2014 NFL Draft: Final 2014 NFL Draft Big Board

Dan Kitchen, Staff Writer

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The time is upon us: fans are booking trips to Radio City Music Hall, Kevin Costner keeps taking on the task of saving the Browns every night at 5:35, 7:15, and 10, and experts are finalizing their rankings and mock drafts. My final Big Board of the year will review my top 50 prospects the day before the draft, and reference their rankings before the NFL Combine in parenthesis. This final list consists of:

10 Wide Receivers
6 Offensive Tackles
5 Defensive Ends
5 Quarterbacks
5 Linebackers
5 Cornerbacks
4 Defensive Tackles
4 Safeties
3 Tight Ends
2 Running Backs
1 Offensive Guard

I have heard this class referred to as “the deepest ever”, and one heavy on linemen. I don’t necessarily agree with the first (it is deep though), and the second was true. It still is heavy on linemen, but the rise in receivers and cornerbacks since the Super Bowl makes that my strongest position of the year. Also strong compared to the average year are quarterbacks, where potentially 5 have an above average chance to lead a franchise. While those positions are full of talent teams can drool over, this running back class leaves much to be desired, as does the group of high-end safeties and tight ends. Whether my opinions, or those of other analysts, are vindicated will take years, or more immediately, around 24 hours. So for now, here is the final ranking of my top 50:

Top 10

1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina (1)

No movement for Clowney, who has been at or within a couple spots of being my top prospect all year. The only other player to hold that distinction with me is Andrew Luck.

2. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (4)

It was hard to decide which tackle was the top of the class, and Matthews gets a slight edge because of the longer duration of his high stock. I’m not entirely certain, but I may consider Matthews better than his former teammate and linemate Luke Joeckel, last year’s second overall selection.

3. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn (5)

While Robinson is held higher by most than Matthews, I’m not sold. That being said, he still grades out as my third overall prospect, so it’s not as if I absolutely hate the guy.

4. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (2)

This player has been one of my favorites to watch since his freshman year. I have no doubt he will electrify whatever team he is drafted to, which should be one of the first ones in the draft.

5. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville (3)

Not long ago, Bridgewater was close to knocking off Clowney as my top prospect. While drawing the ire of a lot of the draft community between then and now, I still feel Bridgewater should be the first quarterback taken, and can turn around a franchise almost immediately.

6. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo (9)

If Mack had played at Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, etc., he would be, at minimum, the second prospect on my board. The motor on Mack is incredible, and while the small-school argument is overused and unfair to guys like him, it is still valid enough to drop him down to 6.

7. Blake Bortles, QB, UCF (10)

Rumored to be considered by executives as the best QB on the board, the differences between Bridgewater, Bortles, and Manziel are small enough I had a hard time choosing who was the first, second, and third quarterback on the board.

8. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M (12)

How to describe Evans’ talent? He could go second overall to St. Louis, over Watkins, and I would still consider it a reasonably good move. If he falls below 10, teams will be jumping over each other trying to trade up to get him.

9. Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M (6)

There is no question of Manziel’s talent. My biggest concern with Johnny Football is the atmosphere to which he is drafted into. If it is a good one, he can easily outperform Bridgewater or Bortles. If it is a bad one, he could tiptoe close to “bust” status. The risk is enough to push him down to 9th.

10. C.J. Mosely, LB, Alabama (7)

When you help lead one of the best defenses in college football, you get some attention from analysts. When analysts already liked you as a prospect, you end up this high on their Big Board.

 

The Rest of the Board

11. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh (19)

12. Marqise Lee, WR, USC (11)

13. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (14)

14. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA (8)

15. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State (17)

16. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame (26)

17. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama (23)

18. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU (24)

19. Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State (30)

20. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State (18)

21. Eric Ebron, TE, UNC (16)

22. Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri (15)

23. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State (25)

24. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU (42)

25. Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (NR)

26. Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville (22)

27. Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame (13)

28. Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State (20)

29. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State (45)

30. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State (43)

31. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota (29)

32. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (NR)

33. Dee Ford, DE, Auburn (28)

34. Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia (38)

35. Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA (49)

36. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame (27)

37. Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois (NR)

38. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois (NR)

39. Austin Sefarin-Jenkins, TE, Washington (32)

40. Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech (41)

41. Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana (NR)

42. Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State (36)

43. Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama (21)

44. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU (31)

45. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State (40)

46. Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State (37)

47. Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State (NR)

48. Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State (NR)

49. Tre Mason, RB, Auburn (NR)

50. Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State (NR)

 

Be sure to check back for more pieces, including a final mock draft for 2014, direct comments or other forms of communication to the section below or my twitter account @tripleddraft, and enjoy the next few days as the draft begins!

God Bless!

– Dan

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