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NFL Draft 2014: Analyzing the Weakest Positions in the Draft

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NFL Draft 2014: Analyzing the Weakest Positions in the Draft
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The 2014 NFL draft has been heralded as the deepest draft in quite some time. However, there are still a couple of positions that are severely lacking in talent. 

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac reported that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said that everyone is looking to trade down:

Teams are looking to trade down to gain more picks and still be able to get impact players. 

Teams that are looking for wide receivers, defensive tackles or cornerbacks will be salivating at the wealth of talent. These positions are not only strong at the top of the draft but also have some real depth stretching to the late fifth or early sixth round. 

However, teams looking to upgrade at positions like center, guard or inside linebacker will see that the opportunities to find an impactful player will be few and far between. 

 

Center

 

Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller believes there is only one center with a good enough grade to be drafted in the top two rounds: USC's Marcus Martin.

In this draft, there seems to be only three starting-caliber centers: Arkansas' Travis Swanson, Colorado State's Weston Richburg and Martin. 

Teams like the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints are in big need of a center to help shore up their interior offensive lines. While there are already slim pickings for a starting-caliber center, these teams will need to make sure they get the center who fits their blocking scheme. 

For example, Marcus Martin is a better fit for a man blocking scheme. Therefore, a team that runs a zone blocking scheme like the Colts wouldn't be a good fit for him. Furthermore, the number of draftable impact centers is even more scarce for each team. 

Taking into account scheme fit, this means that any team with a need for a starting-caliber center has only one option, possibly two, in the entire draft. 

 

Guard

 

UCLA's Xavier Su'a-Filo and Stanford's David Yankey are the only two guards who are talented enough to have at least a second-round grade on Matt Miller's draft board . 

This shows that guard is especially weak at the top. While there are some good prospects, there is a severe lack of starting-caliber guards in the draft. 

The guards with the best potential to start are Su'a-Filo, Yankey and Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson. Baylor's Cyril Richardson was once seen as a starting-caliber guard. However, his stock has been in free fall since the Senior Bowl

As it was with the centers, the prospects at guard get thinned out even more because of scheme fit. While guard was already a weak position, it becomes even more so when you look at the scheme fit of each prospect. 

Teams like the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be fighting to find a starting-caliber player who fits their scheme. Because of how weak this draft class is, that may be a tall order. 

 

Inside Linebacker

 

Alabama's C.J. Mosley is rated highly on Matt Miller's board. However, he is the only inside linebacker with at least a second-round grade. 

While Mosley appears to be the only inside linebacker to have the ability to be a star in the NFL, he is not without some serious concerns. 

WalterFootball.com's Charlie Campbell reported that teams are worried about Mosley's injury history. 

There are two other players who are seen to have starting potential, Wisconsin's Chris Borland and Stanford's Shayne Skov

Borland has serious size and length concerns that are worrisome. An inside linebacker needs to have adequate arm length so they can shed blocks well. While Borland seems to have great instincts for the position, he will need to learn how to shed blockers adequately. 

Skov has the size that Borland is lacking and a very high football IQ, but his career at Stanford was riddled with injuries that have severely diminished the type of athlete he is. If Skov can get back to the way he was playing before his rash of injuries, then he could be a solid starting-level inside linebacker in the NFL. However, his injury history will give teams some serious doubts. 

The rest of the inside linebacker class seems to be void of players with starting quality potential, and most of them will likely be drafted for depth and special teams help. 

A team like the Denver Broncos needs a serious upgrade at the inside linebacker position. Because of the weak draft class of inside linebackers, the Broncos and other teams will be very limited in what they can do to improve that position. 

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