NEPD Editor: James Christensen
The 2013 NFL Draft has hardly cooled off, but my staff and I are already two months into our work on the 2014 NFL Draft. Here is my first prediction for what prospects might hear their names called by Roger Goodell next spring.
At this point in the game, a mock draft is for entertainment purposes only. Don’t freak about where your favorite team is situated and don’t go crazy about team needs. Have fun and get to know the newest prospects!
Here is a list of our current top 2014 NFL Draft Prospects.
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Bridgewater is the premiere quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft class and my #2 overall prospect. Due to him being a quarterback, he is my odds-on favorite for being the #1 pick. He has a preternatural feel for the game and is primed to be next rookie quarterback to come in and light NFL defenses on fire.
2. Oakland Raiders
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
If you don’t know about Jadeveon Clowney, you don’t watch College Football. He hits like a mack truck, rag-dolls offensive linemen with powerful rush moves and violent hands. He was the best player in the NCAA last year and I don’t expect that to change.
3. Arizona Cardinals
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Jake Matthews has NFL bloodlines – his dad Bruce was a HOF lineman – and plays like it. He should get to show his chops at left tackle this year, after dominating from the right side last year while teammate Luke Joeckel was holding down the left side.
4. New York Jets
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Lee was a dynamic presence for the USC Trojans the last two years and should thrive even without former QB Matt Barkley in town. Lee has excellent hands and is a good route-runner, although he could tighten up that area of his game. Lee is the best receiver prospect at least since AJ Green and perhaps since Calvin Johnson.
5. San Diego Chargers
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
We saw the tackles rise to the top of the board in 2013 and I’d expect the top blockers to do the same in 2014. Lewan is technically sound and will only improve his technique and strength as a senior.
6. Cleveland Browns
Stephen Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
Tuitt does not move like a guy that measures in at 6’6″ and 305 pounds. He has some quick feet and abundant power. He is going to find a lot of suitors in the 2014 NFL Draft.
7. Buffalo Bills
Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
Opting to stay for his senior season really surprised me. Van Noy is electric – making plays all over the field: sacking the quarterback, disengaging and tackling a running back, or deflecting passes in coverage.
8. Detroit Lions
C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Mosley can do it all – he has the size, athleticism and Alabama pedigree to come in and contribute at nearly any linebacker position as a rookie.
9. Tennessee Titans
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
If Seferian-Jenkins can keep his head on off the field, he is a top ten talent. Big tight ends that can run and catch just don’t last in today’s NFL.
10. Tampa Bay Bucs
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Watkins sophomore season was dampened by a suspension and injuries, but he is poised to have another huge season this year. He’s got football speed and a QB – Tajh Boyd – who will deliver him the ball.
11. Carolina Panthers
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
Barr is the new prototype in the NFL – he can rush the passer as well as cover tight ends down the field. Barr could develop into a Dion Jordan-esque prospect.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers
Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Nix is one of the players that made Manti Te’o what he is today. A dynamic player that can eat up blockers or disengage and get after the ball, Nix is a rare bird.
13. Dallas Cowboys
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Verrett had an incredible season last year, grabbing six interceptions to go along with FOURTEEN pass deflections. Verrett looked very good against top competition like Oklahoma and should be one of the top corners selected despite his 5’10” frame.
14. Chicago Bears
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
If the light ever goes on for Thomas, he has all the physical tools to be a “Cam Newton-esque” quarterback in the NFL. If it doesn’t, and he plays like last year, he’ll be relegated to day three of the 2014 NFL Draft.
15. Kansas City Chiefs
David Fales, QB, San Jose State
I really like what Fales brings to the table. His anticipation and accuracy are very good and, while he doesn’t have the livest arm in this class, he can get the ball down the field when he has to. A team running the West-Coast offense should look Fales up.
16. Minnesota Vikings
Ra’Shede Hageman, DL, Minnesota
Hageman is unheralded right now, but I think he will develop into a top-flight defensive end / defensive tackle in the NFL. Watch him destroy the Big-10 this year.