Rankings: NFL Draft Prospects: Top-32

The most notable section of these rankings: the inclusion associated with quarterbacks. They are not just thrown in among other positions; there is a thought process behind their slotting. If I firmly believe a quarterback is a quality starter, they transcend the board and jump to the top. The next rate, which includes prospects I think have a great chance of becoming quality starters, comes after first-round talents.

Please never take these comparisons literally. Most of the time, I tried to find a similar sportsman, play style, and/or role in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.

* denotes junior, ** denotes redshirt sophomore

1 . QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville*

NFL Evaluation: Russell Wilson , but three inches taller.

Where He Wins: Excellent pocket movement. Bounces away from his back foot to step-up against edge pressure and is not afraid to slide laterally whenever faced with an interior rush. Keeps eye up to survey coverages and works to multiple reads. Placement and touch are there, but has the velocity to hit vertical routes on the move. Not afraid to give a covered receiver in single coverage a chance to win. Reports have stated he takes care of many checks at the line of scrimmage.

Where He Fits: He fits any offense. Maintains success from the pocket but also offers mobility which isn’t showcased frequently. Hits every level with positioning and timing.

2014 Draft Projection: No . 1 or 2 pick.

2 . QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon**

NFL Evaluation: A more refined Colin Kaepernick out of Nevada.

In which he Wins: Does not obtain enough credit for his success in the pocket. Quick decision creator on short to intermediate ways, which is exactly what up-tempo offenses need. Not afraid to shift away from that first read, reset, and fire to another target while inside or outside of the pocket. Placement is improving and obviously has the velocity to hit any throw on a rope. He offers a read option/zone learn element as well.

In which he Fits: Has lots of experience in an up-tempo offense, but his pocket skills will convert for any team. Creativity will help make use of his talents in the best way.

Draft Projection: No . 1 or 2 pick.

3. DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina*

NFL Comparison: Utilizes a J. J. Watt like go swimming move, athleticism might be Julius Peppers-esque.

Where He Wins: Predominantly lines up in right defensive end in a three-point stance as a five, seven, or nine technique. His explosion off the snap is ridiculous, gaining an immediate advantage against his competition. Certainly the swarming wingspan and closing speed is there, and he enjoys completing hits with force. Has frequently taken the inside line this year, most likely due to the shorter distance to the backfield. Loves to utilize an arm over swim and athletic footwork is on displays when avoiding cut blocks. Loops inside with ease. A rare power and speed athlete.

Where He Fits: Most experience in a four man front, but his talent could be used in any defensive scheme.

Draft Projection: The first non-QB off the board. Top-5 pick.

Extended Evaluation

4. Pass rushing OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA

NFL Comparison: Athleticism could be similar to Bruce Irvin.

Where He Wins: The lightning-quick pass rusher will be able to gain an advantage on the edge and keep it thanks to his burst off the line, ability to cut off either foot towards the quarterback, and flexibility in order to bend around the corner. He closes ranges quickly, which can be effective from a selection of alignments, and Barr is a penalizing finisher.

Where He Fits: Experience as a fully stand up rusher next to a three man front. Able to loop inside.

Draft Projection: Top-5 selection. Has a chance to end up being drafted over Clowney.

Extended Assessment

5. T Jake Matthews, Texas A& Meters

NFL Comparison: Jordan Gross

Where He Wins: Doesn’t sit back and wait, finds get in touch with through his hands and is an aggressive blocker. Obtains inside hands positioning and adjusts if necessary. Athletic feet to keep proper shoulder position, which prevents bending from the waist. Displays ability to bend at the leg to absorb and redirect. Sets up cut blocks and drives through with force. Moving from right to remaining tackle.

Where He Fits: Has experience and played at a high level at remaining or right tackle.

Draft Projection: The very best offensive tackle off the board. Top-10.

6. LB C. J. Mosley, The state of alabama

NFL Comparison: Sean Lee

Where He Wins: Very little wasted movement. Lines up as inside linebacker behind three and 4 man fronts. Has so much range, chases down athletic quarterbacks to the edge. Same range is visible in pass coverage. Contacts crossing ways and keeps footwork to sustain and trail. Works over top associated with blocks with quick steps. Helps to keep nice vision at the second level by strafing then attacks uphill. Will finish tackles.

Where He Fits: Offers transitioned from a coverage linebacker to the complete package. Scheme versatile in inside linebacker. Could potentially see time on the weakside.

Set up Projection: Very dependent on how teams react to his injuries history. Top-20.

7. WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson*

NFL Evaluation: The current Torrey Smith .

Where He Wins: The particular combination of burst and smooth motions in and out of his breaks or after catch moves is great. Hands catcher away from his body. A good explosive player with the ball in the hands, gets up to high gear very quickly. Will go across the middle and catch passes in tight home windows. Cuts routes off very quickly. Offers balance to stay up beyond first defender. Wins from slot or outside.

Where He Fits: Will help in a variety of ways, which includes yards after the catch, vertical ways, and in the return game.

Draft Projection: Expected to be the first receiver off the board, unless a team applies to a taller target who is an expert winning at the catch point. Top-10.

8. S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama*

NFL Comparison: Reshad Jones

Where He Wins: Offers excellent length for the position. Controlled aggressiveness when closing towards the line of scrimmage. Not a watcher, he gets in the action. Reads run and reacts quickly, even from one high. Has seen time for free or strong safety. Capable in playing man and zone situations, either near or off the line of scrimmage. A really, really good safety.

Where He Fits: A likely interchangeable safety that may play near the line of scrimmage or in the deep half.

Draft Projection: Top-15 selection.

9. OLB Ryan Shazier, Kansas State*

NFL Comparison: Lavonte David , but with more length. What many want Alec Ogletree to be.

In which he Wins: Long and lean. Projects to weakside linebacker. His speed to the edge is great. There are some wasted movements when functioning the backside, but once the focus on and ally are located he gets there in a hurry. Zone drops are usually smooth. Asked to blitz from inside and on the edge. Takes tight sides into the backfield on edge runs.

Where He Fits: Likely as a weakside linebacker who will stay on in nickel situations.

Draft Projection: First-round.

10. OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo

NFL Evaluation: Akeem Ayers

Where He Wins: Displays a unique combination of size and strength. Has quickness to get beneath an offensive lineman’s pads after which use his strength to drive that lineman into the backfield. Controls run blockers, maintaining outside leverage and resetting the line of scrimmage. Offers enough athleticism to be a factor in insurance coverage and can avoid cut blocks.

Where He Fits: As a stand up weakside pass rusher alongside a three man line or could play a strong aspect linebacker in a 4-3 under.

Draft Projection: Has off-field question stemming from a suspension, but likely top-20 choose.

Fulton: Mack vs . Miller

11. DT Dominique Easley, Florida

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE Comparison: Jay Ratliff or Earl Mitchell

Where He Wins: Easley’s success inside compared to when in the edge is a no contest. His quickness to force his resistance off balance or shoot face up gaps causes instant disruption, displaying active hands to keep separation and a forward momentum. He impacts games when gaining promising positioning.

Where He Fits: Everywhere. Has experience as being a five technique end but thrived in a one or zero technique role this season. Could be a disrupting, upfield nasal area tackle.

Draft Projection: This is difficult. Easley is a top-10 talent but offers two ACL tears to call him by his name on opposite knees. Played at a high level this season after the first one. I still think top-40, like Cornelius “Tank” Carradine.

Extended Assessment

12. DT Louis Nix, Notre Dame*

NFL Comparison: Flashes of Vince Wilfork

Where He Wins: Lines up as a nose tackle or shade in a three man front. Can work over top of the block and create penetration at the same time. Stops momentum very quickly and changes path well for a big man. Has got the leg drive to penetrate face up and strength to lose it close spaces. Can interrupt the run upfield or keep his spot with anchor versus the run. Has some Vince Wilfork in order to him.

Where He Fits: Likely a one or zero shade in a three man front, but don’t rule your pet out of four man fronts.

Draft Projection: Has been a letdown at times this season, but likely top-32.

13. CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State*


Where He Wins: Attacks the jam or blocking receiver, frequently gets into the action. Will play off or press man coverage, attacks the catch point by cutting in front of the focus on. Even plays on special groups. Trails in close distances and prevents the sliver of separation at the catch point. Makes items difficult on the opposition.

Where He Fits: Not really locked into one side of the field. Likely better in press because of physical nature, but shows he is able to attack and drive in away from coverage.

Draft Projection: Poor performance towards Jared Abbrederis , but likely top-20.

14. TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech*

NFL Comparison: Really does some Jimmy Graham-like things, but more along the lines of what many want Vance McDonald to be.

In which he Wins: A matchup nightmare. Uses his frame towards corners and safeties to gain the positional advantage. Can do the same with safeties while creating space with fluid routes. An easy mover towards linebackers. Has always been a willing blocker in space, but he has added an inline blocking element in order to his game. Getting stronger on the catch point when climbing the ladder. Presents some yards after catch skills.

In which he Fits: A getting tight end in 12 personnel. May play out on the edge, in the slot, and has added an inline obstructing element to his game.

Draft Projection: Mentioned he would return for his senior season, but that could change in January. Suffered a major injuries in 2012. I expect a top-32 selection.

15. CB Jason Verrett, TCU

NFL Comparison: Stephon Gilmore

Where He Wins: Energetic player who doesn’t wait in order to react. Keeps close trailing distance and makes tackles for a reduction on crossing routes by forcing receivers back. Quick in his motions once diagnosing and locating. Offers great vision, baits quarterbacks through off man with success. Insurance coverage versatile. Hides blitz very well.

Where He Fits: Plays a lot of off coverage, but that doesn’t mean he does not have physical play. Tends to play border (short) side.

Set up Projection: First-round.

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