Ranking The Top 100 Prospects In the 2014 NFL Draft

Jadeveon Clowney

With the NFL draft set to kick off in less than six weeks, team scouts are currently exchanging notes and watching as much tape as possible—as they attempt to reshuffle their draft boards and figure out whose stock is rising, and whose is falling.

This particular draft class features exceptional depth, and many analysts differ on who the best overall player on the board is. Is it one of three quarterbacks (Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles or Johnny Manziel)? Or is it athletic, freak-of-nature DE Jadeveon Clowney?

We’ve compiled our own rankings chart—breaking down the top 100 prospects—with writeups to offer some insight into each selection. So now, without further adieu, here is The Sports Daily’s official big board, for your viewing pleasure.

[Player name, position,
[Scouting report: strengths,
weaknesses, body of work, skill set]
1) Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville Bridgewater is capable of making any throw, has a great pocket presence and is the most accurate of the quarterbacks in this draft class. He may not be flashy or talk a big game, but he sure gets the job done. Don’t be fooled by the “lack of an X-factor” argument. Bridgewater has the potential to be a franchise quarterback at the pro level and also performs extremely well when blitzed—his yards per attempt actually increase when pressured (11.3 vs 8.5). There are concerns about his size, so he has added the necessary weight to his frame over the past few months. The signal caller excels at putting the right amount of touch on passes and he’s arguably the best in his class when it comes to reading the defense pre-snap.
2) Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina A physical specimen, Clowney is one of the best football players to enter the NFL in a while. He’s athletic enough to chase down some of the fastest ballcarriers in the league, but also has the strength to blow up run plays in the backfield. The former Gamecock is a true do-it-all player who can line up anywhere on the field and dominate.
3) Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Say what you want about his personality, Manziel is a playmaker. He frequently turns broken plays into big gains and always seems to find a way to move the ball down the field. While his improvisational skills can get him in trouble from time to time, Manziel’s knack for throwing up prayers is a coachable flaw. The quarterback’s ceiling is remarkably high. He’ll be a star.
4) Khalil Mack, OLB/DE, Buffalo Mack is another do-it-all edge player who can make an impact from day one. He’s instinctive and strong, which is a deadly combination. The Buffalo product can run with and cover any tight end, but can also rush the passer as well as any other player in the class. He’s scheme-diverse enough to legitimize any front.
5) Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State Gilbert is a complete defensive back. He possesses a quick first step, fluid hips, elite straight line speed and great vision. The CB’s Scouting Combine workout solidified his status as one of the best players in the draft, but it’s his film that makes him a highly sought-after player. He won’t get beat deep, especially in
off-man coverage.
6) Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida NFL offensive coordinators will find a way to make Bortles into a
franchise quarterback. He has the frame, arm and moxie to thrive at the next level. Any signal caller who can lead a mid major program to a BCS bowl victory is worth a look. He’ll need to be more accurate on timing throws, but Bortles has all of the tools to be successful in the NFL.
7) Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn Athletically, Robinson is an elite offensive lineman. What sets him apart from other physically gifted tackles is the fact that he’s a technician, too. Robinson bulldozes defensive linemen in the run game and stonewalls pass rushers. There’s a lot of room for growth with this young lineman, but his potential for development should excite personnel people. He’s a 10-year starter in the making.
8) Dee Ford, OLB/DE, Auburn The most explosive pass rusher in the draft class, Ford gets off the ball well on a consistent basis. He’s a high-motor edge player who utilizes a deadly speed rush to get to the quarterback. Ford is going to rack up sacks in his rookie season and establish himself as one of the league’s most dangerous defenders on third down.
9) Timmy Jernigan, DL, Florida State Jernigan blasts through the line of scrimmage with authority and stifles running plays between the tackles. He’s a dominant defensive lineman capable of disrupting plays in the A-gap. He has the size and lateral quickness to develop into one of the league’s better interior linemen. Some will dispute his candidacy as the best interior defensive lineman in the class, but Jernigan has the rare ability to penetrate gaps and slow down top-notch running backs.
10) Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson The type of receiver who can rack up touches, Watkins wins at every level of the route tree. The Clemson product’s best work comes on slant and hitch routes, which showcases his unrivaled body control and quick first step. He’s versatile enough to become a swiss-army knife type wide receiver for a creative offensive coordinator.
11) Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M While Sammy Watkins may be an all-around star, Evans excels in one particular area. The receiver is unstoppable on deep routes, making big plays on a consistent basis from fade routes, post routes and smash routes. Evans is bigger and stronger than any corner he’ll face in the NFL and he’ll take the top off of opposing defenses at the next level.
12) Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina Ebron is the latest in a line of tight end/wide receiver hybrid types
who can destroy man coverage. He compares favorably to Vernon Davis, as the North Carolina product has the soft hands and great route running skills to instantly upgrade any NFL offense. Ebron will utilize his athleticism and pass catching skill set to become a quarterback’s best friend.
13) Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville One of the hardest hitters in the draft, Pryor is also one of the best defenders in zone coverage in the class of 2014. The best example of the safety’s dominance was when UCF quarterback Blake Bortles drove his Knights down the field for a game-winning
drive against Louisville, and the signal caller didn’t once challenge Pryor’s coverage. The safety comes into the league as a complete player.
14) Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M Matthews has fallen down some draft boards because he’s not the most athletic offensive linemen on the board. He may not have the skill set to become an elite tackle, but Matthews is so fundamentally sound that he’ll be able to start immediately on the left side. His consistent, blue-collar playing style may be boring, but it’s effective.
15) Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan While Matthews may be consistent, Lewan has a higher ceiling. He’s just behind Matthews on the big board because the Texas A&M tackle is slightly better at the present time. That said, Lewan is the type of player who could develop into an All-Pro left tackle—he’s got the size, athleticism and quick feet that many
scouts look for in an offensive line prospect.
16) C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama Mosley may not be the most talented linebacker available, but he does a lot of things well. He has trouble making plays in pass coverage and has had some medical issues, but it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Mosley is an instinctive linebacker who can make plays all over the field. He’ll be a tackling machine in the NFL.
17) Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State Watching Carr’s tape is frustrating because he has the physical tools and arm strength to shred NFL defenses, but his mechanics and accuracy hold him back. With the right coaching, he’ll be a superstar, but successful quarterbacks need to be more polished when they come into the league. Still, Carr’s talent is undeniable.
18) Aaron Donald, DL, Pittsburgh Donald is the best interior pass rusher available, but his lack of
ideal size makes him a tough prospect to evaluate. Am not sure if Donald will be much of a factor on first and second downs, when between-the-tackles rushes could neutralize the defensive lineman’s effectiveness. His pass-rushing skills make him a first-round pick, but potential fit is a big question mark right now.
19) Kony Ealy, OLB/DE, Missouri The question with Ealy is not whether or not he can rush the passer, it’s how frequently he’ll be able to do it. On tape, Ealy has a few plays per game where he flashes the potential to be a premier edge player, but he disappears for long stretches at a time. If he can become a more consistent player, Ealy will post big numbers at the next level, but he’s not the best player available at his position.
20) Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State Put on the tape of Robinson and you’ll be blown away by his
pass-catching ability. While he’s not at all willing to block defenders in the run game and can tend to get lazy on the backside, he’s one of the best receivers in the draft. Robinson goes down and catches low passes, runs great routes and is dangerous after the catch. He’s a first-round talent.
21) Anthony Barr, OLB/DE, UCLA Barr is the type of athlete that has the potential to become a star at the next level. However, he has no pass-rushing moves and is easily blocked in the run game. Barr isn’t experienced and has trouble making a consistent impact in games. He’ll make a
jaw-dropping play every now and again, but the edge player simply doesn’t have the skill set to dominate at the pro level.
22) Marqise Lee, WR, USC He may have some holes in his game, but Lee is a wideout capable of winning battles in man-to-man coverage in the NFL. He’s a bit undersized, has a history of injuries and his hands are inconsistent, but he’s a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands. He’ll need to improve his route-running skills and become sharper in and out of his breaks, but Lee can be productive
as soon as his rookie season.
23) Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State I see a lot of Dee Milliner when I watch Dennard, a grabby corner who is very physical with wide receivers. Dennard will get beat deep every now and again, but he’s a solid defensive back who doesn’t make many mistakes. He’ll do well in a scheme based around Cover 2 thanks to his instinctive play and willingness to
get his hands on wideouts.
24) Zack Martin, OG, Notre Dame Martin may have played offensive tackle in college, but he projects as a potential All-Pro caliber player at guard. He’ll need to prove he can move inside, but I have no doubt he’ll be able to blast open holes for running backs in any scheme. Martin is the best guard in this class, but falls down the draft board due to positional value.
25) Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech Amaro is a big, physical tight end who has strong hands and a large frame. He’s not the most athletic player on the board, but the Texas Tech standout makes up for it with superb receiving skills. Amaro runs like a receiver and catches like one too. While he’s not a tremendous run-blocker, he’s at least decent in that regard.
26) Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois It seems as though Ward plays much faster than his opponents, which is a result of his elite athleticism and instincts. Though Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch got a lot of credit for the team’s magical 2013, it was Ward’s play that propelled the Huskies into bowl season. He’ll need to improve his coverage skills, but the defender has the tools to be a first-year starter.
27) Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU Beckham is one of the most talented football players in the draft. He runs great routes, catches a high percentage of passes thrown his way and makes plays in the open field. Though he’s relatively small, Beckham gets off the line of scrimmage well and can line up anywhere on the field. He’ll be a productive offensive weapon for any team.
28) Kyle Van Noy, OLB/DE, BYU It’s tough to find a player who is more instinctive and impulsive than Van Noy. Though the linebacker reads his keys very quickly, he’s actually a very sloppy player and bites hard on fakes. That said, the BYU product is athletic and strong, so he’ll be a viable starter if he can just learn to be more disciplined. Van Noy’s quick-twitch tendencies make him a prospect worth developing.
29) Ra’Shede Hageman, DL, Minnesota If Hageman was more consistent, he’d be a highly-sought-after draft prospect. His combination of great size (6’6”, 310 pounds) and a phenomenal bull rush move make Hageman a player that can immediately shore up any team’s defensive line. He’ll need to
become more of a high-motor player if he’s going to make enough of an impact to start.
30) Jason Verrett, CB, Texas Christian Verrett is a very technically-sound corner, but he’s also one of the
fastest players in this year’s class. The defender is a bit undersized and could struggle against bigger NFL receivers, which is a legitimate concern. However, the Horned Frog excels in man-to-man coverage and rarely gives up big plays. He’s the kind of defensive back that won’t make any glaring errors.
31) Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State Another player whose draft stock benefits immensely from his athleticism, Shazier can do just about anything. He can succeed as an outside or an inside linebacker in most defensive fronts, which makes him a prospect that many defensive coordinators
would covet. With his tremendous speed, Shazier tracks down ballcarriers from behind, but the defender also has an array of pass rushing moves.
32) Louis Nix, DL, Notre Dame Nix is the type of player who will benefit immensely from a fresh
start. The defensive lineman had a poor ending to his career in South Bend, which hurt his draft stock, but this big-bodied nose tackle can play the zero technique for any ballclub at the next level. Nix is a rare defender who can control two gaps and his combination of size and leverage is second to none in this class.
33) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington Though he’s fallen out of favor with some NFL evaluators due to his off-the-field transgressions, Seferian-Jenkins can play. He was the top tight end going into the season and will be a game-changing pass-catcher at the next level. It’s easy to see the
tight end being a focal point of an NFL offense as soon as his second year in the league. He just needs to land in the right environment—a veteran-led locker room would benefit him greatly.
34) Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming Smith is one of the best quarterbacks in this year’s class. He can run well, makes great decisions with the ball and also excels at leading receivers to open space. He’s the right size for the position and his ability to make any throw will serve him well at the next level. Smith isn’t a potential franchise quarterback, but he could start for most teams in the league with a little mechanics-tweaking.
35) HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama While others are very high on Clinton-Dix, I struggle to see what the hype is all about. Granted, the safety has great size and athleticism, but his instincts aren’t fantastic and the defender doesn’t cover zone as well as many believe he does. Simply put
on the tape against Texas A&M and watch Mike Evans destroy Clinton-Dix’s deep-half coverage in Cover Two time and again. The safety struggles in such situations and isn’t a complete prospect.
36) Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss Moncrief’s combination of size and speed is hard to ignore. The wideout runs curls and fades well, which will allow him to make an impact at the “X” receiver position. Moncrief may not be the most well-rounded receiver available, but he excels at boxing out defenders and highpointing the football. He’ll find a way to win battles at the next level.
37) Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama Though he’s big and strong, Kouandjio is very unathletic. It’s easy to see him looking foolish against speed-rushers at the next level, as he struggles against edge players who dip their shoulders effectively. That said, the tackle is a true road-paver in the run game and projects out as a solid starter on the right side. Look for
Kounadjio to develop into a good enough pass blocker to survive in the NFL.
38) Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA Su’a-Filo is a versatile lineman who does just about everything well. He saw time at left tackle in 2013 due to a rash of injuries on UCLA’s offensive line, but succeeded there in a pinch. He’s the type of player who can execute just about any block while also having success in routine situations. He’d be higher on the board if he played a position more valuable than guard.
39) Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB/DE, Georgia Tech Attaochu’s repertoire of pass-rushing moves made him a player to watch in college. At the next level, he’ll need to be more of a factor in the run-game if he’s going to compete for decent playing time. That said, the former Yellow Jacket can beat offensive
linemen with speed and power moves, so don’t be surprised if he racks up a decent number of sacks as soon as his rookie season.
40) Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State He’s 6’5” and was the No. 1 receiver on a team that just won the BCS National Championship. Benjamin is a highly coveted draft prospect. That said, he’ll need to become a better route-runner and display softer hands if he wants to make an impact in the NFL. Of course, there’s no denying the advantage that Benjamin’s size affords him, but it’s tough to say whether or not he’s going to do much of anything with the skill set he currently possesses.
41) Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida Roberson was not only the best cornerback on his team, he may have been the best cornerback in the SEC. Combining good size with excellent coverage skills, Roberson can lock down most NFL receivers. He’s athletic enough to run with his assignment and excels in deep coverage. Roberson is a scheme-diverse corner that can immediately shore up any secondary.
42) Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona The best running back in this year’s class, Carey is a powerful runner who jukes well. While he’s not the next Adrian Peterson, Carey reads his blocks well and has excellent ballcarrier vision. From there, his elusiveness is very impressive and the running back’s downhill style of running punishes opposing defenses. He’ll be a very solid rusher in whatever system he ends up in.
43) Trevor Reilly, OLB/DE, Utah Reilly is a strong defensive lineman who moves well for a man of his size. He leverages run plays well, but his biggest impact comes on passing downs. Reilly employs a number of different moves on the outside, but it’s his excellent footwork and phenomenal instincts that make him a draftable commodity. He’s not the best tackler in space, but he’s quick off the edge.
44) Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State Both versatile and productive, Adams hauled in 131 catches, 1,718 yards receiving and an NCAA-leading 24 touchdowns during a tremendous 2013 season. Adams simply finds a way to get into the end zone, which bodes well for him at the next level. The wideout may not have the elite speed that some of his peers possess, but he’s one of the most skilled receivers in this year’s class.
45) Scott Crichton, OLB/DE, Oregon State No defensive lineman in this year’s class uses his hands better than Crichton does. While it’s tough to say whether or not he’ll be able to stand up and play outside linebacker, Crichton battles offensive tackles and sheds blocks well. He rarely gives up
containment on outside run plays, which is a desirable trait in the
speed-oriented NFL, but Crichton also applies great pressure on pass plays.
46) Tre Mason, RB, Auburn Mason’s production speaks for itself. He put up 304 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in the SEC Championship against Missouri. While his skill set isn’t comparable to that of other rushers in this class, Mason simply racks up yards and makes plays. There’s no arguing with the rusher’s gaudy totals, especially in the SEC.
47) Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame Another athletic tight end, Niklas runs great routes and is a good enough runner to accumulate yards after the catch. Niklas would be a lot higher on the board if his hands were more consistent, but he’s still a good enough player to garner consideration on the second day of the draft. The pass-catching TE will need to catch more of his targets if he’s going to be a starter at the next level.
48) Shayne Skov, LB, Stanford Skov is one of the most instinctive linebackers to come out of college football in recent years. Although he’s not the most athletic, Skov has the size and skill set to be an All-Pro linebacker if given the opportunity. A leader on one of the nation’s best defenses, Skov is the type of player that can start immediately on almost any team in the NFL. His ability to read opposing offenses will make him a valuable asset.
49) Carl Bradford, OLB/DE, Arizona State Most edge players get credit for their ability to rush the passer, but Bradford’s strength is against the run. Frequently, he blows up run plays and makes tackles for a loss. He’ll need to become a more effective pass-rusher if he’s going to end up being a difference-maker at the next level, but he’s certainly worthy of a draft pick for any team that struggled against the run in 2013.
50) Craig Loston, S, LSU A hard-hitting safety who can run and cover, Loston does struggle with occasional lapses in focus and takes poor angles. Otherwise, he’s a complete defender who can develop into one of the league’s top safeties. Loston is extremely athletic, but he’s also willing to lay the wood on a ballcarrier. Though he’s not a perfect prospect, the LSU product is a very solid defensive back that can compete for a starting spot early on.
51) Stephon Tuitt, DL, Notre Dame Tuitt may not be the safest player in this class, but teams can do worse than gambling on this strong defensive lineman. Though he’s not shown much on film, Tuitt is capable of stonewalling running backs and bull-rushing offensive linemen. He’ll need to stay on the field, which could be a challenge (considering his pattern of injuries), but there is no denying this lineman’s skill set.
52) Yawin Smallwood, LB, Connecticut Smallwood doesn’t necessarily ‘wow’ on film, but he’s a good enough linebacker to win battles in the open field. He’s not the most instinctive defender available, which is usually a death sentence for a player at Smallwood’s position, but the Husky makes up for it with good size and solid tackling ability. It’s tough to evaluate him too much on film, as he didn’t play against top-notch competition on a consistent basis, but the linebacker has good footwork and acceptable size.
53) Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State A combination of a dubious injury history and a poor final season has dogged Roby, who is one of the most athletic cornerbacks in the draft. Roby has the length and speed to have a chance against just about any receiver in the game. He can run with deep routes and excels at breaking up quick passes. He’ll be a solid No. 2 cornerback as soon as he enters the league.
54) Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson Though he lined up on the other side of Sammy Watkins, Bryant still saw his fair share of targets. Over the course of his final season, the pass-catcher proved that he’s a lethal deep threat capable of burning cornerbacks in man-to-man coverage. That said, he’s a bit inconsistent and will need to prove he can do more than beat defenses over the top.
55) Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas Swanson is the kind of the leader that any NFL team would be comfortable starting at center. He started 50 games in college and was his team’s captain twice. In terms of his playing ability, the center is an efficient blocker who has quick hands and good
balance. He’ll need to add bulk, but the interior lineman plays much stronger than his build.
56) A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama McCarron was a lot higher on this board before his performance against Oklahoma, but even after the poor ending to the quarterback’s career, it’s hard to ignore his impressive body of work. McCarron has decent accuracy and was one of the best decision-making quarterbacks in the history of college football. He could end up being a franchise quarterback.
57) Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska NFL receivers are becoming bigger and faster, so it’s no surprise that cornerbacks like Jean-Baptiste are finding spots on rosters at the next level. The defender utilizes his length and athleticism to shadow wideouts and could develop into a star in the right scheme. Right away, he’ll be a proficient defensive back in
man-to-man coverage as he learns the game.
58) Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt Matthews is a prototypical “X” receiver. He can run excellent curl and fade routes, is strong at the catch point and rarely gets jammed. While he may not end up dominating corners and demanding safety help over the top, he can certainly split out wide and be serviceable. Matthews has the size and ball skills to be effective.
59) Brandin Cooks, WR, Oklahoma State One of college football’s most productive receivers, Cooks put up an unfathomable 1,730 yards receiving in 2013. He’ll be a deadly slot receiver, but it’s tough to know just how high Cooks’ ceiling is. At the worst, the wideout will be a solid No. 3 option on any ballclub and can produce in the slot. The Cowboy runs routes as well as any of his peers, but he also rarely drops passes.
60) Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia Moses would be higher on the board if he were more consistent, but the tackle has shown flashes of potential greatness at the next level. The tackle will need to become more of a knee-bender, but he’s athletic enough to succeed on the left side of the line for an extended period of time. This Cavalier grades out well as a pass blocker, but needs to play with more leverage in the run game.
61) Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State Bucannon is a missile in the open field, imposing his will on many unsuspecting receivers. He’ll fit in perfectly on any NFL roster, as his toughness and coverage skills are coveted qualities in a safety. He’s not the most athletic, but the former Cougar makes up for it with good size and above average footwork. Bucannon would be deadly as the ‘Robber’ in underneath hook-to-curl coverage in Cover 1.
62) Demarcus Lawrence, OLB/DE, Boise State A high-motor player in this year’s class, Lawrence has a knack for
beating offensive tackles off the ball and getting into the backfield.
However, the former Bronco struggles with leverage and can get caught upfield. Though he’s instinctive, quick and a good tackler, Lawrence takes himself out of plays far too often to be a legitimate starter in his first season.
63) David Yankey, OG, Stanford To the former Cardinal’s credit, Stanford used Yankey in such a variety of ways that it’s easy to form a full scouting report on the guard. Yankey pulls well, getting up to the second level quickly and blocking adequately in space. He’s a good enough pass-blocker to survive at the next level and should be able to stick on an NFL roster. Yankey is athletic enough to make some plays that other guards in the class can’t make.
64) Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia Lynch had a good day at the Scouting Combine, looking like a top
prospect during positional drills. Quite possibly the best run-blocking tight end in the class, Lynch also catches the ball well and runs solid routes. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for in being a physical mauler and a prolific receiver. This tight end is the type of player who could end up being a ‘quarterback’s best friend’ at the next level.
65) Antonio “Tiny” Richardson, OT, Tennessee Better known as the guy who gave up Jadeveon Clowney’s game-winning strip sack in 2012, Richardson is actually a very efficient blocker who has the length to recover when beat off
the ball. Though he struggles to get low and drive out defenders in the run game, Richardson can develop into a very good pass-blocker at the next level.
66) Dominique Easley, DL, Florida Easley went into the 2013 season as one of college football’s better defensive linemen, but an ACL injury sidelined him during the season. For a team willing to take a chance on the former Gator’s recovery, Easley could bring a skill set worthy of first-round consideration. That said, injury-prone defensive linemen aren’t exactly in high demand.
67) Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin Though there are concerns about his lack of height at 5’11”, Borland can play. He’ll have to overcome a less-than-conventional frame and a lack of athleticism, but the defender’s instincts and tackling ability make him an intriguing prospect. Borland is a
safe pick in that his floor and ceiling are the same; he’ll be a decent linebacker in the future.
68) Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU Landry posted poor numbers at the Scouting Combine and wasn’t even the best wide receiver on his own team. Some will ask how he’s even ranked 68th on a Big Board. However, Landry has a projectable skill set that will make him a decent No. 2 from the onset of his rookie year. He’s not going to be a No. 1 receiver, but Landry is the type of ‘glue’ player that every team needs outside of the numbers.
69) Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State As strong as he is, Jackson has a tough time against speedy interior linemen. In the run game, Jackson frequently beats his man with a combination of leverage and brute force. I like the base that Jackson plays with, but he falls down the board because he struggles to stonewall speed rushers. He might get exposed by some of the league’s quicker defensive linemen in the pass game.
70) Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State The biggest question with Joyner is whether he’s a cornerback or a safety. Though he’s 5’8” and weighs less than 200 pounds, Joyner plays with the physicality and intensity of some of the game’s better safeties. Whichever position he ends up playing, the former Seminole will make an impact with his toughness, soft hands and good backpedaling skills.
71) Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford Reynolds is the type of safety who will get exponentially better over the course of his NFL career. Though he has poor recognition skills and can get caught inside on run plays to the sideline, the Stanford defender is a good hitter and has solid footwork. Look for Reynolds to fight for playing time over his first few seasons but eventually develop into a decent starter.
72) Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor Though he has the frame to develop into an elite guard, Richardson struggles with many things that are second nature to other players at his position. The former Bear is a poor blocker in space who loses his footing often. He has trouble getting good angles on blocks and while he’s a mauler in the run game when he locks on to a defender, such is a rare occurrence.
73) Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech Fuller’s stellar play in off-man coverage makes him a prospect worthy of consideration, but he has a lot of room for improvement. He’s susceptible to double moves and often looks lost in zone coverage. The former Hokie is a scheme-specific type of player
who will fit well in a man-based defense that gives him safety help.
74) Jackson Jeffcoat, OLB/DE, Texas After a disappointing 2013 season, Jeffcoat failed to inspire scouts who previously thought he was the type of player that can develop into an elite pass-rusher. He’s very inconsistent. At times, the former Texas DE displays explosiveness off the line of scrimmage and uses his hands well. Jeffcoat’s repertoire of pass-rushing moves make him the type of player that is worth a flyer in the middle rounds of the draft.
75) Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois While I don’t necessarily like the Tony Romo comparisons that Garoppolo draws (largely due to the fact that both quarterbacks attended Eastern Illinois University), the signal caller has good enough accuracy and decision-making skills to succeed at the
next level. He’s not a franchise quarterback, but can be a good starter at the position. Garoppolo’s lack of big-game experience is a concern and he hasn’t shown the ability to make every NFL throw.
76) Trent Murphy, OLB/DE, Stanford The type of edge player who can stuff the run, Murphy has great
leverage and blows up running plays in the backfield. While he’s not the most explosive and certainly won’t dominate as a pass rusher, this former Stanford standout holds his ground well and won’t get driven out of his gap. Long-term, Murphy’s game could emulate that of Anthony Spencer.
77) Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood A relative unknown going into the draft process, this Lindenwood defensive back has turned heads over the last few months. Desir had a fantastic week at the Senior Bowl and did what he had to do at the Scouting Combine, running in the 4.5’s and checking in at over six feet tall. He’s a long corner that can lock onto wide receivers in man-to-man coverage. He’ll be successful against pro receivers.
78) Caraun Reid, DL, Princeton A truly disruptive defensive lineman, Reid dominated the Ivy League and should continue to cause fits for offensive coordinators in the NFL. The Princeton standout is a well-built, 300-pound lineman who has the athleticism to compete with NFL guards immediately. Some are concerned that Reid didn’t
play against great competition in college, but he’s an explosive pass rusher capable of making an immediate impact.
79) Telvin Smith, LB, Florida State Though he doesn’t meet the prototypical size requirement for an inside linebacker, Smith is a sideline-to-sideline defender who will make plays all over the field. The former Seminole usually sheds blocks well, but when he doesn’t, his lack of strength is evident. He may be able to play strong safety at the next level, as he covers zone well.
80) Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor Seastrunk is the type of change-of-pace running back that evaluators can fall in love with. He has elite speed, possesses great moves in the open field and isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder. Unfortunately, Seastrunk’s 4.51 40-yard dash didn’t back up his tape and the rusher has trouble staying on the field. If he can stay healthy, look for Seastrunk to be a true steal.
81) Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee The best third-tier tackle on the board, James has the frame and length that evaluators look for in blue-chip offensive linemen. But he’s not very athletic and can lose his footing quite easily. The former Volunteer is the type of player who can develop into a decent starter with coaching, but he’ll immediately provide
good depth as a swing tackle.
82) Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin One of the more intriguing prospects at wide receiver in this year’s class, Abbrederis will have to overcome an extensive injury history if he’s going to be a worthwhile receiver. The former Badger is laterally quick, but lacks the size that many other receivers with his skill set possess. He could end up getting neutralized at the line of scrimmage.
83) Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU Mettenberger isn’t going to be a franchise quarterback, but he does have the skill set to win a big game or two. Coming off major knee surgery, the former Tiger will need to prove himself again at the pro level. But his arm strength is great and the signal caller has a killer instinct on third down. He struggles with accuracy, which will hamper him in the NFL.
84) Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State With a low center of gravity and excellent balance, Hyde shakes off would-be tacklers and rips off big gains. While he’s agile, he lacks straight-line speed and plays a position that isn’t as important as it once was. Hyde isn’t going to beat any defensive backs in a foot race and his go-to moves aren’t that much better than those of an average NFL rusher. He’ll be a productive player at the next level, but doesn’t do one thing
consistently well enough to be a star.
85) Kelcy Quarles, DL, South Carolina Quarles plays with poor leverage and is constantly driven back in the run game, but he’s able to get off the ball well and excels in rushing the passer. The former Gamecock vacates his gap way too much to be considered a top prospect. That said, he has the size and athleticism to be an intriguing developmental player.
86) Jordan Zumwalt, LB, UCLA Zumwalt is one of the most technically sound tacklers I’ve ever studied on tape. He won’t miss many tackles in the open field. That said, he doesn’t do much else and could struggle against iso-type runs. The UCLA product is a good athlete who can be a consistent, but not flashy player. Zumwalt will need to become better in pass coverage or else he risks becoming a two-down
87) Will Sutton, DL, Arizona State On his best day, Sutton is a disruptive defensive lineman who lives in the backfield. Unfortunately, every day is not Sutton’s ‘best day’ and he struggles with consistency. Sutton’s size is also a concern and it’s tough to project him to the next level, despite his collegiate success. The defender will need to use his strength more if he’s going to win battles in the trenches.
88) C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa One of the most boring players in the draft, Fiedorowicz simply carries out his assignments well and does nothing more. He’s a great run-blocker and catches a lot of passes, but isn’t going to do much after the catch and he looks lost in the open field. What you see is what you get with Fiedorowicz. His size and consistency will get him drafted.
89) Lamin Barrow, LB, LSU Barrow was LSU’s C.J. Mosley, a thumper in the run game who occasionally made plays in coverage. The former Tiger will need to become a more complete linebacker if he wants to stay on
the field on third down. He’s strong, but he’s not enough of a playmaker to warrant a high pick. If Barrow was a quicker, more agile defender, he’d compete for a starting spot in his rookie season, but he’s currently worse than the average middle linebacker in the NFL.
90) Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida Purifoy was generating a lot of buzz one year ago, but has fallen down draft boards. A pattern of inconsistent play is hard to ignore, but Purifoy is still a physical specimen capable of covering NFL receivers right now. If he can utilize his athleticism and work on staying focused, the corner will be a steal. If not, however, Purifoy is the type of corner who can get abused by savvy receivers and double moves.
91) Christian Jones, LB, Florida State One of the most versatile players in the draft, Jones combines athleticism with size. His best fit is at inside linebacker, where he’ll tackle in space and cover zone well. Jones relies on his instincts, but his instincts aren’t very good, which can sometimes lead to the former Florida State defender vacating his responsibility and
losing track of the play. He’ll need some coaching if he’s going to
contribute at the next level.
92) Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington Sankey is a good, but not stellar RB who will bring a rare blend of
physicality and agility to an NFL offense. While he’s not very elusive, Sankey is a good juker who isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and move the chains. He’s not going to do more than he’s supposed to, but the Washington product is capable of racking up touches and grinding out yardage.
93) DaQuan Jones, DL, Penn State Jones has the tools to be a solid player at the next level, but he still has a long way to go from a football standpoint. The defensive lineman needs to get better at utilizing his leverage and not getting caught up in the trenches. Multiple times on tape, running backs ran through Jones’ gap while the defender was being blocked out. Jones will need to stand his ground more in the run game if he’s going to start in the NFL.
94) Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado While the receiver has tremendous route running skills, his hands are too inconsistent for him to be a top target at the next level. He frequently burns his man off the line, runs excellent ‘double move’ routes or simply finds an open space in the defense. But there are times in which he can’t capitalize because he doesn’t catch the ball well. He can develop into a solid No. 2 option.
95) Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State Brooks is an athletic, hard-hitting safety who can make plays in coverage. He isn’t terribly instinctive and could stand to add some weight, but the defensive back should fight for a job in training camp. A team would be wise to take a chance on this defender in the late rounds, as he’ll provide depth and big-game experience in the defensive backfield.
96) Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State This Colorado State product is actually a very solid player, but he’s a bit limited in what he can do. I have serious reservations about Richburg’s ability to play center (he’s probably going to end up as a guard) and he’s likely not going to be a starter in his first season. Still, he’s a talented lineman worth a look if a team needs an extra player up front; Richburg is a decent run blocker who can hold his own against most defensive linemen. He’s not going to dominate anyone.
97) Andre Williams, RB, Boston College Williams doesn’t have breakaway speed, but that’s not his game. The running back pulverizes defenders at every level and can employ a deadly stiff-arm in the open field. He’s the type of short-yardage rusher who can help move the chains. He could end up being very successful on a team that has solid guards; he’ll do well in any system that employs a lot of play action.
98) Anthony Steen, OG, Alabama Steen is a good enough run blocker to warrant a selection in the third or fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft, but he’s not going to win many battles,in pass protection. The Alabama product will make his living on inside run plays. He’ll be a mainstay in an NFL lineup, as he’s taken on some of college football’s best competition and held his own.
99) Jack Mewhort, OT, Ohio State Mewhort doesn’t have great feet and can get beat off the ball every now and again, but he’s a solid run blocker with a big frame. The former Buckeye projects as a serviceable, consistent right tackle. He’s the type of player who can be an average starter at the position for a while, but he’s certainly not going to be a
cornerstone player.
100) Dakota Dozier, OG, Furman A small school prospect, Dozier is strong and powerful. He can
outmuscle NFL defensive linemen as soon as he enters the league. Dozier is a brute force in the run game and deserves a look in the middle rounds. He can provide interior depth in the trenches. Dozier isn’t the easiest prospect to evaluate, as he hasn’t done much against NFL-caliber defensive linemen. That said, if his domination at the lower levels is any indication, the guard will be just fine.