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NFL Draft 2014: Rounding Up Top Experts' Final Rankings

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NFL Draft 2014: Rounding Up Top Experts' Final Rankings
USA TODAY Sports

With pundits having spent the past four months breaking down game film and analyzing combine numbers and pro days, this weekend's 2014 NFL draft is sure to be a blur.

That's right, draft week is finally upon us. But the real fun won't begin until Thursday night. 

Below, we'll take a closer look at what the top experts are predicting ahead of the first round.

What Top Experts are Predicting for Round 1
Pick Team Todd McShay Mel Kiper Charley Casserly
1 Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
2 St. Louis Rams Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
3 Jacksonville Jaguars Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
4 Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
5 Oakland Raiders Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
6 Atlanta Falcons Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
8 Minnesota Vikings Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
9 Buffalo Bills Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
10 Detroit Lions Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
11 Tennessee Titans Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
12 New York Giants Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame
13 St. Louis Rams Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
14 Chicago Bears Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
15 Pittsburgh Steelers Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
16 Dallas Cowboys Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
17 Baltimore Ravens Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
18 New York Jets Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU
19 Miami Dolphins Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
20 Arizona Cardinals Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
21 Green Bay Packers C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
22 Philadelphia Eagles Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
23 Kansas City Chiefs Marqise Lee, WR, USC Marqise Lee, WR, USC Marqise Lee, WR, USC
24 Cincinnati Bengals Jason Verrett, CB, TCU Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
25 San Diego Chargers Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
26 Cleveland Browns Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
27 New Orleans Saints Dee Ford, DE, Auburn Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
28 Carolina Panthers Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
29 New England Patriots Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
30 San Francisco 49ers Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
31 Denver Broncos Xavier Su'a-Filo, G, UCLA Jason Verrett, CB, TCU Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
32 Seattle Seahawks Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech

Sources: ESPN, NFL.com

 

Todd McShay High on Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel

USA TODAY Sports

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay believes that polarizing prospects Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel could each hear their name called in the top five on Thursday night.

McShay projects Clowney going to the Houston Texans at No. 1 overall and predicts Manziel will come off the board at No. 4 to the Cleveland Browns. However, he appears much more confident in the Clowney projection, per his latest mock draft (paid subscription required):

I'm not sold on this one, but I keep hearing that Manziel could go early, and Cleveland is a logical landing spot given its need at QB. He's a leap-of-faith pick, as I've said many times in the past few months; he has a rare ability to create, but the team that takes him must be confident that he'll do what he needs to on and off the field to win from the pocket and that he'll be able to stay healthy long term, given his playing style.

But McShay may be onto something as ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted some interesting information on Monday, per fellow insider Chris Mortensen:

McShay also predicts Sammy Watkins and Khalil Mack will be top-five picks, projecting Watkins to the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 3 and Mack to the Oakland Raiders at No. 5 overall.

Interestingly, McShay only has two quarterbacks coming off the board in Round 1. In addition to Manziel at No. 4, he predicts Central Florida's Blake Bortles will go eighth overall to the Minnesota Vikings. 

 

Mel Kiper in Agreement With McShay?

USA TODAY Sports

Although Mel Kiper and McShay routinely disagree when it comes to the NFL draft, ESPN's go-to gurus appear to be on the same page heading into the 2014 NFL draft.

Kiper and McShay's top five are identical, and seven of their top-10 picks match up perfectly. 

Like McShay, Kiper makes the "best player available" argument (paid subscription required) for Clowney going No. 1 overall and points to Cleveland's need for a quarterback as evidence for why they might take Manziel at No. 4. Kiper also has Auburn offensive tackle Greg Robinson going No. 2 overall to the St. Louis Rams, Watkins coming off the board at No. 3 and Mack going No. 5 to Oakland.

Kiper agrees with McShay that Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans will go No. 7 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and that Bortles will fall to the Vikings at No. 8. 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The two experts also agree on five other prospects in Round 1. Both like Aaron Donald at No. 12 (New York Giants), Eric Ebron at No. 17 (Baltimore Ravens), Brandin Cooks at No. 18 (New York Jets), Marqise Lee at No. 23 (Kansas City Chiefs) and Anthony Barr at No. 25 (San Diego Chargers).

It remains to be seen how Round 1 will pan out. However, it appears that neither pundit will have bragging rights when the dust finally settles on Thursday night.

 

NFL Network's Charley Casserly Snubs Manziel 

While both McShay and Kiper predict Manziel will be a top-five selection this spring, NFL Network analyst and former general manager Charley Casserly couldn't disagree more. 

According to Casserly's latest mock, not only will the Browns pass on the former Heisman Trophy winner, but every other team with a first-round pick will as well. 

Cassely explained his decision during a segment on NFL Network

First of all, I don't see him as a top-10 player...I don't see Jacksonville at No. 3 doing it because I think there's a more valuable player there. Cleveland, I think there'll be a more valuable player there...I don't see Oakland taking a chance...

Casserly agrees with ESPN's experts that Clowney will come off the board first, followed by Robinson. He even projects Watkins and Mack as top-five picks. The big difference is at No. 4 overall, where Casserly believes the Browns will pass on Manziel and add the explosive Watkins.

And instead of drafting a sliding Manziel at No. 26 overall, Cassely predicts Cleveland will take Fresno State signal-caller Derek Carr. 

Although Casserly has a ton of credibility as a former NFL executive, everything is speculation leading up to Thursday night, and once teams begin making trades and shaking up the draft order, it's anyone's guess as to who will wind up where.

However, if one thing is for certain, it's that the storylines will follow the big names like Clowney and Manziel wherever they land this spring.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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