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Pac-12 NFL Draft Q&A with SBNation Draft Expert Matthew Fairburn

Fairburn is high on Dion Jordan and Star Lotulelei.


Follow Matthew on Twitter.

Are you a believer in Dion Jordan and do you think he is a risky pick at the top of the draft?

I'm a big believer in Dion Jordan. He can do so much for a team on defense with his coverage skills and upside as a pass rusher. At the very worst, he will be a solid strong side linebacker who excels in coverage, so I don't see him as too risky of a pick at the top of the draft. His length, speed and athleticism are off the charts. There aren't many players in this draft I would rather have on my team.

Do you think the concerns about Star Lotulelei's heart test results are going to cost him on draft day?

It's tough for me to say how teams will view Star Lotulelei's health, because that will be based on each team's medical check. But I can say that the combine was the only time this issue was brought up. In my opinion, Loutulelei is the best player in the draft and should come off the board No. 3 to the Raiders. But it will all come down to how teams view his condition.

In what round do you see Matt Barkley going?

Matt Barkley should come off the board in the second round at the latest. I struggle to find a spot for him that makes sense in the first round.

Are there any Pac-12 players that you think will get taken surprisingly high?

Jonathan Franklin from UCLA is a player that I think could end up getting drafted higher than people expect. He very well might be the best running back in this class. As an all-around running back, he's better than Eddie Lacy, given his ability to make plays in the passing game.

Are there any sleeper Pac-12 players that you could see going later in the draft that could make great pros?

Two cornerbacks from UCLA, Sheldon Price and Aaron Hester, could wind up being steals on day three. Some mid-round guys that I feel are underrated are Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas, Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer and UCLA's Datone Jones.

Of the Pac-12 running backs, which do you think has the most NFL potential?

Franklin has far and away the most potential out of the Pac-12 running backs. His biggest downside is his size, and as we've seen in the last few years, it's foolish to write of a back because of he's not the ideal size. Franklin has big time upside.

Which Pac-12 player do you think will make the best pro in the long run?

In the long run, I think Star Lotulelei will be the best pro player. That obviously hinges on his heart condition, but I'm confident that he will be a dominant player for a while.

Did Matt Barkley make a mistake in returning for his senior year?

From a football standpoint, Barkley made a mistake. He would have been drafted higher a year ago and he didn't gain a whole lot this year at USC. He wasn't making a ton of challenging throws, and USC's season wasn't what he hoped. Maybe he had some fun in his last year of college, but it didn't work out from a football standpoint.