The 2016 NFL Draft will begin in just 48 hours, and experts from across the media world have provided reams of predictions for the three-day event. Arguably the most well-known of these experts is Mel Kiper, Jr., an analyst who has provided draft coverage on ESPN for 32 years.
Leading into this year's draft, Kiper has created final rankings of his top 300 draft prospects, as well as position-by-position rankings of all players whom he "can see either being drafted or making a roster or practice squad". You can peruse the lists here (top 300) and here (position rankings) -- but only if you have ESPN Insider access.
Fortunately for you, we have the low-down on the MAC players on Kiper's lists, and we're here to share. On the top 300 list, there are five players who delivered #MACtion during their collegiate careers, while 22 total MAC athletes found their way onto Kiper's final position rankings.
Topping the overall list at #100 for the MAC is Willie Beavers, an offensive tackle from Western Michigan Broncos. Beavers started 40 straight games for WMU and became a first-team All-MAC player in 2015. He helped the Broncos' offense achieve greatness, as the team ranked second in the MAC in scoring offense, total offense and rushing offense. Be sure to check out our scouting profile of Beavers before his name is called, likely on Friday.
Tajae Sharpe, the stalwart wide receiver for the Massachusetts Minutemen, came in at #135. Sharpe has impressive height at 6'3" and utilized that to put together one of the best two-year stretches in MAC history. From 2014-2015, Sharpe caught 196 passes for 2,600 yards and 12 touchdowns. He could be an extremely valuable Day 2 or Day 3 pick, as we discussed in his scouting report.
WMU's Daniel Braverman left school a year early, but what was the reason to stay? Over two years, he caught 194 passes for over 2,300 yards and 19 touchdowns. At 5'10" and 188 pounds, Braverman's size isn't going to scare you, but he could be a clone of Julian Edelman. He comes in at #146 on Kiper's board. Here's our scouting report for him.
Eastern Michigan Eagles' running back Darius Jackson is ranked #182 by Kiper. He did not put up gaudy numbers, as he was heavily used only as a senior, but he did produce a 1,000-yard season. At 6'0" and 220 pounds, he has good size for an NFL back, and his Pro Day 40-yard dash time of 4.40 is excellent. We recently talked with him about the draft -- take a listen.
Jatavis Brown, stud linebacker for the Akron Zips, is the final MAC representative in the top 300 prospects list at #247. This is where confusion sets in. This ranking would give him fringe draft prospects, even though scouting reports seem to love him -- like this one from NFL.com. Brown is the 2015 MAC Defensive Player of the Year and is a three-time first-team All-MAC selection. He may end up playing more safety in the NFL given his size, but it's just as likely that his name is called on Friday as Saturday. Our own scouting report on Brown is here.
As for Kiper's position rankings, here's a table showing all MAC players included:
|QB||22 (of 37)||Matt Johnson||Bowling Green|
|RB||14 (of 47)||Darius Jackson||Eastern Michigan|
|38||Travis Greene||Bowling Green|
|FG||9 (of 20)||Trayion Durham||Kent State|
|WR||18 (of 101)||Tajae Sharpe||Massachusetts|
|19||Daniel Braverman||Western Michigan|
|63||Roger Lewis||Bowling Green|
|77||Jordan Williams||Ball State|
|TE||35 (of 36)||Ben McCord||Central Michigan|
|OT||10 (of 38)||Willie Beavers||Western Michigan|
|OG||29 (of 32)||Alex Huettel||Bowling Green|
|DT||37 (of 48)||Orion Jones||Toledo|
|ILB||18 (of 28)||Boomer Mays||Northern Illinois|
|OLB||23 (of 60)||Jatavis Brown||Akron|
|CB||68 (of 70)||Paris Logan||Northern Illinois|
|S||25 (of 56)||Kavon Frazier||Central Michigan|
|P||15 (of 15)||Anthony Melchiori||Kent State|
Have any hot takes about Kiper and/or these rankings? Let us know in the comments below.