a willingness to hit. Big threat in return game." -- is the analysis.
The second slot on the board goes to LB Von Miller. "Miller can impact NFL games early in his career as a pass-rushing 3-4 outside linebacker, but he also has coverage skills. Heady, big-time athlete."
Both Miller and Peterson are, however, projected to be available to the Arizona Cardinals when they are on the clock Thursday with the fifth overall pick in the NFL draft. That assumes, of course, that the Cardinals don't trade down.
The big shake up in the final edition of Kiper's Big Board is DT Nick Fairley dropping to the no. 5 spot and DE Marcell Dareus moving up from no. 4. Cam Newton remains at the no. 15 spot behind the first quarterback on the Big Board, no. 14, Blaine Gabbert. Most mock drafts and even the Vegas odds, have Newton going first in the draft to the Carolina Panthers.
Prince Amukamara, who's from Glendale, AZ, is no. 9 on Kiper's final Big Board.
The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 5 p.m. (AZT) on Thursday, April 28, and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare: NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it out at SB Nation's NFL Draft page and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking the Draft or for Cardinals coverage, visit Revenge of the Birds.