The 2014 NFL draft has been moved back this year to May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and the excitement surrounding the most intriguing prospects heading into the season has enveloped the league.
The excitement for the draft will only continue to grow now that the Super Bowl is over.
Here are the most intriguing prospects in the draft and where they’re projected to land.
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is one of the most talented pass-rushers in the 2014 draft, but a subpar performance in his final season has many scouts worried about his ability to translate his abilities to the NFL.
While there is no questioning the drop in production this season, amassing 10 less sacks and 12 fewer tackles for a loss in 2013, the focus on Clowney from opposing offensive game plans limited how effective he could be.
When teams try him out at the scouting combing and during his pro day, it will be clear that he is the top prospect in the draft and deserves to go No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans or any other team willing to trade up to No. 1.
With Houston owner Bob McNair open to trade the top pick, Clowney could easily go No. 1 overall and become a bona fide pass-rushing star in the NFL.
Predicted Landing Spot: Houston Texans (No. 1 overall)
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
The most polarizing name of the entire 2014 draft is Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, and there is plenty of speculation about where he will end up landing and just how high in the first round he will be taken.
There is no questioning his raw talent, as Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com points out, and there are just as many experts who feel Manziel can make the successful transition to the NFL. The only question remaining is where and when he is selected:
That’s where the Jacksonville Jaguars come into play.
The franchise has lacked an elite quarterback for years, and while Manziel is far from a lock as an elite QB, he has the most upside and talent of any quarterback in this year’s draft. If Manziel falls to No. 3, Jacksonville will find the face of the franchise the organization needs.
Predicted Landing Spot: Jacksonville Jaguars (No. 3 overall)
Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
There will always be critics who complain about the lack of competition outside linebacker Khalil Mack faced at Buffalo, but his raw size and skill will transcend any barrier. Mack will be a star in the NFL.
As for where he is drafted, No. 9 overall to the Buffalo Bills would be an ideal selection.
Not only is he one of the best pass-rushers in the 2014 draft, but his quick first step also helps him be a force in the run-stopping effort. It doesn’t hurt that he went to Buffalo as well.
With Mack setting the FBS record of 75 tackles for loss in a career, it’s clear that the prospect will make the transition to the NFL successfully.
Predicted Landing Spot: Buffalo Bills (No. 9 overall)