2014 NFL Draft: Final Top-100 Draft board has Bridgewater No. 1
With only days until the 2014 NFL Draft, the final draft board is ready with DE Jadeveon Clowney at No. 2 and a polarizing quarterback at the top spot
Each draft season, I do four draft boards: one in January, one post-Combine, one after most pro days and then a final board in the days leading up to the draft in May. The first two draft boards were both top-50, but the final two will expand to my top-100 prospects in this class.
Finally! We’re now under a week until the 2014 NFL Draft, and while we have a better feel for how the first round will play out, there is still a lot of unknown entering draft week.
My draft board isn’t a mock draft or a list prospects based on how I think they will come off the board on Thursday. My final board ranks the top-100 players available in this draft based on my scouting over the past year. Some names in my top-100 might surprise, but for better or worse, the eye in the sky doesn’t lie.
Final top-100 Draft Board:
1. Teddy Bridgewater QB, Louisville (6-2, 214, 4.67, JR)
While many have soured on him (or never had him highly rated in the first place), Bridgewater is still my top prospect in this draft because of what he brings to the table with his arm talent, efficient mobility and ability above the neck to play the position at a high level.
2. Jadeveon Clowney DE, South Carolina (6-5, 266, 4.53, JR)
A freak athlete who can do things on the football field most on this earth can’t, Clowney has awesome potential and a high NFL ceiling, but I still do have questions whether or not his football character between games will allow him to reach his immense upside.
3. Gregory Robinson OT, Auburn (6-5, 332, 4.92, rSO)
Not only is he the top run blocker in the draft, but Robinson also has the highest upside of any of the offensive line prospects with his natural athleticism, raw strength and potential to be one of the league’s best in a few years.
4. Khalil Mack OLB, Buffalo (6-3, 251, 4.65, rSR)
A versatile, relentless pass rusher, Mack was extremely productive in college and holds several career NCAA records, including forced fumbles (16) and tackles for loss (75). He is always around the ball with his combination of speed, power and awareness.
5. Jake Matthews OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 308, 5.07, SR)
Probably the “safest” prospect in this class, Matthews started three seasons at right tackle before moving to the left side in 2013. He had a solid performance at the Combine, which confirmed his athleticism, fundamentally-sound technique and high football character.
6. Anthony Barr OLB, UCLA (6-5, 255, 4.66, 4SR)
A former running back, Barr moved to pass rusher last season and excelled at linebacker for the Bruins, totaling 41.5 tackles for loss the past two seasons. He needs to refine some technical aspects of his game, but his speed/strength off the edge is exciting.
7. Sammy Watkins WR, Clemson (6-1, 211, 4.43, JR)
With a 4.43 40-yard dash, Watkins showed off his athleticism at the Combine and backed up what his tape tells us as well. He needs some polish in a few areas, but he has above average vision and acceleration and projects as a borderline WR1/WR2 in the NFL.
8. Mike Evans WR, Texas A&M (6-5, 231, 4.53, rSO)
A physical, imposing target, Evans was Johnny Football’s No. 1 target and safety valve in College Station the past two seasons. He isn’t the most fluid athlete, but he boxes out defenders and has a large catching radius to dominate at the catch point.
9. Blake Bortles QB, UCF (6-5, 232, 4.93, rJR)
From a physical and mental standpoint, there might not be a more appealing passer in this draft class than Bortles, who has the NFL build, quick feet and the outstanding vision and feel to locate targets and execute down the field.
10. Taylor Lewan OT, Michigan (6-7, 309, 4.87, rSR)
While he shows his light feet on tape, Lewan backed it up at the Combine with excellent numbers in the agility and positional drills. He needs to keep his emotions under control on the football field and play with more consistency, but he has all the tools to start at left tackle in the NFL.
11. Zack Martin OG, Notre Dame (6-4, 308, 5.22, rSR)
Martin manned the left tackle spot the last four years at Notre Dame, but he projects best inside where he could be a future Pro Bowler. Several teams still view him as a tackle, but regardless, he has the base, punch and smarts to start from day one in the NFL.
12. Aaron Donald DT, Pittsburgh (6-1, 285, 4.68, SR)
While Clowney received most of the publicity, Donald had the best Combine performance among the defensive linemen with a 4.68 40-yard dash, 32” vertical jump and 35 reps on the bench press. He’s a prototypical 3-technique with disruptive ability.
13. Eric Ebron TE, North Carolina (6-4, 250, 4.60, JR)
A wide receiver in a tight end’s body, Ebron is a freakish athlete with the ability to make highlight-reel catches look easy. He is a work-in-progress as a blocker and will drop some easy ones, but his fluid athleticism and playmaking ability at the position are near elite.
14. Louis Nix DT, Notre Dame (6-2, 331, 5.42, rJR)
An athletic nose tackle, Nix has monster ability, consistently making plays behind, up and down the line of scrimmage. A knee injury contributed to a streaky 2013 season, but he is very active for his size and a double-team magnet – impact doesn’t always show in the box score.
15. CJ Mosley OLB/ILB, Alabama (6-2, 234, 4.65, SR)
Mosley is a smart, assignment sound player who was the leader of the Alabama defense. He doesn’t play a sexy position and durability concerns pushes him down boards, but he has an accurate first step with a consistently disciplined approach to the game.
16. Calvin Pryor FS, Louisville (5-11, 207, 4.58, JR)
A heat-seeking missile in the secondary, Pryor has physical take-on strength and wraps and drives through his target with violence. He will freelance too much at times, but he displays the athleticism and fluid change of motion to hold up in the deep half of the field.
17. Brandin Cooks WR, Oregon State (5-10, 189, 4.33, JR)
A receiver with joystick athleticism, Cooks has lightning-fast feet and jitterbug quickness to create separation and do something after the catch. He’ll have some drops with his smaller hands, but Cooks seems to be moving at a different speed than everyone else on the field.
18. Darqueze Dennard CB, Michigan State (5-11, 199, 4.52, SR)
The 2013 winner of the Thorpe Award, Dennard has average speed and size for the position, but he is smart, competitive and confident. If he can eliminate the downfield contact, Dennard has a chance to be a very good cover man in the NFL for a long time.
19. Kyle Fuller CB, Virginia Tech (6-0, 190, 4.49, SR)
A versatile defensive back, Fuller is aggressive and smart and the game appears to come natural to him. He is an inconsistent tackler and needs to stay healthy, but he has the smooth hips, transition skills and ballskills to be a NFL starter at cornerback.
20. Jimmie Ward SS, Northern Illinois (5-11, 193, 4.59, SR)
The top senior safety on the board, Ward is a versatile defensive back with cornerback movement skills and the physical mentality of a safety. He takes aggressive, confident angles in zone, but also shows the feet and athleticism to play tight in man coverage.
21. Jason Verrett CB, TCU (5-9, 189, 4.38, SR)
Although undersized and currently rehabbing from shoulder surgery, Verrett is a feisty and physical player with ballhawking read/react quickness. He is ideally suited to be an inside corner with his swivel hips and physical nature to cover the slot and be reliable vs. the run.
22. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix FS, Alabama (6-1, 208, 4.58, JR)
A rangy, fluid athlete, Clinton-Dix covers a lot of ground against both the pass and the run and projects to either free or strong safety. He has the aggressive nature to attack ballcarriers and shows the read/react quickness to diagnose and take accurate angles in coverage.
23. Xavier Su’a-Filo OG, UCLA (6-4, 307, 5.04, JR)
Su’a-Filo lined up at left guard and left tackle this past season for the Bruins and played consistently well for the Bruins productive offense. He gets himself in trouble when he overextends himself, but he is an easy bender with a strong base to engage at the point of attack.
24. Demarcus Lawrence DE, Boise State (6-3, 251, 4.80, JR)
An athletic, fierce pass rusher, Lawrence has the get-off burst and smooth acceleration to get past blocks and finish in the backfield. He is still raw in several areas, but pass rushers with his ability are hot commodities on draft weekend.
25. Ryan Shazier OLB, Ohio State (6-1, 2367 4.58, JR)
One of the few bright spots on an inconsistent Ohio State defense, Shazier finished his 2013 season with 143 total tackles and 22.5 tackles for loss. He lacks ideal bulk and has some discipline issues, but his blend of explosive quickness and initial strength is awesome.
26. Derek Carr QB, Fresno State (6-2, 214, 4.69, rSR)
David Carr’s little brother, Carr has top-shelf arm strength with the ability to make every NFL throw needed. His issues with pressure and footwork are easy to see, but he is ultracompetitive with enough size and mobility to be a consistent NFL starter.
27. Johnny Manziel QB, Texas A&M (6-0, 207, 4.68, rSO)
A magician at the quarterback position, Manziel has the arm strength, competitive spirit and natural instincts that make him an exciting football player. But his decision-making and durability are strong questions marks, making his transition to the NFL difficult to predict.
28. Odell Beckham WR, LSU (5-11, 198, 4.43, JR)
An impact return man on special teams, Beckham is a speedy, smooth athlete who has improved his hands and route running since he arrived in Baton Rouge. He shows very good shake-and-burst out of his cuts with a large catching radius to elevate and attack the ball.
29. Scott Crichton DE, Oregon State (6-3, 273, 4.84, rJR)
Crichton has a powerful first step with impressive initial momentum to attack blockers and bully them backwards like a battering ram. He lacks ideal fluidity, but has some lower body explosion with a nonstop relentless motor to finish plays with hustle and motivation.
30. Marquise Lee WR, USC (6-0, 192, 4.52, JR)
Lee set several program records for the Trojans over his career and is a fun player to watch with the ball. He does have some medical concerns with his knee and will have his share of drops, but Lee has cat-like quickness to get open and create as a ballcarrier.
31. Jace Amaro TE, Texas Tech (6-5, 265, 4.74, JR)
Amaro played more of a slot receiver position in college and projects as a joker tight end at the next level. He has room to get stronger and mature both physically and emotionally, but his speed and toughness project well to the next level.
32. Cyrus Kouandijio OT, Alabama (6-5, 322, 5.59, JR)
With some lingering durability concerns regarding his knees, Kouandjio is viewed differently by teams across the league. But if he’s healthy, Kouandjio has the athletic and natural upside to start at the next level.
33. Dominique Easley DT, Florida (6-2, 288, 4.93, SR)
Easley has battled several injuries over his career, most recently an ACL that sidelined him for most of 2013. But when healthy, he has a sudden first step to attack gaps before blockers can set up with the natural athleticism to track and finish at the ballcarrier.
34. LaMarcus Joyner FS, Florida State (5-8, 184, 4.55, SR)
Despite his short stature, Joyner is the type of player who is impossible to ignore because of the way he jumps off the tape. His lack of size will show up in man coverage and run support, but he plays fast and decisive with violent attitude, projecting him to a nickel role.
35. Billy Turner OG, North Dakota State (6-5, 315, 5.16, rSR)
The starting left tackle for three-time FCS Champions, Turner has quick feet and natural body control to hold his own in space and combo blocks. If he can learn to sink his hips and not bend so much at the waist, he has Pro Bowls in his future, probably best inside at guard.
36. Carl Bradford OLB, Arizona State (6-1, 250, 4.76, rJR)
The top defender from an underrated Sun Devil defense, Bradford is an intense and energetic rusher who finds a way to get to the quarterback. He has some tweener traits and won’t fit every defense, but he has the initial quickness and power to be effective as a stand-up rusher.
37. Allen Robinson WR, Penn State (6-2, 220, 4.60, JR)
A fluid, flexible athlete for his larger frame, Robinson was extremely productive the past two seasons and leaves Penn State with several school receiving records. He needs to eliminate the drops, but he is physical with deceiving acceleration to be a dangerous catch-and-go target.
38. Jeremiah Attaochu OLB, Georgia Tech (6-3, 252, 4.68, SR)
A productive collegiate player, Attaochu has seen time at defensive end and linebacker at Georgia Tech, but projects best as a stand-up rusher in a 3-4 defense. He has the athleticism and determination to make an instant impact.
39. Dee Ford DE, Auburn (6-2, 252, 4.67, SR)
An athletic edge rusher, Ford has explosive quickness with natural bend, acceleration and flexibility to get around blockers with easy speed. He didn’t participate at the Combine due to a few injury concerns, but health isn’t a large concern.
40. Kony Ealy DE, Missouri (6-4, 273, 4.92, rJR)
A good-sized athlete with plus length, Ealy displays smooth acceleration off the edge and bends the arc very well. He is still a tad raw with ball awareness, but he is a forceful striker with the NFL tools to line up inside or outside at the next level.
41. Timmy Jernigan DT, Florida State (6-2, 299, 5.06, JR)
Jernigan is a flexible, bendy athlete for an interior lineman who is a tough guy to slow down when he wins off the snap. He needs to improve his hand use to shed and combat blockers, but when all the cylinders are firing, Jernigan can be tough to handle.
42. Jarvis Landry WR, LSU (5-11, 205, 4.77, JR)
A pair of the strongest hands in the draft, Landry has big mitts to secure grabs and make the tough catches look easy. He’s not an elite size/speed athlete, which was evident at the Combine, but he is a disciplined route runner with above average body control, ballskills and competitiveness.
43. Marcus Roberson CB, Florida (6-0, 191, 4.61, JR)
A fearless, confident cover corner, Roberson battled through several injuries in 2013, most notably a left knee issue. But when healthy, he has the footwork, movement skills and competitive nature to blanket receivers along with the instincts to make plays on the ball.
44. Cody Latimer WR, Indiana (6-3, 215, 4.45, JR)
A former basketball stand-out, Latimer has transitioned very well to the football field and his athleticism makes his NFL ceiling a hot topic in NFL circles. He is still unpolished, but the potential has him rated high on several wide receiver boards in the NFL.
45. Antonio Richardson OT, Tennessee (6-6, 336, 5.30, JR)
A heavy waist bender who gets lazy at times, Richardson has exciting potential because of his wide base, stout frame and vines for arms. His inconsistent technique makes it tough for him to sustain, but if he irons out the wrinkles, Richardson has a high NFL ceiling.
46. Morgan Moses OT, Virginia (6-6, 314, 5.35, rSR)
Moses passes the eye test with a large body type and long arms, displaying the strength to eliminate moving targets and control defenders. He needs to improve his leverage and overall consistency, but projects to either left or right tackle.
47. Justin Gilbert CB, Oklahoma State (6-0, 202, 4.37, SR)
Gilbert has the size, speed and length that NFL teams covet at the cornerback position, which is probably why he ends up in the draft’s top-15 picks, but I still have strong questions about his footwork, technique and instincts to be reliable on an island.
48. Bradley Roby CB, Ohio State (5-11, 194, 4.39, rJR)
Despite a forgettable 2013 season, Roby has the impressive speed and swivel hips that can’t be taught. But his streaky technique and awareness makes him a work-in-progress in need of hard-nosed defensive coaching who won’t allow him to fall asleep at the wheel.
49. Jimmy Garoppolo QB, Eastern Illinois (6-2, 226, 4.97, SR)
Although he struggles with pressure, Garoppolo has the quick process needed to get the ball out in a hurry with a snap release and strong understanding of the offense. He wins with his intelligence to retain and digest information with ease and execute on the field.
50. Gabe Jackson OG, Mississippi State (6-3, 336, 5.56, rSR)
In the Larry Warford mold, Jackson is a large human being with the natural girth and body bulk to take up room and eliminate defenders. He has the natural balance, brute power and pedigree that NFL teams look for, along with his fight through the whistle.
51. Troy Niklas TE, Notre Dame (6-7, 270, 4.83, JR)
52. Stephon Tuitt DL, Notre Dame (6-6, 304, 4.94, JR)
53. Terrence Brooks FS, Florida State (5-11, 198, 4.42, SR)
54. Kyle Van Noy OLB, BYU (6-3, 243, 4.66, SR)
55. Marcus Smith OLB, Louisville (6-3, 251, 4.68, SR)
56. Carlos Hyde RB, Ohio State (6-0, 230, 4.61, SR)
57. Dakota Dozier OG, Furman (6-4, 313, 5.35, rSR)
58. Davante Adams WR, Fresno State (6-1, 212, 4.59, rSO)
59. Jaylen Watkins CB, Florida (5-11, 194, 4.49, SR)
60. Phillip Gaines CB, Rice (6-0, 193, 4.35, rSR)
61. Donte Moncrief WR, Mississippi (6-2, 221, 4.40, JR)
62. Joel Bitonio OG, Nevada (6-4, 302, 4.96, rSR)
63. Marcus Martin C, USC (6-3, 320, 5.22, rJR)
64. Kelvin Benjamin WR, Florida State (6-5, 240, 4.66, rSO)
65. Bashaud Breeland CB, Clemson (5-11, 197, 4.61, rJR)
66. Bruce Ellington WR, South Carolina (5-9, 197, 4.55, rJR)
67. Kareem Martin DE, North Carolina (6-6, 272, 4.73, SR)
68. Ego Ferguson DT, LSU (6-3, 315, 5.05, rJR)
69. Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE, Washington (6-6, 262, 4.75, JR)
70. Ra’Shede Hageman DT, Minnesota (6-6, 310, 5.00, rSR)
71. Tre Mason RB, Auburn (5-9, 207, 4.49, JR)
72. Jordan Matthews WR, Vanderbilt (6-3, 212, 4.46, SR)
73. Pierre Desir CB, Lindenwood (6-1, 198, 4.55, rSR)
74. Jemea Thomas FS, Georgia Tech (5-9, 192, 4.54, rSR)
75. DaQuan Jones DT, Penn State (6-4, 322, 5.37, SR)
76. Terrance Mitchell CB, Oregon (5-11, 192, 4.61, rJR)
77. Rashaad Reynolds CB, Oregon State (5-10, 189, rSR)
78. Jeremy Hill RB, LSU (6-1, 233, 4.64, rSO)
79. Marqueston Huff FS, Wyoming (5-11, 196, 4.47, SR)
80. Weston Richburg C, Colorado State (6-3, 298, 5.15, rSR)
81. Martavis Bryant WR, Clemson (6-4, 211, 4.45, JR)
82. Jack Mewhort OT, Ohio State (6-6, 309, 5.38, rSR)
83. Telvin Smith OLB, Florida State (6-3, 218, 4.49, SR)
84. Walt Aikens CB, Liberty (6-1, 203, 4.49, rSR)
85. Brock Vereen FS, Minnesota (6-0, 199, 4.46, SR)
86. Ja’Wuan James OT, Tennessee (6-6, 311, 5.29, SR)
87. Taylor Hart DE, Oregon (6-6, 281, 4.85, rSR)
88. Kelcy Quarles DT, South Carolina (6-4, 297, 4.98, rJR)
89. Terrance West RB, Towson (5-9, 225, 4.57, rJR)
90. Trai Turner OG, LSU (6-3, 310, 4.95, rSO)
91. Dez Southward SS, Wisconsin (6-0, 211, 4.52, SR)
92. CJ Fiedorowicz TE, Iowa (6-6, 265, 4.77, SR)
93. Jared Abbrederis WR, Wisconsin (6-1, 195, 4.53, rSR)
94. Robert Herron WR, Wyoming (5-9, 193, 4.49, SR)
95. Charles Leno OT, Boise State (6-4, 303, 5.25, rSR)
96. Will Clarke DE, West Virginia (6-6, 271, 4.75, rSR)
97. Will Sutton DT, Arizona State (6-1, 303, 5.42, rSR)
98. Devonta Freeman RB, Florida State (5-8, 206, 4.55, JR)
99. Caraun Reid DT, Princeton (6-2, 302, 4.92, rSR)
100. Kendall James CB, Maine (5-11, 180, 4.43, rSR)
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