DraftManiacs

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Top 5 at Each Position – Final Rankings

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The 2014 NFL draft is tomorrow, so I have updated my player rankings one last time. My rankings may be a little different than some analysts, but this is the way I see the players rated coming into the draft.

Quarterback:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Teddy Bridgewater Louisville Jr 1 1
Blake Bortles UCF Jr 3 2
Johnny Manziel Texas A&M RSS 5 3
Derek Carr Fresno St Sr 2 4
Jimmy Garoppolo E Illinois Sr 5

Analysis: Most people are down on Bridgewater, some even saying he won’t be drafted in the first round. I have watched too much tape of this kid to back off my prediction. I believe in him and he is still my top QB. Bortles may take a while to develop, but his size and athleticism make him enticing. I’m not sure Manziel’s skill set translates to the NFL, but most people think he will be a first round pick. Carr has a cannon for an arm and will likely make it into the first round, if not the top of the second. Garoppolo is a big strong armed QB that has improved his draft stock with good showings at the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. He has the quickest release of anyone in the draft.

Running Back:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Carlos Hyde Ohio St Sr 1 1
Bishop Sankey Washington Jr 2
Tre Mason Auburn Jr 3
Jeremy Hill LSU RSS 4
Ka’Deem Carey Arizona Jr 2 5

There are a lot of different opinions on running backs this year. It all depends on what you like in your offense. Last year there were no running backs selected in the first round and that looks to be the case this year also. Hyde is a big, powerful back that is capable of carrying the ball 25 times a game. He gets the tough yards and has decent speed for a 230 lb. back. Sankey and Mason are versatile backs that can do it all. They both have more power than you think and also have good break away speed. Hill is another big, power back. His draft stock seems to be rising late in the process. Carey is a workhorse that has more than 4,000 rushing yards in the last two years. He runs angry, but his 4.7 40 yard dash has caused him to fall in most rankings.

Wide Receiver:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Sammy Watkins Clemson Jr 1 1
Mike Evans Texas A&M RSS 2 2
Odell Beckham Jr. LSU Jr 3
Brandin Cooks Oregon St Jr 4
Marqise Lee USC Jr 3 5

Analysis: Watkins is the most explosive player in the draft. He is likely to go in the top 5 picks. Evans is a huge target with an enormous catch radius. He has the ability to go up and catch jump balls over defensive backs and is a big time red zone threat. Odell Beckham Jr. is climbing the rankings very quickly. He has good speed and may be a better returner than receiver. Cooks has sub 4.4 speed and that fact alone could move him to #3 on some draft boards. He is a slot receiver that has the potential to catch a lot of balls. He is also an excellent returner. Lee has slipped a little bit, but he is still one of the better receivers available this year.

Tight End:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Eric Ebron N Carolina Jr 2 1
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins Washington Jr 4 2
Jace Amaro Texas Tech Sr 1 3
Troy Niklas Notre Dame Jr 4
C.J. Fiedorowicz Iowa Sr 3 5

Analysis: Ebron is considered the consensus top tight end and could go in the top 10 picks. I think Sefarian-Jenkins and Amaro are pretty close at the second and third spots. Both are big guys that can line up in the slot and make catches down the field. Niklas has been steadily rising since the NFL Combine. Niklas and Fiedorowicz are more traditional tight ends that can line up on the line of scrimmage and do a good job blocking.

Fullback:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Trey Millard Oklahoma Sr 1 1
J.C. Copeland LSU Sr 2 2
Ryan Hewitt Stanford Sr 5 3
Jay Prosch Auburn Sr 4 4
Gator Hoskins Marshall Sr 5

Analysis: Despite being lost for the year with a torn ACL, Millard is the most talented fullback in this year’s draft class. He can do everything, running, catching, blocking and special teams. Copeland is huge for a fullback. The former defensive lineman is more nimble that you think. He is a powerful lead blocker, has decent hands and is tough to stop in the red zone. Hewitt is a good blocker and very good receiver. Prosch is a tough player that is a throw back to old school fullbacks. Hoskins can either play fullback or tight end. He can line up all over and has very good hands.

Offensive Tackle:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Jake Matthews Texas A&M Sr 1 1
Greg Robinson Auburn Jr 2
Taylor Lewan Michigan Sr 2 3
Zack Martin Notre Dame Sr 4
Cyrus Kouandjio Alabama Jr 3 5

Analysis: Most analysts have Robinson as the top tackle, but the NFL is a passing league and Matthews is a much better pass blocker. Matthews pass protection technique is very good. Robinson is a mauler than blows people away in the running game, but he didn’t have much experience in pass protecting so he may need some work protecting the QB. Lewan is a hard worker that is a nasty run blocker that sometimes struggles with speed rushers. Martin is a versatile guy. He could play any of the line positions and could even end up at center. Kouandjio may have knee issues, so NFL teams will need to be good with his physical before drafting him.

Guard:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Xavier Su’a-Filo UCLA Jr 1
David Yankey Stanford Sr 2 2
Gabe Jackson Mississippi St Sr 3 3
Cyril Richardson Baylor Sr 1 4
Joel Bitonio Nevada Sr 5

Analysis: Su’a-Filo is a nasty guard that many teams are excited about. He should be drafted in the middle of the first round. Yankey has played guard and tackle, but is better suited at guard. Jackson is a mauler in the run game. Richardson has fallen after struggling during Senior Bowl week. He is a nasty run blocker, but he did not look good in pass protection. Bitonio played tackle for Nevada, but he may be better suited at guard. His versatility gives him good value.

Center:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Weston Richburg Colorado St Sr 2 1
Marcus Martin USC Jr 2
Travis Swanson Arkansas Sr 1 3
Bryan Stork Florida St Sr 4 4
Gabe Ikard Oklahoma Sr 5

Analysis: Richburg is an under-sized center that is scrappy. He would be a good fit for zone blocking teams. Martin is a player that has risen quickly in the last 2 months. He has good size and has the versatility to play center or guard. Swanson is a 4 year starter. He is smart and very competitive. Stork has good size and good footwork. He could possibly also play guard. Ikard doesn’t have a lot of athleticism, but he finds a way to get the job done.

Defensive End:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Jadeveon Clowney S Carolina Jr 1 1
Stephon Tuitt Notre Dame Jr 2 2
Scott Crichton Oregon St Jr 4 3
Kony Ealy Missouri Jr 3 4
Kareem Martin N Carolina Sr 5

Analysis: Clowney is the most physically gifted defensive end in this class. He could possibly go #1 overall to the Texans despite questions about his work ethic. Tuitt is a perfect fit as a 5-technique in a 3-4 scheme. Crichton is an energizer bunny that would fit in a 4-3 scheme. Ealy is starting to slide due to questions about his athleticism. Martin is rising quickly due his ability to rush the passer.

Defensive Tackle:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Aaron Donald Pitt Sr 4 1
Louis Nix III Notre Dame Jr 1 2
Timmy Jernigan Florida St Sr 5 3
Ra’Shede Hageman Minnesota Sr 2 4
Will Sutton Arizona St Sr 3 5

Analysis: Donald is a dominant 3-technique. The 4-3 teams all love him. Nix is massive nose tackle that would fit well in a 3-4 scheme. Jernigan has improved his draft stock and will likely be the second 4-3 defensive tackle selected. Hageman is an inconsistent player that at times dominates, but then can disappear. He could be a 4-3 defensive tackle, but he also has the perfect body type to be a 3-4 defensive end. Sutton decided to return for his senior season, which may have cost him. He did not play as well in 2013. If he can shed some weight he should be a dominant 3 technique.

Outside Linebacker:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Khalil Mack Buffalo Sr 3 1
Anthony Barr UCLA Sr 1 2
Ryan Shazier Ohio St Jr 3
Kyle Van Noy BYU Jr 4 4
Dee Ford Auburn Sr 5

Analysis: Mack is a stud. He can do anything you need an outside linebacker to do and he excels at rushing the passer. If you believe the rumors, he very well could be the first round pick of the Texans. Barr is a former running back that has really blossomed since his move to linebacker. In only two years he has 23 sacks. He might even be able to play defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. Shazier is a tackling machine that flies all over the field. He could play outside or inside in a 3-4 scheme. Van Noy is a versatile player that can do it all. He is a playmaker that steps up when his team needs it most. Ford played defensive end at Auburn. He is probably going to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme in the NFL. He is extremely quick off the ball and creates havoc behind the line of scrimmage.

Inside Linebacker:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
C.J. Mosley Alabama Sr 2 1
Chris Borland Wisconsin Sr 5 2
Yawin Smallwood UConn Jr 3 3
Shayne Skov Stanford Jr 1 4
Max Bullough Michigan St Sr 5

Analysis: Mosley is a true three down linebacker. He might actually be better in coverage than against the run. He can play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, but he might be better as a 3-4 inside linebacker playing on the tight end side of the formation. Borland and Bullough will not impress you physically. However, they are both old-school players that are always around the ball. Smallwood runs all over the field making plays. Skov was the emotional leader of the Cardinal defense that led the team in tackles the last two seasons.

Cornerback:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Justin Gilbert Oklahoma St Sr 1
Darqueze Dennard Michigan St Sr 3 2
Jason Verrett TCU Sr 2 3
Kyle Fuller Virginia Tech Sr  – 4
Bradley Roby Ohio St Jr 5 5

Analysis: Gilbert has good size and great ball skills. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he is a threat to take it to the house. He is also a very good returner. Dennard was nicknamed “No Fly Zone” because of his ability to shut down the #1 receiver. He isn’t as fast as you might like, but he is a very good press cover corner. Verrett doesn’t have the height that you like, but he is a battler and he runs really well. Fuller is best in off coverage. He has good size and instincts. Roby came into the year as the #1 corner, but he had an inconsistent year. He has good physical skills and has the ability to cover slot receivers. Roby is also a very good special teams player that has the ability to block punts.

Safety:

First Name Last Name School Year Previous Ranking Current Ranking
Calvin Pryor Louisville Jr 4 1
Haha Clinton-Dix Alabama Jr 1 2
Lamarcus Joyner Florida St Sr 2 3
Deone Bucannon Washington St Sr 3 4
Jimmie Ward N Illinois Sr 5

Analysis: Calvin Pryor has been called the “Louisville Slugger” because he will knock your block off. He can play deep or in the box. His versatility moves him slightly ahead of Clinton-Dix. Haha Clinton-Dix is a deep safety that does a good job playing center field and keeping the ball in front of him. Lamarcus Joyner doesn’t have elite size, but he is always around the ball and making plays. He has played both corner and safety and can cover the slot receiver. Bucannon is rising on many draft boards. He is a good deep safety with good ball skills. Ward is the top strong safety on the board.

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