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Rob Rang 2014 draft
Rob Rang's Big Board
1. DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (6-6, 268, 4.65)*: There is no denying that by registering only three sacks (and zero forced fumbles) in the 2013 regular season, Clowney has failed to live up to expectations. He also enflamed concerns about his maturity with a Dec. 7 speeding ticket in which he was clocked at 110 mph. Clowney's red flags are real, but so is his talent. In 13 years of grading prospects for the NFL Draft, Clowney competes only with former No. 2 overall pick Julius Peppers (2002) as the most gifted I've ever seen.
2. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (6-3, 220, 4.65)*: In an era in which college quarterbacks' numbers are often inflated by short passes and relatively simplistic schemes, Bridgewater's sparkling production is due to Pro Bowl-caliber accuracy. His success (70.2 percent completion rate with 28 touchdowns against four interceptions) comes out of a pro-style offense that forces him to make tough throws. Bridgewater's slight frame and level of competition are concerns. Bridgewater's poise will be tested in the Florida Citrus Bowl on Dec. 28; he'll be facing his hometown Miami Hurricanes in the game most believe will be his last at the collegiate level.
3. OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA (6-4, 238, 4.73): A running back until last season, Barr has emerged as one of the elite prospects in the country and is my top-rated senior at any position. A powerful and fluid athlete at his best rushing off the edge, Barr was named the 2013 recipient of the LOTT Impact Award with 62 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and five forced fumbles during the regular season.
4. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State (6-3, 215, 4.78): Carr's staggering production (70.1 completion percentage, 48 TDs, seven INTs) is certainly inflated by head coach Tim DeRuyter's QB-friendly spread attack and legitimately talented receiving corps, but there is no denying his talent. His release and velocity are as impressive as any college quarterback in the country. Back in 2002, his older brother David sealed up the No. 1 overall pick with a dominant performance at the Senior Bowl. It isn't out of the question that Derek could match the feat 12 years later.
5. OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (6-5, 305, 5.14: The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, Jake proves the cliché true -- the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. He has played well at left tackle this season after starring at right tackle during his first three years. Matthews is a terrific football player, demonstrating impressive technique, strength and consistency. He is not, however, an elite athlete and some view his future back on the right side in the NFL.
6. WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson (6-1, 200, 4.49)*
7. CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State (5-11, 197, 4.52): Quick feet, loose hips and a fluid turning motion make Dennard a classic cover corner capable of shutting down half the field. His ability in coverage played a huge role in the Spartans' run to the Big Ten Championship, as was recognized with Dennard winning the Thorpe Award as the nation's elite defensive back.
8. OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (6-5, 312, 5.12)*: -- Nick Saban questioned draft analysts for pegging Kouandjio as a first-round talent before the season, but given the junior left tackle's exciting skill set, the projection has been an easy one. Athletic and aggressive, Kouandjio could overtake some of the other top tackles in this class should he elect to enter the draft a year early.
9. OT Cameron Erving, Florida State (6-5, 310, 5.26)*: Erving played in 13 games as a redshirt freshman defensive tackle, but looked like a natural when moved to left tackle a season ago, though he remains a bit inconsistent. Long, balanced and athletic, he's a hidden factor in the dynamic play of freshman quarterback Jameis Winston and could enjoy a "quiet" ride into the top 10 of the 2014 draft just as former Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel did a year ago while blocking for Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.
10. OLB C.J. Mosley, Alabama (6-2, 232, 4.56): While a bit undersized, Mosley might be the best pound-for-pound player in the country. Athletic and instinctive, he is a true three-down linebacker capable of making plays against the run and pass. Mosley lacks the bulk scouts want in a pass rusher but his awareness in coverage is special.
11. OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo (6-3, 248, 4.66): With a record-tying 75 career tackles for loss, Mack's statistics jump off the page. Against the most gifted opponents he faced this year (Ohio State, Connecticut), it was his game that jumped off the screen. His size, instincts and agility as an edge rusher make him equally intriguing to teams operating out of a 4-3 or 3-4 alignment.
12. OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M (6-5, 300, 5.15)*
13. WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M (6-5, 225, 4.58)*: Like his famous quarterback Johnny Manziel, Evans is only a redshirt sophomore, but he has a big decision to make after dominating the SEC most of the season. Deceptively fast and possessing great body control as well as timing, Evans is an exciting split end prospect who reminds scouts of Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Vincent Jackson. Of concern, however, is the fact that Evans struggled in his final two regular-season games, catching only eight passes for a combined 59 yards in losses to LSU and Missouri.
14. TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina (6-4, 245, 4.67)*
15. CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon (5-10, 190, 4.52)*: Lost in the hype of Oregon's offense are a number of highly regarded defenders, including Ekpre-Olomu, who combines great instincts, agility and physicality to shut down his side of the field. Ekpre-Olomu's toughness on the perimeter played a significant role in Oregon's victory against Oregon State in the Civil War; he posted 12 tackles (all solos), deflected three passes and intercepted another while helping to limit Beavers star WR Brandin Cooks.
16. OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan (6-7, 310, 5.04): Possessing an impressive combination of size, strength and toughness, Lewan has earned comparisons to former Michigan standout Jake Long throughout his career with the Wolverines. He certainly looked the part against Ohio State, dominating the action up front.
17. DL Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame (6-5, 303, 4.89)*
18. DE Trent Murphy, Stanford (6-6, 261, 4.85)
19. TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech (6-5, 260, 4.67)*
20. OT Greg Robinson, Auburn* (6-5, 320, 5.38): Redshirt offensive linemen rarely earn more than a whisper in scouting circles, but the buzz generating around the Tigers' star left tackle is venturing into deafening. Physical and tenacious, Robinson is a grizzly bear in the running game, mauling opponents with an exciting blend of size (6-5, 320 pounds), strength and athleticism. Auburn's reliance on the running game, however, has given Robinson few opportunities in pass protection, making him a bit of a boom-or-bust prospect at this early point.
21. WR Marqise Lee, Southern Cal (6-0, 195, 4.51)*
22. OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor (6-5, 335, 5.27): A dominating drive blocker who projects best at guard but spent the entire 2011 season protecting Robert Griffin III at left tackle, Richardson is massive, powerful and shockingly athletic. Richardson was recognized with the Jim Parker Award as the nation's top blocker and headlines a strong class of interior linemen.
23. OC Travis Swanson, Arkansas (6-4, 318, 5.26)
24. OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (6-2, 226, 4.58)*: Shazier might be 10-15 pounds lighter than scouts would prefer, but his instincts, speed and bone-jarring hits make him a fearful defender that offenses must account for on every snap. No one played better for the Buckeyes against Michigan State in the Big Ten title game than Shazier, who recorded 12 tackles, two pass breakups and a blocked punt against the Spartans.
25. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (5-11, 210, 4.45)*: Manziel's vision, elusiveness and accuracy while on the move make him a mesmerizing prospect, but red flags were raised with mediocre performances against LSU and Missouri to end the regular season. Bottled in the pocket by both, Manziel was unable to throw his receivers open and he struggled. The NFL rule books have never been more accommodating to dual-threat passers, but consistent accuracy from the pocket remains the most critical element to quarterback play at the next level.
26. CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (6-0, 200, 4.52)
27. QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida* (6-3, 230, 4.78): A prototypically built pocket passer with good awareness and anticipation, Bortles looks the part of an NFL starting quarterback. Should he star in UCF's Fiesta Bowl showdown with the explosive Baylor Bears, the junior could have a tough time ignoring the NFL buzz his play is building.
28. WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State* (5-10, 186, 4.52)
29. DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota (6-6, 311, 4.95)
30. CB Jason Verrett, TCU (5-10, 182, 4.49)
31. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington* (6-6, 276, 4.75)
32. OG David Yankey, Stanford* (6-5, 314, 5.08)
Just missed the cut:
DT Will Sutton, Arizona State
OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson*
CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State*
RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona*
ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
QB Brett Hundley, UCLA*
WR Allen Robinson, Penn State*
FS Hasean Clinton-Dix, Alabama*
OT La'el Collins, LSU*
OG Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA*
DE/OLB Trevor Reilly, Utah
DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
DT Ego Ferguson, LSU*
OLB Kyle Van Noy, BYU
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