Less than three weeks remain until the Houston Texans make the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Pro days have concluded, meaning teams only have individual visits left to gauge potential picks.
With the flurry of visits and workouts in recent days and weeks, players have been rapidly rising and falling on draft boards. Some are having their draft stock peak at the right time.
5. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
The 2014 draft is deep across the board, particularly at wide receiver. As many as seven receivers could go in the first round, with Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans likely going in the top 10.
Recently joining that list is Allen Robinson, who had a bad combine but has helped himself since. Robinson’s 40-yard-dash time of 4.60 is a red flag, but he showed better speed in his college career and at his pro day, running a 4.47.
At 6’3’’ 220 pounds, Robinson isn’t quite as physically imposing as someone like Kelvin Benjamin, but he has good size and is one of the more well-rounded prospects in the draft. While he might not have the ceiling of some of the other receivers, his 2013 yardage numbers are comparable.
4. Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
Mettenberger was a highly touted quarterback prospect through much of 2013 before suffering a torn ACL in LSU’s regular-season finale against Arkansas. In the past few weeks, Mettenberger has proved he is healthy, causing his stock to rise back up again.
Although his surgery was just on Jan. 2, Mettenberger impressed at his pro day, throwing 123 passes. Among those impressed was Mel Kiper Jr., who moved Mettenberger back into the second round in his mock draft, via Nola.com.
Mettenberger's limited mobility is balanced by the best arm strength in the draft, and a quick recovery from his torn ACL has pushed him back into this range. If you saw Mettenberger at his best in 2013, you'd never assume this was too high for him to go in the 2014 NFL draft.
3. Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Mack was already just about guaranteed to go in the top 10 but has still found a way to rise up draft boards. According to a report by Peter King, a friend of Texans general manager Rick Smith told King that Houston “likes Khalil Mack over (Jadeveon) Clowney.”
That could mean Mack goes No. 1 overall, or it could mean the Texans are planning to trade down a few spots. Mack has the talent to justify going first overall with great quickness and instincts. His versatility as an outside linebacker would fit in Houston’s 3-4 scheme, while Clowney appears more suited for a 4-3.
You have to question the level of competition that Mack played against while at Buffalo, but he did showcase his outstanding talent in a game against Ohio State.
2. Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Like Mettenberger, Murray is coming off of a torn ACL, but his improving health has caused his draft stock to rise at the opportune time. Murray was impressive in his pro day, saying he felt completely healthy, via CBSSports.com.
I feel no limitations with the knee. I think everyone today saw that between all the movement I was doing, the cutting, the sprinting. We put a lot of throws on the right, left, demonstrate my ability to cut off my leg and show everyone that I'm healthy. These teams don't have to worry about if they draft me, I'm going to have to sit out or something like that.
Teams are going to be interested in a four-year SEC starting quarterback who holds numerous conference and school records. Murray also has the advantage of having the latest pro day of any major program and has likely shown enough to be taken somewhere in the first three rounds.
1. Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
Nobody has had the same level of meteoric rise recently as Savage. An expected late-round pick following the regular season, Savage is now a second- or third-round pick on many experts’ draft boards.
According to NFL.com’s Gil Bradnt, there was a lot of buzz around Savage on Apr. 3, and it has only increased since then.
For Savage, it’s all about his physical tools, as he stands at 6’5’’ with huge arm strength. The question for teams will be if Savage’s potential can offset his decision-making, as he only completed 61.2 percent of his passed in 2013 and threw nine interceptions.