2014 NFL Draft: Exciting Offensive Playmakers Who Will Quickly Become Stars

Jesse Reed@@JesseReed78Correspondent IDecember 10, 2013

Nov 30, 2013; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Charles Sims (3) runs with the ball for a touchdown during the second quarter of the game against  the Iowa State Cyclones at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

All 32 NFL general managers will be on a quest to find the next Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham and Adrian Peterson in May when the 2014 NFL draft kicks off. 

Landing an elite playmaker can turn an entire offense around, or at the least supercharge it.

A.J. Green has helped Cincinnati's offense immensely the past few seasons as Andy Dalton's go-to receiver, and Julio Jones did the same for Atlanta before getting injured this year. 

Tight ends are all the rage these days, too—for good reason.

Dec 2, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) celebrates a touchdown reception against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The top guys are coming in at around 6'6" and 260 pounds with the ability to run almost as well as a top receiver, making it nearly impossible to defend against them with linebackers and safeties. This means opposing defenses often commit an extra defensive back instead of a linebacker, making it easier for teams to run the ball against a smaller defense.

Speaking of running, though the league is certainly pass-happy these days, there's still a place for top running backs to thrive. Giovani Bernard has been a lightning rod for the Bengals this year, and Eddie Lacy has shown immense potential as a power back for the Green Bay Packers.

Looking at the 2014 NFL draft class, there are a few players who stand out as the best equipped to become the next wave of superstars. 

Wide Receiver

Sammy Watkins, Clemson

Freak athlete? Check. Size and speed? Check. Excellent hands? Check. Leaping ability and body control? Check.

Everything you're looking for in an elite receiver, Sammy Watkins brings to the table. He could certainly use more polish, but all the tools are in place for this young man to become a star as a rookie, given the right circumstances.

The junior receiver has hauled in 85 passes this season for 1,237 yards and 10 touchdowns. Once the ball is in his hands, he's capable of taking it to the house. NFL teams will love his nasty side, as he's a devastating blocker in the run and screen game.

Watkins will likely be drafted in the top 10, and it shouldn't come as a shock if a team takes him in the top five. 

Mike Evans, Texas A&M

Mike Evans is a Vincent Jackson clone.

Coming in at 6'5" and 225 pounds, the redshirt sophomore might as well declare for the NFL draft, because he's already proved he can dominate at the college level. 

For the season, Evans has caught 65 passes for 1,322 yards and 12 touchdowns. His production dipped in the final two games against LSU and Missouri, but he'll have a chance to gain positive momentum against Duke in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. 

Though not as fast as Watkins and others coming out of school this year, Evans' size, leaping ability and his soft hands make him an intriguing option for teams in the middle of the first round. 

Tight End

Jace Amaro, Texas Tech


That's the first thing that stands out when you watch Jace Amaro play. 

Sure, he's got prototypical size (6'5" and 260 pounds), possesses good speed, hands and leaping ability, but what really sets Amaro apart is the way he runs his routes and gains separation in the open field. 

He's been used as a slot receiver more often than not during his time at Texas Tech, so in-line blocking isn't exactly his forte. However, Amaro's natural athleticism and football smarts will allow him to quickly improve.

In addition to his skill and natural physical abilities, Amaro brings a feisty attitude to every snap. He's always fighting for the extra yard, which will earn him the respect of his NFL teammates. He's a mid-first-round pick at this point.

Eric Ebron, North Carolina

Whereas Amaro is a polished product, Eric Ebron is a raw player who oozes superstar potential.

He's often been compared to Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers, but as Bleacher Report's Matt Miller points out, he's not quite as fast as the former Terp:

That doesn't mean teams won't be drooling over his freakish natural abilities. He's put together a nice body of work in 2013, further boosting his cause. Ebron caught 55 passes for 895 yards and three touchdowns. 

It's likely Ebron will be selected in the latter half of the first round in May. 

Running Back

Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona

All Ka'Deem Carey has done the past two years is lead the nation in rushing while racking up 42 total touchdowns. 

Though not a big back, at 5'10" and 196 pounds, Carey possesses the "it" factor every team is looking for. Whatever "it" is, he's got it. 

Watching him work, the first thing that stands out about Carey is his footwork and elusiveness. He needs to work on developing better patience as plays develop, but at least he trusts what he sees and attacks the hole with Adrian Peterson-like intensity. 

Like most young running backs, Carey isn't ready to step in and pass-protect against NFL pass-rushers, but he is a talented receiver who makes people miss in the open field with regularity.

He'll be snatched up at some point in the second round.

Charles Sims, West Virginia

If any running back in this draft compares to Giovani Bernard, then it's Charles Sims out of West Virginia—except Sims is bigger and stronger.

After playing in Houston for three seasons, Sims transferred to West Virginia for the 2013 season. He had a huge season for the Mountaineers as a dual-threat running back, catching 45 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns while running for 1,095 yards and 11 scores.

Sims has the ability to pound the ball between the tackles, where his size and strength come in handy, but he also has enough speed and wiggle to get around the edge on sweeps and tosses. In four years, he racked up 51 total touchdowns, showing he has a nose for the end zone.

He will likely be drafted in the second round.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 


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