NFL Draft: 'Wait-til-next-year' draft over; here are 21 to watch in 2014
As this year's draft is put to bed, we're reminded it was a 'wait 'til next year' kind of crop. Next year starts now, with a look at 21 players -- 10 seniors and 11 potential early-entry candidates -- who now slide under the scouting microscope.
As the 2013 NFL Draft is put to bed, we're reminded it was a "wait 'til next year" kind of crop. Next year starts now, with a look at 21 players -- 10 seniors and 11 potential early entry candidates -- who now slide under the scouting microscope.
1. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson: With a healthy Sammy Watkins taking advantage of his marvelous accuracy on the deep ball, Boyd will continue to prove doubters wrong, contending for the Heisman Trophy and a first-round selection next April.
2. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: The former running back will prove that his decision to return and learn the subtleties of the outside linebacker position was a sound one -- by leading the country in tackles for loss and emerging as a top-10 prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft.
3. C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama: Turned down the chance at NFL millions to return to school. Mosley's athleticism and instincts -- especially in coverage -- will make him an even more coveted prospect in 2013 ... and quite possibly a three-time BCS champion.
4. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, Jake will slide over from right tackle and provide stellar protection for Johnny Manziel, emerging as a top-10 prospect. Several current and former scouts have noted he's a better prospect than 2013 No. 2 pick Luke Joeckel.
5. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State: Possessing an explosive burst to penetrate gaps, Sutton will successfully defend his Morris Trophy as the Pac-12's top defensive lineman in 2013.
6. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas: Following his recovery from the torn pectoral that ruined his 2012 season, Jeffcoat wreaks havoc on Big 12 quarterbacks as a senior, establishing himself as a first-round prospect.
7. Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford: Showing the speed and explosiveness that he flashed before an ACL tear in 2011, Skov emerges as the most fearsome inside linebacker in the country.
8. Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee: Dominating the line of scrimmage for the Volunteers, McCullers proves to be the next big thing among SEC defensive tackles.
9. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: Verrett won't lead the Big 12 in passes defended or interceptions like he did in 2012 -- opponents will steer clear. He'll prove them smart in doing so when he's drafted in the first round in 2014.
10. Keith Price, QB, Washington: Taking full advantage of a stocked receiving corps, Price will emerge as the Pac-12's most accomplished passer in 2013 and a trendy NFL prospect.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Clowney would have been the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft if he were eligible. He will be eligible and be the first pick in 2014.
2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: An MVP performance against Florida in the Sugar Bowl answered questions about Bridgewater's level of competition.
3. Marqise Lee, WR, USC: The 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's elite receiver, Lee possesses breathtaking speed and agility.
4. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: A redshirt sophomore, Johnny Football could strike at just the right time. Scouts need to see consistent accuracy, but his workout numbers and another season with double-digit victories against SEC competition catapult him into talk of the No. 1 pick.
5. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame: While not the same caliber of edge rusher that Clowney is, the 6-5, 303-pound Tuitt is a dominant force in his own right.
6. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington: Averaging a nation-leading 5.25 catches per game at 6-6, 267 pounds, "ASJ" could be on the verge of a Mackey Award-winning junior season.
7. Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona: Carey led the nation with 1,929 rushing yards in 2012. He could have similar success and prove a first-round pick if he can stay out of trouble.
8. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: The Buckeyes used to churn out first-round cornerbacks every year. In 2014, that tradition will be renewed with Roby.
9. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama: Overshadowed by the talented upperclassmen blocking for the Tide a year ago, the physical yet light-footed left tackle looks poised to establish himself as a first-round pick a year after Alabama rolled three potential top-40 prospects into the 2013 draft.
10. Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers: While he doesn't possess Calvin Johnson's straight-line speed, it isn't difficult to see why some have compared the 6-5, 220-pound Coleman to the NFL's new owner of the single-season receiving yards mark.
11. A.J. Johnson, ILB, Tennessee: Athletic, instinctive and physical, some thought that Johnson -- not LSU's Kevin Minter or Georgia's Alec Ogletree -- showed the most promise among SEC inside linebackers in 2012.
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