Keith Benson, C/F, Oakland, Sr.
Benson puts up huge numbers in the weak Summit League but it is impressive what he has done against stiffer competition during the Grizzlies' tough non-conference schedule. The 6-11 senior had 22 points and 15 boards against West Virginia, 16-14 while matched up against JaJuan Johnson and Purdue, 17-12 versus Michigan State, and most recently 26-10 in Oakland's upset win at Tennessee. His biggest obstacle when entering the league will be his lack of physicality that will probably force him to play the four which is not his natural position. Still, he could possibly move into the late first round due to his recent performances against some of the better teams in college hoops.
Xavier Silas, SG, Northern Illinois, Sr.
Silas briefly tested the NBA Draft waters last season to get his name out there and it certainly couldn't have hurt. Silas dropped 40 points Tuesday night against Illinois-Chicago on an incredible 22-24 shooting from the free throw line. He has now topped 30 points four times and is nation's leading scorer averaging 28.4 per game. Silas can shoot the ball from the outside and is also effective off the bounce. The Colorado transfer is definitely a mid-major player to keep an eye on as a possible second-round sleeper.
Trevor Mbakwe, PF, Minnesota, Jr.
Mbakwe's rollercoaster journey to Minnesota has been worth the wait. The 6-8, 240-pounder has been a beast on the boards averaging 10.5 rebounds per game and posting seven double-doubles. He is also shooting almost 62 percent from the floor. Since he is an older junior due to his transferring and having to sit out last season, there is a chance he could bolt to the NBA this season. Mbakwe is by no means a first-round lock, but would certainly be an intriguing prospect and could be a fantastic energy bench player.
2011 NFL Draft Stock: Selling
Kyrie Irving, PG, Duke, Fr.
Irving's toe injury started as a day-to-day thing and now it is feared he could miss the rest of the season. I had moved Irving up to the top pick in my 2011 NBA Draft because of his terrific play early this season both as a scorer and distributor. If Irving is indeed sidelined for the remainder of his freshman season, you have to wonder if he will even declare for the draft this summer, or will he want to come back to Duke for the opportunity to play an entire season. Either way, you figure his chances of being the top pick have really decreased. Irving should still be a top-five selection if he turns pro, but there is a very good chance he could be headed back to Durham for his sophomore season.
William Buford, SG, Ohio State, Jr.
Buford has been unable to capitalize off the touches left behind by Evan Turner, or the fact that Jared Sullinger is patrolling the paint and giving the Buckeye wings opportunities from deep. The Buckeye junior is only shooting 32 percent from the three which is not a good percentage for a player who loves his jump shot more than he does attacking the basket. The 2011 class of shooting guards is pretty weak but Buford would be a borderline first-round pick at this point.
No real objection to the Watkins pick for Cleveland in the 3rd, but if there is an olinemen there worthy of the pick it should be that. We need olinemen in a bad way. Also we are getting Desmond Bryant back and have Shelton, modern, and Nassib who is a promising prospect
Good mock draft. But as a life-long Raiders fan who watched every game I can tell you our LB corps was sufficient. The Media may not know names like Perry Riley Jr. or Ben Heeney but they played exceptionally well when called upon. An OLB to replace Malcolm Smith however would be a good idea. But I think we need a RB, one like D'onta Freeman or Dalvin Cook. Latavius is a poor RB who runs too upright and gives up at the end of runs. We can't always rely on Derek Carr to carry the team. Peppers is definitely an exceptional player but with Reggie Nelson, Karl Joseph, and of course, Khalil Mack, LB/S is not a pressing issue. Interior DL or RB.
What an exciting weekend of football that was and we're one step closer to the Super Bowl. Sadly, more teams have been set in their draft position after this weekend. Getting closer to the deadline to declare for the draft to help round out this draft class. As per usual please leave comments and reactions I always try to reply and give some feedback.