Below, I’ve listed 32 of the best prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft and given them each one team that could a landing spot for them.
Rather than give some NFL teams multiple players and others none, I made sure to match only one SEC player for every team. 32 NFL teams were paired-up with one SEC player.
The farther down in the draft you go in trying to project them, the more variables come into play with where those players may end up, namely, previously filling that position need, trades, etc.
With each player, I also listed three other teams that would be good fits and possible landing spots for that player.
We’ll talk plenty about the NFL Draft and SEC football on the News Sentinel Sports Page with rotating writers and columnists from the Knoxville News Sentinel, weekdays 10am-Noon on The Sports Animal!
32 SEC Players
WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU
NFL Team Match: Pittsburgh Steelers
Why: Big need position with a talented, versatile, big-play receiver. He’s a guy that can freelance and get open when Roethlisberger scrambles and looks for targets on the move.
Others: St. Louis, Philadelphia or Detroit
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
NFL Team Match: Dallas Cowboys
Why: Dallas needs help in the secondary, and Ha-Ha would be a good fit in Rod Marinelli’s scheme.
Others: Chicago, Baltimore or Arizona
DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
NFL Team Match: Houston Texans
Why: He’s the best player, and the Texans have the first pick.
Others: Jacksonville, Oakland or Atlanta
DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
NFL Team Match: Detroit Lions
Why: Stout in the middle but with edge pass rush needing improvement, if he’s still on the board he may be too good to pass up.
Others: Arizona, San Diego or New Orleans
DT Dominique Easley, Florida
NFL Team Match: New York Giants
Why: Big need that the G-men may not get a chance to fill until Day 2. He’s a much greater talent than where he’ll be drafted. Steal.
Others: New England, Tampa Bay or San Francisco
WR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina
NFL Team Match: Carolina Panthers
Why: Desperate need with size and skills to slide into Steve Smith’s role. Geography.
Others: New Orleans, Cleveland or Baltimore
WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
NFL Team Match: Oakland Raiders
Why: Jon Gruden talked me out of it. Despite most mock drafts having Evans penciled in to the Bucs, Chucky brought up a fabulous point. Mike Evans is a big X-receiver that lines up on the right side and doesn’t go in motion or move positions. They already have a guy just like that in Vincent Jackson. I’m riding with fellow Tampa-guy Jon Gruden on this one.
Others: Buffalo, Detroit or N.Y. Giants
DE Dee Ford, Auburn
NFL Team Match: Philadelphia Eagles
Why: Need, productivity, motor and Chip Kelly’s knowledge and respect for SEC players.
Others: Atlanta, New Orleans or Arizona
DB Victor Hampton, South Carolina
NFL Team Match: San Francisco 49’ers
Why: His toughness and tackling ability matches the Niners defense perfectly.
Others: Tennessee, Minnesota or Cleveland
RB Jeremy Hill, LSU
NFL Team Match: New England Patriots
Why: Because “Hoodie” isn’t afraid or guys with red flags, and he loves SEC players.
Others: St. Louis, Oakland or Minnesota
OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State
NFL Team Match: Kansas City Chiefs
Why: No NFL team likes SEC players more than the Chiefs. He will be a good available value in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Others: N.Y. Giants, Cleveland or Tampa Bay
OT Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee
NFL Team Match: Miami Dolphins
Why: He’s a great fit on all levels including character, which that locker room can’t have enough of. He has the skill-set to be effective at right tackle in the zone-blocking scheme that almost half the league runs these days. He’ll quickly become a starter.
Others: Buffalo, Seattle or Houston
OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama
NFL Team Match: Washington Redskins
Why: He has the upside of a former Redskins and Alabama offensive lineman, Chris Samuels.
Others: Miami, Carolina or Cincinnati
WR Jarvis Landry, LSU
NFL Team Match: New Orleans Saints
Why: First LSU WR taken by the Saints since Devery Henderson will more than fill Lance Moore’s shoes. He’s a play-maker that will be Brees-endorsed.
Others: Indianapolis, Pittsburgh or Miami
QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
NFL Team Match: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Why: See Mike Evans above. This was also a late switch thanks to Jon Gruden. Gruden said recently that he’s not sure the new staff like Mike Glennon. Translated: They don’t. He’s in Tampa. He knows and talks to Lovie Smith. I’ll go with Chucky, who would go with Manziel, as I would. Bucs go bold with Johnny Football in Tampa Bay. He’d be great in Dallas too, but I doubt he’s around that long.
Others: Jacksonville, Cleveland or Oakland
RB Tre Mason, Auburn
NFL Team Match: Minnesota
Why: He can get to the perimeter, break tackles and take it to the house. He’s just what the Vikings need as a backup to “All Day” Adrian Peterson.
Others: New England, Denver or Jacksonville
OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
NFL Team Match: Atlanta Falcons
Why: All the tools and pedigree the team needs to protect Matt Ryan for many years to come.
Others: Oakland, Buffalo or Tennessee
WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
NFL Team Match: Jacksonville Jaguars
Why: Sure hands and dependability. Jags don’t go SEC very often, historically, but they’ll get one here.
Others: Oakland, San Francisco or Philadelphia
QB AJ McCarron, Alabama
NFL Team Match: Arizona Cardinals
Why: Excellent fit with Bruce Arians’ offense. Former Alabama QB Freddie Kitchens could be coaching one of his guys as the QB Coach at Arizona.
Others: Cincinnati, Minnesota or Houston
DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee
NFL Team Match: Baltimore Ravens
Why: They’ve shown the most interest in him leading up to the draft.
Others: N.Y. Giants, St. Louis or Arizona
QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU
NFL Team Match: Tennessee Titans
Why: They’ve brought him in, he has the frame Whisenhunt likes and won’t be spooked by possible red flags.
Others: St. Louis, Oakland or Green Bay
WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss
NFL Team Match: Indianapolis Colts
Why: Talented, productive and versatile receiver that would flourish working with Luck.
Others: Minnesota, Indianapolis or San Diego
LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama
NFL Team Match: Green Bay Packers
Why: Fits everything they need; an inside linebacker that can run sideline-to-sideline and stay on the field every down.
Others: St. Louis, Minnesota or Miami
QB Aaron Murray, Georgia
NFL Team Match: Cincinnati Bengals
Why: Intangibles, leadership and a fellow Georgia Bulldog to throw to A.J. Green.
Others: Minnesota, Arizona or Tennessee
WR Kevin Norwood, Alabama
NFL Team Match: Seattle Seahawks
Why: His ability to get open in scramble situations is absolutely perfect for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense.
Others: Tennessee, St. Louis or Tampa Bay
CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
NFL Team Match: Denver Broncos
Why: Need position for a team that knows and drafts SEC players.
Others: N.Y. Jets, Detroit or Jacksonville
DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
NFL Team Match: Chicago Bears
Why: Bears need to get younger and more athletic, especially if they don’t land Donald in the first round.
Others: Green Bay, N.Y. Giants or Dallas
OT Antonio Richardson, Tennessee
NFL Team Match: Buffalo Bills
Why: He can slide right in to the right side as an upgrade, and he has the upside the Bills need and like.
Others: Washington, Baltimore or Tampa Bay
CB Marcus Roberson, Florida
NFL Team Match: Cleveland Browns
Why: The Joe Haden Florida Gators factor sends Cleveland to Gainesville for their SEC player.
Others: Denver, San Francisco or Indianapolis
OT Greg Robinson, Auburn
NFL Team Match: St. Louis Rams
Why: Top tackle and the Rams will have their choice after Clowney.
Others: Oakland, Atlanta or Buffalo
OG Trai Turner, LSU
NFL Team Match: San Diego Chargers
Why: SEC players have worked out for the Chargers, and he's the big body they covet.
Others: Seattle, Carolina or Kansas City
CB Jaylen Watkins, Florida
NFL Team Match: New York Jets
Why: Has the physicality and coverage skills that Rex Ryan likes.
Others: San Francisco, Denver or Tennessee