2014 NFL Draft Prospects: Top Can't-Miss Players in This Year's Class

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIMay 8, 2014

South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney warms up before the start of an NCAA college football game against Florida Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)
RICHARD SHIRO/Associated Press

The list of 2014 NFL draft prospects is filled with supremely talented athletes who will look to shape the face of each of their new franchises, but only a few players in this draft should be considered "can't-miss" prospects.

These prospects are the ones who can change a franchise. While this draft might not have the next Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in terms of quarterbacks, it certainly has impact prospects who will be guaranteed successes at the next level.

Don't believe me? Continue reading on so I can prove to you that the following three players are can't-miss prospects.


Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Everyone has heard the hype surrounding Jadeveon Clowney. The South Carolina product is a beast off the edge and can terrorize opposing offensive tackles. There have recently been concerns regarding his fit in certain schemes, but Evan Silva of Rotoworld tweets that Herm Edwards believes Clowney is a fit anywhere:

NFL Network's Albert Breer echoed those sentiments with something he heard from an NFL executive:

Clowney is the type of guy who can play in any system. He is intense off the edge and can't be stopped when he has the quarterback or ball-carrier in his sights. The biggest question surrounding him now is where he'll be taken.

The popular opinion is that he'll go No. 1 overall to the Houston Texans. After all, he is the best player in the draftbar none. If he doesn't go first, though, he'll most certainly go in the top five.


Khalil Mack, DE/OLB, Buffalo

NFL analyst Daniel Jeremiah spoke highly about Khalil Mack on The Dan Patrick Show back in January:

The Buffalo product is the next-best defensive lineman available after Clowney, though some have suggested that Mack could go No. 1 overall ahead of Clowney. He's clearly quite talented if that's something that is being floated around.

Mack is proficient at getting in the backfield and causing havoc, as chronicled by Mike Huguenin of NFL.com

Mack (6-foot-3, 248 pounds) set an NCAA career record with 16 forced fumbles and is tied for first in NCAA history with 75 tackles for loss; he is tied with former Western Michigan defensive end Jason Babin, who started for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. Mack also had 28.5 career sacks.

Like Clowney, I don't think there's a scheme that this kid won't fit into.


Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Teams missing a weapon on offense should be locked into drafting Sammy Watkins. Given his blend of hands, athleticism and burst off the line, he's the type of guy who can be any quarterback's favorite target.

The key for me is that burst off the line of scrimmage. He creates immediate separation from defensive backs in press coverage and uses both his body and his hands to create a window for quarterbacks to throw to. He'll drop a few balls from time to time, but not nearly enough to worry potential teams, because his ability to create space is rare for young receivers.

Watkins doesn't possess great size or the ability to break tackles, but he transitions well after making a catch. He is able to secure the ball quickly and turn upfield to gain whatever yardage the defense allows. He's not overly fast, but he's certainly quick enough to outrun many defensive backs in the open field.

Watkins is the type of receiver who can take an offense to the next level. Many teams in the first 10 picks will look at him, but a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars or Cleveland Browns would benefit most from his services.