The 2014 NFL Draft, which is slated to begin on May 8th, is quickly approaching. With the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine in the books, draft boards are almost in their final stages.
Pre-draft visits to prospective teams are all that is left for the NFL hopefuls, as the draft is just under four weeks away. In this second version of his PewterReport.com Big Board, draft analyst Eric Dellaratta outlines the top 32 prospects eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Keep in mind this is not a mock draft nor a reflection where each player will be drafted. Instead, this is a list of the players PewterReport.com believes are the top 32 players prospects in the draft.
1. DE Jadeveon Clowney – South Carolina – 6-6, 270 – Junior
Still a monster. Elite prospect with incredible athleticism, strength, and pass-rushing skill. He’ll only get better with more experience. 2. WR Sammy Watkins – Clemson – 6-1, 205 – Junior
Electric playmaker with outstanding hands. Oozes of raw talent with tremendous deep speed. Should end up a top-5 selection. 3. QB Teddy Bridgewater – Louisville – 6-3, 205 – Junior
Smart pocket passer that reads defenses effectively. Great accuracy and touch. Not many concerns other than his somewhat limited physical attributes. 4. OLB Khalil Mack – Buffalo – 6-3, 248 – Senior
Versatile, athletic pass-rusher with an excellent motor. Extremely productive college career. Will fit in both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses. 5. OT Greg Robinson – Auburn – 6-5, 320 – Junior
Devastating run blocker with incredible strength. Still a raw prospect, especially in pass protection, but the sky is the limit because of his physical traits. 6. OT Jake Matthews – Texas A&M – 6-5, 305 – Senior
Extremely versatile, NFL-ready offensive lineman with tremendous strength and a great deal of experience. Still has some footwork technique to work on.
7. DT Aaron Donald – Pittsburgh – 6-0, 288 – Senior
Biggest draft riser in the 2014 draft class. Outstanding pass-rushing defensive tackle with great strength and a never-ending motor and great swim move.8. WR Mike Evans – Texas A&M – 6-5, 225 – Junior
Monstrous target thrives in contested situations. Has sneaky, build-up speed and is very physical. Doesn’t separate consistently but he doesn’t have to. Comes down with almost every pass. 9. MLB C.J. Mosley – Alabama – 6-2, 232 – Senior
Versatile linebacker with very good instincts and sideline-to-sideline ability. Plug-and-play starting linebacker at the NFL level in 3-4 or 4-3 defensive schemes. 10. QB Blake Bortles – Central Florida – 6-5, 232 - Junior
Has all of the tools to be great in time. Excellent size and can make all of the throws. Needs to complete his game by playing more consistently. A bit of a project.11. CB Darqueze Dennard – Michigan State – 5-11, 199 – Senior
Physical press corner that is a perfect fit for man coverage defenses. Performed extremely well in 2013 and was a playmaker for the Spartans. 12. CB Justin Gilbert – Oklahoma State – 6-0, 202 – Senior
Physically gifted cornerback with great ball skills. Has more upside than Dennard but is still a bit raw at this stage. Also has the talent to return kicks.13. QB Johnny Manziel – Texas A&M – 6-0, 207 – Sophomore
Scrambler with undeniable play-making and improvisational ability. His decision-making and anticipation will need to improve. Some questions about his ego.14. DT Timmy Jernigan – Florida State – 6-2, 299 – Junior
Disruptive interior defensive lineman with a great motor. Can fit as a three or one-technique in a 4-3 base defense. Second-best DT behind Donald.15. OLB Anthony Barr – UCLA – 6-5, 255 – Junior
Athletic, speedy pass-rusher with valuable physical tools. Has experience in a 3-4 defense under his belt. Somewhat of a liability in run defense. 16. SS HaHa Clinton-Dix – Alabama – 6-1, 208 – Junior
Rangy safety with big-time play-making ability. The top safety in the draft class and is worth a top-25 selection. Played for several national championship teams.17. WR Odell Beckham Jr. – LSU – 5-11, 198 – Junior
Play-making receiver with can start right away in an NFL offense. Freakish athlete with outstanding hands. Has great speed and plenty of upside.18. DT Louis Nix – Notre Dame – 6-2, 331 – Junior
Massive nose tackle with surprising athletic ability. Requires a double-team and offers some pass-rushing ability at 331 pounds. 19. OT Taylor Lewan – Michigan – 6-7, 309 – Senior
Aggressive run blocker with great size. Strength makes up for sub-par athleticism. Might be better suited for right tackle rather than left.20. TE Eric Ebron – North Carolina – 6-4, 250 – Junior
Size-speed receiving tight end with some blocking skills. Somewhat overrated but has tremendous upside. Needs to be more consistent catching the ball.21. OLB Ryan Shazier – Ohio State – 6-1, 237 – Junior
Extremely athletic linebacker that is always around the football. Sure-fire tackler with great instincts. Lavonte David comparisons are not far off. 22. DT Rashede Hageman – Minnesota – 6-6, 310 – Senior
Athletic, versatile interior defensive lineman that can fit in multiple fronts. Somewhat streaky but can be dominant when he’s on. His stock is rising. 23. OL Zack Martin – Notre Dame – 6-4, 308 – Senior
Stout offensive lineman that can play multiple offensive line positions. Versatility will improve his draft stock. Could be a good NFL tackle, but a great guard.24. QB Derek Carr – Fresno State – 6-2, 214 – Senior
Accurate passer that has the arm needed to make all of the throws. Needs improvement in the pocket and with footwork. Has great character and experience.25. WR Brandin Cooks – Oregon State – 5-10, 189 – Junior
One of the bigger risers throughout the pre-draft process. Electric with the ball in his hands. Should make an instant impact offensively and in the return game. 26. DE Stephon Tuitt – Notre Dame – 6-6, 304 – Junior
Versatile defensive lineman with great size and strength. Possesses deceptive quickness and speed. Versatility will help his draft stock greatly.27. WR Kelvin Benjamin – Florida State – 6-5, 240 – Sophomore
Mammoth receiver with an excellent catch radius. Will need to eliminate drops and improve his route-running. Has good, but not great speed.28. QB Marqise Lee – USC – 6-0, 192 – Junior
Speedy receiver that attacks defenses with deep routes. Lacks elite qualities outside of speed but should make early impact. Could slide into the second round.29. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Washington – 6-6, 272 – Junior
Complete tight end that can catch and block. Ideal size and athleticism for an in-line tight end. Great size makes him an ideal red zone threat. Does have off-field concerns. 30. DT Dominique Easley – Florida – 6-2, 288 – Senior
Suffered an ACL injury in 2013. Would have been a sure-fire first-round pick, but stock is back on the rise. Extremely quick off of the snap. Disruptive against the run and pass. 31. TE Jace Amaro – Texas Tech – 6-5, 265 – Junior
Great size and athleticism for the tight end position. Not a finished a product and will need work as a blocker. Could be an ideal slot Y receiver or H-back.32. FS Jimmie Ward – Northern Illinois – 5-11, 193 – Senior
Productive and instinctive safety that could rise as the draft nears. Excellent athleticism makes up for his below-average size for the position. Notable absences: Missouri DE Kony Ealy and Auburn DE Dee Ford.
Ealy is a height-weight-speed prospect with upside that could be drafted in the first round, but he lacks refined pass-rushing skills, which keeps him out of this board's top 32 picks. Ford is a fast, undersized edge rusher in a 4-3 defense who struggles in run defense. His speed makes him a one-trick pony as a pass rusher at this stage of his career.
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