As the 2014 NFL Draft nears, we take a closer look at who will be hearing their names called on draft day. Every year at this time big boards start to come out, but by draft day the order is extremely different thanks to college showcases such as the Senior Bowl, the East - West Shrine game and of course the NFL Scouting Combine. The positional breakdown is very subject to change, but that does not stop the prognostications from beginning. The 2014 draft class is getting a reputation as a Quarterback class, but I see very few of them being special and none near the likes of Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. This draft class is extremely deep in wide receivers while being very weak in running backs. Several players will make an impact along the offensive line, but most of them will be going early in the draft and then the depth of the offensive line talent is lacking.
Right now we look at my list for each offensive position, in the coming days I will release my defensive positional board along with a big board. Some time before the combine a first round mock draft will be completed and before draft day, I will be releasing a full seven round mock draft.
Here is a first look at my offensive positional breakdown.
Most boards have had QB Teddy Bridgewater going first overall since the start of the season, but I think that Johnny Manziel is the best talent in the draft at quarterback. He is an elite athlete and is the only one on the board that strikes me as a once in ten years type of talent. In the right system many of these quarterbacks could succeed, but Manziel has the highest ceiling.
Some quarterbacks to keep an eye on are Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas, who has better measurables than any other player on this list, Jimmy Garropollo, small school guy with a great arm, and Tajh Boyd who reminds me Ben Roethlisberger with his size and ability to create.
1. Johnny Manziel – Texas A & M
2. Teddy Bridewater – Louisville
3. Blake Bortles – UCF
4. Derek Carr – Fresno State
5. Zach Mettenberger – LSU
6. David Fales – San Jose State
7. Tajh Boyd – Clemson
8. A.J. McCarron – Alabama
9. Jeff Matthews – Cornell
10. Logan Thomas – Virginia Tech
11. Jimmy Garrapollo – Eastern Illinois
12. Aaron Murray – Georgia
13. Brett Smith – Wyoming
In an extremely weak running back class, Carlos Hyde may be the only back that goes in the first round. Grice, Thomas, Carey and Seastrunk all have the ability to catch balls out of the backfield as well as run which will make teams swoon over them, but none possess elite skill. I won't be surprised if someone falls in love with Thomas and he ends up going higher than any others.
1. Carlos Hyde – Ohio State
2. Marion Grice – Arizona State
3. De’Anthony Thomas – Oregon
4. Ka’Deem Carey – Arizona
5. Lache Seastrunk – Baylor
6. James Wilder Jr. – Florida State
7. Andre Williams – Boston College
8. Bishop Sankey – Washington
9. Kapri Bibbs – Colorado State
10. Melvin Gordon – Wisconsin
Where this draft lacks in talent at the running back position, it makes up for the loss in pass catchers. There should be no fewer than six pass catchers drafted in the first round and the first of which, Sammy Watkins, could go as high as #2 overall.
1. Sammy Watkins – Clemson
2. Kelvin Benjamin – Florida State
3. Mike Evans – Texas A&M
4. Jordan Matthews – Vanderbilt
5. Brandin Cooks – Oregon State
6. Marqise Lee – USC
7. Odell Beckham Jr. – LSU
8. Allen Robinson – Penn State
9. Paul Richardson – Colorado
10. Jarvis Landry – LSU
11. Brandon Coleman – Rutgers
12. Donte Moncrief – Ole Miss
13. DeVante Parker – Louisville
14. Jared Abbrederis – Wisconsin
15. Devin Street – Pittsburgh
16. Rashad Greene – Florida State
17. Kasen Williams – Washington
18. Cody Hoffman – BYU
19. Jalen Saunders – Oklahoma
20. Shaq Evans – UCLA
Much like the wide receiver class, the tight end class is strong as well. The tight end class is not extremely deep, but each of the top three on the list could easily go in the first round.
1. Eric Ebron – North Carolina
2. Jace Amaro – Texas Tech
3. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins – Washington
4. C.J. Fierdowicz – Iowa
5. Arthur Lynch – Georgia
Another top heavy part of the draft includes at least five offensive tackles that could go in the first round. Jake Matthews has the bloodlines needed to be an NFL star, a perfect frame for the league and has been predicted as a top five pick for several years now following the #2 overall pick of Luke Joeckel last year.
Greg Robinson is the more intriguing prospect with elite athleticism reminding me of Trent Williams. He has not proven his talent as long as some of the others, but with proper coaching Robinson could be the best of the bunch. Billy Turner is a small school guy that could shoot up the draft boards and really make an impact on the draft with his athleticism, frame and over 50 career starts for a team that won back to back national titles.
1. Jake Matthews – Texas A & M
2. Greg Robinson – Auburn
3. Taylor Lewan – Michigan
4. Cyrus Kuoandjo – Alabama
5. Zach Martin – Notre Dame
6. Antonio Richardson – Tennessee
7. Morgan Moses – Virginia
8. Cameron Irving – Florida State
9. Seantrel Henderson – Miami
10. Billy Turner – North Dakota State
11. Jawuan James – Tennessee
12. James Hurst – North Carolina
Much like the tight end class this year, the offensive guard talent is extremely top heavy. At least four of the guards on this board could go in the first two rounds, but after these five below the list gets very thin.
1. David Yankey – Stanford
2. Cyril Richardson – Baylor
3. Gabe Jackson – Mississippi State
4. Xavier Sua-Filo – UCLA
5. Anthony Steen – Alabama
Last year the Dallas Cowboys surprised everyone by selecting a center in the late first round, but Travis Frederick was extremely productive for the Cowboys and made people that argued with the pick look foolish. Weston Richburg is a name that may not mean much to most just yet, but Richburg started over 50 games in his four years at Colorado State and helped RB Kapri Bibbs gather historic numbers this past year for the Rams.
1. Weston Richburg – Colorado State
2. Travis Swanson – Arkansas
3. Gabe Ikard – Oklahoma
4. Hroniss Grasu – Oregon
5. Tyler Larsen – Utah State