NFL Draft Predictions 2014: Prospects Most Likely to Fall on Draft Day

R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IMay 4, 2014

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Texas A&M Aggies argues a call during the the Chick-fil-A Bowl game against the Duke Blue Devils at the Georgia Dome on December 31, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Sitting in the green room at Radio City Music Hall, donning a brand new suit firmly pressed, with family members surrounding the table and a phone...that's not ringing.

That's the loneliness of being a top prospect attending the NFL draft who slides down the board in drastic fashion. Ask Geno Smith what that's like. Ask Aaron Rodgers about that feeling.

Not only is it embarrassing for the player involved, but the moment is also broadcast on television for millions of viewers to see. And with social media now being a popular avenue to share thoughts, those prospects might want to stay away from Twitter throughout the night.

If there's anything guaranteed about the NFL draft, it's that nothing is guaranteed.

While that's normally the case, the 2014 NFL draft offers a plethora of players who are teeming with intrigue but could go as high as a top-10 pick or drop all the way to the bottom of the first round.

Before the draft officially gets underway on Thursday night, let's take a look at a few prospects who could fall on draft day.


Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M

After being one of the most polarizing figures in college football over the last two seasons, Johnny Manziel is not so surprisingly now seen as a hit-or-miss prospect who could save or set back a franchise.

Given the criticism of his antics throughout his college career, some scouts obviously have red flags raised for Johnny Manziel. On the other hand, Johnny Football was also the first freshman named a Heisman winner and was in the voting yet again following his sophomore campaign.

Along with receiving praise during the offseason, Manziel also heard a fair share of criticism. Merril Hoge of ESPN shared his thoughts on the quarterback:

He has absolutely no instinct or feel for pocket awareness. He has an instinct to run. That's a bad instinct if you're going to have that in the National Football League. You have to play in the pocket with traffic around you and throw it.

When traffic comes around him, he runs, and that's dangerous in the National Football League. His skill set does not transition to the National Football League, and it is a big, big risk. In fact, I see bust written all over him, especially if he's drafted in the first round.

Ron Jaworski of ESPN also spoke about the future for Manziel, per Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic:

"I'm a big believer in Nick Foles, but who knows? Manziel may fall. I'm not crazy about him, to be honest with you. I've only looked at five games. I wouldn't take him in the first three rounds. That's my opinion. It's incomplete right now. But he has not done a whole lot to me."

Not exactly promising words for the 21-year-old quarterback.

The former Aggies quarterback is also floating around draft boards more regularly than any other player. After being a candidate for the No. 1 pick in early projections, Manziel could fall outside of the top 10 and maybe outside of the top 20 in a quarterback-heavy class.


Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Originally seen as a top-10 pick in early projections, Anthony Barr is already dropping on most draft boards and will take a tumble on draft day.

The former UCLA linebacker is one player who suffered from the rise of Khalil Mack, who is now projected as a top-five selection. Then there's the fact that it appears scouts either love him or hate him, as Daniel Jeremiah of points out:

Along with the fact that many believe he could drop to as low as No. 16 right now with the Dallas Cowboys, Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated also envisions the San Francisco 49ers trying to move up to grab him:

How far they might move up is still questionable, but don't expect Barr to fall too far outside of the top 15. Though that seems like a pretty favorable draw for the linebacker, the indifference throughout the offseason will likely cost him being a top-10 selection.


Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

Coming out of Michigan, Taylor Lewan is a classic case of having the athleticism and strength to be a surefire star at the next level, but questionable character might be his undoing.

Lewan's potential on the field makes him spectacular, but the red flags he's raising off it paint a drastically different picture. His involvement in an alleged rape case from several years ago are now rising to the attention of scouts and causing concern about his off-the-field demeanor at the next level.

If teams at the top of the draft are doing their homework, Lewan won't be an early pick, as Jordan Raanan of notes:

Lewan is considered by most a first-round pick, but has two questionable incidents on his record -- impending charges for assault and his involvement in an alleged rape case. One personnel executive called Lewan's situation "complicated," and another added there will be teams that "pass early if [they've] done homework."

That's not promising. Teams don't want complicated when they draft high in the first round, where Lewan's talent indicates he belongs.

Given his current projections outside of the early part of the first round, Lewan might be one to watch as offensive tackles start coming off the board. With his stock dropping, so too might his selection status as the Michigan lineman drops outside of the top 15 and maybe even the top 20 in the first round.


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