NFL Draft 2014: Intriguing Prospects Shooting Up Team's Boards

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIJanuary 6, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback Blake Bortles #5 of the UCF Knights looks on against the Baylor Bears during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

The NFL draft is still a few months away, but there are a few intriguing prospects that continue to climb up teams' draft boards as we approach May.

Players like Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney have been talked about since the end of the last college football season.  Those two are expected to go very early in the first round, but there are some others names coming up that could be first-round picks as well.

Below is a look at a few prospects currently on the rise, breaking down what makes them so special and where they could land in the NFL draft.


Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Dec 7, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Trovon Reed (1) and Auburn Tigers offensive linesman Greg Robinson (73) celebrate after the 2013 SEC Championship game against the Missouri Tigers at Georgia Dome. The Auburn Tigers defeated the M
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

As a member of the Auburn Tigers, Greg Robinson is starting to get a lot of attention based off of the team's success, especially in the running game.  They have the nation's top rushing attack, and Robinson was a big reason for that.

NFL scouts have started to take notice of the redshirt sophomore.  According to Bob McGinn from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, one scout had this to say about Robinson:

He's a stud. ... You're talking about a ton of athleticism, size, strength. He's not getting a lot of attention because people don't realize he's a redshirt. Not quite sure why (Gene) Chizik redshirted him. I think that was a big mistake. He's in the top 10, 15 easy if he comes out.

Coming from an NFL scout, that's high praise.

A monster on the offensive line, Robinson is listed at 6'5'' and 305 pounds.  He has very impressive footwork along with an aggressive mentality that helps him in both the passing and running game, which will help him be an early first-round selection for a team like the New York Giants or Baltimore Ravens.


Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State

As the most productive wide receiver in the country this season, Oregon State's Brandin Cooks has officially started to gain some recognition after winning the Biletnikoff Award and being named a first-team All-American.

In 2013, Cooks finished with 128 receptions for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaging 13.5 yards per catch.  He finished his college career with 226 catches, 3,272 yards and 24 touchdowns in just three seasons.

Cooks is only 5'10'' and 186 pounds, but that doesn't keep him from being an incredible athlete on the field.  He was easily one of the most explosive players in college football this past season thanks to some top-tier acceleration and top speed.  

While his small frame may make it difficult for him to go against more physical defenders at the next level, he could be a special slot receiver given his athleticism.  He's essentially this year's Tavon Austin, and some team like the San Francisco 49ers will likely pull the trigger late in the first round.


Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Quarterbacks naturally get a lot of attention, but no quarterback in college football has helped his draft stock more of late than Central Florida's Blake Bortles.

It was an overall successful season for Bortles.  He completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,581 yards, 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions, giving him a 163.4 passer rating.  Despite two interceptions in the Fiesta Bowl, he showed some real resilience in the game, throwing for 301 yards and three touchdowns to lead Central Florida to a 52-42 win.

That game on the national stage put Bortles on the map to the casual fan.

He's the idea size for an NFL quarterback at 6'4'' and 230 pounds, but he also has a very high football IQ and is capable of reading opposing defenses to make the necessary adjustments.

Bortles is a confident passer in the pocket, but he also has the mobility to escape when needed.  With how many teams that need a quarterback, it's hard to see Bortles not being taken in the top 10 by a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns or Minnesota Vikings.