* = Undecided.
1. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (JR)
The class is led by razor-sharp Teddy Bridgewater who boasts an NFL arm and has gotten more accurate each season.
2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (SO)
Johnny Football has faults, but supremely talented with ‘escapability’ and propensity for playmaking in the game’s most important position.
3. A.J. McCarron, Alabama
A.J. McCarron makes excellent decisions and has a deceptively strong-arm despite lacking the star power of fellow classmates.
4. Blake Bortles, Central Florida (JR)
Only average competition, but few quarterbacks, when on-point, were as dangerous as Blake Bortles this season – a raw talent with good field vision. Is he ready for the major responsibility that the NFL has to offer?
5. Zach Mettenberger, Louisiana State
LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, a much-improved SEC passer, possesses prototypical size and the draft’s strongest arm; torn ACL is only a major concern if he can’t plant + drive his foot on throws.
Honorable Mention: Aaron Murray, Georgia
Murray is somewhat limited + coming off a torn ACL, but perhaps the most mentally strong quarterback in the class.
1. Lache Seastrunk, Baylor (JR)
From Baylor, by way of Oregon, Lache Seastrunk is a home-run threat with terrific quickness and creativity.
2. Storm Johnson, Central Florida (JR)
Storm Johnson, a Miami (FL) transfer, was somewhat of a forgotten man, but features an ideal combination of size + speed.
3. Bishop Sankey, Washington (JR)
Sankey is a shiftier downhill runner with good quickness and vision, but lacking top-end foot speed.
4. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
Possesses certain Le’Veon Bell characteristics. The rough & tough Carlos Hyde has ‘plus’ quickness and runs very well between the tackles.
5. Tre Mason, Auburn (JR)
Not a powerful ‘back, but the Heisman Trophy finalist features an excellent initial burst and smooth change of direction Skills. Also has value on special teams as a kick returner.
HM: Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State (JR)
Former highly touted UGA recruit Isaiah Crowell is a bit of a slasher with deceptive strength on contact.
1. Marqise Lee, Southern California (JR)
Unfortunately Marqise Lee’s production tailed off after the graduation of Matt Barkley, but his versatility and ability to change the game in all phases of the field make him a valuable weapon.
2. Sammy Watkins, Clemson (JR)
Sammy Watkins is a track star with terrific athleticism, but will need to answer questions about a substance-related suspension from May 2012.
3. Allen Robinson, Penn State (JR)
PSU’s Allen Robinson is the Big Ten’s most dangerous pass catcher – a vertical threat with great ball skills.
4. Mike Evans, Texas A&M (SO)
Johnny Football’s favorite target, Mike Evans, is a big wide out with near-H-back size and deceptively good run + catch ability.
5. Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Vandy’s Jordan Matthews is a passing game focal point and highly competitive with defenders in 50-50 situations with very reliable hands.
HM: Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma
OU’s shifty slot-type Jalen Saunders has the separation skills and good awareness to find soft zones.
1. Eric Ebron, North Carolina (JR)
The athletic and fast Eric Ebron leads a primarily junior-led tight end class. Overall bulk & height may be of concern, but receiver skills are not in question.
2. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech (JR)
Tech’s Jace Amaro is a gritty pass catcher with good in-line blocking skills. Very physical and snatches off-body when making catches.
3. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington (JR)
2013 Mackey Award winner Seferian-Jenkins is good route runner with a very wide catch radius. Cited for DUI and served a day in jail, leading to a one-game suspension this past season.
4. Xavier Grimble, Southern California (JR)
Well-built, natural hands, good quickness and has route running potential. Blocking skills leave something to be desired.
5. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
Big Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz is a strong blocker and decent hands as an outlet receiver. Has ‘momentum speed.’ Can he make the big catch?
HM: Richard Rodgers, California (JR)
Rodgers appears to be a bigger H-Back with good movement in route running. His weight + medical will be important factors in his evaluation.
1. Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Prototype left tackle with excellent hand usage in pass protection. Athletic blocker with nice kick-slide. Picked up right where last year’s No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel left off at A&M. Also has long snapping experience.
2. Greg Robinson, Auburn (JR)
Big, strong, aggressive. Stays square, bends well, and – most importantly – has really good feet. Hands in pass pro could improve. A terrific talent.
3. Taylor Lewan, Michigan
Fantastic height (6’8”) and long arms. Aggressive run blocker, who keeps a generally low pad level in pass pro. Fared rather well vs. Jadeveon Clowney. Feet can be a little slow at times and won’t be as athletic as some of the defenders he will be assigned to block.
4. Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (JR)
Few are as balanced in both pass protection and run blocking. Powerful + aggressive and very competitive. Athleticism is only average and endurance is something of a concern.
5. Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (JR)
‘Plus’ quickness for a heavier blocker of his size. Powerful drive-blocker with experience. Plays with leverage and stands his ground well in pass protection. Consistency is questionable.
HM: James Hurst, North Carolina
Tall, well-built left tackle type. Capable pass blocker with long wingspan. Can be ‘sticky’ when engaged with defenders and may be a nice fit for a zone-blocking scheme at NFL level.
1. Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Massive guard who may get spot looks at right tackle. Terrific run blocker, with the size to handle interior rushers in passing situations. Good movement for his size, pulls pretty comfortably.
2. David Yankey*, Stanford (JR)
The big Aussie-born Yankey is another potential right tackle with a nice blend of pass and run blocking skills. Not particularly quick in movement, but fundamentally sound. Stout at point of attack.
3. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
Mammoth road grader Gabe Jackson has the size + experience needed to be a day one starter at the NFL level. Very strong, but don’t drive blockers overly well or possesses ‘plus’ athleticism, despite being quick for his size.
4. Xavier Su’a-Filo, California-Los Angeles
Left guard/left tackle versatile, but the slightly over-aged Su’a-Filo (23) – who completed a two-year Mormon mission during his time at UCLA – has had his potential in question. Still, he is highly athletic + quick feet.
5. Zack Martin, Notre Dame
Undersized left tackle who projects to guard at the NFL level, Martin is an experienced lineman and two-time co-captain of the Irish. Great fundamentals.
HM: Jon Halapio, Florida
Power blocker with good leverage, the UF product has ideal size and bulk for the position. Played through injury as a senior.
1. Travis Swanson, Arkansas
Size (6’5” 318 lbs.) + experience (starting since 2010) are the two staples of this All-American first teamer’s game. Swanson, a team captain, is also viewed as a leadership figure with stability. Unquestioned top center.
2. Weston Richburg, Colorado State
Small-schooler with the look of a prototype center. Intriguing size + strength + athleticism. Routinely is able to cover ground in movement and generates momentum quickly. Undervalued.
3. Marcus Martin, Southern California (JR)
Nice quickness off the snap and aggressiveness at the point of attack. Like a running back, often keeps his feet moving through contact, driving defenders. Laterally fluid, and projects well in man & zone-blocking schemes.
4. Bryan Stork, Florida State
Experienced, fleet-footed center who may be best utilized in a zone-blocking scheme at the next level. A nicely framed in-line blocker who neutralizes stronger defenders by playing at a lower pad level.
5. Tyler Larsen, Utah State
Best asset is his fluid ability to move laterally. Seals A-gaps well with his East-West quickness + bulk. Good range ion getting to the second level off the snap.
HM: Russell Bodine, North Carolina (JR)
Athletic frame with an ideal attacking rate off the snap. More of a finesse blocker who won’t overpower many interior defensive linemen, but stays competitive at the point of attack.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (JR)
Pegged as a top 3 projection since the beginning of his collegiate career. Specimen with elite pass rushing talent. Motor and motivation are in question, but he fits the mold of great pass rushers (like Mario Williams, Julius Peppers) of past draft classes.
2. Kony Ealy, Missouri (JR)
Naturally long edge rusher who can comfortably turn speed into power. Somewhat in the Jason Pierre-Paul mold – a gifted athlete with a very high ceiling and nearly no physical limitations.
3. Trent Murphy, Stanford
A potential 3-4 outside linebacker conversion with versatility and terrific size. Another naturally long defender with ideal short-area agility. Comfortable engaging and shedding blocks, and possesses a strong variety of pass rushing moves.
4. Dominique Easley, Florida
Will have to continue proving he can overcome a ACL injuries to both knees, but the undersized DT/DE-type has a fantastic first-step and can be downright disruptive at times. Could be a later round value if teams are overtly concerned about size + medical.
5. Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas
A little light for his size, the son of former NFL defensive end Jim Jeffcoat, still possesses nice length and height. Plays with good leverage and, for a true pass rusher, understands positional responsibility. Flexible rusher + uses hands well to get off blocks.
HM: Kareem Martin, North Carolina
Doesn’t bring fire off the snap or ideal closing speed, but a big athletic frame with stoutness at the point of attack make Martin a versatile commodity. Fluid movement skills for a taller lineman (6’6”) and deceptive lateral agility.
1. Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
The former tight end is a phenomenal athlete and possesses excellent movement skills – let alone for a 6’6” 311-pound interior lineman. Consistency, technique – plays a little high, and a 2012 misdemeanor will concern some.
2. Will Sutton, Arizona State
The shortish two-time consensus All-American can be a disruptive one-gapper and has developed more positional responsibility as a senior. Sack production dipped in 2013 after adding weight in effort to fill out his compact frame.
3. Louis Nix, Notre Dame
Mammoth nose tackles with good movement skills are a rare commodity if they aren’t always required to come off the field in potential passing situations. “Irish Chocolate” is a strong, space-eating run defender who is particularly powerful. Like many nose tackles, Nix is, perhaps, a little too bulky with questionable endurance & conditioning.
4. Timmy Jernigan, Florida State (JR)
Squatty 4-3 nose tackle-type with brute strength, who plays at a low pad level. Particularly good run defender, but can be effective in the passing game as well. Motor, injuries, and conditioning are concerning, but Jernigan is a talent.
5. Ego Ferguson, Louisiana State (JR)
Active interior defensive lineman with good size and short-area quickness. Laterally fluid, reads + reacts well, and frequently involved in tackles. Has benefited from playing alongside fellow underclassman Anthony Johnson, but he’s certainly taken advantage.
HM: Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina (JR)
Experienced lineman with a good first-step. Generates leverage strength and uses hands well to disengage blockers. Has the look of a 4-3/3-4 versatile player. Capable of anchoring. Only an average sized frame without much more room to grow.
1. Anthony Barr, California-Los Angeles
Rangy and highly athletic, Barr carries his frame well and moves about the field smoothly. Penetrates very well and can be highly disruptive as a pass rusher or affect passing lanes. Tackling consistency + strength are areas of improvement.
2. Khalil Mack, Buffalo
Capable of rushing from a variety of places and posing a threat with his short-area explosiveness. Albeit against lesser competition, Mack has held his own when asked to cover. Somewhat of a tweener, but an athletic play-maker with legitimate pass rushing potential.
3. Vic Beasley*, Clemson (JR)
A pursuit defender with great closing speed. Primarily pass rushing oriented defender who would likely be best utilized on the edge in a 3-4 base. He’s comfortable enough when dropping into coverage.
4. Kyle Van Noy, Brigham-Young
Contains well, takes really good angles, and often involved in tackles due to his speed. Plays sideline-to-sideline and has experience rushing off the edge in a 3-4 front. Although he’ll likely be a 4-3 OLB in the NFL, he has lined up in a variety of spots on-field.
5. Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (JR)
Speedy athlete who can disrupt the game with his ability to close in the backfield. Prone to over-pursuing and only average in coverage, but the All-Big Ten first team selection needs to be accounted for when rushing the passer. A little light and undersized.
HM: Khairi Fortt, California (JR)
A Penn State transfer following the Sandusky scandal. He’s a little raw, but rich in talent. Excellent in movement, Fortt covers ground very well and tackles with really good form. Coverage skills leave something to be desired, but there is a strong base for growth.
1. C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Would have been a coveted prospect in last year’s draft. Mosley is an athletic, disciplined, and experienced inside ‘backer. Sure-tackler with coverage skills, the versatile ‘Bama product doesn’t come off the field. Less effective when playing closer to the line of scrimmage and taking on bigger blockers; not
2. Shayne Skov, Stanford
Productive defensive quarterback with hailed leadership skills and a propensity to live in the film room. Good pop behind hits – able to generate momentum behind hits. Big and heavy enough to stand ground while engaging blockers. Coverage skills are a little underrated, but definitely has room to grow. Only average athleticism.
3. Christian Jones, Florida State
Prototypical FSU linebacker – athleticism and measurables. Jones features short-area explosion and covers the field well, taking good angles on ball carriers. Instincts are average at best, but he enjoys contact and playing physical. He was suspended this season for one game due to an unspecified violation of team rules.
4. Yamin Smallwood, Connecticut (JR)
Heady linebacker with good instincts. Diagnoses plays well and physical enough to execute when tracking ball carriers. Effective blitzer when called to do so, and handles himself well when taking on blockers. Wins many one-on-one battles.
5. Max Bullough, Michigan State
Well-framed Big Ten linebacker Max Bullough plays with intensity and a noticeable on-field motor. Displays good instincts and a knack for playing effective zone-coverage. Not very athletic, may be beaten to the seam by quicker tight ends, and below average pass rushing skills.
HM: Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Perhaps generously listed at 5’11”, size will be a major concern to many. That said, Borland would be one of the more coveted players in the draft if he were he taller. Stout, active run defender with good instincts and fluid hips in coverage. Lacks elite speed, but deceptively quick and plays well laterally. People blacklisted a Wisconsin player in 2012 due to height. I’d advise nobody does the same in 2014.
1. Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State
Like a defensive end who can rush the pass rusher, a cornerback who can play effective man-coverage is coveted. Gilbert has good size and packs a punch behind hits. Nice leaping skills round out a neatly checked athletic evaluation. Prone to penalties and could be more involved in run defense.
2. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
Speedy + ball skills. The cousin of Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, Darqueze, is an excellent all around prospect. Reliable and respected in both man + zone. Can be aggressive and poses a definite turnover threat to opposing quarterbacks.
3. Kameron Jackson, California (JR)
Scrappy and durable, the very fast Long Beach Poly HS product is aggressive and tough to beat despite being undersized. Capable of playing in a variety of coverage schemes and looks like an equally effective nickel-type.
4. Jason Verrett, Texas-Christian
One of the most effective press-man cornerbacks available. Very physical in man-coverage and steps up well as a run defender. Size is less than desirable, but he’s a proven play-maker at TCU with impressive ball skills.
5. Terrance Mitchell, Oregon (JR)
Played a little in Ifo Ekpre-Olomu’s shadow in Eugene, but he’s going to generate a buzz as we draw closer to May. Fundamentals and technique are top-notch. Excellent, smooth back pedal + comfortably fluid hip work. A 5-interception junior season opened some eyes to his quietly improved ball skills.
HM: Bradley Roby, Ohio State (JR)
An up-and-down season has some questioning his consistency, but Bradley Roby is an earlier round player based on talent. Excellent body control and really good speed for the position with man-coverage capabilities. Tackling isn’t anything better than average and not overly physical.
1. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Alabama (JR)
A good balance of effectiveness when playing center-field and in the box. Speed is evident on tape and used to being around the ball. Well put together and strong frame with room to add.
2. Dion Bailey, Southern California (JR)
Strong ball skills and even better instincts tell the story on Bailey. Has the necessary blend of size + speed to match up on modern tight ends. He’s an undersized linebacker, so some will place him in the tweener category.
3. Calvin Pryor, Louisville (JR)
Another aggressive, hard-hitting safety with a willingness to defend in the box. A bigger frame with room to grow, the Louisville underclassman has displayed durability throughout his three years. Quietly good ball skills. Man-coverage skills are relatively untested. Somewhat reminiscent of another ex-Louisville safety Kerry Rhodes.
4. LaMarcus Joyner, Florida State
It’s a shame that Joyner’s height (5’8”) will prevent him from being drafted as high as his talent level would indicate. Has been very effective in numerous defensive back positions. Highly aggressive and physical when blitzing or playing in the box. May be pegged as a better nickel than full-time safety at the next level.
5. Craig Loston, Louisiana State
Explosive athlete who loves the big hit. Tackling in general is hit or miss (pardon the pun), but capable of generating turnovers with his powerful hitting skills. Angles aren’t the best, but Loston is an extremely willing box defender. Consistency in coverage is the question.
HM: Antone Exum, Virginia Tech
A plus-size box defender with great physicality and length to disrupt and alter the passing game. Likes delivering big hits, but his tackling form suffers at times because of it. A torn ACL ensured he would only play three games as a senior. Played cornerback for the Hokies but may be a safety in the NFL.