With the 2014 NFL draft rapidly approaching we wanted to get away from ‘mock drafts’ momentarily as they are, for the most part, a complete waste of time. While speculation is fun, the fact is that there will be trades and movement throughout the draft, and nobody will accurately pick who goes to what team. With that in mind, we are just going to rank the top ten prospects. Forget about the teams, their needs or anything else that plays into the NFL draft, and just focus on who is the best player. That being said, here is our list:
1. Sammy Watkins – The most explosive offensive player, he’s got ball skills, exceptional hands, great speed and can get off the ball. He is the one player that we are 100% confident in saying he will go in and make a difference in his team’s week 1 game.
2. Jadeveon Clowney – Similar to Watkins, Clowney is a rare athlete, and is ready to contribute on a NFL team right now. A low end prediction for his first year would be 8-10 sacks, which makes his high end scary.
3. Greg Robinson – I think Robinson is the only tackle that is NFL ready. Lewan may end up being the better player, but if you’re drafting 1-6, you need a guy that can contribute immediately which makes Robinson the better pick.
4. Blake Bortles – Bortles will, and should go number 1 in this year’s draft. He’s the best quarterback available, has an Andrew Luck like skill-set, and that’s probably his high-end production level, he’s a plus athlete with a plus arm.
5. Khalil Mack – Mack is the best 3-4 outside linebacker / rusher we have seen in a few years. We expect his first year to rival Von Miller’s, and, in the right scheme he could end up defensive rookie of the year and potentially lead the league in sacks.
6. Mike Evans – In most year’s drafts Mike Evans would be the best WR on the board. He as great size, 4.5 speed, and strong hands. His route running needs some work, but that can be coached up. His upside is not quite AJ Green as a lot of scouts have suggested, but perhaps Alshon Jeffery.
7. Teddy Bridgewater – Bridgewater is ready to be a franchise quarterback. He has decent athleticism and a strong arm. He is in the discussion for the number one pick, but we think Bortles has a slightly higher upside. Don’t expect Bridgewater to slide past the Browns.
8. Jake Matthews/Taylor Lewan – It was a complete coin-flip for us between Lewan and Matthews. Matthews is more pro-ready, but again, we love Lewan’s upside. He could be the best tackle in the league in a couple of years. Both of these guys will be off the board by the middle of round one.
9. Justin Gilbert – Gilbert separated himself from Dennard at the combine, and should be a top 15 pick. He has elite corner skills, size and speed. If Evans goes before the Lions pick at 10, expect Gilbert to go there.
10. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix – Ha Ha is the best safety in this year’s draft and has the chance to be special. He is a new breed of safety that has the ability to make plays all over the field and the size to match up with NFL tight ends.
Prediction for the First 10 Picks
If the draft order holds up and we don’t see any major plays, here is our latest predication for how the picks will turn out.
1. Houston Texans – Blake Bortles
2. St. Louis Rams – Greg Robinson
3. Jacksonville Jaguars – Jadeveon Clowney
4. Cleveland Browns – Teddy Bridgewater
5. Oakland Raiders – Sammy Watkins
6. Atlanta Falcons – Khalil Mack
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jake Matthews
8. Minnesota Vikings – Johnny Manziel
9. Buffalo Bills – Taylor Lewan
10. Detroit Lions – Mike Evans