Top 25 NCAA Schools with Most 2014 NFL Draft Talent

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterJuly 10, 2013

Top 25 NCAA Schools with Most 2014 NFL Draft Talent

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    College football is loaded with talented prospects ready to become the next big things in the NFL, but which schools hold the most talent right now?

    The easy answer is Alabama, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a school with more NFL-quality talent than Nick Saban's Crimson Tide right now, but they aren't that far ahead of the competition. Pundits would have you believe the SEC is the power conference right now for producing NFL talent, but the numbers show a strong representation by the ACC and Pac-12, too. 

    Taking a look at all draft-eligible players—redshirt sophomores, juniors and seniors—here is a list of the 25 colleges with the most promising NFL draft talent.

25. San Jose State

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    The San Jose State draft class is highlighted by potential first-rounder David Fales at quarterback. Fales has the accuracy and underneath game to be a great fit in a timing-based or West Coast offense and is sure to draw a hard look from NFL teams this season.

    While checking out Fales, scouts will see wide receiver Noel Grigsby, a late-round prospect entering the season. On defense, San Jose State has quality late-round prospects in cornerback Bene Benwikere, defensive tackle Travis Raciti and linebackers Keith Smith and Vince Buhagiar. 

    The Spartans will likely only have one player—Fales—drafted in the early rounds, but there's good depth here for a second straight season.

    Total Players: 6

24. Penn State

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    The rebuilding process at Penn State after Joe Paterno's firing has been a tough one, but head coach Bill O'Brien has done an amazing job recruiting and coaching. The Nittany Lions are back with another strong group of prospects.

    Offensively, the team is led by wide receiver Allen Robinson. The junior prospect has high potential and could shoot up boards this season. Fullback Zach Zwinak and guard John Urschel also carry a draftable grade heading into the season.

    The defense isn't reminiscent of the old "Linebacker U" days, but there is a good crop of talent here. Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones has the talent to move himself into the top 100 picks by the end of the season, while linebackers Glenn Carson (MLB) and Mike Hull (OLB) have late-round potential.

    Total Players: 6

23. Baylor

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    Robert Griffin III's emergence from Baylor into the NFL has helped put the school on the map for NFL scouts. Those heading to scout the Bears this season will find players ready-made for the big leagues.

    Running back Lache Seastrunk has the talent to be the first runner drafted in the 2014 class, and he will draw league eyes to Baylor games all season. Guard Cyril Richardson, who has also played tackle, looks like a top-64 player in his own right. While not quite highly touted prospects, wide receiver Tevin Reese, tight end Jordan Najvar and running back Glasco Martin all have a draftable grade.

    Defensively, the Bears aren't quite caught up with the offense. Linebacker Bryce Hager and strong safety Ahmad Dixon are the only draft-eligible players on my top-450 watch list. 

    Total Players: 7

22. UCLA

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    Jim Mora has been a godsend to the UCLA football program, but this has long been a good location for athletes heading into the NFL. The 2014 class of Bruins is loaded on both sides of the ball.

    Just a redshirt sophomore, quarterback Brett Hundley currently carries an early second-round grade on my board. A big season could send him to the pros, or at least solidify his stock heading into next season. Helping him on offense is wide receiver Shaquelle Evans (a late-round prospect) and guard Xavier Su'a-Filo, a player likely to be drafted in the middle rounds when he enters the draft.

    The defense at UCLA is led by Anthony Barr, a player who might be the best outside linebacker in college football. Barr will steal the headlines, but keep an eye on inside linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Cassius Marsh.

    Total Players: 6

21. Washington

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    When scouting Washington running back Chris Polk two years ago, I was shocked at the lack of NFL talent around him. Now the Huskies have a legitimate group of NFL-style talent on the depth charts.

    Quarterback Keith Price didn't enjoy a great 2012 season, but he's an exciting prospect and someone who NFL teams will still take a chance on late in the draft due to his athleticism and upside. Running back Bishop Sankey carries a solid mid-round grade as a junior, and he has room to move up the board. The prize prospect is tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. If he can keep himself in check off the field, he'll push for a first-round position in May.

    The defense has talent, but no marquee names as of yet. Linebackers John Timu and Josh Shirley should both be drafted—whether it's in 2014 or 2015—and defensive tackle Danny Shelton has great potential if he can put it all together this year. Safety Sean Parker heads into his senior season as a late-round prospect.

    Total Players: 7

20. Wisconsin

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    What used to be known as a haven for offensive line scouting, Wisconsin has transformed to a more balanced scouting ground. The 2014 class represents that all-around-talent look the Badgers have been working toward.

    The offense lost considerable talent in the 2012 and 2013 draft classes, but there is still a strong group here. Anchored by tight end Jacob Pedersen, the Badgers offense features two strong tackles (Ryan Groy and Rob Havenstein).

    Replacing Montee Ball in the backfield, running back James White will find himself drafted in the middle-to-late rounds. Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis may be a better pro than collegiate athlete, as he has the hands to be a good possession player at the next level.

    On defense, watch out for inside linebacker Chris Borland. He's a hitter with room to shoot up my board in his senior season. Defensive tackle Beau Allen is the only remaining defender on the list, and the big nose tackle looks like a late-rounder at best.

    Total Players: 7

19. Clemson

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    You have to hand it to the coaching staff at Clemson. They've turned this program into a top-flight talent destination on both sides of the ball in recent years. With one first-rounder in the 2013 class—wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins—the Tigers are set to have an even better showing in the 2014 draft.

    When looking for the best quarterback-wide receiver duos in college football, you have to start at Clemson. Quarterback Tajh Boyd is a legitimate first-round prospect heading into the season, and wide receiver Sammy Watkins is even more highly regarded heading into his junior year. Both players have top-10 potential.

    Replacing Hopkins' catches will be junior Charone Peake, a player with good potential to rise up the board from his current third-round grade. If running back Roderick McDowell can step in for departed Andre Ellington, he could push himself into a late-round grade.

    The defense doesn't have the big names this year, but outside linebacker Stephone Anthony and defensive end Corey Crawford both have mid-round grades.

    Total Players: 7

18. Nebraska

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    The Nebraska Cornhuskers' 2014 draft class isn't high on top-tier prospects, but instead packs a punch in depth among mid-to-late rounders.

    Offensively, the strength is on the line. Tackles Jeremiah Sirles (fifth round) and Brent Qvale (seventh round) carry draftable grades, and guard Spencer Long (fourth round) could find himself drafted higher than either tackle. The skill positions also aren't bare, as running back Ameer Abdullah, tight end Jake Long, and receivers Kenny Bell and Jamal Turner could each be drafted once they head to the NFL.

    Defensively, only end Jason Ankrah is on my watch list at this time. He carries a late-round grade, but could move up this year with better pass-rushing numbers.

    Total Players: 8

17. Virginia Tech

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    Readers of this space know that I was burned by Logan Thomas last season, but the Virginia Tech quarterback has a chance to redeem himself (and me) in 2013. Thomas and his teammates make up a strong group of Hokies heading into the NFL.

    Thomas has world-class potential, but that potential crashed and burned in 2012 as he failed to deliver the ball consistently and otherwise play like a big-time quarterback prospect. There's no doubting his potential, but the execution thus far has been bad. Teams watching Thomas will get a close look at wideout D.J. Coles, who has a late-round grade on my board, and mid-round guard prospect Brent Benedict.

    The real treat will be the defense. Led by defensive end James Gayle, this is a good group. Gayle is the highest ranked player and someone with top-100 potential. Alongside him is end J.R. Collins, a late-round pass-rusher prospect.

    At linebacker the team has Jack Tyler, a solid late-rounder on the inside. The secondary is once again solid with cornerbacks Antone Exum—a potential mover this year with second-round potential—and late-rounder Kyle Fuller. Strong safety Kyshoen Jarrett is just a junior, but he looks like a future NFL player.

    Total Players: 9

16. Miami (FL)

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    The University of Miami dominated the NFL draft throughout the 2000s, but as of late, the groups being sent into the NFL haven't been as strong. The Hurricanes haven't had a first-round pick since 2008, and had just two players selected in the 2013 class. It's a safe bet that 2014 will look better.

    The offense is led by up-and-comer Stephen Morris at quarterback. Morris came on strong late in 2012 and is making a nice push into the late-first or early-second range. Former prep star Seantrel Henderson had the makings of an elite left tackle, but he's yet to show that ability on Saturdays.

    The supporting cast on offense features receivers Allen Hums and Phillip Dorsett, as well as tight end Asante Cleveland. All three have a late-round grade heading into the year. Also on the offensive line is guard Malcolm Bunche, a redshirt junior who has caught my eye as a stud run blocker. He has a mid-round grade at this point.

    The defense is largely led by underclassmen, with only two draft-eligible players standing out. Defensive end Anthony Chickillo and outside linebacker Denzel Perryman both have a late-round grade at this time.

    Total Players: 9

15. Texas A&M

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    With one season under its belt in the SEC, Texas A&M showed that it can hang with the big boys of college football. That led to five players being drafted in last year's class. This season, expect even more.

    The team is highlighted by quarterback Johnny Manziel. Like him or not, Manziel is a unique talent and someone NFL scouts are already raving about off the record. Manziel and his Heisman Trophy will be a major draw for pro teams. The quarterback isn't the only big name, though.

    Offensive tackle Jake Matthews is a top-five talent and will likely be the higher drafted of the two marquee A&M offensive players. If wide receiver Mike Evans is ready for the NFL after his redshirt sophomore season, he too could push for a first-round grade. Teammates Ben Malena (RB), Derel Walker (WR), Cedric Ogbuehi (OT) and Nehemiah Hicks (TE) also carry draftable grades.

    The defense lost considerable talent over the last two drafts, leaving the cupboard for draft prospects bare. Linebacker Donnie Baggs is a late-rounder on my board at inside linebacker, while cornerback Deshazor Everett looks like a quality third-round prospect.

    Total Players: 9

14. Tennessee

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    The Volunteers haven't had a 10-win season since 2007, but they continue to pump out high-level prospects for the NFL. After a strong showing in the 2013 class, Tennessee could be in for an even bigger crop of pros in 2014.

    The offense lost two wide receivers and a tight end to the pros last season and will lean heavily on running back Raijon Neal behind one of the best offensive lines in the nation. Neal has a late-round grade, but his blockers all come with high marks.

    Tackle Antonio Richardson is a first-rounder in the making, while linemate Ja'Wuan James looks like a top-100 pick himself. Center James Stone rounds out the group and comes with his own late-round grade.

    The defense is strong, as always. Up front the team has tackle Daniel McCullers with a potential first-round grade. He's flanked by end Corey Miller, a player with late-round production heading into the season. Linebacker A.J. Johnson is my top-rated inside linebacker, and a future first-rounder in the middle of the defense.

    At outside linebacker, Curt Maggitt has draftable potential if he can come back strong from injury. In the secondary, Justin Coleman (CB) and Byron Moore (SS) are late-round prospects with good developmental potential.

    Total Players: 10

13. North Carolina

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    There is no shortage of potential at North Carolina heading into the 2013 season, but that's been the case each season over the last three years. The key will be taking that potential and turning it into high-quality draft prospects.

    The offense could see two players drafted in the top 100 as of today, with tackle James Hurst and center Russell Bodine both carrying a third-round grade. Quarterback Bryn Renner has nice potential, but I've yet to see him consistently make the throws a pro quarterback must make. Tight end Eric Ebron has a mid-round grade that could rise if he has a big junior season.

    On defense, look out for defensive end Kareem Martin and safety Tre Boston. Both players are ranked inside my top 100 preseason players and have big-time potential. Boston may surpass Martin before season's end thanks to his speed and range.

    Cornerbacks Tim Scott and Jabari Price are good-sized players with pro potential, but so far Scott looks like the better player. Defensive tackle Tim Jackson and outside linebacker Travis Hughes also have draftable grades as late-rounders.

    Total Players: 10

12. Oklahoma

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    Bob Stoops and his Oklahoma Sooners put another strong class into the NFL following the 2012 season. It's becoming the norm to see high-profile talent and solid depth coming out of the OU program. In 2014, we could see another group with first-round talent and all-around depth.

    The Sooners could be a run-based team in 2013, which could benefit running back Damien Williams as he looks to make a move toward the late-first-round range. He's helped by mid-rounder Gabe Ikard at center and late-round guard prospect Adam Shead on the inside, with tackles Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams both having NFL potential as redshirt juniors.

    Jalen Saunders doesn't have NFL size at wide receiver (5'9", 160 lbs), but he is a game-changer in space and will get a strong look from the pros. And we can't forget one of my favorite players in college football, fullback Trey Millard. He's a heavy-hitter with the all-around athletic ability to be a starter in the NFL immediately.

    Defensively, Oklahoma once again has a strong presence on the line. Tackle Jordan Phillips is just a redshirt sophomore, but already he looks like a long-term starter in the pros. Cornerback Aaron Colvin is a top-rated cornerback with late-first-round potential thanks to his size and instincts. Corey Nelson looks more like a depth linebacker in the NFL, but he'll get drafted on the outside.

    Total Players: 11

11. Texas

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    It's safe to say the last two seasons have been disappointing for the Texas Longhorns, but true to form, Mack Brown continues to churn out high-profile draft classes year after year. The 2013 group doesn't feature any first-rounders, but there's talent here that will once again draw scouts to Austin.

    Offensively, we're looking at a group full of talent but short on production. Wide receivers Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley both look like NFL wideouts, but neither has the numbers yet to draw much attention from the pros. Same for junior running back Malcolm Brown, a player who easily passes the eyeball test but has yet to produce. Tackle Donald Hawkins is worth a look as a right tackle or guard in a late round.

    On defense, there is a ton of potential here, but many players are still waiting to break out. Jackson Jeffcoat has NFL pedigree—his father played 15 years in the NFL—but injuries and a lack of production have tainted his potential. He needs to finally produce in 2013 to see his draft stock rise.

    Another player with NFL bloodlines, cornerback Quandre Diggs—brother of Quentin Jammer—looks like a good second cornerback and has a solid third-round grade. His partner in crime, Carrington Byndom, has a load of potential but has yet to play consistently in coverage.

    Defensive tackles Ashton Dorsey and Desmond Jackson are both good athletes but, like others, lack the numbers to justify a high preseason ranking. Inside linebacker Steve Edmond is a grinder, but heading into his junior season he looks like a safe bet to return for his final year. Free safety Mykkele Thompson will try to replace first-rounder Kenny Vaccaro in the lineup, and he has shown good potential as a future top-100 pick.

    Total Players: 11

10. Georgia

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    Mark Richt's Georgia Bulldogs are a strong national championship contender, and NFL scouts have already taken notice of the high number of prospects on both sides of the ball.

    Quarterback Aaron Murray is a serious Heisman candidate, but his NFL draft stock is less certain. Murray's lack of size and arm strength will be an obstacle for him to overcome in 2013. Murray gets help from junior wideout Malcolm Mitchell, a player with future first-round potential.

    Tight end Arthur Lynch is a big target over the middle and carries his own top-60 grade heading into the season.

    The line at Georgia is once again strong. Led by center David Andrews, a top-100 player for 2014, the unit should also put guard Chris Burnette and tackle Kenarious Gates into the league next season.

    The defense lost Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree, but they return strong safety Corey Moore as a leader and future top-65 player. Linebackers Ramik Wilson (OLB) and Amarlo Herrera (ILB) look like future mid-rounders if they produce as expected in their junior seasons.

    Cornerback Damian Swann is just a junior, but he already ranks as a top-10 cornerback prospect. Defensive ends Ray Drew and Garrison Smith look more like late-round, developmental prospects at this stage.

    Total Players: 12

9. Florida

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    It's no surprise to see Florida represented in the top 10. Thanks to the recruiting and coaching of Will Muschamp and crew, the Gators are once again an elite college football program.

    Quarterback Jeff Driskel may not be fully appreciated yet, but the junior dual threat prospect showed nice development in 2012, and if he continues to improve throughout 2013, he could be a hot name in this year's class.

    What Florida lacks is a big-time wide receiver prospect. Senior Trey Burton has solid production, but doesn't look like a future star. He's a late-round prospect at this time.

    Center Jonotthan Harrison will likely find himself drafted in the late rounds as the team's lone offensive line prospect. Fullback Hunter Joyer, as a junior, may be the team's best offensive prospect eligible for the 2014 draft.

    The defense has a ton of depth with some superstar-quality players mixed in. Cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has first-rounder written all over his game. He should be considered a favorite to leave school after his junior season. The same goes for outside linebacker Ronald Powell, a tremendous athlete with the ability to leave school early.

    Cornerback Marcus Roberson looks like a second- or third-round prospect heading into his junior season, while teammates Jaylen Watkins at cornerback and Cody Riggs at free safety are late-rounders at this time.

    Senior outside linebacker Darrin Kitchens doesn't excite me, but he's a quality late-rounder. Same goes for defensive tackle Leon Orr as a late-round add. Defensive end Dominique Easley is intriguing, but he needs to produce up to his potential before I can move him out of the mid-round range.

    Total Players: 12

8. Notre Dame

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    One season after a national title berth, Notre Dame looks strong again. The Irish will be led by a defense heavy on star-quality players up front and an offensive line with the beef to move piles in the run game. 

    The best offensive prospect in South Bend is lineman Zack Martin. Currently rated as my top guard prospect, he can play both inside and out, and will push for a first-round grade. Opposite Martin is Christian Lombard, a late-rounder who looks like a right tackle in the NFL.

    There isn't a marquee skill player, but the depth is exceptional. George Atkinson (RB), Troy Niklas (TE), DaVaris Daniels (WR) and TJ Jones (WR) all look like draftable prospects.

    It all starts on defense for the Fighting Irish. Linemen Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix are both top-15-caliber players should they choose to leave school after their junior seasons. Bennett Jackson anchors a strong secondary at cornerback and has a top-100 grade himself.

    Dan Fox has big shoes to fill at inside linebacker, but he has room to improve his late-round grade with that exposure. Keep an eye on outside linebackers Prince Shembo and Ishaq Williams, as both are draft-worthy.

    Total Players: 12

     

7. Oregon

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    The loss of Chip Kelly to the NFL may have an impact on the talent coming out of Oregon in the future, but for now, this is an impressive group full of speedy skill players and tough defenders.

    The most exciting player in Eugene is offensive weapon De'Anthony Thomas. A more slippery version of Tavon Austin, Thomas has first round written all over him.

    Quarterback Marcus Mariota is an intriguing player, but so far he hasn't proven to be a consistent enough passer to have a high grade. That could change this season, which makes the Oregon quarterback a must-watch prospect and potential first-rounder if he finds his rhythm as a passer.

    The line is anchored by center Hroniss Grasu, a legit top-100 player. Jake Fisher will draw plenty of attention at offensive tackle in his junior season and could rise into the second-round range.

    Next to Fisher is tight end Colt Lyerla, a beast of a man with true first-round potential. Wide receiver Josh Huff may be the forgotten man here, but he's a top-125 player in his own right. 

    There is no Dion Jordan nor Kiko Alonso on defense this year, but this is still a very good group. Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu headlines the group and enters the season as a late-first round prospect. His teammates in the secondary, Terrance Mitchell (CB), Erick Dargan (SS) and Brian Jackson (FS), both look like future NFL players.

    Up front, defensive end Taylor Hart has potential to make a big move up draft boards. Outside linebacker Boseko Lokombo is carrying a late-round grade in the preseason.

    Total Players: 12

6. Ohio State

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    The impact of Urban Meyer is being felt at Ohio State, but this has historically been a great producer of NFL talent. That's not changing anytime soon.

    The offense is led by quarterback Braxton Miller, but his draft stock remains a big question mark heading into the season. A good year as a true passer could push Miller up boards, but he enters the year as a second-round prospect for me.

    Miller has good help around him, with six other offensive players carrying a draftable grade. Running back Carlos Hyde is the best of the bunch with a third-round grade, while wide receivers Corey Brown and Devin Smith look like late-rounders with depth potential.

    Tight end Jeff Heuerman will have to break out to see himself drafted, but he's still on my radar heading into the preseason. The line is strong as a unit and should see center Corey Linsley and tackle Jack Mewhort both drafted.

    The best prospect on the roster is cornerback Bradley Roby. A sure-fire top-15 pick if he enters the 2014 draft, Roby currently ranks as my top cornerback prospect by a large margin.

    Roby won't get all the attention, though, as outside linebacker Ryan Shazier and free safety C.J. Barnett are both top-50 players heading into the year. Curtis Grant (ILB), Doran Grant (CB) and Christian Bryant (SS) add depth, and all three should be drafted as late-round pickups.

    Total Players: 13

5. Stanford

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    Head coach David Shaw will be a hot prospect for NFL teams himself, but the talent he coaches at Stanford will be sure to draw plenty of scouts to Palo Alto this fall. 

    The group of talent assembled in the team's 2014 draft class will likely prove to be a better unit than individual parts, but there are still two top-100 players on offense and two others who should provide quality depth.

    Quarterback Kevin Hogan has potential, and few players are coached as well as he is. A big season from Hogan could push him higher up draft boards in a year where the pecking order at quarterback is very fluid.

    Guard David Yankey can play inside or out, and could push to be the first interior offensive lineman drafted in 2014. Fullback Ryan Hewitt is a highly ranked dual threat at the position, but will likely be a late-round prospect. Tackle Cameron Fleming should be a solid mid-rounder if he enters the draft after his redshirt junior season.

    The defense is loaded with nine potential draft prospects eligible for the 2014 draft. Inside linebacker Shayne Skov could push himself up the board to a top-50 ranking by season's end. The same goes for free safety Ed Reynolds—currently my No. 82 overall player.

    Defensive ends Henry Anderson and Ben Gardner are likely late-round picks, as is outside linebacker Blake Lueders. Opposite Lueders, the team has a solid mid-rounder in Trent Murphy, and he's one who could shoot up boards this year.

    The secondary has talent with Reynolds, Wayne Lyons and Jordan Richards. The latter two have mid-round grades from me. Rounding out the defense is inside linebacker AJ Tarpley, my No. 8-ranked middle 'backer and a likely riser with a strong redshirt junior campaign.

    Total Players: 13

4. USC

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    A disappointing 2012 season saw USC send just four players to the NFL draft—a shockingly low number considering the talent on the roster. Head coach Lane Kiffin has a stocked cupboard full of future pros, but whether he can develop them into stars remains to be seen.

    The offense will revolve around wide receiver Marqise Lee, and heading into the season he looks like a lock as a top-10 pick. Running back Silas Redd will see a good number of carries as the team breaks in a new starting quarterback, something that could help propel his stock up from a current ranking as the No. 7 back.

    There is good talent on the line, but no first-rounders. Center Marcus Martin will be making his first full season starting at the position, and tackles Aundrey Walker and Kevin Graf have played like late-rounders.

    Outside of Lee and Redd, tight end Xavier Grimble is the best offensive prospect eligible for the 2014 class as a mid-rounder. Randall Telfer, another tight end, is a late-round prospect currently.

    Unlike the offense, there are quality prospects spread out on defense. Strong safety Dion Bailey enters the year with a top-60 grade from me, with defensive end Morgan Breslin and outside linebacker Lamar Dawson right behind him as top-75 players.

    Cornerback Torin Harris and inside linebacker Hayes Pullard are late-rounders right now, but both could move up with more exposure. Defensive tackle George Uko is also poised to move up from his current ranking at No. 11 among his position. End Devon Kennard is the lowest-ranked defender for me, and a likely seventh-round prospect.

    Total Players: 14

3. LSU

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    Les Miles can be a polarizing head coach, but there is no doubting the amount of talent he assembles each year. After sending nine players to the NFL via the 2013 draft, Miles may do even better if all his underclassmen come out in 2014.

    Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has the potential to be the first player drafted out of LSU this year, but he has to continue to improve and progress as a passer. The raw talent is there for Mettenberger to become a first-round prospect at the position.

    Around him, there's talent, but no stand-out prospects yet. Guard La'el Collins is a top-100 player as a junior, and he should be a favorite to leave school early with another big year. Receivers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry are solid, and Beckham has big-time potential, but neither has broken out yet heading into their junior seasons.

    Fullback J.C. Copeland is on the radar as a draftable player, although that will depend on how many fullbacks enter next year's class. Running backs Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard don't look like elite prospects to me, but both could be drafted late. Center Elliott Porter is a fringe draft prospect now, but just a true junior in 2013.

    The defense at LSU is where the talent is at. Jermauria Rasco (DE) and Anthony Johnson (DT) will both be likely to leave school early for the draft after receiving top rankings heading into the season. Johnson, especially, looks like a star.

    Safeties Ronald Martin and Craig Loston form the best duo in college football, with both players ranked inside my top 80. Linebacker Lamin Barrow will have big shoes to fill on the inside, but he could find himself drafted even higher than Kevin Minter with a big senior season. There's good depth around these top players, too, as Ego Ferguson is a nice defensive tackle prospect as a junior.

    Total Players: 14

     

2. FSU

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    Losing EJ Manuel will hurt the Seminoles' chances of a national championship run, but the talent assembled in Tallahassee is straight-up impressive. On both sides of the ball, Florida State is loaded.

    Running back James Wilder will see a heavy workload as the passing game transitions to a new quarterback, and he's more than capable of carrying the load. He'll enter the season with a top-100 grade and a likely third-round grade.

    Paving the way for Wilder is fullback Chad Abram (seventh round), guards Tre Jackson (fifth round) and Josue Matias (seventh round), as well as tackle Cameron Erving (third round). The line will be tough, especially in the run game.

    The skill positions aren't as strong, but tight end Nick O'Leary, wide receiver Rashad Greene and running back Devonta Freeman all have a late-round grade heading into the season.

    The defense may be good enough to carry FSU deep into the season. Tackle Timmy Jernigan is ready to break out in a full-time role, and he carries a top-20 grade on my preseason board.

    The secondary has four players represented—cornerback Nick Waisome (seventh round) and safeties LaMarcus Joyner (second round), Karlos Williams (second round) and Terrence Brooks (third round). At linebacker the team has a stud in Christian Jones, a likely top-75 player and leader of the defense.

    Total Players: 15

1. Alabama

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    Who else would be No. 1 overall other than Alabama?

    Head coach Nick Saban has turned Tuscaloosa into a college football hotbed, and NFL scouts have taken notice. His 2014 draft crop could turn out to be the best yet.

    On offense the team has steady quarterback A.J. McCarron, a player I have graded as a mid-round quarterback at this time. He's surrounded by potential top-five pick Cyrus Kouandjio at left tackle, as well as two guards (Anthony Steen, Arie Kouandjio) who have a good shot at being drafted.

    Stud fullback Jalston Fowler may be the best at his position in the country. Add in receivers Kevin Norwood and Christian Jones, with tight end Brian Vogler, and you have eight offensive players who should be drafted.

    The defense is even more loaded. Led by linebacker C.J. Mosley, Alabama could put four defenders in the first round next year. Linebackers Mosley, Adrian Hubbard, Trey Depriest and safety Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix all carry a first-round grade currently.

    The defensive line adds third-rounders Ed Stinson, Jeoffrey Pagan and Brandon Ivory to the list. Deion Belue and Vinnie Sunseri round out a secondary that could see three starters drafted.

    Total Players: 17