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2014 NFL Draft Big Board: Post-Combine Update

Matt MillerNFL Draft Lead WriterFebruary 27, 2014

2014 NFL Draft Big Board: Post-Combine Update

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    The 2014 draft has been called one of the best ever. In a press conference, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert called it the "deepest" he had seen in 30 years. I've not yet been doing the job 30 years, but in my 10 years covering the draft, this is the best group of talent I've ever seen in one class.

    No matter where your team has a need, the 2014 class can fill it. There are top-tier quarterbacks, an amazing group of wide receivers, starting-caliber stars and depth at running back and tight end, and we could see six offensive tackles come off the board on Day 1.

    Yes, this draft should be a good one. So which players are the best? 

    With the NFL Scouting Combine in the books, here's an updated look at the 300 best players available in the 2014 draft class.

Top 32 Players Overall

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    RAINIER EHRHARDT/Associated Press

    In the draft community, we always talk about "first-round talent." These are the 32 players worthy of a first-round pick.

    The diversity here is exceptional. Four quarterbacks, four offensive tackles, defenders able to play in a 3-4 or 4-3 on the edge and in the middle, and a load of wide receivers and cornerbacks. But there are no offensive guards, centers or running backs here. 

    These are the best of the best. Meet the top 32.

     

    Top 32 Rankings
     RankPlayerPos.SchoolHeightWeight
    1Teddy BridgewaterQBLouisville6'2⅛"214
    2Jadeveon ClowneyDESouth Carolina6'5¼"266
    3Sammy WatkinsWRClemson6'0¾"211
    4Greg RobinsonOTAuburn6'5"332 
    5Jake MatthewsOTTexas A&M6'5½"308
    6Khalil MackOLBBuffalo6'2⅝"251
    7Anthony BarrOLBUCLA6'4⅞"255
    8Blake BortlesQBCentral Florida6'5"232
    9Kony EalyDEMissouri6'4"273
    10Justin GilbertCBOklahoma State6'0⅛"202
    11Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M5'11¾"207
    12Mike EvansWRTexas A&M6'4¾"231
    13Derek CarrQBFresno State6'2⅜"214
    14Dee FordDEAuburn6'2"243
    15Taylor LewanOTMichigan6'7⅛"309
    16Eric EbronTENorth Carolina6'4⅜"250
    17C.J. MosleyILBAlabama6'2"234
    18Ha Ha Clinton-DixFSAlabama6'1⅜"208
    19Calvin PryorFSLouisville5'11⅛"207
    20Odell Beckham Jr.WRLSU5'11¼"198
    21Aaron DonaldDTPittsburgh6'0¾"285
    22Jason VerrettCBTCU5'9¾"189
    23Zack MartinOTNotre Dame6'4"308
    24Darqueze DennardCBMichigan State5'10⅞"199
    25Jace AmaroTETexas Tech6'5⅜"265
    26Brandin CooksWROregon State5'9¾"189
    27Timmy JerniganDTFSU6'1⅝"298
    28Allen RobinsonWRPenn State6'2⅝"220
    29Ra'Shede HagemanDTMinnesota6'5⅞"310
    30Ryan ShazierOLBOhio State6'1"237
    31Kyle Van NoyOLBBYU6'3⅛"243
    32Louis NixDTNotre Dame6'2⅜"331

Quarterbacks

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    There isn't a quarterback in the 2014 class who carries a grade similar to Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, but that doesn't mean the talent isn't worth getting excited about.

    Teddy Bridgewater has day-one starting tools and has the second-highest grade I've given a quarterback in my career. Then you have two guys built on potential, but also big risks, in Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel. Derek Carr may be lost in the shuffle, but he's capable of playing immediately and has the big arm and prototypical tools you want at the position.

    The 2014 class sees a huge drop-off from there. If you need a starting quarterback, you'd better get one early.

     

    2014 Quarterback Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Teddy BridgewaterLouisville6'2⅛"2141Jr
    2Blake BortlesCentral Florida6'5"2328rJr
    3Johnny ManzielTexas A&M5'11¾"20711rSo
    4Derek CarrFresno State6'2⅜"21413rSr
    5Zach MettenbergerLSU6'5"22442rSr
    6Jimmy Garoppolo Eastern Illinois 6'2¼"22658Sr
    7AJ McCarronAlabama6'3¼"22092rSr
    8Tajh BoydClemson6'0⅝"222117rSr
    9Aaron MurrayGeorgia6'0"207149rSr
    10David Fales San Jose State   6'1⅝"212161Sr
    11Brett SmithWyoming6'2"206172Jr
    12Logan ThomasVirginia Tech6'6⅛"248184rSr
    13Connor ShawSouth Carolina6'0⅜"206249 Sr
    14Stephen MorrisMiami (Fla.)6'1⅞"213257Sr
    15Jeff MathewsCornell6'3¼"223264 Sr
    16Keith Wenning Ball State6'2⅝"218282Sr
    17Tom SavagePittsburgh6'3⅞"228290Sr
    18Garrett GilbertSMU6'3"223295rSr

Running Backs

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Running backs aren't as valuable as they once were in the NFL draft, but this class has a lot to like.

    The high number of underclassmen entering the draft added incredible depth to the group, and there are at least 10 backs available with day-one starting ability. And whatever flavor of back you like, there's one here. Teams can go big with Carlos Hyde or Jeremy Hill. They can go fast with Tre Mason and Lache Seastrunk. You can go with a do-it-all back like Charles Sims or Marion Grice. And then you have guys like Bishop Sankey who tend to do everything well.

    A high number of future NFL starters will be coming from this group.

     

    2014 Running Back Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Carlos HydeOhio State5'11⅞"23039rSr
    2Tre MasonAuburn5'8½"20746Jr
    3Charles SimsWest Virginia5'11⅛"21453rSr
    4Bishop Sankey Washington5'9½"20967Jr
    5Ka'Deem CareyArizona5'9⅜"20769Jr
    6Jeremy HillLSU6'0⅝"23373rSo
    7Lache SeastrunkBaylor5'9½"20197rJr
    8 Devonta FreemanFlorida State5'8¼"206107Jr
    9Terrance WestTowson5'9¼"225109Jr
    10Marion Grice Arizona State6'0"208110Sr
    11 De'Anthony ThomasOregon5'8⅝"174119Jr
    12Andre WilliamsBoston College5'11⅜"230142Sr
    13James WhiteWisconsin5'9⅛"204174Sr
    14Antonio AndrewsWestern Kentucky5'10⅛"225194Sr
    15 Rajion NealTennessee5'11"211199Sr
    16 Jerick McKinnon Georgia Southern5'8⅞"209201Sr
    17Tyler GaffneyStanford5'11½"220202rSr
    18Lorenzo Taliaferro Coastal Carolina6'0¼"231220Sr
    19Storm JohnsonUCF6'0"209239rJr
    20 Kapri Bibbs Colorado State5'9⅜"212245rSo
    21Silas ReddUSC5'9¾"212266Sr
    22David Fluellen Toledo5'11⅛"224269Sr
    23Isaiah Crowell Alabama State5'11"224274Jr
    24James WilderFlorida State6'2⅝"232300Jr

Fullbacks

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    The fullback position may be a dying breed, but for the teams that still use the versatile offensive chess piece, this year's class has some upside.

    Jay Prosch headlines a group of athletic tight ends who come in all shapes and sizes. For teams that want a traditional pass-catcher/blocker, Prosch and Gator Hoskins are solid options. Or you could go the punishing blocker/runner route with J.C. Copeland.  

     

    2014 Fullback Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Jay Prosch Auburn6'1"256138rSr
    2J.C. Copeland  LSU5'11⅛"271215Sr
    3Gator Hoskins Marshall6'1"244246Sr
    4Ryan HewittStanford6'4⅛"246250rSr
    5Trey MillardOklahoma6'2"247260Sr
    6Chad AbramFlorida State5'11"230297Sr
    7Chris Coyle Arizona State  6'2"235298rSr

Wide Receivers

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    RAINIER EHRHARDT/Associated Press

    The deepest wide receiver class I've ever seen comes into the NFL this year. Headlined by Sammy Watkins, this crew has a crazy 11 players ranked with at least a second-round grade. You won't see that happen very often. 

    As the NFL goes to a passing league, this is exactly the type of class teams and scouts can get excited about. Whether it's a game-changing, do-it-all threat like Watkins or big, matchup nightmares like Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin, you have to get excited about the talent available here.

      

    2014 Wide Receiver Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Sammy WatkinsClemson6'0¾"2113Jr
    2Mike EvansTexas A&M6'4¾"23112rSo
    3Odell Beckham Jr.LSU5'11¼"19820Jr
    4Brandin CooksOregon State5'9¾"18926Jr
    5Allen RobinsonPenn State6'2⅝"22028Jr
    6Marqise LeeUSC5'11¾"19233Jr
    7Jordan MatthewsVanderbilt6'3⅛"21237Sr
    8Jarvis LandryLSU5'11½"20544Jr
    9Kelvin BenjaminFlorida State6'5"24047rSo
    10Davante AdamsFresno State6'0⅞"21254rSo
    11Martavis BryantClemson6'3¾"21161Jr
    12Donte MoncriefMississippi6'2⅜"22180Jr
    13Paul RichardsonColorado6'0⅜"17585rJr
    14Josh HuffOregon5'11¼"20691Sr
    15Cody LatimerIndiana6'2"21599Jr
    16Robert HerronWyoming5'9⅛"193101Sr
    17Jared AbbrederisWisconsin6'1"195116rSr
    18Mike DavisTexas6'0"197120Sr
    19Bruce EllingtonSouth Carolina5'9⅜"197131rJr
    20Kevin NorwoodAlabama6'2"198144rSr
    21Ryan GrantTulane6'0⅜"199146rSr
    22Brandon ColemanRutgers6'6"225153rJr
    23TJ JonesNotre Dame5'11⅝"188155Sr
    24Devin StreetPittsburgh6'2⅞"198167rSr
    25Jalen SaundersOklahoma5'8⅞"163178Sr
    26Jeff JanisSaginaw Valley State6'2⅞"219182Sr
    27Cody HoffmanBYU6'3⅞"223188Sr
    28Michael CampanaroWake Forest5'9⅜"192195rSr
    29L'Damian Washington  Missouri6'3⅞"195213rSr
    30Josh StewartOklahoma State5'9⅞"178222Jr
    31Shaquelle EvansUCLA6'1"213223rSr
    32Matt HazelCoastal Carolina6'1"198248Sr
    33Tevin ReeseBaylor5'10½"163251Sr
    34Dri ArcherKent State5'7⅜"173258rSr
    35Jeremy GallonMichigan5'7"185283rSr
    36Quincy EnunwaNebraska6'2"225284Sr
    37Marcus LucasMissouri6'4"218286Sr
    38Kain ColterNorthwestern5'10"198296Sr
    39Eric WardTexas Tech5'11"199299rSr

Tight Ends

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    As the tight end position evolves in the NFL, so does the type of player lining up at the position. Gone are the days of the blocking tight end. Today's player must be athletic, fast, capable as a receiver and dynamic enough to move around before the snap.

    The 2014 class is good but not great. The top end is exceptional, and Eric Ebron is a player to get excited about, but the drop-off from the top tier to the second group (guys like Troy Niklas and C.J. Fiedorowicz) is considerable. 

     

    2014 Tight End Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Eric EbronNorth Carolina6'4⅜"25016Jr
    2Jace AmaroTexas Tech6'5⅜"26525Jr
    3Austin Seferian-JenkinsWashington6'5"26245Jr
    4Troy Niklas Notre Dame6'6"27075rJr
    5C.J. Fiedorowicz Iowa6'5½"265125Sr
    6Arthur LynchGeorgia6'4⅝"258127rSr
    7Richard RodgersCalifornia6'4"257140rSo
    8Crockett Gillmore Colorado State6'5⅞"260150Sr
    9Marcel JensenFresno State6'5¾"259168Sr
    10Joe Don DuncanDixie State6'3"268193rSr
    11Colt Lyerla Oregon6'3⅞"242207Jr
    12Jordan Najvar Baylor6'5⅞"256211rSr
    13Rob Blanchflower Massachusetts6'4"256218rSr
    14Jacob PedersenWisconsin6'3½"238242rSr
    15Xavier Grimble USC6'4"257252rJr
    16A.C. LeonardTennessee State  6'2⅜"252255Jr
    17Michael Flacco New Haven6'5"245277rSo

Offensive Tackles

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    If you're in need of a good left tackle, this is the class for you.

    Anchored by studs like Greg Robinson, a once-in-a-decade-type talent and athlete at the position, there's a good balance of elite-prospect and first-round depth here. Jake Matthews isn't the same level athlete as Robinson, but his technique is a blueprint for success in the NFL. And we can't forget stars like Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin after both dominated at major programs over the course of their respective careers.

     

    2014 Offensive Tackle Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Greg RobinsonAuburn6'5"3324rSo
    2Jake MatthewsTexas A&M6'5½"3085Sr
    3Taylor LewanMichigan6'7⅛"30915rSr
    4Zack MartinNotre Dame6'4"30823rSr
    5Cyrus KouandjioAlabama6'6¾"32238Jr
    6Morgan MosesVirginia6'6"31441Sr
    7Jack MewhortOhio State6'6"30949rSr
    8Antonio Richardson  Tennessee6'5¾"33668Jr
    9Billy TurnerNorth Dakota State  6'4⅞"31594Sr
    10Joel Bitonio Nevada6'4¼"302104rSr
    11Ja'Wuan JamesTennessee6'6"311132Sr
    12James HurstNorth Carolina6'5"296141Sr
    13Michael Schofield Michigan6'6⅝"301158rSr
    14Seantrel Henderson  Miami (Fla.)6'7⅛"331163Sr
    15Justin BrittMissouri6'5⅞"325179rSr
    16Cameron FlemingStanford6'4⅞"323197rJr
    17Wesley JohnsonVanderbilt6'5⅜"297209rSr
    18Donald HawkinsTexas6'5"301227Sr
    19Cornelius LucasKansas State6'8"316238rSr
    20Matt Patchan Boston College6'6¼"302244rSr
    21 Kenarious GatesGeorgia6'4"327272Sr
    22Charles LenoBoise State6'4"304280rSr
    23Matt HallBelhaven6'9"323292Sr

Offensive Guards

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    The 2014 class doesn't come close to rivaling the talent we saw come off the board early in the 2013 draft, but there's still a lot of starting-quality players here.

    David Yankey and Xavier Su'a-Filo come off excellent Pac-12 careers and are both NFL ready. Cyril Richardson and Gabe Jackson give teams the big, powerful right guard profile and also show NFL-readiness. And you have to love the play of Brandon Thomas, a tackle at Clemson but projected guard once in the NFL.

     

    2014 Offensive Guard Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1David Yankey Stanford6'5⅝"31540rJr
    2Xavier Su'a-FiloUCLA6'4⅛"30751rJr
    3Cyril RichardsonBaylor6'4¾"32972rSr
    4Gabe JacksonMississippi State6'3¼"33695rSr
    5Brandon ThomasClemson6'3¼"31798rSr
    6Anthony Steen Alabama6'3"314124rSr
    7Dakota DozierFurman6'3⅝"313135rSr
    8Chris WattNotre Dame6'3"310169rSr
    9Jon Halapio Florida6'3½"323171rSr
    10Brandon Linder Miami (Fla.)6'5⅝"311198Sr
    11Russell Bodine North Carolina6'3⅛"310221rJr
    12 Kadeem EdwardsTennessee State6'4¼"313232Sr
    13John Urschel Penn State6'3"313236rSr
    14Ryan Groy Wisconsin6'4⅝"316254rSr
    15Spencer LongNebraska6'5"320259rSr
    16 Trai TurnerLSU6'2⅝"310289rSo

Centers

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    The NFL draft hasn't seen an elite center prospect since Maurkice Pouncey in 2010, and the post-combine results would indicate we'll have another year without a top-tier talent at the position. That said, there are three players here worthy of starting right away in the NFL.

    Marcus Martin is the closest thing this class has to an elite talent, but the junior from USC is raw overall. Weston Richburg is smooth, fluid and poised but will need to improve in the run game. Travis Swanson is the prototypical center, but he can be too tall and back-bends in protection. Easy fixes for all three, and once ironed out, they look like studs.

     

    2014 Center Rankings
     RankPlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Marcus MartinUSC6'3"32059Jr
    2Weston Richburg Colorado State6'3⅜"29877rSr
    3Travis SwansonArkansas6'5"31286rSr
    4Bryan StorkFlorida State6'4"315165rSr
    5Tyler LarsenUtah State6'4"313180Sr
    6Gabe Ikard Oklahoma6'3⅝"304214rSr
    7 Zac Kerin Toledo6'5"308268rSr
    8Corey Linsley Ohio State6'3"296285rSr
    9Matt ArmstrongGrand Valley State6'2⅛"302287rSr

Defensive Ends

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    RAINIER EHRHARDT/Associated Press

    Classifying all pass-rushers as simply defensive ends or outside linebackers is difficult, but at this stage of the draft process, that's the most accurate way to label the many players at each position. 

    Some of the players listed below will be 6-technique ends in a 4-3. Some will be 5-techs in a 3-4. Some will stand up at outside linebacker. The bottom line is that the talent is eye-opening, no matter where you end up playing many of these athletes.

    With three legit top-15 players, the defensive end class is once again stacked. Even in Rounds 2 and 3, there are quality players with early starting potential.

     

    2014 Defensive End Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Jadeveon ClowneySouth Carolina6'5¼"2662Jr
    2Kony EalyMissouri6'4"2739rJr
    3Dee FordAuburn6'2"25214rSr
    4Trent MurphyStanford6'6"25234rSr
    5Scott CrichtonOregon State6'2⅞"27336rJr
    6Jackson JeffcoatTexas6'3"24748Sr
    7Chris SmithArkansas6'1"26650Sr
    8 Demarcus LawrenceBoise State6'2⅞"25170rJr
    9Marcus SmithLouisville6'3⅜"25190Sr
    10Josh MauroStanford6'5⅞"27196rSr
    11Michael SamMissouri6'2"261118rSr
    12Kareem MartinNorth Carolina6'5⅞"272128Sr
    13Will ClarkeWest Virginia6'6⅛"271147rSr
    14James GayleVirginia Tech6'3⅞"259156rSr
    15Ed StinsonAlabama6'3"287157rSr
    16Aaron LynchSouth Florida6'5"249159rSo
    17Cassius MarshUCLA6'4"252181Sr
    18Brent UrbanVirginia6'7"295183Sr
    19Taylor HartOregon6'6"281189rSr
    20Ben GardnerStanford6'4"277190rSr
    21Ethan Westbrooks West Texas A&M  6'3½"267263Sr
    22Jeoffrey PaganAlabama6'3"310267Jr
    23 Chaz SuttonSouth Carolina6'4"263270rSr
    24Larry WebsterBloomsburg6'5¾"252278rSr

Defensive Tackles

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Aaron Donald is one of the most decorated defensive linemen I have ever seen leave college, and he's earned his status atop the list. Not far behind him is a group of players with amazing potential but also question marks in terms of effort and consistency.

    Timmy Jernigan, Ra'Shede Hageman and Will Sutton all have first-round film at times, but figuring out which player you'll get is the reason each has moved down the board over the course of the year.

     

    2014 Defensive Tackle Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Aaron DonaldPittsburgh6'0¾"28521Sr
    2Timmy Jernigan Florida State6'1⅝"29827Jr
    3 Ra'Shede Hageman Minnesota6'5⅞"31029rSr
    4Louis NixNotre Dame6'2⅜"33132rJr
    5Stephon Tuitt Notre Dame6'5"30443Jr
    6Will SuttonArizona State6'0½"30364rSr
    7Dominique Easley Florida6'2"28866Sr
    8 DaQuan JonesPenn State6'3¾"32283Sr
    9Kelcy Quarles South Carolina6'3¾"29793Jr
    10Ego FergusonLSU6'3"315105rJr
    11Anthony JohnsonLSU6'2½"308113Jr
    12Daniel McCullers Tennessee6'7"352122Sr
    13 Caraun ReidPrinceton6'2⅛"302126rSr
    14Justin EllisLouisiana Tech6'1½"334143rSr
    15George Uko USC6'2⅝"284148rJr
    16Deandre ColemanCalifornia6'5"314160rSr
    17Jay Bromley Syracuse6'3⅛"306164Sr
    18Ryan Carrethers Arkansas State6'1¼"337196rSr
    19Calvin BarnettOklahoma State  6'2"300200Sr
    20 Shamar StephenConnecticut6'4⅞"309206rSr
    21 Eathyn Manumaleuna BYU6'2¼"296225rSr
    22Kerry Hyder Texas Tech6'2½"290233rSr
    23Zach KerrDelaware6'1⅜"326276rSr

Inside Linebackers

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Just one player ranked at inside linebacker carries a first- or second-round grade, but the overall talent here is appealing.

    Alabama's C.J. Mosley is the lone player inside the top two rounds, and he's earned it. The anchor of the Crimson Tide defense, Mosley has NaVorro Bowman-like ability. But the No. 2-ranked linebacker, Wisconsin's Chris Borland, is one of my favorite players in the entire draft. He's not big, he's not super fast, but his instincts, consistency and tackling ability are that of a longtime NFL starter.

     

    2014 Inside Linebacker Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1C.J. MosleyAlabama6'2"23417Sr
    2Chris BorlandWisconsin5'11½"24874rSr
    3Shayne SkovStanford6'2"24578rSr
    4 Yawin Smallwood Connecticut6'2¼"246121rJr
    5Lamin BarrowLSU6'1⅜"237133rSr
    6Christian JonesFlorida State6'3⅛"240136Sr
    7 DeDe Lattimore South Florida6'0"237175rSr
    8Andrew JacksonWestern Kentucky  6'1"254191Sr
    9Preston BrownLouisville6'1¼"251208Sr
    10Jeremiah GeorgeIowa State5'11¼"234234Sr
    11Glenn CarsonPenn State6'3"244275rSr

Outside Linebackers

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Not since Von Miller has the NFL seen the athletic potential at outside linebacker that Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr both possess. They're fast, active and productive, and they come to the league with upside still. The potential from both will have two teams very excited about their new defensive weapon.

    The depth here is also very good. This group is heavily influenced by senior players rather than the high number of juniors seen at other spots. Ryan Shazier is the lone underclassman at the position inside the top 99 players overall, and even No. 100—Adrian Hubbard—graduated Alabama early.

     

    2014 Outside Linebacker Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Khalil MackBuffalo6'2⅝"2516rSr
    2Anthony BarrUCLA6'4⅞"2557Sr
    3Ryan ShazierOhio State6'1"23730Jr
    4Kyle Van NoyBYU6'3⅛"24331rSr
    5Jordan TrippMontana6'2¾"23479rSr
    6Jeremiah AttaochuGeorgia Tech6'3"25288Sr
    7 Telvin SmithFlorida State6'3"21889Sr
    8Adrian HubbardAlabama6'6"257100rJr
    9Jordan Zumwalt UCLA6'4"235102Sr
    10Carl BradfordArizona State6'0¾"250103rJr
    11Christian Kirksey Iowa6'2"233106Sr
    12Trevor ReillyUtah6'5"245111rSr
    13Morgan BreslinUSC6'1"250162Sr
    14Ronald PowellFlorida6'3⅛"237166rJr
    15Prince Shembo Notre Dame6'1⅜"253177Sr
    16Devon Kennard USC6'3"249185rSr
    17 Denicos AllenMichigan State5'11"218203rSr
    18 Kasim Edebali Boston College6'2"253210Sr
    19Howard JonesShepherd6'2½"235228rSr
    20Kevin Pierre-LouisBoston College6'0½"232230Sr
    21Tyler StarrSouth Dakota6'4⅛"250237Sr
    22Jonathan BrownIllinois6'0⅜"238240Sr
    23 Derrell JohnsonEast Carolina6'1"248253Sr
    24Jonathan Newsome Ball State6'2⅝"247265rSr
    25 Shaquil BarrettColorado State6'2"260288Sr
    26 Boseko Lokombo Oregon6'2⅛"225291rSr
    27 Jayrone ElliottToledo6'3"240293Sr

Cornerbacks

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    It's always tough to compare the talent at each position from class to class, but this looks like the deepest cornerback class I can remember. The top-end talent is good, with Justin Gilbert the highest-graded corner on my board since Patrick Peterson, and both Jason Verrett and Darqueze Dennard coming in as high-level talents. 

    In a normal draft class, and not this super deep one, the top five cornerbacks here would all be first-round talents. As it stands now, at least that many could still go Day 1 on May 8.

     

    2014 Cornerback Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Justin GilbertOklahoma State6'0⅛"20210Sr
    2Jason VerrettTCU5'9½"18922Sr
    3Darqueze DennardMichigan State5'10⅞"19924Sr
    4Bradley RobyOhio State5'11¼"19435rJr
    5Kyle FullerVirginia Tech5'11¾"19055Sr
    6 Bashaud Breeland Clemson5'11⅜"19760rJr
    7Stanley Jean-Baptiste  Nebraska6'2⅝"21862Sr
    8Pierre Desir Lindenwood6'1"19163rSr
    9Marcus RobersonFlorida6'0¼"19165Jr
    10 Lamarcus JoynerFlorida State5'8"18471Sr
    11Victor HamptonSouth Carolina5'9"19776rJr
    12Keith McGill Utah6'3⅜"21181rSr
    13Loucheiz PurifoyFlorida5'11½"19087Jr
    14Terrance MitchellOregon5'11⅛"192108rJr
    15E.J. GainesMissouri5'10"190112Sr
    16Jaylen WatkinsFlorida5'11½"194115Sr
    17Ross Cockrell Duke6'0"191123rSr
    18Walt Aikens Liberty6'1"205130Sr
    19Chris DavisAuburn5'10"203134Sr
    20Nevin LawsonUtah State5'9½"190139Sr
    21 Rashaad ReynoldsOregon State5'9⅞"189145rSr
    22Antone ExumVirginia Tech5'11⅝"213151rSr
    23Deion Belue Alabama5'11"182154Sr
    24Aaron ColvinOklahoma5'11"177173Sr
    25Bennett JacksonNotre Dame5'11⅞"195176Sr
    26Ricardo AllenPurdue5'9⅛"187205Sr
    27 Bene Benwikere San Jose State5'10¾"195212Sr
    28Andre HalVanderbilt5'10⅜"188217Sr
    29Phillip GainesRice6'0⅜"193226Sr
    30 Lavelle Westbrooks Georgia Southern5'11½"195235Sr
    31Carrington ByndomTexas5'11"180241Sr
    32Marcus WilliamsNorth Dakota State  5'11"195256rSr
    33Charles SawyerMississippi5'10"175261rSr
    34 Ciante EvansNebraska5'10"193281Sr

Free Safeties

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    If NFL teams are going to attempt to copy what the Seattle Seahawks have done on defense, they'll all need to find their own version of Earl Thomas. Good luck, right?

    In the 2014 class, there is no Thomas, but the top two safeties are unique talents. Both show day-one ability to step into a defense and be impacts. More similar to Eric Reid than Thomas or Kenny Vaccaro, both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor can cover, hit and run well enough to impact the NFL.

    The drop-off at the position after the first two is significant, but the top-end talent carries the overall group well.

     

    2014 Free Safety Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Ha Ha Clinton-Dix  Alabama6'1⅜"20818Jr
    2Calvin PryorLouisville5'11⅛"20719Jr
    3Terrence BrooksFlorida State5'10⅞"19882Sr
    4Ed ReynoldsStanford6'1"20784rJr
    5Dion BaileyUSC5'11¾"201114rJr
    6Kenny Ladler Vanderbilt6'0⅛"207129Sr
    7 Marqueston HuffWyoming5'11⅛"196152Sr
    8 Jemea ThomasGeorgia Tech5'9¼"192187rSr
    9 Dontae JohnsonNorth Carolina State6'2⅛"200243Sr
    10 Nickoe WhitleyMississippi State6'0"205247rSr
    11Christian BryantOhio State5'9"193262Sr
    12 Tre BostonNorth Carolina5'11⅝"204271Sr
    13Ty ZimmermanKansas State6'1"204273rSr
    14Jonathan Dowling Western Kentucky6'2¾"190279rJr

Strong Safeties

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    Michael Chang/Getty Images

    What stands out most about the strong safety class this season is the versatility of the players. Jimmie Ward could easily play free safety. The same goes for Sean Parker and Alden Darby. Then you have big hitters like Deone Bucannon and Ahmad Dixon—two guys who look like outside linebackers when lowering the boom on receivers.

    The rankings aren't great from this class, but the strong safeties are a group you fall in love with on film. 

     

    2014 Strong Safety Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Deone Bucannon  Washington State  6'1"21152Sr
    2Jimmie WardNorthern Illinois5'11"19356Sr
    3Ahmad DixonBaylor6'0"21257Sr
    4Craig LostonLSU6'0⅝"217137rSr
    5Vinnie Sunseri Alabama5'11"210170Jr
    6Isaiah LewisMichigan State5'9⅞"211186Sr
    7Hakeem SmithLouisville6'0"186192rSr
    8Sean ParkerWashington5'10"193224Sr
    9Alden DarbyArizona State5'10"192229Sr

Special Teams

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    Michael Thomas/Associated Press

    Finding a talent at kicker worth drafting is tough, but when you lock on to a potentially great player, you have to move to get one. This year's class has just two players with a "draftable" grade, but both could be stars in the NFL.

     

    2014 Kicker Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool  Height  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Anthony Fera  Texas6'1"211216rSr
    2Chris BoswellRice6'2"185219rSr

     

    It used to be rare to see a punter drafted, but those days are over. The 2013 draft saw a run on the fourth-down specialists, and we could see that again this May.

    2014 Punter Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Kirby Van Der Kamp  Iowa State  6'4"202204Sr
    2Tom Hornsey Memphis6'3"221231Sr
    3Steven ClarkAuburn6'5"231294Sr

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