2014 NFL Mock Draft: Pre-Bowl Season Projections and Prospect Rankings

Are the Houston Texans ready to ride a new Carr into the future?

That’s one of the most intriguing questions surrounding the 2014 NFL draft. Following the conclusion of the college football regular season, Carr has elevated himself into the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick next May. At the same time, Houston has been sinking downwards into the abyss, crawling closer and closer to the top overall pick.

With college football bowl season on the horizon, there’s still a lot that can change in the next few months leading up to the 2014 draft. Bowl performances, senior bowl showings, combine workouts and pro days will all come into play in the near future.

There are two weeks to go in the NFL season, and a huge slate of bowl games.

There are still more questions than answers, but at least the shape of the 2014 draft class is somewhat starting to form.

Here’s a look at the current first-round projections for the 2014 draft, along with individual position rankings, as bowl season approaches.

*Note: Underclassmen and Early 2015 draft rankings are based on underclassmen declaration projections as of Dec. 17.

1. Houston Texans: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

Houston Texans (2002 - Pres)

Houston is on pace to “win” the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft. Back in 2002, when the Texans had the top overall pick, they chose Fresno State QB David Carr. Over a decade later we may say the quarterback-needy franchise end up taking Carr’s younger brother Derek, who has been a star in his own right at Fresno State this season.

The strong-armed 6’3’’, 216-pound senior has completed 70 percent of his passes for over 4,800 yards and thrown 48 touchdowns, as he’s led the Bulldogs to an 11-win season and a Mountain West title.

Derek has the size, arm strength, intangibles and leadership ability and most importantly the poise to live up to the pressure of being an NFL franchise quarterback, which is something his brother David never could handle.

2. St. Louis Rams (From Washington): Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

St. Louis Rams (2000 - Pres)

St. Louis was hoping that the arrival of Jake Long would help solve the problems that had been plaguing the offensive line. However, there will likely be new questions to answer at the right tackle position this offseason if Rodger Saffold leaves in free agency.

If Saffold departs, the Rams could look to find his replacement with one of their two first-round draft picks. They won’t be able to find a better prospect at the position than Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews. The standout senior is the son of legendary hall-of-fame tackle Bruce Matthews, a player who Jeff Fisher coached during his time with the Oilers/Titans.

This season, the 6’5”, 305-pound senior has proven to be just as capable as his former teammate Luke Joeckel. After making the switch from the right side to fill Joeckel’s spot on the all-important left side, Matthews has flourished in 2013, keeping Johnny Manziel’s blindside well protected.

According to NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah, there are some scouts who prefer Matthews over Joeckel, who was the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft. Though Matthews wasn’t able to match Joeckel and win an Outland Trophy, he should end up being a top-five draft pick just like his former teammate.e

3. Atlanta Falcons: Jadeveon Clowney: DE, South Carolina

Atlanta Falcons (2003 - Pres)

Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney has been projected to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft since he was a senior in high school. But after an underwhelming performance under in the spotlight in 2013, the former No. 1 overall recruit may have lost his grip on the top spot.

Clowney wasn’t the dominant defensive force that many were expecting him to be in 2013, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the 6’6’’, 274-pound junior is a freakish specimen who has been blessed with rare physical ability and playmaking skills.

The pass-rushing phenom would be a perfect savior for a struggling Falcons defense, which has totaled just 28 sacks this season. Clowney is an explosive edge-rusher who has the potential to be a perennial pro-bowler in the NFL.

4. Oakland Raiders: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA

Anthony Barr

The Raiders completely remodeled and overhauled their defense this offseason. The lack of cohesion has been evident, as the unit has struggled this year, ranking 28th in the league in scoring defense. Oakland needs to find a young defensive leader to build its front-seven around.

UCLA’s Anthony Barr could be just the defender the team needs. Barr is an athletic and intimidating outside ‘backer who would add some much-needed toughness to the defense. The powerful 6’4’’, 248-pound former running back has been dominant since switching to the defensive side of the ball, totaling 23 sacks, 41 tackles for loss and 10 forced fumbles over the past two seasons.

Barr is a physical, throwback-type of defender, who would bring some much-needed nastiness and ferocity to the Oakland defense.

5. Minnesota Vikings: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

As far as pure quarterbacking gifts are concerned, there’s not another quarterback prospect in the 2014 draft class that can compare to Johnny Manziel. The problem is, when you draft Johnny Manziel and his on-the-field-skills, you also draft “Johnny Football” and everything that comes along with off-the-field personality and lifestyle.

Is the 2012 Heisman-winner worth the supposed risk? Even if some of the concerns are valid, there will still likely be a quarterback-needy team like the Vikings, picking in the top 10, that will view him as just too good to pass up.

Manziel has the chance to be the Steve Nash of the quarterback position at the next level. First, however, the charismatic rock star playmaker must prove that he has the mentality that will mesh with an NFL locker room.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, UCF

Blake Bortles

During the first half of the season, the Jaguars seemed like they were trying to earn the title of worst team in NFL history. Over the last few weeks, though, Jacksonville has actually won a few games and been competitive. Still, it’s obvious this team needs a new starting quarterback for the future. Neither Chad Henne or Blaine Gabbert is anything more than a backup.

The team may not have to leave the state to find their new franchise quarterback. Central Florida’s Blake Bortles has caused a big buzz in the state of Florida with his breakout performance this year. The 6’4’’, 230-pound junior has completed 68 percent of his passes, averaged 9.3 yards per throw and accounted for 27 total touchdowns, while leading the Knights to an 11-win season and a BCS bowl berth.

Bortles is a big pro-style passer, who can make all the throws to succeed in the NFL. He may not be a true Andrew Luck-caliber savior signal-caller, but he still has all the skills and personality traits to be a successful starter at the next level.

7. Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Josh Gordon has emerged as one of the most dangerous receiving threats in the league this season. Could you imagine just how good Gordon could be if the Browns were able to pair him with another equally explosive threat like Sammy Watkins?

Watkins is a dynamic playmaker who is one of the few offensive skill-position players in the 2014 draft class that can be considered a true home-run hitting weapon.

The super speedy 6’1’’, 205-pound junior and Gordon would immediately form one of the most frightening receiver duos in the league right from the get go.

8. New York Giants: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Darqueze Dennard

The futures of two of the Giants’ top veteran corners—Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas—are both in doubt, as Webster is a candidate to be cut and Thomas is set to be a free agent. If New York loses at least one of them, the team could search for a starting-caliber corner in the 2014 draft.

Luckily, the Giants may have a shot at the premier player at the position, Michigan State QB Darqueze Dennard, this year’s Jim Thorpe Award winner.

Dennard may not possess eye-popping elite athleticism, but he’s one of the most technically and fundamentally sound corners to emerge from the collegiate rankings in the last decade. NFL.com’s Charles Davis has reported that some scouts believe Dennard is the best cornerback prospect since Deion Sanders .

9.  Tampa Bay Bucs: CJ Mosley, LB, Alabama

C.J. Mosley

With Dekoda Watson set to hit the free agent market, the Bucs will likely be shopping for a new strongside linebacker this offseason. Alabama’s CJ Mosley is a player who would be an immediate upgrade over Watson as a rookie.

Though Mosley has lined up inside in Alabama’s 3-4 defense during his collegiate career, the 6’2’’, 232-pound senior’s skills would be best utilized on the outside in a 4-3 front.

Scouting legend Gil Brandt has compared the Tide’s defensive leader to former Bucs standout linebacker Derrick Brooks. Like Brooks, Mosley is a tough, instinctive and intelligent linebacker who was born to be the leader and heart and soul of a defense.

10. Buffalo Bills: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo

Khalil Mack

The Bills defense has been surprisingly strong during Mike Pettine’s first season as coordinator. However, the unit could still use a few more key pieces, including a hybrid edge-rusher, who can line up in either three or four man defensive fronts.

Buffalo’s Khalil Mack is the type of highly skilled young pass-rusher who would be a tremendous fit for Pettine’s scheme. After gaining a reputation as the most feared defender in the MAC, Mack made a name for himself on the national stage this season, totaling 10.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.

The 6’3’’, 248-pound senior is a proven playmaker, who possesses a nose for the ball and a knack for making game-changing impact plays.

11. Tennessee Titans: Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson

One position of need that the Titans could look to address early in the 2014 draft is defensive end. Former first-round pick Derrick Morgan has just never been able to put together a true breakthrough season, while Kamerion Wimbley has been a bust of a free agent signing and he’s likely to be cut during the offseason.

The Titans could use a new Jevon Kearse-esque defensive end to mold their defensive line around for the future. Like Kearse, Clemson’s Vic Beasley is an explosive edge-rusher, who can constantly make quarterbacks feel uncomfortable.

The 6’2”, 235-pound junior may be considered undersized for the 4-3 defensive end position, but few other ends in the country made as big of an impact as he did in 2013. Beasley racked up 12 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and forced four fumbles.

If Beasley can add 15 pounds of good weight and still keep his speed off the edge, he’s going to be a nightmare pass-rusher in the NFL.

12. St. Louis Rams: Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

Aaron Donald

Pittsburgh may have been an afterthought in the ACC, but the team’s star defender: DT Aaron Donald certainly made a name for himself during the Panthers’ inaugural season in the conference. Donald put together an award-worthy performance, totaling 10 sacks, 26.5 tackles for loss and 16 quarterback hurries.

Though the 6’0’’, 285-pound senior may be a bit undersized by NFL standards, Donald makes up for his size deficiency with his power, leverage, agility and non-stop motor.

St. Louis is a team that could use a smaller up-the-field penetrator to stick with current tackles Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers in the interior. The shorter and quicker Donald would be a terrific complement to the 6’6’’ Langford and the 6’5’’ Brockers.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

Jace Amaro

The Steelers’ one tight end of note, Heath Miller, is a 31-year-old soon-to-be free agent who has been slowed by debilitating injuries the past few seasons. Ben Roethlisberger has respect for what Miller’s meant to the franchise throughout his career, but even Big Ben would admit that it’s time for the offense to find a new, younger tight end who can create big plays in the passing game.

This year’s top tight end prospect, Texas Tech’s Amaro, is the type of reliable receiving weapon who would instantly become Roethlisberger’s best friend. The 6’5’’, 260-pound junior has been unbelievably productive this season, catching 98 passes for 1,240 yards and seven touchdowns.

Amaro is a matchup nightmare who would add a valuable new element to Pittsburgh’s passing attack.

14. New York Jets: Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Eric Ebron 748162

Geno Smith has had his fair share of struggles, and he’s faced plenty of scrutiny and criticism for his play during his debut campaign in New York. But in fairness to the young rookie signal-caller, the Jets have arguably the worst group of offensive skill-position players in the league.

Any quarterback would struggle, when he’s surrounded with a supporting cast filled with players like Stephen Hill, David Nelson, Greg Salas and Jeff Cumberland. The organization needs to at least surround Geno with better playmakers in the passing game before passing the final judgement on his future.

North Carolina’s Eric Ebron would provide Smith with a reliable and explosive threat at the tight end position, which he desperately needs. Ebron is an impressive-looking athlete who has the raw physical ability that will surely excite scouts. This season, he proved that he could produce at a high level, catching 55 passes for 895 yards.

15. Dallas Cowboys: Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri

Dallas Cowboys (1964 - Pres)

Kony Ealy

The Dallas defense has been a flat-out embarrassment this year. During the offseason, the Cowboys, who have totaled just 29 sacks, will have to figure out a way to solve their defensive line woes. That starts by finding a quality complement to Demarcus Ware on the opposite side of the line.

Missouri’s Kony Ealy is a highly athletic end who possesses the skills to flourish in Monte Kiffin’s Tampa Cover 2 system. Though he’s been overshadowed by fellow teammate Michael Sam in 2013, Ealy has shown the speed and quickness off the edge that is reminiscent of former Tiger Aldon Smith.

Ealy would help to take some of the pressure off of Ware’s shoulders, which would in turn help to prolong the aging veteran’s time as an effective edge-rusher.

16. Baltimore Ravens: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Baltimore’s offense just has not seemed to be up to snuff this season. One of the reasons why is that the Ravens lack a true No. 1 go-to wide receiver. Though Torrey Smith is a dangerous deep-threat, he seems like he would be better off in a No. 2 role.

If the Ravens want to find a quality partner to pair with Smith, they should look no further than Texas A&M’s Mike Evans. Instead of using blazing speed to create big plays like Smith does, Evans uses his impressive combination of size, leaping ability, long wingspan and sure hands to make huge catches.

The 6’5’’, 225-pound redshirt sophomore averaged over 20 yards per reception and caught 12 touchdowns this season. Though the former high school basketball standout is still noticeably raw in certain phases of the game, he possesses rare combination of size and athleticism. Evans has the potential to become a star NFL receiver and a fantasy owner’s dream.

17. Chicago Bears: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Justin Gilbert

Charles Tillman has been one of the most consistent cover corners in the NFL in recent years, but this season, the 32-year-old Tillman has finally begun to show his age. Tillman has been lost for the season with a triceps injury, but even before the injury, he had his fair share of struggles.

Even if the Bears re-sign Tillman during the offseason, the team will still need to find a new No. 1 corner for the future at some point. If they turn to the draft to find that player, they would be wise to take a long look at Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert.

Gilbert is one of the most explosive athletes in the 2014 draft class. After a disappointing campaign this past season, he’s developed into a top-flight cover corner in 2013. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has talked to scouts who have said the 6’1’’, 205-pound senior’s stock is soaring following his breakout performance.

18. Green Bay Packers: Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU

This past offseason, the Packers lost two receivers: Greg Jennings to free agency and Donald Driver to retirement. This upcoming offseason, they could again have to deal with losing two more key pass-catchers if James Jones and Jermichael Finley follow in Jennings’ footsteps and leave town.

If that happens, Green Bay will likely turn to the draft to find a talented, young receiver to keep Aaron Rodgers happy. LSU’s Jarvis Landry is an exciting prospect who would bring a smile to Rodgers’ face.

The former 5-star recruit has wowed scouts this season, totaling 75 receptions for 1,172 yards and 10 touchdowns, and making incredible catches look routine. Landry is a fluid and natural receiver, who has the playmaking instincts, sure hands and speed to develop into a highly productive player in the Packers’ passing attack.

19. Arizona Cardinals: Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Taylor Lewan

Even though new Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hyped up left tackle Levi Brown during the offseason, Arizona opted to trade the struggling former No. 5 overall draft pick to Pittsburgh just a month into the season. With Brown gone, former undrafted free agent Bradley Sowell has been filling in.

While Sowell hasn’t been terrible, it’s obvious that he’s not the long-term answer at the position, which is why the team could be searching for a future franchise tackle in the 2014 draft. Michigan’s Taylor Lewan is a high-profile prospect who could easily become the apple of the Cardinals’ eye.

Though Lewan had a few struggles during his senior year, he’s still got the total package of skills that separates him from nearly every other prospect at the position in the 2014 class. The 6’8’’, 315-pound two-time Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year would be another terrific young building block for Arizona’s offensive line.

20. Miami Dolphins: Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State

Cameron Erving

After losing Jake Long in free agency, the Dolphins were hoping that former second-round draft pick Jonathan Martin would be able to slide over from the right side and become a quality replacement for Long at left tackle. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Now that Martin has left the team, following allegations of bullying from teammate Richie Incognito, Miami will likely be on the hunt for a new left tackle this offseason.

Florida State’s Cameron Erving is an athletic and agile tackle, who would seem to be a perfect fit for Joe Philbin’s zone-blocking offensive system.

Though Erving, who started off his collegiate career as a defensive tackle, may still be a raw unfinished product at this point, he does have all the physical tools to develop into a dominant left tackle in the NFL. After a strong debut campaign in 2012, the 6’6’’, 320-pound junior has looked even better this season. He’s been the face of a Florida State offensive line that has been arguably the best front-five in all of college football.

21. San Diego Chargers: Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame

Louis Nix

After parting ways with nose tackleS Aubrayo Franklin and Antonio Garay during the offseason, San Diego’s run defense has softened up a bit this year. The Chargers currently rank 30th in the league, allowing an average of 4.7 yards per carry.

Cam Thomas, a former fifth-round pick who is in the final year of his contract, failed to capitalize on his opportunity to prove that he could be the future at the position. Thomas has lost his starting job to Sean Lissemore due to poor play, and it’s almost a foregone conclusion that this will be his last year in San Diego.

The Chargers will likely be looking for a new nose tackle this offseason. They won’t be able to find a better one in the 2014 draft than Notre Dame’s Louis Nix. The 6’4’’, 340-pound junior has the size, power and demeanor to develop into a nasty, run-stuffing 3-4 nose tackle in the NFL.

22. Philadelphia Eagles: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

Jason Verrett

This past offseason, the Eagles signed cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher in order to stabilize their shaky secondary. However, the defensive backfield has still had plenty of struggles in 2013. Philadelphia currently has the 31st ranked pass defense in the NFL, allowing an average of 291 passing yards per game.

More help is needed in coverage, which is why the Eagles will likely be looking to take a cornerback early in the 2014 draft.

TCU’s Jason Verrett may not be the flashiest prospect at the position, but he’s clearly a player who has the skills to develop into a solid long-term starter at the next level. Though Verrett may not be an elite athlete and he may not possesses great size, he’s a tough, instinctive and fundamentally sound corner, who has the coverage ability and ball skills to be an impact playmaker in the Eagles secondary.

23. Detroit Lions: Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming

Robert Herron

The Lions may have the best wide receiver in the NFL: Calvin Johnson. But the problem is, what Detroit doesn’t have is a truly dangerous No. 2 receiver who can properly complement Johnson and divert the attention of opposing secondaries away from him.

The team can change that by adding an explosive field-stretching speedster like Wyoming’s Robert Herron into the fold. Though it may be too early to start calling Herron the next DeSean Jackson just yet, you simply have to appreciate the 5’10’’, 187-pound senior’s dynamic playmaking ability.

Though he may have been off the national radar at Wyoming, Herron still managed to put together a solid senior campaign, totaling 72 catches for 937 yards and nine touchdowns. If he has a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and then lights up scouts’ stopwatches in workouts, Herron could quickly become one of the fastest risers during the offseason phase of the process.

24. Kansas City Chiefs: Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

Ra'Shede Hageman

Andy Reid has gained a reputation as a coach who loves to select lineman early in the draft. After strengthening the offensive line for the future by taking Eric Fisher with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, Reid could turn to the other side of the ball to solidify the defensive line early in the 2014 draft.

Though the Chiefs have a promising young nose tackle in Dontari Poe, they could still use some help at defensive end, where the duo of Tyson Jackson and Mike Devito is adequate, but certainly nothing special.

The top 3-4 defensive end prospect in the 2014 draft class is Minnesota’s Ra’Shede Hageman. Though Hageman primarily played tackle in a 4-3 front for the Gophers, he’s got the size and the skill-set that will ultimately fit in best at end in a 3-4 scheme. The 6’6’’, 311-pound senior is a physical marvel who has overcome a very troubled past and emerged as one of the most intriguing defensive prospects in the 2014 class.

The former tight end has been blessed with incredible agility and explosiveness for a player his size, as well the strength to cause havoc in the trenches. Since he never truly played up to his full potential during his collegiate career, Hageman may be perceived as a risk by some scouts. But he’s still worthy of a first-round pick just based on his potential and natural ability.

25. Cleveland Browns (From Indianapolis): AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama

Cleveland Browns (2003 - Pres)

AJ McCarron

Since returning to the NFL back in 1999, Cleveland has been on a long, frustrating and ongoing search to find a franchise quarterback that can be the face of the team. Unfortunately, the Browns have come up empty-handed and have yet to find the right signal-caller to fill that role. That’s why they’ll once again be searching for a quarterback of the future during the offseason.

Don’t be surprised if GM Mike Lombardi—who has a close relationship with Alabama coach Nick Saban, which stems from their days working under Bill Belichick in Cleveland—takes an interest in Saban’s pupil: AJ McCarron.

Though McCarron may not be the most exciting or the most physically gifted quarterback in the 2014 draft class, he’s still a highly successful signal-caller, who has shown the all the skills it takes to develop into a leader of an NFL offense. Over the last two years, the 6’4’’, 215-pound pro-style pocket passer has shed his “game-manager” label and shown that he can be an impact player at the sport’s most important position.

Ultimately, McCarron should end up being an Andy Dalton-caliber starter in the NFL. That type of stable starter is something the Browns could definitely use.

26. San Francisco 49ers: Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford

San Francisco 49ers (2009 - Pres)

One of Jim Harbaugh’s last great accomplishments before leaving Stanford for the NFL was assembling the foundation of the Cardinal’s 2009 recruiting class. One of the members of that group, 3-star rated DE Trent Murphy, has gone on to become a defensive star in Palo Alto, even though Harbaugh didn’t get to mentor him.

The coach wouldn’t mind the chance to get to develop Murphy in the pros as a 3-4 outside linebacker, especially considering all the uncertainty surrounding Aldon Smith’s personal life.

Murphy isn’t exactly the same caliber of athlete as J.J. Watt but he’s capable of being the same type of disruptive defensive difference-maker as Watt. The 6’6’’, 261-pound senior has proven that over the last two seasons, totaling 24 sacks and 39.5 tackles for loss.

27. Cincinnati Bengals: Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State

Demarcus Lawrence

Michael Johnson has been a disappointing performer during his contract year, but that likely still won’t stop another team from overpaying for his services. If the Bengals let Johnson walk, they’ll need to find a new starting defensive end to stick with budding standouts Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.

Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence is a player who would fit be a terrific fit for the Bengals defense on the opposite end of Dunlap. The highly athletic former JUCO transfer racked up 10.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss and he showed scouts that he’s a truly top-level pass-rushing prospect.

Lawrence, Atkins and Dunlap would be a very dangerous defensive line trio for the foreseeable future.

28. New Orleans Saints: Trevor Reilly, DE/LB, Utah

New Orleans Saints (2006 - Pres)

Trevor Reilly

The Saints defense has been one of the biggest surprise success stories of the 2013 season. The unit has made a dramatic turnaround under the watch of Rob Ryan. Still, Ryan knows that he needs a powerful edge-rusher to truly make the new 3-4 defense as good as it can be.

Utah’s Trevor Reilly is a versatile edge-rusher, who would add a new dynamic to an already rapidly improving group. Reilly, who’s had success both as a defensive end and outside linebacker in college, took his game to the next level in 2013, totaling 100 tackles, including nine sacks, 56 solo stops and 16.5 tackles for loss.

The soon-to-be 26-year-old three-year starter is an experienced veteran who can come in and instantly be an effective starter early in his pro career.

29. Carolina Panthers: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State

Bradley Roby

Carolina is assembling one of the most intimidating defensive front-sevens in the NFL. However, the Panthers defense still lacks the proper pieces in the secondary—mainly a No. 1 corner—to be a truly complete defense.

Ohio State’s Bradley Roby is a prospect who could fill that role, and he’s a corner who could quickly become the focal point of Carolina’s secondary.

The 5’11’’, 192-pound junior had a few shaky performances against Cal and Wisconsin earlier in the season. Nevertheless, he still put together another impressive performance in 2013, totaling 54 solo tackles, 13 pass breakups and three interceptions.

Roby still has to work on his man-to-man coverage technique, but overall, he’s got the all the desired physical skills to be a No. 1 corner in the NFL.

30. Denver Broncos: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

Denver Broncos (1997 - Pres)

Denver’s defense is concerningly soft in the secondary this season. The Broncos rank 28th in the league in pass defense, allowing 266 yards per game, and they’ve also allowed 57 passes of over 20 yards.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has put together an impressive individual performance, but the problem is, he hasn’t received much support from his supporting cast in the secondary. Finding a corner to pair with Rodgers-Cromartie for the future should be one of the team’s top priorities during the offseason.

Oregon’s Ifo Ekpre-Olomu would be an excellent complement to DRC in Denver. Though Ekpre-Olomu doesn’t have great size, he is a great cover corner, who could easily handle all the action he would see, playing on the other side of the field of Rodgers-Cromartie.

31. New England Patriots: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

New England Patriots (2000 - Pres)

Kelvin Benjamin

We’ve seen plenty of frustrated faces from Tom Brady this season. Inexperience and injuries have wreaked havoc on New England’s receiver corps this year. It seems like Brady just can not get on the same page as his receivers this season.

Brady will likely go knocking on a few doors behind the scenes this season, pleading for some better pass-catchers. The front office could help the quarterback out by adding an explosive big-play receiving threat like Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin to the offense.

Since he’s been overshadowed by Heisman-winning QB Jameis Winston, Benjamin has been one of the most underrated playmakers  in the country this season. The 6’5’’, 234-pound redshirt sophomore has caught 50 passes for 295 yards (19.1 yards per catch) and scored 14 touchdowns during his breakout season.

Benjamin is a matchup nightmare, who would give Brady a huge target to throw to.

32. Seattle Seahawks: David Yankey, OG, Stanford

Seattle Seahawks (2012 - Pres)

There’s a lot to like about this year’s Seahawks team, which at this point has to be considered the clear-cut favorite to raise the frozen Lombardi Trophy on a frigid February night at MetLife Stadium. Still, there are also a few trouble spots, mainly the team’s offensive line, which has been somewhat shaky this year.

The questions surrounding the unit will be answered after the season. It’s likely that the Seahawks could pursue both a guard and a tackle. How fitting would be if they could find a talented young player who is capable of playing both?

Stanford’s David Yankey is a player who has shined at both positions during his collegiate career. After another strong showing inside this season, Yankey’s solidified his status as the top guard prospect in the 2014 draft class.  The 6’5’’, 313-pound All-American guard is ready for the NFL trenches right now.

Quarterback Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Derek Carr, Fresno State

2. AJ McCarron, Alabama

3. Zach Mettenberger, LSU

4. David Fales, San Jose State

5. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois

6. Stephen Morris, Miami

7. Tajh Boyd, Clemson

8. Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech

9. Aaron Murray, Georgia

10. Tom Savage, Pittsburgh

11. Bryn Renner, North Carolina

12. Jeff Mathews, Cornell

13. Connor Shaw, South Carolina

14. James Franklin, Missouri

15. Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 2

  • Blake Bortles, UCF
  • Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

*Grades are based on 2014 Season

1. Jameis Winston, Florida State (R-Soph.)

2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon (Jr.)

3. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (Sr.)

4. Bryce Petty, Baylor (Sr.)

5. Brett Hundley, UCLA (Jr.)

6. Kevin Hogan, Stanford (Jr.)

7. Braxton Miller, Ohio State (Sr.)

8. Brett Smith, Wyoming (Sr.)

9. Devin Gardner, Michigan (Sr.)

10. Sean Mannion, Oregon State (Sr.)

Running Back Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State

2. Charles Sims, West Virginia

3. Andre Williams, Boston College

4. Marion Grice, Arizona State

5. James White, Wisconsin

6. Dri Archer, Kent State

7. Silas Redd, USC

8. Rajion Neal, Tennessee

9. Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky

10. Tyler Gaffney, Stanford

11. Ben Malena, Texas A&M

12. Jeff Scott, Ole Miss

13. Stephen Houston, Indiana

14. (QB) Jerick McKinnon, Georgia State

15. Alfred Blue, LSU

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 12

  • Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona
  • Tre Mason, Auburn
  • Jeremy Hill, LSU
  • Bishop Sankey, Washington
  • Lache Seastrunk, Baylor
  • Jerome Smith, Syracuse
  • Devonta Freeman, Florida State
  • De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon
  • James Wilder Jr., Florida State
  • Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State
  • Adam Muema, San Diego State
  • Storm Johnson, UCF

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. TJ Yeldon, Alabama (Jr.)

2. Todd Gurley, Georgia (Jr.)

3. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (Jr.)

4. Mike Davis, South Carolina (Jr.)

5. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska (Sr.)

6. Duke Johnson, Miami (Jr.)

7. George Atkinson III, Notre Dame (Sr.)

8. Kenny Hilliard, LSU (Sr.)

9. Jeremy Langford, Michigan State (Sr.)

10. Henry Josey, Missouri (Sr.)

Wide Receiver Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Robert Herron, Wyoming

2. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

3. Mike Davis, Texas

4. Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin

5. Ryan Grant, Tulane

6. Cody Hoffman, BYU

7. Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma

8. Josh Huff, Oregon

9. Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley State

10. L’Damian Washington, Missouri

11. Eric Ward, Texas Tech

12. Jeremy Gallon, Michigan

13. Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest

14. Devin Street, Pittsburgh

15. Allen Hurns, Miami

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 11

  • Sammy Watkins, Clemson
  • Mike Evans, Texas A&M
  • Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State
  • Jarvis Landry, LSU
  • Brandon Coleman, Rutgers
  • Brandin Cooks, Oregon State
  • Paul Richardson, Colorado
  • Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
  • Davante Adams, Fresno State
  • Austin Franklin, New Mexico State
  • Chris Boyd, Vanderbilt

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (Sr.)

2. Marqise Lee, USC (Sr.)

3. Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri (Jr.)

4. Amari Cooper, Alabama (Jr.)

5. Allen Robinson, Penn State (Sr.)

6. Nelson Agholor, USC (Jr.)

7. Rashad Greene, Florida State (Sr.)

8. Ty Montgomery, Stanford (Sr.)

9. DeVante Parker, Louisville (Sr.)

10. Antwan Goodley, Baylor (Sr.)

Tight End Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. CJ Fiedorowicz, Iowa

2. Arthur Lynch, Georgia

3. Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State

4. Chris Coyle, Arizona State

5. Ted Bolser, Indiana

6. Joe Don Duncan, Dixie State

7. Marcel Jensen, Fresno State

8. Kaneakua Friel, BYU

9. Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin

10. Trey Burton, Florida

11. Asa Watson, NC State

12. Rob Blanchflower, UMass

13. Gabe Holmes, Purdue

14. Jordan Najvar, Baylor

15. Gator Hoskins, Marshall

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 6

  • Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
  • Eric Ebron, North Carolina
  • Austin Seferian Jenkins, Washington
  • Richard Rodgers, California
  • A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State
  • Colt Lyerla

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. Xavier Grimble, USC (Sr.)

2. Devin Funchess, Michigan (Jr.)

3. Jake McGee, Virginia (Sr.)

4. Nick O’Leary, Florida State (Sr.)

5. Rory Anderson, South Carolina (Sr.)

6. Kyle Carter, Penn State (Jr.)

7. Clive Walford, Miami (Sr.)

8. Jake Murphy, Utah (Sr.)

9. Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State (Sr.)

10. Gerald Christian, Louisville (Sr.)

Offensive Tackle Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

2. Taylor Lewan, Michigan

3. Jack Mewhort, Ohio State

4. Morgan Moses, Virginia

5. Billy Turner, North Dakota State

6. James Hurst, North Carolina

7. Zack Martin, Notre Dame

8. Charles Leno, Boise State

9. Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee

10. Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State

11. Michael Schofield, Michigan

12. Joel Bitonio, Nevada

13. Brandon Thomas, Clemson

14. Seantrel Henderson, Miami

15. Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 2

  • Cameron Erving, Florida State
  • Antonio Richardson, Tennessee

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. Greg Robinson, Auburn (Jr.)

2. Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M (Sr.)

3. Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (Sr.)

4. Brandon Scherff, Iowa (Sr.)

5. La’El Collins, LSU (Sr.)

6. Jake Fisher, Oregon (Sr.)

7. Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech (Jr.)

8. Sean Hickey, Syracuse (Sr.)

9. Andrus Peat, Stanford (Jr.)

10. Spencer Drango, Baylor (Jr.)

Interior Offensive Linemen Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State

2. Cyril Richardson, Baylor

3. Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma

4. Travis Swanson, Arkansas

5. Anthony Steen, Alabama

6. Weston Richburg, Colorado State

7. Antwan Lowery, Rutgers

8. Tyler Larsen, Utah State

9. Chris Burnette, Georgia

10. Zach Fulton, Tennessee

11. Jon Halapio, Florida

12. Spencer Long, Nebraska

13. John Urschel, Penn State

14. Kadeem Edwards, Tennessee State

15. Bryan Stork, Florida State

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 2

  • David Yankey, Stanford
  • Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. Hroniss Grasu, Oregon (Sr.)

2. Tre Jackson, Florida State (Sr.)

3. Malcolm Bunche, Miami (Sr.)

4. Landon Turner, North Carolina (Jr.)

5. Max Tuerk, USC (Jr.)

6. Arie Kouandjio, Alabama (Sr.)

7. AJ Cann, South Carolina (Sr.)

8. Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern (Sr.)

9. Josue Matias, Florida State (Sr.)

10. Trai Turner, LSU (Jr.)

Defensive Tackle Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

2. Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota

3. DaQuan Jones, Penn State

4. Brent Urban, Virginia

5. Dominique Easley, Florida

6. Will Sutton, Arizona State

7. Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State

8. Daniel McCullers, Tennessee

9. DeAndre Coleman, California

10. Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas State

11. Shamar Stephen, Connecticut

12. Caraun Reid, Princeton

13. Demonte McAllister, Florida State

14. Jay Bromley, Syracuse

15. Bruce Gaston, Purdue

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 5

  • Louis Nix, Notre Dame
  • Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
  • Ego Ferguson, LSU
  • George Uko, USC
  • Anthony Johnson, LSU

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. Timmy Jernigan, Florida State (Sr.)

2. Michael Bennett, Ohio State (Sr.)

3. Christian Covington, Rice (Jr.)

4. Leon Orr, Florida (Sr.)

5. Danny Shelton, Washington (Sr.)

6. Grady Jarrett, Clemson (Sr.)

7. Carl Davis, Iowa (Sr.)

8. Thomas Teal, NC State (Sr.)

9. Darius Hamilton, Rutgers (Jr.)

10. Tyeler Davison, Fresno State (Sr.)

Defensive End Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Ed Stinson, Alabama

2. Michael Sam, Missouri

3. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas

4. Dee Ford, Auburn

5. Ben Gardner, Stanford

6. Chaz Sutton, South Carolina

7. Kareem Martin, North Carolina

8. Chris Smith, Arkansas

9. James Gayle, Virginia Tech

10. Marcus Smith, Louisville

11. Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

12. Kasim Edebali, Boston College

13. Jonathan Newsome, Ball State

14. Josh Mauro, Stanford

15. Will Clarke, West Virginia

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 7

  • Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
  • Vic Beasley, Clemson
  • Kony Ealy, Missouri
  • Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
  • Aaron Lynch, South Florida
  • Scott Crichton, Oregon State
  • Martin Ifedi, Memphis

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (Jr.)

2. Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame (Sr.)

3. Randy Gregory, Nebraska (Jr.)

4. Leonard, Williams, USC (Jr.)

5. Dante Fowler Jr., Florida (Jr.)

6. Shawn Oakman, Baylor (Jr.)

7. Noah Spence, Ohio State (Jr.)

8. Trey Flowers, Arkansas (Sr.)

9. Henry Anderson, Stanford (Sr.)

10. Anthony Chickillo, Miami (Sr.)

Linebacker Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Anthony Barr, UCLA

2. CJ Mosley, Alabama

3. Khalil Mack, Buffalo

4. Trent Murphy, Stanford

5. Trevor Reilly, Utah

6. Kyle Van Noy, BYU

7. Shayne Skov, Stanford

8. Christian Jones, Florida State

9. Chris Borland, Wisconsin

10. Devon Kennard, USC

11. Telvin Smith, Florida State

12. Christian Kirksey, Iowa

13. Morgan Breslin, USC

14. Jonathan Brown, Illinois

15. Max Bullough, Michigan State

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 4

  • Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut
  • Carl Bradford, Arizona State
  • Hayes Pullard, USC
  • Chris Young, Arizona State

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (Sr.)

2. A.J. Johnson, Tennessee (Sr.)

3. Adrian Hubbard, Alabama (Sr.)

4. Shaq Thompson, Washington (Jr.)

5. Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State (Jr.)

6. Eric Kendricks, UCLA (Sr.)

7. Jordan Jenkins, Georgia (Jr.)

8. Jabari Hunt-Days, Georgia Tech (Jr.)

9. Denzel Perryman, Miami (Sr.)

10. A.J. Tarpley, Stanford (Sr.)

Cornerback Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

2. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

3. Jason Verrett, TCU

4. Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma

5. E.J. Gaines, Missouri

6. Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

7. Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

8. Keith McGill, Utah

9. Andre Hal, Vanderbilt

10. Bennett Jackson, Notre Dame

11. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska

12. Rashaad Reynolds, Oregon State

13. Ricardo Allen, Purdue

14. Chris Davis, Auburn

15. Nevin Lawson, Utah State

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 6

  • Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
  • Bradley Roby, Ohio State
  • Marcus Roberson, Florida
  • Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
  • Quandre Diggs, Texas
  • Victor Hampton, South Carolina

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. Blake Countess, Michigan (Jr.)

2. Marcus Peters, Washington (Jr.)

3. Byron Jones, Connecticut (Sr.)

4. Justin Cox, Mississippi State (Sr.)

5. Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest (Sr.)

6. Wayne Lyons, Stanford (Sr.)

7. Damian Swann, Georgia (Sr.)

8. Tim Scott, North Carolina (Sr.)

9. Terrance Mitchell, Oregon (Sr.)

10. Demetrius Nicholson, Virginia (Sr.)

Safety Rankings

The Top 15 Seniors

1. Ahmad Dixon, Baylor

2. Deone Bucannon, Washington State

3. Terrence Brooks, Florida State

4. Craig Loston, LSU

5. Marqueston Huff, Wyoming

6. (CB) Antone Exum, Virginia Tech

7. Christian Bryant, Ohio State

8. (CB) Jaylen Watkins, Florida

9. Nickoe Whitley, Mississippi State

10. Tre Boston, North Carolina

11. Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State

12. Hakeem Smith, Louisville

13. Daniel Sorensen, BYU

14. Julien David, Howard

15. Jimmie Ward, North Illinois

Underclassmen Who Are Projected to Declare

Total Prospects: 4

  • Ed Reynolds, Stanford
  • Jonathan Dowling, Western Kentucky
  • Dion Bailey, USC
  • Tevin McDonald, Eastern Washington

2015 Draft: Ranking the Top 10 Eligible Prospects

1. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Alabama (Sr.)

2. Calvin Pryor, Louisville (Sr.)

3. Jordan Richards, Stanford (Sr.)

4. Landon Collins, Alabama (Jr.)

5. Ronald Martin, LSU (Sr.)

6. Josh Harvey-Clemons, Georgia (Jr.)

7. Adrian Amos, Penn State (Sr.)

8. Derron Smith, Fresno State (Sr.)

9. Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State (Sr.)

10. Kyshoen Jarrett, Virginia Tech (Sr.)


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