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2014 NFL DRAFT FIRST ROUND WINNERS AND LOSERS: 3 TEAMS I LIKED AND 3 I DIDN’T LIKE

The 2014 NFL Draft began last night with the first round. There were plenty of great moves and a number of bad ones to go with all of the surprises. Some teams did amazing, while others fell flat when they got their turn in the spotlight. Here are three teams that I liked from last night’s first round action and three I didn’t like.

THREE TEAMS I LIKED

1.  St. Louis Rams – The Rams had the best first round of any team in my opinion landing two of the top ten prospects in the draft and instantly becoming a more intimidating team in the trenches. With the 2nd-overall pick they chose to remedy their offensive tackle issues by drafting massive Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson, a prospect many feel could have the highest ceiling of anyone not named Clowney. Their current left tackle Jake Long is recovering from a torn ACL and has seen his play take a dip the past few years making Robinson at the very least Long’s heir apparent. Right tackle Roger Saffold was resigned, but can’t stay healthy and played a lot better when he was moved inside to guard last season. Robinson can play either of those spots. However, reports from draft night have the Rams playing Robinson inside at left guard to start, although those plans could change quickly with the health issues of the other offensive tackles on the roster. Then with the 13th selection, the Rams had the NFL Scouting Combine MVP defensive tackle Aaron Donald fall into their laps. Massively underrated to start the draft process, Donald blew scouts, analysts and front offices away with his performances throughout this off-season, which caused them to go back to the game tape where they were able to see a dominant interior defensive lineman. The Rams now boast arguably the scariest defensive line in the NFL with four first round picks in Robert Quinn, Chris Long, Michael Brockers and now Donald. Yikes. Great Job St. Louis!

2.  Cleveland Browns – The Browns were arguably the story of the 2014 NFL Draft’s first round. New General Manager Ray Farmer moved all over the board by making three trades and in turn he landed arguably the top corner prospect in Justin Gilbert with the 8th-overall pick and then of course he got their new franchise quarterback Johnny Manziel with the 22nd selection, while also landing Buffalo’s first-round pick in 2015 in the process, which could easily be a top ten pick considering the Bills’ recent history. Farmer not only landed two pretty good players at two of their top areas of need, but also gave new Head Coach Mike Pettine the player he really wanted, while giving owner Jimmy Haslam the guy he wanted. Ray Farmer was the MVP of the first round.

3.  Minnesota Vikings – A year after landing three first round picks (Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson) in the 2013 NFL Draft, Vikings GM Rick Spielman was able to secure another two first-rounders this year. He would move down a spot to the 9th overall pick to land pass-rusher Anthony Barr and an extra 5th round selection, while making his big move at the end of the night by sending his 40th overall draft choice and just a 4th rounder to Seattle to get the final pick of the round (32nd) to obtain their new franchise quarterback, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings had to get a new signal-caller this year after last season’s disastrous quarterback situation and Bridgewater, who is arguably the top quarterback prospect in this draft, was fantastic value at the end of the first round and should form a great pairing with Adrian Peterson for years to come. It’s also worth mentioning that along with their two first-round picks this year and three last year, Spielman also drafted twice in the first round in 2012 landing Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith. That’s an incredible seven first round picks in the last three years.

Also liked: The Cincinnati Bengals got fantastic value and filled one their top needs by grabbing arguably the top rated corner in the draft in Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard.  Dennard has all the skills to be a top shutdown corner with the ability to play right away. The Bengals got a good one.

THREE TEAMS I DIDN’T LIKE

1.  San Francisco 49ers – What were the 49ers doing last night. They came into the draft with more ammo (draft picks) than any other team and more than they could ever need and yet they didn’t make any moves whatsoever to work their way up the first round from the 30th-overall pick, where they could’ve landed a real impact player that could’ve helped them immediately. They even had enough picks that they probably could’ve moved up to get into the first round to make a second selection. Yet they chose to remain at the 30th spot in the draft and slightly reach for Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward, who might have still been available into the mid-second round. They needed secondary help, but could’ve easily made a move to land either of the two top safety prospects, Calvin Pryor or HaHa Clinton-Dix or any of the top three corners.

2.  Philadelphia Eagles – Another really questionable move from last night was the Eagles drafting Louisville outside linebacker/defensive end Marcus Smith with the 26th-overall pick. Smith was by far the biggest reach of the night as he was projected to be a third round pick. He was the 89th ranked prospect on my draft board. There were a number of much higher rated players at the same position still on the board. Even though they were able to gain an extra third round pick by moving down from the 22nd pick to the 26th to take Smith, this was still a horrible value pick even if he fills a need on their roster. They very likely could’ve gotten him with their second round pick.

3.  Detroit Lions – A number of reports leading up to the draft had the Lions in love with North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron and I guess they were true as they quickly snagged him off the board with 10th-overall pick. But why. The Lions have two solid playmaking tight ends in Brandon Pettigrew, who they just resigned and last year’s rookie Joseph Fauria, who became a pretty dangerous red-zone threat for them. They didn’t need a tight end and while they did need to add another wide receiver to the mix, this is an incredibly deep draft at that position and they could’ve got one later. There are also a ton of questions about Ebron to go with the fact that he doesn’t block at all. They needed a lot more help on the defensive side of the ball than they do on their already explosive offense. This was not a smart pick.

Also didn’t like: The Tennessee Titans selecting talented left tackle Taylor Lewan, even though they don’t have a spot at all in their starting lineup for him. They still have Michael Roos at left tackle, who is pretty good and just signed free agent right tackle Michael Oher to a four-year deal, while they are set at guard with last year’s first round pick Chance Warmack and Andy LeVitre, who they signed to a big deal just last off-season. Lewan is not a center. The Titans are not good enough to take a luxury pick at this point in the draft.

 

Written By: Mark Scott

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2014 NFL DRAFT FINAL BIG BOARD TOP 100 PROSPECTS (POSITION BY POSITION)

The 2014 NFL Draft is finally here and goes down tomorrow night. The intrigue is at an all-time high as the clock ticks closer to the start of the draft with every pick including the first overall selection seemingly up in the air. All of the workouts are in the books, all of the interviews have been conducted and all of the game tape has been watched. Teams and analysts have their draft boards completed and ready to go for Thursday night. Anything can happen and anything will at the NFL Draft. It all takes place May 8-10 in New York City at Radio City Music Hall with the action beginning at 8 pm ET. Here is my updated 2014 NFL Draft Big Board:

*Position Rank/Name/School/Previous BB Ranking/New Overall Ranking

 

OFFENSE

 

QUARTERBACKS

1.  Blake Bortles, Central Florida/7/new ranking: 9

2.  Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville/6/new ranking: 11

3.  Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M/15/new ranking: 15

4.  Derek Carr, Fresno State/28/new ranking: 25

5.  Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois/42/new ranking: 42

6.  A.J. McCarron, Alabama/59/new ranking: 47

7.  Zach Mettenberger, LSU/75/new ranking: 75

8.  Tom Savage, Pittsburgh/unranked/new ranking: 80

9.  Aaron Murray, Georgia

10.  Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

Dropped Out: Tajh Boyd/Clemson/92/new ranking: unranked

 

RUNNING BACKS

1.  Carlos Hyde, Ohio State/40/new ranking: 39

2.  Tre Mason, Auburn/55/new ranking: 51

3.  Bishop Sankey, Washington/71/new ranking: 54

4.  Jeremy Hill, LSU/64/new ranking: 65

5.  Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona/62/new ranking: 85

6.  Lache Seastrunk, Baylor/95/new ranking: 99

7.  De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon

8.  Andre Williams, Boston College

9.  Charles Sims, West Virginia

10.  Dri Archer, Kent State

                                                     

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

1.  Greg Robinson, Auburn/2/new ranking: 2

2.  Jake Matthews, Texas A&M/4/new ranking: 5

3.  Taylor Lewan, Michigan/6/new ranking: 6

4.  Zach Martin, Notre Dame/19/new ranking: 20

5.  Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama/36/new ranking: 33

6.  Morgan Moses, Virginia/41/new ranking: 38

7.  Ju’Wuan James, Tennessee/78/new ranking: 57

8.  Antonio Richardson, Tennessee/61/new ranking: 70

9.  Jack Mewhort, Ohio State/74/new ranking: 77

10.  Billy Turner, North Dakota State

 

OFFENSIVE GUARDS/CENTERS

1.  Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA/37/new ranking: 37

2.  Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State/53/new ranking: 53

3.  Joel Bitonio, Nevada/80/new ranking: 59

4.  David Yankey, Stanford/54/new ranking: 61

5.  (C) Weston Richburg, Colorado State/77/new ranking: 66

6.  (C) Marcus Martin, USC/50/new ranking: 72

7.  (C) Travis Swanson, Arkansas/97/new ranking: 88

8.  Brandon Thomas, Clemson/76/new ranking: 94

9.  Cyril Richardson, Baylor/79/new ranking: 95

10.  Dakota Dozier, Furman/unranked/new ranking: 96

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

1.  Sammy Watkins, Clemson/3/new ranking: 4

2.  Mike Evans, Texas A&M/8/new ranking: 7

3.  Odell Beckham Jr., LSU/25/new ranking: 21

4.  Marqise Lee, USC/17/new ranking: 22

5.  Brandin Cooks, Oregon State/24/new ranking: 24

6.  Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State/33/new ranking: 35

7.  Davante Adams, Fresno State/45/new ranking: 41

8.  Donte Moncrief, Mississippi/60/new ranking: 48

9.  Allen Robinson, Penn State/52/new ranking: 55

10.  Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt/48/new ranking: 56

11.  Jarvis Landry, LSU/57/new ranking: 62

12.  Paul Richardson, Colorado/72/new ranking: 74

13.  Cody Latimer, Indiana/unranked/new ranking: 50

14.  Martavis Bryant, Clemson/87/new ranking: 78

15.  Bruce Ellington, South Carolina/100/new ranking: 86

16.  Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin/99/new ranking: 90

17.  Brandon Coleman, Rutgers/unranked/92

Dropped Out: Robert Herron, Wyoming/98/new ranking: unranked

 

TIGHT ENDS

1.  Eric Ebron, North Carolina/11/new ranking: 10

2.  Jace Amaro, Texas Tech/38/new ranking: 43

3.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington/39/new ranking: 45

4.  Troy Niklas, Notre Dame/49/new ranking: 69

5.  C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa

6.  Crockett Gilmore, Colorado State

7.  Colt Lyerla, Oregon

8.  Marcel Jensen, Fresno State

9.  Jake Murphy, Utah

10.  Xavier Grimble, USC

 

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE ENDS

1.  Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina/1/new ranking: 1

2.  Kony Ealy, Missouri/27/new ranking: 28

3.  Dee Ford, Auburn/34/new ranking: 29

4.  Scott Crichton, Oregon State/47/new ranking: 52

5.  Trent Murphy, Stanford/56/new ranking: 71

6.  Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State/58/new ranking: 44

7.  Kareem Martin, North Carolina/ 65/new ranking: 73

8.  Marcus Smith, Louisville/84/new ranking: 89

9.  Chris Smith, Arkansas/94/new ranking: unranked

10.  Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

1.  Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh/14/new ranking: 8

2.  Timmy Jernigan, Florida State/20/new ranking: 23

3.  RaShede Hageman, Minnesota/26/new ranking: 26

4.  Louis Nix III, Notre Dame/23/new ranking: 27

5.  Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame/29/new ranking: 30

6.  Dominique Easley, Florida/31/new ranking: 31

7.  Will Sutton, Arizona State/68/new ranking: 76

8.  Da’Quan Jones, Penn State/66/new ranking: 82

9.  Ego Ferguson, LSU/82/new ranking: 87

10.  Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina/88/new ranking: 93

11.  Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech/unranked/new ranking: 100

Dropped Out: Anthony Johnson, LSU/86/new ranking: unranked

 

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

1.  Khalil Mack, Buffalo/5/new ranking: 3

2.  Anthony Barr, UCLA/9/new ranking: 14

3.  Ryan Shazier, Ohio State/22/new ranking: 19

4.  Kyle Van Noy, BYU/43/new ranking: 40

5.  Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech/63/new ranking: 60

6.  Telvin Smith, Florida State/89/new ranking: 81

7.  Carl Bradford, Arizona State/ 91/new ranking: 91

8.  Trevor Reilly, Utah/96/ new ranking: 97

9.  Adrian Hubbard, Alabama

10.  Christian Kirksey, Iowa

 

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

1.  C.J. Mosley, Alabama/13/new ranking: 13

2.  Chris Borland, Wisconsin/69/new ranking: 64

3.  Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut/90/new ranking: unranked

4.  Christian Jones, Florida State/93/new ranking: unranked

5.  Shayne Skov, Stanford

6.  Preston Brown, Louisville

7.  Max Bullough, Michigan State

8.  Lamin Barrow, LSU

9.  Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky

10.  Avery Williamson, Kentucky

 

CORNERBACKS

1.  Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State/12/new ranking: 12

2.  Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State/16/new ranking: 16

3.  Bradley Roby, Ohio State/30/new ranking: 32

4.  Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech/35/new ranking: 34

5.  Jason Verrett, TCU/32/new ranking: 36

6.  Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State/46/new ranking: 46

7.  Marcus Roberson, Florida/50/new ranking: 58

8.  Bashaud Breeland, Clemson/70/new ranking: 67

9.  Keith McGill, Utah/85/new ranking: 68

10.  Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska/81/new ranking: 79

11.  Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida/73/new ranking: 84

12.  Pierre Desir, Lindenwood/unranked/new ranking: 98

 

SAFETIES

1.  HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabama/18/new ranking: 17

2.  Calvin Pryor, Louisville/21/new ranking: 18

3.  Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois/44/new ranking: 49

4.  Deone Bucannon, Washington State/67/new ranking: 63

5.  Terrence Brooks, Florida State/ 83/new ranking: 83

6.  Ahmad Dixon, Baylor

7.  Dion Bailey, USC

8.  Ed Reynolds, Stanford

9.  Craig Loston, LSU

10.  Antone Exum, Virginia Tech

 

Written By: Mark Scott

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2014 NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD TOP 100 PROSPECTS (POSITION BY POSITION): POST-COMBINE

The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is in the books and every team and draft analyst has now had a chance to see the majority of prospects work out for the world to see. A number of the very top rated prospects like Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson and Sammy Watkins performed as expected and put on awesome displays of athleticism, while prospects like Taylor Lewan, Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Donald also excelled. In fact, Donald was the clear MVP and biggest riser of the event. Not everyone did well as prospects like Cyrus Kouandjio, Loucheiz Purifoy and Anthony Barr struggled during drills. Some prospects were able to rise up draft boards, while others fell. For those that struggled, Pro Days will be their final chance to audition for teams. All this leads up to the 2014 NFL Draft taking place on May 8-10 in New York City. Here is the updated 2014 NFL Big Board:

 

*Position Rank/Name/School/Previous BB Ranking/New Overall Ranking

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACKS

1.  Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville/4/new ranking: 6

2.  Blake Bortles, Central Florida/8/new ranking: 7

3.  Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M/11/new ranking: 15

4.  Derek Carr, Fresno State/25/new ranking: 28

5.  Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois/55/new ranking: 42

6.  A.J. McCarron, Alabama/73/new ranking: 59

7.  Zach Mettenberger, LSU/75/new ranking: 75

8.  Tajh Boyd, Clemson/86/new ranking: 92

9.  Aaron Murray, Georgia/T-100/new ranking: unranked

10.  Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

RUNNING BACKS

1.  Carlos Hyde, Ohio State/35/new ranking: 40

2.  Tre Mason, Auburn/52/new ranking: 55

3.  Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona/46/new ranking: 62

4.  Jeremy Hill, LSU/56/new ranking: 64

5.  Bishop Sankey, Washington/69/new ranking: 71

6.  Lache Seastrunk, Baylor/83/new ranking: 95

7.  De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon/97/new ranking: unranked

8.  Andre Williams, Boston College

9.  Charles Sims, West Virginia

10.  Dri Archer, Kent State                                                  

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

1.  Greg Robinson, Auburn/2/new ranking: 2

2.  Jake Matthews, Texas A&M/3/new ranking: 4

3.  Taylor Lewan, Michigan/10/new ranking: 6

4.  Zach Martin, Notre Dame/24/new ranking: 19

5.  Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama/18/new ranking: 36

6.  Morgan Moses, Virginia/48/new ranking: 41

7.  Antonio Richardson, Tennessee/50/new ranking: 61

8.  Jack Mewhort, Ohio State/72/new ranking: 74

9.  Ju’Wuan James, Tennessee/93/new ranking: 78

10.  Joel Bitonio, Nevada/unranked/new ranking: 80

Dropped out: James Hurst/UNC/94/new ranking: unranked

OFFENSIVE GUARDS/CENTERS

1.  Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA/45/new ranking: 37

2.  (C) Marcus Martin, USC/unranked/new ranking: 50

3.  Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State/59/new ranking: 53

4.  David Yankey, Stanford/49/new ranking: 54

5.  Brandon Thomas, Clemson/unranked/new ranking: 76

6.  (C) Weston Richburg, Colorado State/unranked/new ranking: 77

7.  Cyril Richardson, Baylor/54/new ranking: 79

8.  (C) Travis Swanson, Arkansas/79/new ranking: 97

9.  Anthony Steen, Alabama

10.  (C) Russell Bodine, North Carolina

WIDE RECEIVERS

1.  Sammy Watkins, Clemson/5/new ranking: 3

2.  Mike Evans, Texas A&M/13/new ranking: 8

3.  Marqise Lee, USC/14/new ranking: 17

4.  Brandin Cooks, Oregon State/43/new ranking: 24

5.  Odell Beckham Jr., LSU/34/new ranking: 25

6.  Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State/31/new ranking: 33

7.  Davante Adams, Fresno State/53/new ranking: 45

8.  Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt/41/new ranking: 48

9.  Allen Robinson, Penn State/39/new ranking: 52

10.  Jarvis Landry, LSU/57/new ranking: 57

11.  Donte Moncrief, Mississippi/unranked/new ranking: 60

12.  Paul Richardson, Colorado/63/new ranking: 72

13.  Martavis Bryant, Clemson/unranked/new ranking: 87

14.  Robert Herron, Wyoming/unranked/new ranking: 98

15.  Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin/84/new ranking: 99

16.  Bruce Ellington, South Carolina/unranked/new ranking: 100

Dropped Out: Brandon Coleman, Rutgers/95/new ranking: unranked

TIGHT ENDS

1.  Eric Ebron, North Carolina/12/new ranking: 11

2.  Jace Amaro, Texas Tech/26/new ranking: 38

3.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington/33/new ranking: 39

4.  Troy Niklas, Notre Dame/62/new ranking: 49

5.  C.J. Fiedorowicz/T-100/new ranking: unranked

6.  Crockett Gilmore, Colorado State

7.  Colt Lyerla, Oregon

8.  Marcel Jensen, Fresno State

9.  Jake Murphy, Utah

10.  Xavier Grimble, USC

 

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE ENDS

1.  Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina/1/new ranking: 1

2.  Kony Ealy, Missouri/21/new ranking: 27

3.  Dee Ford, Auburn/47/new ranking: 34

4.  Scott Crichton, Oregon State/42/new ranking: 47

5.  Trent Murphy, Stanford/44/new ranking: 56

6.  Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State/74/new ranking: 58

7.  Kareem Martin, North Carolina/unranked/new ranking: 65

8.  Marcus Smith, Louisville/80/new ranking: 84

9.  Chris Smith, Arkansas/82/new ranking: 94

10.  Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas/70/new ranking: unranked

Dropped Out: Michael Sam, Missouri/85/new ranking: unranked

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

1.  Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh/30/new ranking: 14

2.  Timmy Jernigan, Florida State/15/new ranking: 20

3.  Louis Nix III, Notre Dame/20/new ranking: 23

4.  RaShede Hageman, Minnesota/23/new ranking: 26

5.  Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame/22/new ranking: 29

6.  Dominique Easley, Florida/29/new ranking: 31

7.  Da’Quan Jones, Penn State/71/new ranking: 66

8.  Will Sutton, Arizona State/58/new ranking: 68

9.  Ego Ferguson, LSU/68/new ranking: 82

10.  Anthony Johnson, LSU/64/new ranking: 86

11.  Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina/66/new ranking: 88

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

1.  Khalil Mack, Buffalo/7/new ranking: 5

2.  Anthony Barr, UCLA/6/new ranking: 9

3.  Ryan Shazier, Ohio State/28/new ranking: 22

4.  Kyle Van Noy, BYU/37/new ranking: 43

5.  Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech/76/new ranking: 63

6.  Telvin Smith, Florida State/65/new ranking: 89

7.  Carl Bradford, Arizona State/unranked/new ranking: 91

8.  Trevor Reilly, Utah/67/new ranking: 96

9.  Adrian Hubbard, Alabama/98//new ranking: unranked

10.  Christian Kirksey, Iowa

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

1.  C.J. Mosley, Alabama/9/new ranking: 13

2.  Chris Borland, Wisconsin/90/new ranking: 69

3.  Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut/87/new ranking: 90

4.  Christian Jones, Florida State/77/new ranking: 93

5.  Shayne Skov, Stanford/78/new ranking: unranked

6.  Preston Brown, Louisville

7.  Max Bullough, Michigan State

8.  Lamin Barrow, LSU

9.  Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky

10.  Avery Williamson, Kentucky

CORNERBACKS

1.  Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State/19/new ranking: 12

2.  Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State/16/new ranking: 16

3.  Bradley Roby, Ohio State/36/new ranking: 30

4.  Jason Verrett, TCU/32/new ranking: 32

5.  Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech/60/new ranking: 35

6.  Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State/51/new ranking: 46

7.  Marcus Roberson, Florida/38/new ranking: 50

8.  Bashaud Breeland, Clemson/96/new ranking: 70

9.  Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida/40/new ranking: 73

10.  Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska/unranked/new ranking: 81

11.  Keith McGill, Utah/92/new ranking: 85

Dropped Out: Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma/61/new ranking: unranked, Terrance Mitchell, Oregon/81/new ranking: unranked, Pierre Desir, Lindenwood/99/new ranking: unranked

SAFETIES

1.  HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabama/17/new ranking: 18

2.  Calvin Pryor, Louisville/27/new ranking: 21

3.  Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois/91/new ranking: 44

4.  Deone Bucannon, Washington State/88/new ranking: 67

5.  Terrence Brooks, Florida State/unranked/new ranking: 83

6.  Ahmad Dixon, Baylor/89/new ranking: unranked

7.  Dion Bailey, USC

8.  Ed Reynolds, Stanford

9.  Craig Loston, LSU

10.  Antone Exum, Virginia Tech

 

Written By: Mark Scott

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2014 NFL SCOUTING COMBINE PRIMER

The 2014 NFL Scouting Combine is here and it will be the biggest one ever with over 330+ prospects at the event to compete in front of all 32 NFL teams. All the biggest names will be in attendance, Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel and Sammy Watkins will be in the house. The pressure will be on all of these prospects as the eyes of every coach, scout and front office guy in the NFL will be on them. A lot of money can be made or lost at the Combine as these prospects go head to head with one another.  As always there will be no shortage of storylines going on in Indy. Here are ten to watch.

1.  The Battle for the first overall pick

In most years there is usually a heavy favorite or two to be selected with the first overall pick, but the 2014 NFL Draft’s first selection owned by the Houston Texans is currently wide open as the NFL Scouting Combine is set to begin. Defensive End Jadeveon Clowney is the top prospect on almost every draft board and has been for the majority of the last two years and is considered by most to be an once in a decade type talent. Why isn’t he a clear favorite to go first overall then, well the Texans have a new head coach in place and a gaping hole at the quarterback position in a draft year that features a trio of signal-callers (Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel) ranked among the top 15 prospects with all three being predicted to come off the board within the first five picks in most experts’ mock drafts heading into the Combine. Those four aren’t the only prospects in the discussion as a pair of potential franchise left tackles Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are ranked right behind Clowney and ahead of all three quarterbacks on a number of draft boards. Robinson has been the fastest rising prospect since declaring for the NFL Draft after dominating the SEC as just a redshirt sophomore and helping lead Auburn to a National Championship. He’s an athletic freak with a ridiculously high ceiling and is expected to light it up at the Combine. Matthews meanwhile could have been a high draft selection last year, but chose to return to school for another year and in turn sat at the top of draft boards along with Clowney all season long. He’s not the athlete that Robinson is, but he is much further along in his development and possesses elite technique in pass protection and run-blocking. The performances on the field and in the interview rooms at the Combine will go a long way in determining which one of these prospects or another yet to emerge will be selected with the first overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft.

2.  Who will be the first quarterback chosen?

While the battle to be the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft is very intriguing, so is the one between the top three quarterback prospects (Bridgewater, Bortles and Manziel) to see which one will be the first to come off the board. They all rank among the top 15 prospects by most experts in one order or another with Bridgewater holding the slight edge over Bortles then Manziel in most cases. All three are also expected to be selected within the first ten picks, possibly even the top five with so many QB-needy teams drafting early and all are heavily in the discussion to be taken with the first overall pick. Bortles could gain an edge at the Combine over Bridgewater and Manziel as he is the only one of the three that is willing to step up and participate in the throwing drills, while the other two will wait until their pro days to throw in what will be scripted workouts.

3.  Tight Position Battles between Top Prospects

Every year there are close battles between prospects at every position to see which one will come off the board before all the others. This year is no different, except that a number of the battles will feature the very top prospects fighting it out to see which one will be the top player selected at his position. As mentioned above Bridgewater, Bortles and Manziel are neck to neck at the quarterback position, while Sammy Watkins holds an edge over Mike Evans and Marqise Lee at wide receiver and offensive tackles Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews are as closely ranked as any two prospects at the same position with Taylor Lewan and Cyrus Kouandjio lurking closely behind them. Eric Ebron has a lead over Jace Amaro at tight end while the running back and guard battles are wide open among the top five or six prospects at each position. On defense, Jadeveon Clowney is in his own world at defensive end, but so is C.J. Mosley at the inside linebacker position, perhaps even more so as the next ILB might not be selected until two round after him. There are however, three close head to head battles among prospects at outside linebacker, cornerback and safety to see who will be the first to be selected at his position. Outside linebackers Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack appear even heading into the Combine, while cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert are nearly as close. At safety, HaHa Clinton-Dix is currently holding an edge on the surging Calvin Pryor. Meanwhile, defensive tackle is arguably the most wide open of any position with every expert’s rankings appearing in a different order. Performances at the Combine could go a long way in determining who wins each of these position battles.

4.  What are the coaches saying?

Coaches always seem to be in a good mood at the Combine and because of it they seem to be more open to answering questions making the media session full of interesting tidbits about each team. The coaches often reveal what direction they may be looking with their first round draft pick, what prospects they’re interested in seeing, which free agents their team may want to resign or let test free agency and much more. The Combine is often times the most open and revealing that the coaches are all year.

5.  Meeting the Media

Prospects aren’t only put to the test by NFL teams on the field and in the interview room, but they all must go through the gauntlet that is the media session. Often times dealing with the media can be one of the toughest things an athlete has to deal with especially with the advances of social media. Most of these prospects have never had to really deal with the media before, let alone the hordes of journalists and reporters that will be drilling them with all kinds of questions from every direction at the Combine. These sessions with the media can often reveal a prospect’s real personality and character. Prospects that will have it tougher than others include Johnny Manziel, Michael Sam and Jadeveon Clowney.

6.  Who will impress at the Weigh-Ins?

Before any of the prospects put on a show on the field, they get weighed-in and measured for all to see. Each year whether it’s a mammoth 330lb. nose tackle or a 6’5”, 270lb. athletic freak, there are always a handful of prospects that stand out from the pack and blow coaches and scouts away just by the way they look. That’s not to say that the measurements aren’t that important because they are. The measurements of every prospect can’t be trusted until they get officially measured at the Combine. The majority of them actually tend to slightly shrink from what is listed on their school or team profiles. There are certain measurements that are more critical and important than others depending on the position. For Quarterbacks; height and hand size stand out, arm length for offensive tackles and cornerbacks, and height/weight for defensive ends and outside linebackers seem to be some of the more important measurements to be taken. The height and length of the cornerbacks appear to be what most scouts are intrigued with this year.

7.  Who will be the Workout Warriors?

Some of this year’s favorites to light it up at the Combine include highly ranked prospects like Clowney, Greg Robinson, Khalil Mack, Anthony Barr and Eric Ebron. Others to keep an eye on include Loucheiz Purifoy, Bradley Roby, Dee Ford and Seantreal Henderson. Outside of those names there is guaranteed to be someone nobody is talking about that puts on a show that gets everyone talking. As always it will be interesting to see which prospect’s performance sends him skyrocketing up draft boards.

8.  The 2014 Wide Receiver Class

This year’s crop of wide receivers is absolutely ridiculous in terms of the talent that is available. All season long analysts talked about how amazing the 2014 quarterback draft class was potentially going to be, but due to a few different circumstances it didn’t quite turn out like that or even come close while quietly the number of highly talented wide receivers entering the draft started to pile up. Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Marqise Lee headline this class as top 15 ranked prospects, but they could also be just three of a possible eight or nine that are selected in the first round. Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft had an astounding nine receivers coming off the board in round one. If these prospects can perform up to expectations at the Combine, this class has the makings of something potentially historic.

9.  Small School Flavour

Each year prospects from “small schools” with very little fan fare emerge at the Combine and move up draft boards when given the chance to put their skills and athletic abilities to the test right next to some of the more talked about and well-known players from the bigger programs. Of the 330+ prospects in Indy, 37 come from a non-FBS level program. The fast-rising Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois) headlines the list of “small school” prospects to watch after lighting it up at both the East-West Shrine game and the Senior Bowl. Behind him are a trio of ultra-productive running backs in Dri Archer (Kent State), Terrance West (Towson) and former Georgia Bulldog Isaiah Crowell (Alabama State). Garoppolo isn’t the only quarterback to keep an eye on as Jeff Matthews (Cornell) and Dustin Vaughn (West Texas A&M) are intriguing prospects as well. Some others to watch out for include WR Jeff Janis (Saginaw Valley), OL Billy Turner (North Dakota State), OL Dakota Dozier (Furman) and LB Tyler Starr (South Dakota). The prospect I recommend most however is CB Pierre Desir (Lindenwood) as he will attract a number of teams due to his size and length. The rise of Richard Sherman and other big corners over the last year or two should draw some eyes Desir’s way as he stands a reported 6’1” with 33 inch long arms. He isn’t just another big corner either as he happens to possess some very good game tape.

10.  The Medicals

Perhaps more so than any drill or interview, a prospect’s medical report at the Combine can make or break his draft stock. Whether it is a prospect trying to show he is fully or nearly recovered from an injury suffered over the last year or an unreported injury or health issue is discovered. The medical testing is arguably the most rigorous and nerve-racking test that every prospect has to go through at this event. A bad result can send a prospect’s stock spiraling down draft boards. This year a few prospects to keep an eye on in regards to the medicals are DT Dominique Easley/Florida, NT Louis Nix III/Notre Dame, QB Zach Mettenberger/LSU, QB Aaron Murray/Georgia, CB Kyle Fuller/Virginia Tech, RB Dri Archer/Kent State and CB Antone Exum/Virginia Tech.

Written By: Mark Scott

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2014 NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD TOP 100 PROSPECTS (POSITION BY POSITION): PRE-COMBINE

The 2014 NFL Draft is exceptionally deep this year with just as many talented prospects on both sides of the ball. On offense, wide receiver and offensive tackle are particularly stocked with talent, while on defense; cornerback and defensive tackle are the deepest positions. The top of the Big Board is headlined by Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Teddy Bridgewater and Sammy Watkins. There has been plenty of movement all season long with prospects rising and falling and there should be even more as the NFL Scouting Combine is upon us with Pro Days and individual private workouts with teams to follow. All this leads up to the 2014 NFL Draft taking place on May 8-10 in New York City. Here is the 2014 NFL Big Board:

*Position Rank/Name/School/Overall Rank

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACKS

1.  Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville/4

2.  Blake Bortles, Central Florida/8

3.  Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M/11

4.  Derek Carr, Fresno State/25

5.  Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois/55

6.  A.J. McCarron, Alabama/73

7.  Zach Mettenberger, LSU/75

8.  Tajh Boyd, Clemson/86

9.  Aaron Murray, Georgia/T-100

10.  Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

 

RUNNING BACKS

1.  Carlos Hyde, Ohio State/35

2.  Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona/46

3.  Tre Mason, Auburn/52

4.  Jeremy Hill, LSU/56

5.  Bishop Sankey, Washington/69

6.  Lache Seastrunk, Baylor/83

7.  De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon/97

8.  Andre Williams, Boston College

9.  Charles Sims, West Virginia

10.  Dri Archer, Kent State

                                                     

OFFENSIVE TACKLES

1.  Greg Robinson, Auburn/2

2.  Jake Matthews, Texas A&M/3

3.  Taylor Lewan, Michigan/10

4.  Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama/18

5.  Zach Martin, Notre Dame/24

6.  Morgan Moses, Virginia/48

7.  Antonio Richardson, Tennessee/50

8.  Jack Mewhort, Ohio State/72

9.  Ju’Wuan James, Tennessee/93

10.  James Hurst, North Carolina/94

 

OFFENSIVE GUARDS/CENTERS

1.  Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA/45

2.  David Yankey, Stanford/49

3.  Cyril Richardson, Baylor/54

4.  Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State/59

5.  (C) Travis Swanson, Arkansas/79

6.  (C) Marcus Martin, USC

7.  Anthony Steen, Alabama

8.  (C) Weston Richburg, Colorado State

9.  Jon Halapio, Florida

10.  Chris Watt, Notre Dame

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

1.  Sammy Watkins, Clemson/5

2.  Mike Evans, Texas A&M/13

3.  Marqise Lee, USC/14

4.  Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State/31

5.  Odell Beckham Jr., LSU/34

6.  Allen Robinson, Penn State/39

7.  Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt/41

8.  Brandin Cooks, Oregon State/43

9.  Davante Adams, Fresno State/53

10.  Jarvis Landry, LSU/57

11.  Paul Richardson, Colorado/63

12.  Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin/84

13. Brandon Coleman, Rutgers/95

 

TIGHT ENDS

1.  Eric Ebron, North Carolina/12

2.  Jace Amaro, Texas Tech/26

3.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington/33

4.  Troy Niklas, Notre Dame/62

5.  C.J. Fiedorowicz/T-100

6.  Marcel Jensen, Fresno State

7.  Colt Lyerla, Oregon

8.  Jake Murphy, Utah

9.  Xavier Grimble, USC

10.  Crockett Gilmore, Colorado State

 

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE ENDS

1.  Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina/1

2.  Kony Ealy, Missouri/21

3.  Scott Crichton, Oregon State/42

4.  Trent Murphy, Stanford/44

5.  Dee Ford, Auburn/47

6.  Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas/70

7.  Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State/74

8.  Marcus Smith, Louisville/80

9.  Chris Smith, Arkansas/82

10.  Michael Sam, Missouri/85

 

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

1.  Timmy Jernigan, Florida State/15

2.  Louis Nix III, Notre Dame/20

3.  Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame/22

4.  RaShede Hageman, Minnesota/23

5.  Dominique Easley, Florida/29

6.  Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh/30

7.  Will Sutton, Arizona State/58

8.  Anthony Johnson, LSU/64

9.  Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina/66

10.  Ego Ferguson, LSU/68

11.  Da’Quan Jones, Penn State/71

 

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

1.  Anthony Barr, UCLA/6

2.  Khalil Mack, Buffalo/7

3.  Ryan Shazier, Ohio State/28

4.  Kyle Van Noy, BYU/37

5.  Telvin Smith, Florida State/65

6.  Trevor Reilly, Utah/67

7.  Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech/76

8.  Adrian Hubbard, Alabama/98

9.  Carl Bradford, Arizona State

10.  Chris Kirksey, Iowa

 

INSIDE LINEBACKERS

1.  C.J. Mosley, Alabama/9

2.  Christian Jones, Florida State/77

3.  Shayne Skov, Stanford/78

4.  Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut/87

5.  Chris Borland, Wisconsin/90

6.  Preston Brown, Louisville

7.  Max Bullough, Michigan State

8.  Lamin Barrow, LSU

9.  Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky

10.  Avery Williamson, Kentucky

 

CORNERBACKS

1.  Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State/16

2.  Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State/19

3.  Jason Verrett, TCU/32

4.  Bradley Roby, Ohio State/36

5.  Marcus Roberson, Florida/38

6.  Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida/40

7.  Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State/51

8.  Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech/60

9.  Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma/61

10.  Terrance Mitchell, Oregon/81

11.  Keith McGill, Utah/92

12.  Bashaud Breeland, Clemson/96

13.  Pierre Desir, Linderwood/99

 

SAFETIES

1.  HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabama/17

2.  Calvin Pryor, Louisville/27

3.  Deone Bucannon, Washington State/88

4.  Ahmad Dixon, Baylor/89

5.  Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois/91

6.  Dion Bailey, USC

7.  Ed Reynolds, Stanford

8.  Terrence Brooks, Florida State

9.  Craig Loston, LSU

10.  Antone Exum, Virginia Tech

 

Written By: Mark Scott

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