2014 NFL Draft: Matt Miller's Pre-Combine Big Board

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterFebruary 10, 2014

2014 NFL Draft: Matt Miller's Pre-Combine Big Board

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    From top to bottom, the 2014 draft is a very good class. Better than the 2013 group but not quite on par with the 2012 class, this year we see a crop of football players with tremendous potential.

    The class is helped overall by the quarterbacks. Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr all carry a first-round grade, as opposed to the 2013 class that had just one quarterback (EJ Manuel) drafted in the first round.

    Outside of quarterback, there is fantastic depth at wide receiver and running back. You'll also notice another good group of offensive tackles, defensive ends and tight ends. No matter the needs of your team, this class has you covered.

    Here are the top 300 players in the 2014 draft class, separated by position, from top to bottom.

Top 32 Players Overall

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    The best of the best—that's what the top 32 players represent. These are the players with a first-round grade. These are the guys you should look for to be selected on the first night of the draft, as they can come in and instantly turn around or push your franchise over the top.

    The group has four quarterbacks, five offensive tackles, four outside linebackers and four excellent defensive tackles. Sprinkle in three dominant defensive ends, four game-changing wide receivers, two tight ends and three cornerbacks, and you have a very good top 32 to headline the 2014 class.

    Top 32 Rankings
    1Teddy BridgewaterQBLouisville6'3"205
    2Jadeveon ClowneyDESouth Carolina6'5"274
    3Sammy WatkinsWRClemson6'1"205
    4Greg RobinsonOTAuburn6'5"320
    5Jake MatthewsOTTexas A&M6'5"305
    6Khalil MackOLBBuffalo6'3"248
    7Anthony BarrOLBUCLA6'4"260
    8Blake BortlesQBCentral Florida6'5"230
    9Kony EalyDEMissouri6'5"275
    10Justin GilbertCBOklahoma State6'0"200
    11Johnny ManzielQBTexas A&M6'0"210
    12Mike EvansWRTexas A&M6'5"225
    13Derek CarrQBFresno State6'3"215
    14Dee FordDEAuburn6'2"243
    15Eric EbronTENorth Carolina6'4"245
    16C.J. MosleyILBAlabama6'2"232
    17Ha Ha Clinton-DixFSAlabama6'1"208
    18Darqueze DennardCBMichigan State5'11"197
    19Calvin PryorFSLouisville6'2"208
    20Taylor LewanOTMichigan6'7"315
    21Cyrus KouandjioOTAlabama6'5"310
    22Jason VerrettCBTCU5'10"176
    23Zack MartinOTNotre Dame6'4"305
    24Odell BeckhamWRLSU5'11"193
    25Aaron DonaldDTPitt6'1"288
    26Louis NixDTNotre Dame6'2"345
    27Allen RobinsonWRPenn State6'3"210
    28Jace AmaroTETexas Tech6'5"260
    29Timmy JerniganDTFSU6'2"298
    30Ra'Shede HagemanDTMinnesota6'6"318
    31Ryan ShazierOLBOhio State6'2"230
    32Kyle Van NoyOLBBYU6'3"244


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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    After a year in which only one quarterback (EJ Manuel) went in the first round, the 2014 NFL draft class looks strong.

    With underclassmen Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel adding to a strong senior class, this year looks to put at least three quarterbacks (and probably four) in the first round. Seniors Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo took advantage of the Senior Bowl to improve their stock, while SEC stars Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger will attempt to rehab torn ACLs in time to impress NFL scouts.

    2014 Quarterback Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Teddy BridgewaterLouisville6'3"2101Jr
    2Blake BortlesCentral Florida  6'5"2308rJr
    3Johnny ManzielTexas A&M6'0"21011rSo
    4Derek CarrFresno State6'3"21513rSr
    5Jimmy GaroppoloEastern Illinois 6'2"21956Sr
    6Zach Mettenberger  LSU6'5"23587rSr
    7AJ McCarronAlabama6'3"214101rSr
    8Tajh BoydClemson6'1"222104rSr
    9David FalesSan Jose State   6'2"220146Sr
    10Aaron MurrayGeorgia6'1"201150rSr
    11Brett SmithWyoming6'2"206171Jr
    12Logan ThomasVirginia Tech6'5"255226rSr
    13Connor ShawSouth Carolina  6'0"209249 Sr
    14Stephen MorrisMiami (Fla.)6'1"208257Sr
    15Jeff MathewsCornell6'4"225264 Sr
    16Keith WenningBall State6'3"219283Sr
    17Casey PachallTCU6'4"230291 Sr
    18Garrett GilbertSMU6'3"223296rSr

Running Backs

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    For the second season in a row, no running back carries a first-round grade heading into the draft—but that doesn't mean there isn't talent here.

    Backs like Carlos Hyde, Tre Mason, Ka'Deem Carey and Charles Sims all project as Day 1 starters in the NFL. Jeremy Hill adds a ton of value and intrigue if he passes some character tests. Add in the versatility of Marion Grice, Lache Seastrunk and De'Anthony Thomas, and there is enough talent and diversity here to excite any NFL team.

    2014 Running Back Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Carlos HydeOhio State6'0"23537rSr
    2Tre MasonAuburn5'9"20547Jr
    3Ka'Deem CareyArizona5'10"20752Jr
    4Charles SimsWest Virginia6'0"21457rSr
    5Jeremy HillLSU5'9"23568rSo
    6Bishop SankeyWashington5'10"20380Jr
    7Marion GriceArizona State6'0"20789Sr
    8Lache SeastrunkBaylor5'9"21097rJr
    9De'Anthony Thomas  Oregon5'9"170102Jr
    10Devonta FreemanFlorida State5'8"203105Jr
    11Terrance WestTowson5'11"223130Jr
    12Andre WilliamsBoston College6'0"227141Sr
    13James WhiteWisconsin5'9"206173Sr
    14James WilderFlorida State6'1"229179Jr
    15Antonio AndrewsWestern Kentucky5'10"225194Sr
    16Rajion NealTennessee5'11"211199Sr
    17Jerick McKinnonGeorgia Southern5'9"209201Sr
    18Tyler GaffneyStanford6'0"226202rSr
    19Lorenzo TaliaferroCoastal Carolina6'1"231219Sr
    20Storm JohnsonUCF6'0"215239rJr
    21Kapri BibbsColorado State5'11"203245rSo
    22Silas ReddUSC5'9"200266Sr
    23David FluellenToledo5'11"226269Sr
    24Isaiah CrowellAlabama State5'11"215274Jr


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    Dave Martin/Associated Press

    The fullback position isn't quite as popular as it was 20 years ago, but there is still a need for a big, bruising offensive weapon. Fullbacks need to be versatile—equal parts blocker, runner and receiver. Depending on the offense you run, they're almost like another tight end at times. Finding the right player to match the scheme is the most important thing.

    This year's class has bruisers (Jay Prosch) and athletes (Gator Hoskins) to match any personnel grouping.

    2014 Fullback Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Jay ProschAuburn6'1"256136rSr
    2J.C. Copeland  LSU5'11"285214Sr
    3Gator HoskinsMarshall6'1"244246Sr
    4Ryan HewittStanford6'4"246250rSr
    5Trey MillardOklahoma6'2"253260Sr
    6Chad AbramFlorida State5'11"230298Sr
    7Chris CoyleArizona State  6'2"235299rSr

Wide Receivers

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    No position in the 2014 draft class offers the depth, top-end talent and overall goodness that the wide-receiver crop brings.

    You have legitimate stars in Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans and Odell Beckham. You have up-and-comers like Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry. Award winners like Brandin Cooks and rock-solid seniors like Jordan Matthews are there, too.

    With eight players ranked inside my top 50, you can see why the wide-receiver position is one of my favorite groups in the 2014 draft.


    2014 Wide Receiver Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Sammy WatkinsClemson6'1"2053Jr
    2Mike EvansTexas A&M6'5"22512rSo
    3Odell BeckhamLSU5'11"19324Jr
    4Allen RobinsonPenn State6'3"21027Jr
    5Marqise LeeUSC6'0"19535Jr
    6Brandin CooksOregon State5'10"18638Jr
    7Jarvis LandryLSU6'0"19542Jr
    8Jordan MatthewsVanderbilt6'3"20945Sr
    9Davante AdamsFresno State6'2"21660rSo
    10Kelvin BenjaminFlorida State6'5"23564rSo
    11Paul RichardsonColorado6'1"17281rJr
    12Martavis BryantClemson6'4"20091Jr
    13Robert HerronWyoming5'9"19393Sr
    14Josh HuffOregon5'11"211100Sr
    15Jared AbbrederisWisconsin6'1"189107rSr
    16Mike DavisTexas6'0"193108Sr
    17Donte MoncriefMississippi6'2"226119Jr
    18Bruce EllingtonSouth Carolina5'9"196127rJr
    19Kevin NorwoodAlabama6'2"197143rSr
    20Ryan GrantTulane6'0"197145rSr
    21Brandon ColemanRutgers6'5"220154rJr
    22TJ JonesNotre Dame6'0"195156Sr
    23Devin StreetPittsburgh6'3"195166rSr
    24Jalen SaundersOklahoma5'9"164177Sr
    25Jeff JanisSaginaw Valley State  6'2"212182Sr
    26Cody LatimerIndiana6'2"215184Jr
    27Cody HoffmanBYU6'4"218188Sr
    28Michael CampanaroWake Forest5'10"191195rSr
    29L'Damian Washington  Missouri6'4"205212rSr
    30Josh StewartOklahoma State5'10"185221Jr
    31Shaquelle EvansUCLA6'1"210222rSr
    32Matt HazelCoastal Carolina6'1"196248Sr
    33Tevin ReeseBaylor5'10"170251Sr
    34Dri ArcherKent State5'8"175258rSr
    35Jeremy GallonMichigan5'8"183284rSr
    36Quincy EnunwaNebraska6'2"227285Sr
    37Marcus LucasMissouri6'4"220287Sr
    38Kain ColterNorthwestern5'11"199297Sr
    39Eric WardTexas Tech5'11"199300rSr

Offensive Tackles

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Just last year, we saw four of the top 11 draft picks used on offensive tackles. That number may not be reached this year, but there are an impressive number of starting-caliber tackles in this year's class.

    Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews will fight it out for the top spot, and both could go inside the top five, but don't sleep on Taylor Lewan, Cyrus Kouandjio, Zack Martin and Morgan Moses. This year's class could put six players in the first round.

    The depth here is good, but there is a drop-off from the top six to the next group of players. Teams needing a starting left tackle will need to strike early in the first round.

    2014 Offensive Tackle Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Greg RobinsonAuburn6'5"3204rSo
    2Jake MatthewsTexas A&M6'5"3055Sr
    3Taylor LewanMichigan6'7"31520rSr
    4Cyrus KouandjioAlabama6'5"31021Jr
    5Zack MartinNotre Dame6'4"30523rSr
    6Morgan MosesVirginia6'6"32534Sr
    7Jack MewhortOhio State6'6"30649rSr
    8Antonio "Tiny" Richardson  Tennessee6'6"32759Jr
    9Billy TurnerNorth Dakota State  6'5"31686Sr
    10Joel BitonioNevada6'4"307111rSr
    11Ja'Wuan JamesTennessee6'6"315128Sr
    12James HurstNorth Carolina6'6"305140Sr
    13Michael SchofieldMichigan6'4"303159rSr
    14Seantrel Henderson  Miami (Fla.)6'7"331172Sr
    15Justin BrittMissouri6'6"315178rSr
    16Cameron FlemingStanford6'6"318197rJr
    17Wesley JohnsonVanderbilt6'5"290208rSr
    18Donald HawkinsTexas6'5"301227Sr
    19Cornelius LucasKansas State6'8"329238rSr
    20Matt PatchanBoston College6'5"305244rSr
    21Kenarious GatesGeorgia6'4"327272Sr
    22Charles LenoBoise State6'4"302281rSr
    23Matt HallBelhaven6'9"323293Sr

Tight Ends

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    Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    The tight-end position has seen a revitalization in the NFL in recent years. As offenses have become more multifaceted and coaches look for more athletes, they're turning to the tight end to be their mismatch against the defense.

    The 2014 class of tight ends will only add to that. This group features two top-tier talents (Eric Ebron and Jace Amaro) followed by a strong second tier of players featuring guys who are ready to be starters in the NFL.

    There is also versatility. C.J. Fiedorowicz has the length and strength to be a classic in-line blocker and receiver, but guys like Amaro and Richard Rodgers are as much wide receiver as they are tight end.

    Whatever your preference at the position, the 2014 class has a player for you.

    2014 Tight End Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Eric EbronNorth Carolina6'4"24515Jr
    2Jace AmaroTexas Tech6'5"26028Jr
    3Austin Seferian-Jenkins  Washington6'6"27646Jr
    4Troy NiklasNotre Dame6'6"27072rJr
    5C.J. FiedorowiczIowa6'6"262115Sr
    6Arthur LynchGeorgia6'5"258121rSr
    7Richard RodgersCalifornia6'4"245138rSo
    8Crockett GillmoreColorado State6'6"253151Sr
    9Marcel JensenFresno State6'6"264167Sr
    10Joe Don DuncanDixie State6'3"267193rSr
    11Jordan NajvarBaylor6'6"262210rSr
    12Rob BlanchflowerMassachusetts6'4"260217rSr
    13Jacob PedersenWisconsin6'3"242242rSr
    14Xavier GrimbleUSC6'3"250252rJr
    15A.C. LeonardTennessee State  6'3"245255Jr
    16Colt LyerlaOregon6'5"250275Jr
    17Michael FlaccoNew Haven6'5"245278rSo

Offensive Guards

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    Victor Calzada/Associated Press

    It's unlikely that we'll see two offensive guards drafted in the top 10 picks again this year, but the talent at the position in this class is impressive from top to bottom.

    The guard class features six players who will enter the NFL with starting potential from Day 1. The experience, depth and talent of the entire class is notable, but these top-tier players are as strong as any guard class in recent memory. 

    2014 Offensive Guard Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1David YankeyStanford6'5"31433rJr
    2Xavier Su'a-FiloUCLA6'3"30551rJr
    3Cyril RichardsonBaylor6'5"34862rSr
    4Gabe JacksonMississippi State6'4"33990rSr
    5Anthony SteenAlabama6'2"310114rSr
    6Brandon Thomas  Clemson6'4"316123rSr
    7Dakota DozierFurman6'4"312133rSr
    8Chris WattNotre Dame6'3"321168rSr
    9Jon HalapioFlorida6'4"320170rSr
    10Brandon LinderMiami (Fla.)6'6"316198Sr
    11Russell BodineNorth Carolina6'3"310220rJr
    12Kadeem Edwards  Tennessee State  6'4"309232Sr
    13John UrschelPenn State6'3"317236rSr
    14Ryan GroyWisconsin6'5"325254rSr
    15Spencer LongNebraska6'4"315259rSr
    16Trai TurnerLSU6'3"316290rSo


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    Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

    No center in the 2014 draft class carries a first-round grade, but the talent here is still top-notch.

    Arkansas' Travis Swanson is as pro-ready as they come, and he should be an early pick in the second round. Behind him is Colorado State's Weston Richburg, a player with enough talent to shoot up draft boards between now and May 8.

    The one player to really keep your eye on is Marcus Martin from USC. The more I watch, the more I'm impressed with his athleticism and pass-protection skills.

    2014 Center Rankings
     RankPlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Travis SwansonArkansas6'5"31041rSr
    2Weston Richburg  Colorado State6'4"30074rSr
    3Bryan StorkFlorida State6'4"306129rSr
    4Tyler LarsenUtah State6'4"317164Sr
    5Marcus MartinUSC6'3"310180Jr
    6Gabe IkardOklahoma6'3"302213rSr
    7Zac KerinToledo6'5"308268rSr
    8Corey LinsleyOhio State6'3"298286rSr
    9Matt ArmstrongGrand Valley State  6'3"296288rSr

Defensive Ends

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    The defensive-end class is a unique one in 2014—talented but unique.

    There are few true 4-3 defensive ends in this class, and they are only in the top tier. Jadeveon Clowney and Kony Ealy could both line up over the tight end and do damage, but the drop-off from there is big. Dee Ford is a master at crashing the edge, but he does not possess the ideal size or strength to play in a classic 6-technique.

    That's not to discount the second tier of this year's class, because it's very good. Trent Murphy, Scott Crichton and Jackson Jeffcoat could all start as rookies. Also, guys like Chris Smith and Marcus Smith offer scheme versatility, while Josh Mauro and Brent Urban are ideal 3-4 defensive ends.

    2014 Defensive End Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Jadeveon ClowneySouth Carolina6'5"2742Jr
    2Kony EalyMissouri6'5"2759rJr
    3Dee FordAuburn6'2"24314rSr
    4Trent MurphyStanford6'6"25236rSr
    5Scott CrichtonOregon State6'3"26544rJr
    6Jackson JeffcoatTexas6'4"25048Sr
    7Chris SmithArkansas6'1"26650Sr
    8Josh MauroStanford6'6"27688rSr
    9Marcus SmithLouisville6'4"25892Sr
    10Michael SamMissouri6'2"26094rSr
    11Demarcus Lawrence  Boise State6'3"24599rJr
    12Kareem MartinNorth Carolina6'6"272122Sr
    13Will ClarkeWest Virginia6'6"271148rSr
    14James GayleVirginia Tech6'4"255157rSr
    15Ed StinsonAlabama6'3"292158rSr
    16Aaron LynchSouth Florida6'5"244160rSo
    17Cassius MarshUCLA6'4"254181Sr
    18Brent UrbanVirginia6'6"298183Sr
    19Taylor HartOregon6'6"287189rSr
    20Ben GardnerStanford6'4"277190rSr
    21Ethan WestbrooksWest Texas A&M  6'4"264263Sr
    22Jeoffrey PaganAlabama6'3"290267Jr
    23Chaz SuttonSouth Carolina6'4"263270rSr
    24Larry WebsterBloomsburg6'6"249279rSr

Defensive Tackles

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The 2014 class of defensive tackles doesn't feature a surefire top-10 pick, but the group of players available in the mid-to-late first round could be exceptional.

    Pitt's Aaron Donald was one of the most decorated players in college football during the 2013 season and would step into the NFL as an ideal 3-technique pass-rusher. The same goes for Timmy Jernigan, who saved his best for last and dominated the BCS title game.

    The defensive tackles may have to wait a while on draft day to hear their names called, but their impact should be felt immediately in the NFL.

    2014 Defensive Tackle Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Aaron DonaldPittsburgh6'1"28825Sr
    2Louis NixNotre Dame6'2"34526rJr
    3Timmy JerniganFlorida State6'2"29829Jr
    4Ra'Shede HagemanMinnesota6'6"31830rSr
    5Stephon TuittNotre Dame6'6"31239Jr
    6Will SuttonArizona State6'1"31566rSr
    7Dominique EasleyFlorida6'2"28570Sr
    8DaQuan JonesPenn State6'4"32378Sr
    9Kelcy QuarlesSouth Carolina6'3"29885Jr
    10Ego FergusonLSU6'2"30995rJr
    11Anthony JohnsonLSU6'2"295106Jr
    12Daniel McCullersTennessee6'7"348112Sr
    13Caraun ReidPrinceton6'2"301120rSr
    14Justin EllisLouisiana Tech6'2"342142rSr
    15George UkoUSC6'3"275149rJr
    16Deandre ColemanCalifornia6'5"315161rSr
    17Jay BromleySyracuse6'3"307163Sr
    18Ryan CarrethersArkansas State6'1"330196rSr
    19Calvin BarnettOklahoma State  6'2"300200Sr
    20Shamar StephenConnecticut6'5"308206rSr
    21Eathyn Manumaleuna  BYU6'2"305224rSr
    22Kerry HyderTexas Tech6'2"280233rSr
    23Zach KerrDelaware6'2"334277rSr

Inside Linebackers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Just one player from the inside-linebacker class carries a grade within the first two rounds, but Alabama's C.J. Mosley has earned it.

    After Mosley, the class takes a deep dive. However, the third round should feature several players with starting potential in their first season. And there is almost always one surprise player (Kiko Alonso, anyone?) who comes on strong at the middle-linebacker position after being picked later than expected.

    Keep an eye on this class, as there's some hidden talent here.

    2014 Inside Linebacker Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1C.J. MosleyAlabama6'2"23216Sr
    2Chris BorlandWisconsin6'0"24569rSr
    3Shayne SkovStanford6'2"24575rSr
    4Yawin Smallwood  Connecticut6'3"236110rJr
    5Lamin BarrowLSU6'1"229131rSr
    6Christian JonesFlorida State6'4"234134Sr
    7DeDe LattimoreSouth Florida6'0"237174rSr
    8Andrew JacksonWestern Kentucky  6'1"259191Sr
    9Preston BrownLouisville6'1"262207Sr
    10Jeremiah GeorgeIowa State5'11"231234Sr
    11Glenn CarsonPenn State6'3"244276rSr

Outside Linebackers

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    The line between a 3-4 outside linebacker and a 4-3 outside linebacker is becoming bigger and bigger in the NFL, and thus, some players fit into only one team's draft plans while others are a fit for both. The outside linebackers are all ranked together at this stage but will later be separated by 3-4 or 4-3 niche rankings. 

    For now, as an overview of the class, it's easy to get excited. Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr offer a ton of athleticism and potential. Kyle Van Noy could fit in any scheme and play either inside or outside linebacker. Guys like Ryan Shazier and Carl Bradford have the pass-rushing skills to excite 3-4 defenses. 

    From top to bottom, the depth here is some of the best you'll see in the entire class.

    2014 Outside Linebacker Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Khalil MackBuffalo6'3"2486rSr
    2Anthony BarrUCLA6'4"2487Sr
    3Ryan ShazierOhio State6'2"23031Jr
    4Kyle Van NoyBYU6'3"24432rSr
    5Trevor ReillyUtah6'5"25558rSr
    6Telvin SmithFlorida State6'3"21861Sr
    7Carl BradfordArizona State6'1"24382rJr
    8Jeremiah AttaochuGeorgia Tech6'3"25284Sr
    9Christian KirkseyIowa6'2"23498Sr
    10Jordan ZumwaltUCLA6'4"231103Sr
    11Jordan TrippMontana6'3"237118rSr
    12Adrian HubbardAlabama6'6"255124rJr
    13Morgan BreslinUSC6'1"250147Sr
    14Ronald PowellFlorida6'3"240165rJr
    15Prince ShemboNotre Dame6'2"254176Sr
    16Devon KennardUSC6'3"257185rSr
    17Denicos AllenMichigan State5'11"218203rSr
    18Kasim EdebaliBoston College6'2"248209Sr
    19Howard JonesShepherd6'2"229228rSr
    20Kevin Pierre-Louis  Boston College6'0"222230Sr
    21Tyler StarrSouth Dakota6'4"249237Sr
    22Jonathan BrownIllinois6'1"224240Sr
    23Derrell JohnsonEast Carolina6'1"248253Sr
    24Jonathan Newsome  Ball State6'2"236265rSr
    25Shaquil BarrettColorado State  6'2"260289Sr
    26Boseko LokomboOregon6'3"230292rSr
    27Jayrone ElliottToledo6'3"240294Sr


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    Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

    Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert has the highest grade of any cornerback since Patrick Peterson on my Big Board, and there's a lot to love about his game. But you also have to respect the depth and talent at the top of this class, throughout every tier.

    There's something here for every scheme, every discipline and every trend. Tall cornerbacks like Pierre Desir, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Keith McGill are sure to attract teams wanting to find the next Richard Sherman, while battle-tested stars like Bradley Roby and Jason Verrett bring the man-coverage skills teams are dying for.

    The cornerback class has elite talent at the top but also the depth to fill the NFL with starters.

    2014 Cornerback Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Justin GilbertOklahoma State6'0"20010Sr
    2Darqueze DennardMichigan State5'11"19718Sr
    3Jason VerrettTCU5'10"17622Sr
    4Bradley RobyOhio State5'11"19240rJr
    5Stanley Jean-Baptiste  Nebraska6'3"21543Sr
    6Lamarcus JoynerFlorida State5'8"19053Sr
    7Marcus RobersonFlorida6'0"19563Jr
    8Pierre DesirLindenwood6'1"19565rSr
    9Kyle FullerVirginia Tech6'0"19467Sr
    10Victor HamptonSouth Carolina5'10"20273rJr
    11Keith McGillUtah6'3"21476rSr
    12Loucheiz PurifoyFlorida6'0"19083Jr
    13E.J. GainesMissouri5'10"19596Sr
    14Terrance MitchellOregon6'0"190109rJr
    15Ross CockrellDuke6'0"183113rSr
    16Jaylen WatkinsFlorida6'0"194117Sr
    17Walt AikensLiberty6'1"205126Sr
    18Chris DavisAuburn5'10"201132Sr
    19Nevin LawsonUtah State5'10"184137Sr
    20Bashaud BreelandClemson6'0"185139rJr
    21Rashaad ReynoldsOregon State5'10"191144rSr
    22Antone ExumVirginia Tech6'0"220152rSr
    23Deion BelueAlabama5'11"183155Sr
    24Aaron ColvinOklahoma6'0"186162Sr
    25Bennett JacksonNotre Dame6'0"187175Sr
    26Ricardo AllenPurdue5'9"187205Sr
    27Bene BenwikereSan Jose State5'11"194211Sr
    28Andre HalVanderbilt5'11"190216Sr
    29Phillip GainesRice6'1"195225Sr
    30Lavelle WestbrooksGeorgia Southern6'0"195235Sr
    31Carrington ByndomTexas5'11"180241Sr
    32Marcus WilliamsNorth Dakota State  5'11"195256rSr
    33Charles SawyerMississippi5'10"175261rSr
    34Ciante EvansNebraska5'10"193282Sr

Free Safeties

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The play of Earl Thomas has surely opened the eyes of NFL evaluators, and in a copycat league, everyone will want a free safety with his range and tackling skills. The trouble is finding a player with that skill set.

    There is no Thomas in this year's class, but there are two safeties with major upside and legitimate first-round skills. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor have the range, instincts and hitting skills to step into the league as starters and potential stars.

    Teams needing an instant impact at free safety will want to move early, as there is a drop-off in talent after the top two, but the development potential in Rounds 3 and 4 is intriguing.

    2014 Free Safety Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Ha Ha Clinton-Dix  Alabama6'1"20817Jr
    2Calvin PryorLouisville6'2"20819Jr
    3Terrence BrooksFlorida State5'11"19777Sr
    4Ed ReynoldsStanford6'2"20679rJr
    5Dion BaileyUSC6'0"200116rJr
    6Kenny LadlerVanderbilt6'0"200125Sr
    7Marqueston HuffWyoming5'11"198153Sr
    8Jemea ThomasGeorgia Tech5'10"190187rSr
    9Dontae JohnsonNorth Carolina State  6'2"199243Sr
    10Nickoe WhitleyMississippi State6'0"205247rSr
    11Christian BryantOhio State5'9"193262Sr
    12Tre BostonNorth Carolina6'0"198271Sr
    13Ty ZimmermanKansas State6'1"204273rSr
    14Jonathan DowlingWestern Kentucky6'2"198280rJr

Strong Safeties

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    Michael Chang/Getty Images

    As the backbone of most defenses, the strong safety must be able to hit, cover and play with range against the run and pass; that's the model on which we're basing these grades, at least.

    This year's class shouldn't see a true strong safety drafted in the first round, but once Day 2 begins, expect them to fly off the board.

    Deone Bucannon and Ahmad Dixon are both big hitters with enforcer ability. Jimmie Ward is small for the position and may see a shift to free safety, but he has the coverage skills we all want in a last-line defender.

    2014 Strong Safety Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Deone Bucannon  Washington State  6'1"21654Sr
    2Ahmad DixonBaylor6'0"20555Sr
    3Jimmie WardNorthern Illinois5'11"19171Sr
    4Craig LostonLSU6'1"214135rSr
    5Vinnie SunseriAlabama6'0"210169Jr
    6Isaiah LewisMichigan State5'10"205186Sr
    7Hakeem SmithLouisville6'0"186192rSr
    8Sean ParkerWashington5'10"193223Sr
    9Alden DarbyArizona State5'10"192229Sr

Special Teams

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    Michael Thomas/Associated Press

    Finding a talent at kicker worth drafting is tough, but when you lock on to a potentially great player, you have to move to get one. This year's class has just two players with a "draftable" grade, but both could be stars in the NFL.

    2014 Kicker Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchool  Height  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Anthony Fera  Texas6'1"218215rSr
    2Chris BoswellRice6'2"183218rSr

    It used to be rare to see a punter drafted, but those days are over. The 2013 draft saw a run on the fourth-down specialists, and we could see that again this May.

    2014 Punter Rankings
    Rank  PlayerSchoolHeight  Weight  Overall  Class  
    1Kirby Van Der Kamp  Iowa State  6'4"202204Sr
    2Tom HornseyMemphis6'3"217231Sr
    3Steven ClarkAuburn6'6"226295Sr
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