2014 NFL Draft: Ra'Shede Hageman Continues Climb on December Big Board

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2014 NFL Draft: Ra'Shede Hageman Continues Climb on December Big Board
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL season heads down its final stretch and college football wraps up, NFL draft talk for 2014 will inevitably begin to pick up in the coming weeks.

I don't like doing mock drafts while the NFL season is still going on, because there is simply far too much projection going on there with the order and underclassmen declaring. I prefer to stick to my big board until at least the regular season is over.

While the top five teams from last month's big board have stayed exactly the same, there are some major changes after that. 

With the season winding down, I also comment about the potential decisions that a few prominent underclassmen will have to make about whether or not they'll declare for the the draft.

Remember, this is not a mock draft; it is simply ranking the 50 best draft-eligible college football players. 

*Denotes underclassmen
**Rankings done before games on Saturday, Nov. 30


 
1. *Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

It’s funny how things work with sports and the media. Just 10 months ago, the media couldn’t get enough of Clowney and were talking about him as the biggest football star on the planet. Then for the first month of this season they were writing constantly about his poor stat lines and questioning his desire. Now he’s been out of the headlines entirely for about a month. Yet, he’s remained the clear-cut No. 1 prospect the entire time, and I don’t really see him falling barring some unforeseen horrible circumstance. Previous: 1

 

2. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

Matthews has been steady as ever against increasingly good competition this past month. The talented senior has also had a unique experience blocking for Johnny Manziel these past two seasons, which could help him out a lot if he is drafted by a team with an athletic quarterback. Previous: 2

 

3. *Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville

Bridgewater has not necessarily been spectacular over the past month, but he has been consistent enough to further solidify his grip on the top quarterback spot while other guys behind him falter. There is something to be said for consistency, especially when the pressure of a high pick looms in the near future. Previous: 3

 

4. *Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Barr has been arguably the best defensive player in the country this year, and his athleticism is really remarkable. His quickness in getting around the edge to the quarterback is impressive, but his ability to flash across the middle and plug holes against the run cannot be overlooked. Previous: 4


 
5. *Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

In a wide receiver class that has a lot of depth but also a lot of question marks near the top, Watkins carries by far the least risk. His ability to flourish as really Clemson’s only dangerous offensive weapon has been impressive. He shows the ability to not only stretch the defense on fly routes but also to run good routes and make strong catches in traffic. Previous: 5

 

6. C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama

If Barr has been the best defensive player in the country this season, Mosley has been a close second. His value to Alabama’s defense was evident in its huge matchup against LSU. Mosley is the quarterback of that defense, and he knows exactly what is supposed to happen on every play and how to execute. Previous: 8

 

7. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo

Mack continues his unbelievable run up the board, as his play has somehow improved after a phenomenal season-opener against Ohio State. Check out this cool interview over at Yahoo Sports to get a little more insight about who Mack is as a person and football player. Previous: 12

 

8. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Michigan’s offense (and the rest of the team) has been pretty disappointing this season, but Lewan has not been a cause of that. He has effectively shut down practically every pass-rusher he’s faced this season, and his technique has improved from last year. Previous: 8

 

9. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon

Even after two disappointing losses to Stanford and Arizona, Mariota hangs on in the top 10 because of his sky-high potential. He’s looked somewhat human this month, and the fact that he threw just one interception before Friday against Oregon State is still remarkable. I have the sneaking suspicion that he is going to return to Oregon next season, but for now, he’s the second quarterback on the board. Previous: 6

 

10. *Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

Kouandjio has really been playing much better after a lackluster start to the season, and I would be very surprised if any other tackle surpassed him at the No. 3 spot. With his size and strength, I think some NFL teams would consider pushing him to the right side, at least for the first year or two of his career. Previous: 13

 

11. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

Going from unranked to 11th in two months is almost unprecedented, but Hageman has been that good for Minnesota. His combination of length, explosiveness and raw strength is very difficult to find, and if a team picking in the top six or seven really wants an impact defensive tackle, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hageman is the guy. Previous: 16

 

12. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young

I’m higher on Van Noy than most, but the outside linebacker has had an outstanding season. He flies around the field and consistently makes plays that very few other guys can, like this or this (just to pick a couple). Previous: 11

 

13. *Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

A lot of people have shied away from Hundley as the season wears on, but his blend of arm strength and athleticism is tantalizing. He doesn’t have a plethora of weapons to work with at UCLA, but he has kept them competitive with some spectacular play. However, the redshirt sophomore would still best be served to return to school. Previous: 10

 

14. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

This is a big jump that is bound to catch people’s attention, but I think that Carr has proven to be a legitimate top-15 prospect at this point. His arm strength and accuracy are impressive, but his intelligence and anticipation is what makes him so good and gives him an absurd 39 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Previous: 37

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

15. *Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame

Nix is an absolute house up the middle, and even though he has not had a particularly productive season, there will always be demand in the NFL for a guy who weighs in at over 340 pounds who can move like Nix. He consistently creates havoc up the middle of the field. Previous: 14

 

16. Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor

Richardson takes over as the top guard prospect and slides up a few spots in the process. He will be able fit into power and zone-blocking schemes in the NFL with his impressive blend of strength and balance. Previous: 20

 

17. *Stephen Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s front seven has been a shell of its old self, and the loss of Manti Te’o is obviously a major part of that. But Tuitt is the best 3-4 defensive end prospect, and although I thought that he and Nix had the chances to move into the top 10 during this season, 15 and 17 is still pretty solid. Previous: 17

 

18. *Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Evans certainly has the upside of a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, with his 6’5” height, long arms and exceptional athleticism. But he needs to be more consistent, and I have seen a few acts on the field that make me question the redshirt sophomore’s maturity and if he might be better off returning to school. Previous: 15

 

19. *HaHa Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

Clinton-Dix is an outstanding athlete who should be yet another SEC secondary player who can step right in and produce in the NFL from day one. His quickness and ball-hawking ability is elite, and his Alabama pedigree will entice teams on draft day. Previous: 22

 

20. *Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

I know that Amaro has sort-of said that he was going to return to Texas Tech for next season, but he may be forced to reconsider if he becomes the consensus top tight end in the class. With 36 catches and 415 yards in the past four weeks, it’s looking like that might be the case. Previous: 41

 

21. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

Matthews gets lost in the shuffle quite a bit, but there are a lot of things to love about the senior’s talent as a wideout. Being the focal point of SEC defenses is not an easy task, but Matthews has 74 catches for 907 yards against conference opponents this year. Previous: 18

 

22. *Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

Johnny Football continues climbing the rankings as he shows improved throwing mechanics every week. But I still question his arm strength, as he tends to float some longer passes. His dud against a good LSU defense kept him out of the top 20. Previous: 27

 

23. Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee

Richardson has been a little inconsistent this season, but I like what I see for the most part. Like Kouandjio, I wonder whether some NFL teams might see his size and strength and move him over to the right side. Previous: 28

 

24. *Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State

Shazier has really had an excellent season, but he just can’t seem to make much progress up my board, even though I do really like him as a prospect. He would be a perfect fit as a 4-3 weakside linebacker in the NFL. Previous: 26

 

25. *Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

I turn on Oregon games to watch their explosive offense, but Ekpre-Olomu ends up catching my attention every game. He’s quick to the ball in the air, but he’s also very aggressive and tackles well. Previous: 24

 

26. Jason Verrett, CB, Texas Christian

Verrett rises up the board this month and comes in neck-and-neck with Ekpre-Olomu. He does not get much credit down at TCU, but he’s a heady, solid playmaker who will step in and play right away in the NFL. Previous: 32

 

27. *Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson

A lot of people became infatuated with Beasley’s quickness and high sack totals early this season, but I’ve been hesitant to move him too high and still have a late first-round grade on him because of his inconsistency and startlingly light frame. I think he may have to transition to outside linebacker in the NFL. Previous: 23


 
28. David Yankey, OG, Stanford

Yankey is not as physically imposing as the other two guards on this list, but he may be the most naturally skilled blocker. The senior started at left guard this year and in 2011—but started every game at left tackle last year. Previous: 39

 

29. *Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California

Lee has been perhaps the most disappointing player in the country this season, as he has both missed time with injury and just hasn't been as much of a threat when he's been on the field. He may even consider coming back for his senior year, which was unthinkable at the start of the season. Previous: 9

 

30. *Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

After remaining under the radar for too long, Robinson deserves some hype. After he caught a combined 23 passes for 338 yards and a touchdown against Ohio State and Illinois, it became impossible to ignore him. The 6'3" receiver is a super athlete and is a threat on every play. Previous: NR

 

31. James Hurst, OT, North Carolina

Hurst is a prototypical left tackle, coming in at about 6'6" with violent hands and solid footwork. He has a ton of experience as a four-year starter at UNC and will be ready to start from day one. Previous: 34

 

32. Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford

Murphy has been extremely solid on the outside as a pass-rusher for Stanford this season, and has seen his stock soar while helping the defense shut down top offenses like Oregon and UCLA. But I think he's somewhat limited physically and doesn't have the tools to dominate in the pros. Previous: 46

 

33. *Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

Ebron is a talented pass-catching tight end who could fit into nearly every offense with his size and speed, although he isn't a standout blocker yet. He declared for the draft last week. 

 

34. Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State

He slipped from his previous perch as the top guard in the country mostly because of the standout play from Richardson and Yankey this past month. But he's still a mauling run-blocker who would be an upgrade for most NFL teams. Previous: 19

 

35. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

Gilbert had a huge hand in shutting down Baylor's prolific offense, and he's quietly been one of the best defensive backs in the country. He's an incredibly fast corner who could end up rising even higher by the end of the season. Previous: 43

 

36. *Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State—Previous: 21

37. *Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU—Previous: 33

38. *Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado—Previous: 31

39. *Brandin Crooks, WR, Oregon State—Previous: NR

40. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State—Previous: 30

41. *Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State—Previous: 35

42. *Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida—Previous: 47

43. *Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M—Previous: NR

44. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson—Previous: 29

45. *Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State—Previous: 36

46. *Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida—Previous: 49

47. *Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA—Previous: NR

48. Shayne Skov, ILB, Stanford—Previous: NR

49. *Brandon Scherff, OT, Iowa—Previous: NR

50. *Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor—Previous: NR

 

Dropped from ranking: Kyle Fuller, Adrian Hubbard, Aaron Lynch, Hroniss Grasu, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Scott Crichton, Michael Sam

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