Oregon Football 2014 NFL Draft Tracker, Analysis and Results
Oregon will once again be well-represented in the 2014 NFL draft.
From cornerback Terrance Mitchell, a likely early-round selection, through tailback De'Anthony Thomas, a likely late-round pick, the Ducks could have as many as six players selected in the three-day draft, which begins Thursday night and runs through Saturday at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Here is a look at the former Ducks who expect to hear their names called in the seven-round draft, with analysis, stats and projections.
CB Terrance Mitchell
Seventh round, No. 254 overall to Dallas Cowboys
A quick cornerback who has excellent anticipation and is a real playmaker. An aggressive player who could stand to get stronger and improve his overall fundamentals. Sometimes struggles with speedier, more explosive wideouts. Could also improve his tackling skills and physical nature.
Mitchell was a potential early-round pick after declaring as a junior, so it came as something of a surprise that he slipped to the final five picks of the draft overall. Dallas' secondary struggled in 2013, with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr struggling, although Orlando Scandrick showed positive signs.
Mitchell was the only cornerback that Dallas drafted this year, and has serious upside potential.
With only starting cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu returning this season, Oregon's secondary has serious questions. Reserve Troy Hill was suspended and pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor menacing, but is expected to be with the team this fall. Reserve Dior Mathis will also figure into the mix in 2014, but Mitchell will be missed.
DE Taylor Hart
Fifth round, No. 141 overall to Philadelphia Eagles.
An excellent pass-rusher with a great frame who plays in opponents' backfields. Solid tackler and capable of catching up with players quickly. Could get bigger and is not an explosive athlete.
Hart is the second former Oregon player to be tabbed by Chip Kelly in Philly, joining receiver Josh Huff. He is a productive player who could make an impact at defensive end in the 3-4 scheme. The Eagles have former first-round pick Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton as starters, and if Hart is properly motivated, he’ll see some time behind one of the two this fall.
Hart leaves a big hole on the Ducks’ defensive line. The best candidate to replace him is sophomore DeForest Buckner, who emerged as a starter in the final month of 2013. He had 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss and can play either defensive tackle or defensive end, much like Hart. As for end, look to former highly touted recruit Arik Armstead, who stands 6’8”, 295 pounds. Armstead was a two-sport athlete, but quit basketball in January to focus on football. He should see a bigger role this fall.
RB De'Anthony Thomas
Fourth round, No. 124 overall to Kansas City Chiefs.
A very fast player who has excellent acceleration, vision and cutback ability. Quick to get through a hole once it develops and is a game-changer as a kick returner with take-it-to-the-house ability. He is very small for an NFL tailback, which raises concerns about his durability and ability to be an every-down tailback. Could fit in as a third-down tailback or slot receiver with great speed.
The Chiefs just lost tailback/receiver Dexter McCluster, so Thomas is a perfect fit in their offense as a “slash” back who can do a little bit of everything. Jamaal Charles will be the top tailback, but Thomas should see his share of touches in a lot of different ways as a backup beside Knile Davis.
For Oregon, the question is not replacing Thomas’ production as a tailback. Bryon Marshall rushed for 1,038 yards last season and Thomas Tyner rushed for 711. But finding someone who was as dangerous as Thomas as a receiver? That’s an issue.
Thomas averaged 11.2 yards per reception and his 22 grabs ranked fourth on Oregon’s roster. Marshall and Thomas are shifty and dangerous in space but must improve as receivers.
In spring, seniors Kenny Bassett and Ayele Forde worked best as running back/receivers. They could see bigger opportunities there this fall.
"Because of his speed and playmaking ability, in today's NFL, he's more valuable than he would have been six, eight, 10 years ago," Mayock said. "He probably goes in the fourth-round area. (You) got to have a plan in place for how you use him. He's a kickoff guy, plus we got to get him 10 touches a game. How do we manufacture those eight to 10 touches a game so he can make those plays for us that he did at Oregon?" – Mike Mayock, NFL Network.
WR Josh Huff
Third round, No. 85 overall to Philadelphia Eagles.
An athletic pass-catcher with excellent hands and good speed. Durable and capable of making plays happen after the catch. Also a solid blocker and has experience on special teams returning and covering kicks. Is not a polished route-runner and not a breakaway threat. Could play either slot receiver or as a flanker.
He landed with the Eagles and former coach Chip Kelly as Kelly's first Oregon draftee. After jettisoning DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia needs speedy receivers and playmakers, and Huff will certainly see his share of opportunities this fall.
Huff was the Ducks’ leading receiver, with 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns. He leaves a void, but Oregon has a deep group of receivers to replace him.
Junior Bralon Addison had 61 receptions for 890 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore, and is also an excellent return threat. In addition, blocker Keanon Lowe (who had 18 receptions for 233 yards and three touchdowns as a junior) will provide veteran presence ahead of a talented pack of freshmen and sophomores like Darren Carrington, Dwayne Stanford, Jalen Brown and Charles Nelson.
LB Boseko Lokombo
Matt Miller Draft Projection
Undrafted. No. 26 outside linebacker.
63 tackles, three sacks, one INT. 4.66-second 40-yard dash.
A very athletic player with solid speed and a big hitter. Capable of covering in space well and is a solid blitzer. Could contribute on special teams. Needs to get stronger and tougher. Has trouble coming off blocks and needs to improve as a tackler.
What the Scouts Are Saying
"He's got the speed that the 4-3 teams are looking for. He's a 4-3 "Will." He flies. I think he has to learn to be a little tougher as far as consistency with his tackling and being able to get off blocks. A little bit undersized. But he does have the speed. If he's willing to play special teams, gunner, jammer, et cetera, I think he can make a living in the NFL." – Mike Mayock, NFL Network.
TE Colt Lyerla
Matt Miller Draft Projection
Sixth round, No. 192 overall to Pittsburgh Steelers.
Two receptions, 26 yards in 2013; played in only three games before leaving team for personal reasons. Was arrested in October 2013 for cocaine possession. 4.61-second 40-yard dash.
An excellent athlete and route-runner who has good hands and can block. Could stand to get stronger and become a more consistent catcher. Also has off-field issues which have hurt his stock.
What the Scouts Are Saying
"He's a gifted, gifted kid, but he has a bunch of off-the-field issues. He's probably a first- or second-round talent. Whether or not he gets drafted is part of the process going forward. Because of the talent, there will be somebody on the third day that says, 'OK, we're now at the risk/reward part of the program where we're willing to invest a fifth-round pick in this kid because he's a first-round talent.'" – Mike Mayock, NFL Network.
"I would put him in the top-five percent of all-time character concerns. I mean, this guy scares me to death. He's a second-round pick talent-wise—top-40 maybe in terms of just natural talent. If he was an angel, if he was a workaholic and did everything right, it might be interesting to see between (Eric) Ebron and Lyerla." – Todd McShay, ESPN.