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  • CBS Big Board: 2014 first round could feature tight-end hat trick

    Big Board: 2014 first round could feature tight-end hat trick
    by Rob Rang | NFLDraftScout.com
    Oct. 4, 2013 3:04 PM ET

    As NFL offenses become more sophisticated, finding pass-catchers who provide difficult matchups has taken on increased importance -- and athletic tight ends who can stretch the seam have never been more valuable.

    A trio of underclassmen could turn a solid 2014 class of tight ends into arguably the most exciting positional group in the draft. North Carolina's Eric Ebron, Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Oregon's Colt Lyerla each has the size, athleticism and ball skills to become immediate difference-makers. Should they all declare early, we could see three tight ends drafted in the opening round for the first time since 2002.

    The Big Board isn't a mock draft. There is no attention given to team needs or the projected selection order. It is simply a ranking of the 32 best prospects potentially eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft.

    1. Jadeveon Clowney*, DE, South Carolina (6-6, 268): Three tackles for loss and two sacks in his first two SEC games (Georgia, Vanderbilt) should quiet some of Clowney's critics. With the bar set so high due to preseason hype, he's going to have a hard time living up to the billing. Clowney is a difference-maker in the mold of Julius Peppers and Mario Williams but he could fall lower than expected on draft day should the team with the first pick have any concerns at quarterback.

    2. Teddy Bridgewater*, QB Louisville (6-3, 220): In an era in which college quarterbacks' numbers are often inflated by short passing and relatively simplistic schemes, Bridgewater's sparkling production (71.8 completion percentage, 1,214 yards, 14 TDs, one INT) is due to stellar accuracy. The biggest knock scouts have on Bridgewater is his slight frame and level of competition. These concerns won't keep him from challenging Clowney as the top pick, should each make the NFL jump after their junior season.

    3. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA (6-4, 238): As the No. 5 pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, Ziggy Ansah showed just what a breakout season can do for a pass rusher. Barr, a former running back, exploded onto the Pac-12 last year to the tune of 21½ tackles for loss and 13½ sacks. He has been just as dominant in 2013, earning my top grade among senior prospects, regardless of position.

    4. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 305): Any question about Matthews' ability to hold up at left tackle may have been answered with a dominating performance against Arkansas and SEC-leading sack-master Chris Smith on Sept. 28. Athletic, physical and technically sound, Matthews is every bit the NFL prospect that former teammate Luke Joeckel was a year ago. Joeckel, of course, wound up being selected No. 2 overall by Jacksonville.

    5. Cyrus Kouandjio*, OT, Alabama (6-5, 312): Some questioned the wisdom of moving Barrett Jones from left tackle (where he won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC's best lineman) to center in 2012. The reason for the switch was Kouandjio, a physically blessed athlete who some have compared to former Redskins Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels, the No. 3 overall pick out of Alabama in 2000.

    6. Louis Nix III*, DT, Notre Dame (6-3, 326): With broad shoulders, a thick lower half and surprisingly quick feet, Nix is a classic run-stuffer with enough burst and determination to threaten the pocket. Though the Irish lost to Oklahoma last weekend, Nix fared well against the Sooners and senior center Gabe Ikard, a legitimate NFL prospect himself, notching five tackles.

    7. C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama (6-2, 232): While a bit undersized, Mosley might be the best pound-for-pound player in the country. Athletic and instinctive, he is a true three-down linebacker capable of making plays against the run and pass.

    8. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson (6-1, 225): Less-than-ideal size will always bring some detractors but critics are finding it tougher to identify flaws in Boyd's game. He was more efficient than dominant in the Tigers' conference opener vs. NC State on Sept. 19, tossing three touchdowns against zero interceptions. A true dual-threat quarterback, Boyd is earning comparisons to Pro Bowl passers Russell Wilson and the late Steve McNair.

    9. Brett Hundley*, QB, UCLA (6-3, 227): Hundley, one of three potential blue-chip redshirt sophomore quarterbacks in the Pac-12 (with Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Stanford's Kevin Hogan), remains a bit rough around the edges but his size, athleticism and easy throwing motion have scouts excited about his upside.

    10. Marcus Mariota*, QB, Oregon (6-3, 214): Boasting a skill set that is drawing comparisons to ***** star Colin Kaepernick, Mariota is quickly proving he's far from a product of Oregon's fast-paced offense but an emerging blue-chip quarterback prospect. Mariota's traits are exciting but with opponents rarely challenging Oregon in the second half, scouts are left to largely project the redshirt sophomore's ability to play well in the clutch.

    11. Sammy Watkins*, WR, Clemson (6-1, 200): In three games against FBS competition (Georgia, NC State, Wake Forest), Watkins is averaging seven catches for 112 yards and a score. Clemson's high-powered offense inflates his production somewhat, but scouts are enamored with Watkins' playmaking ability.

    12. Antonio Richardson*, OT, Tennessee (6-6, 332): Nicknamed "Tiny," Richardson and his game proved anything but last season at left tackle for the Vols. Richardson is certainly a bit raw after just one season of starting action but he's shockingly smooth for a man of his size. With more consistency, Richardson's stock could skyrocket.

    13. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (6-7, 310): Possessing an incredible combination of size and athletic ability, Lewan has earned comparisons to former Michigan standout Jake Long throughout his career with the Wolverines.

    14. Marqise Lee*, WR, Southern Cal (6-0, 195): Firing Lane Kiffin might satisfy the USC faithful for the moment, but new head coach Ed Orgeron isn't likely to suddenly turn around the Trojans' woeful offense. Lee has been productive with 30 receptions through five games, but the big plays that have characterized the reigning Biletnikof Award winner's career to this point have been largely nonexistent in 2013. He is also recovering from a "very minor" knee sprain.

    15. Bradley Roby*, CB, Ohio State (5-11, 190): The Buckeyes used to churn out first-round defensive backs and Roby appears likely to rekindle the tradition. While his physicality was impressive against Wisconsin, Roby was torched by the Badgers' Jared Abbrederis, who had 10 catches, 207 yards and a touchdown. Scouts are eager to see if Roby rebounds this week on the road against undefeated Northwestern.

    16. Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor (6-5, 335): A dominating drive blocker who projects best at guard but spent the entire 2011 season protecting Robert Griffin III at left tackle, Richardson is massive, powerful and shockingly athletic.

    17. Eric Ebron*, TE, North Carolina (6-4, 245): A highly athletic and versatile prospect who stars not only as a matchup nightmare and powerful in-line blocker but also as an occasional defensive end. Ebron's exciting athleticism was on display against Georgia Tech on Sept. 21, as he caught six passes for 108 yards and a dazzling one-handed touchdown.

    18. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU (5-10, 182): Verrett lacks the size so en vogue in today's NFL, but agility and ball skills never go out of style for cornerbacks. Verrett led the Big 12 with 22 passes defended and six interceptions in 2012. He went down with a shoulder injury in TCU's win over SMU, but the injury isn't expected to keep him sidelined for long.

    19. Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State (6-2, 226): Shazier might be 10-15 pounds lighter than scouts would prefer but his instincts, speed and bone-jarring hits make him a fearful defender that offenses must account for on every snap.

    20. Cameron Erving*, OT, Florida State (6-5, 310): Erving played in 13 games as a redshirt freshman defensive tackle but looked like a natural when moved to left tackle a season ago. Long, balanced and athletic, he's a hidden factor in the impressive early play from freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.

    21. Stephon Tuitt*, DL, Notre Dame (6-5, 303): Offseason sports hernia surgery may have played a role in Tuitt adding 20 pounds. Early on the extra weight seemed to be slowing him. Consecutive strong performances against Michigan State (six tackles) and Oklahoma (five tackles, one tackle for loss), however, are reassuring.

    22. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo (6-3, 248): With an eye-popping 56 tackles for loss, 18 sacks and 11 forced fumbles already on his r½sum½ entering the 2013 season, rest assured that scouts knew Mack well. He has established himself as a legitimate star after strong performances against Ohio State and Connecticut.

    23. Timmy Jernigan*, DT, Florida State (6-2, 298): Losing productive pass rushers Bjoern Werner, Cornelius Carradine and Brandon Jenkins to the NFL is certainly going to hurt the Seminoles but Jernigan's explosive hands make him a terror up the middle.

    24. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU (6-3, 235): While Ziggy Ansah received most of the hype at BYU, Van Noy was far and away the more consistent defender, registering an eye-popping 22 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, six forced fumbles, two interceptions and two blocked kicks in 2012. Van Noy's all-around game was again demonstrated Sept. 21 vs. Utah as he finished with a game-high 10 tackles, including 1½ for loss.

    25. Austin Seferian-Jenkins*, TE, Washington (6-6, 267): A two-sport star for the Huskies (football, basketball), ASJ provides a unique combination of size, overall athleticism and ball skills, making him a true mismatch for opponents. Scouts are eager to see how he handles the physical challenge Stanford will provide Saturday.

    26. Lache Seastrunk*, RB, Baylor (5-9, 210): Baylor hasn't been challenged (they've outscored Wofford, Buffalo and Louisiana-Monroe 209-23) but Seastrunk has been as dominant as scouts expected, averaging a stunning 10.97 yards a carry over his first three games. Seastrunk is an "air back" with the agility, balance and stop-start ability to elude defenders.

    27. Mike Evans*, WR, Texas A&M (6-5, 225): Like his famous quarterback, Johnny Manziel, Evans is a redshirt sophomore but he could have quite the decision to make after the season if he continues to star in the SEC. Few players dominate Alabama but that is precisely what Evans did Sept. 14, hauling in seven passes for 279 yards and a 95-yard touchdown.

    28. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 300): Overshadowed by all of the talent on the Aggies' roster, Ogbuehi is an exciting prospect in his own right. A standout at right guard a year ago, Ogbuehi (pronounced ah-BOO-hee) stands to make a lot of money if he continues his early stellar play at right tackle.

    29. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix*, FS, Alabama (6-1, 208): Death, taxes and Nick Saban-coached defensive backs earning first-round grades are among the sure things in life. Clinton-Dix has an exciting combination of athleticism and instincts, but scouts may have to rely on his previous game tape as the star was suspended indefinitely from the team on Oct. 2, reportedly for accepting a loan from Alabama assistant strength and conditioning coach Corey Harris.

    30. Colt Lyerla*, TE, Oregon (6-5, 250): With NFL prospects at virtually every position, gaudy statistics are tough to come by for Oregon pass-catchers, and Lyerla has caught just two passes in three games this season. Boasting an extraordinary combination of size and speed, it isn't difficult to imagine Lyerla lighting up pre-draft workouts in much the same way that Vernon Davis did in 2006.

    31. Johnny Manziel*, Texas A&M (5-11, 210): Not every team will be willing to overlook the distractions that come with Johnny Football, but as dual-threat quarterbacks are becoming more and more popular in today's NFL it is impossible to ignore Manziel's unique playmaking ability.

    32. Anthony Johnson*, DT, LSU (6-3, 305): Flanked by Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery a season ago, Johnson looked like the next LSU first-round defensive lineman. Johnson recorded an interception against Georgia, but otherwise rarely stood out in the highly anticipated SEC showdown.

    Just missed the cut
    Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
    C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
    David Yankey, OG, Stanford
    Trent Murphy, DE/OLB, Stanford
    Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama
    Jordan Matthews, WR, South Carolina
    Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
    Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
    Denzel Perryman*, ILB, Miami
    Ed Reynolds*, FS, Stanford

  • #2
    Re: CBS Big Board: 2014 first round could feature tight-end hat trick

    Thanks for sharing this info Nick! First such list I have seen yet this season... Some interesting prospects for us to follow this year and see which way our team goes when that draft comes around.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: CBS Big Board: 2014 first round could feature tight-end hat trick

      Obviously a lot can change between now and the draft, but six offensive linemen in the discussion as Top 20 prospects should be good for a Rams team likely in need of help along the line.

      Comment

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      • Nick
        CBS Sports Updated Big Board (12/13)
        by Nick
        Big Board: Want a QB? Then you're in luck with this loaded class
        by Rob Rang
        NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst
        Dec. 13, 2013 3:55 AM ET

        With the number of underclassmen declaring for the 2014 draft expected to challenge -- if not topple -- last year's record of 73 early entrants, the giving season might occur in early May rather than late December for NFL teams.

        Scouts are especially excited about the quarterback class, which boasts one clear-cut first round talent in Fresno State senior Derek Carr and is expected to get a strong infusion with Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Central Florida's Blake Bortles and UCLA's Brett Hundley among the talented underclassmen considering making the jump.

        The Big Board isn't a mock draft. There is no attention given to team needs or the projected selection order. It is simply a ranking of the 32 best prospects potentially eligible for the 2014 NFL draft.

        1. DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (6-6, 268, 4.65)*: There is no denying that by registering only three sacks (and zero forced fumbles) in the 2013 regular season, Clowney has failed to live up to expectations. He also enflamed concerns about his maturity with a Dec. 7 speeding ticket in which he was clocked at 110 mph. Clowney's red flags are real, but so is his talent. In 13 years of grading prospects for the NFL Draft, Clowney competes only with former No. 2 overall pick Julius Peppers (2002) as the most gifted I've ever seen.

        2. QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (6-3, 220, 4.65)*: In an era in which college quarterbacks' numbers are often inflated by short passes and relatively simplistic schemes, Bridgewater's sparkling production is due to Pro Bowl-caliber accuracy. His success (70.2 percent completion rate with 28 touchdowns against four interceptions) comes out of a pro-style offense that forces him to make tough throws. Bridgewater's slight frame and level of competition are concerns. Bridgewater's poise will be tested in the Florida Citrus Bowl on Dec. 28; he'll be facing his hometown Miami Hurricanes in the game most believe will be his last at the collegiate level.

        3. OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA (6-4, 238, 4.73): A running back until last season, Barr has emerged as one of the elite prospects in the country and is my top-rated senior at any position. A powerful and fluid athlete at his best rushing off the edge, Barr was named the 2013 recipient of the LOTT Impact Award with 62 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and five forced fumbles during the regular season.

        4. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State (6-3, 215, 4.78): Carr's staggering production (70.1 completion percentage, 48 TDs, seven INTs) is certainly inflated by head coach Tim DeRuyter's QB-friendly spread attack and legitimately talented receiving corps, but there is no denying his talent. His release and velocity are as impressive as any college quarterback...
        -12-17-2013, 06:05 AM
      • Nick
        CBS's Big Board 1/3: Bridgewater looks like No. 1 pick; Manziel shines in bowl
        by Nick
        Big Board: Bridgewater looks like No. 1 pick; Manziel shines in bowl
        by Rob Rang | NFLDraftScout.com
        Jan. 3, 2014 2:34 PM ET

        Bowl games give scouts one final, critical opportunity to gauge prospects during their college careers. How they perform on the big stage, with all of the emotions that come with the end of their amateur careers, can spark what appears to be a dramatic rise or fall on draft boards.

        Savvy scouts won't overreact to one game -- unless the performance reinforces prior evaluation. That's the case with young quarterbacks Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Central Florida's Blake Bortles and, unfortunately on the flip side, Fresno State senior Derek Carr.

        The Big Board isn't a mock draft. There is no attention given to team needs or the selection order. It is simply a ranking of the 32 best prospects potentially eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft.

        1. Jadeveon Clowney*, DE, South Carolina (6-6, 268): There is no denying that Clowney failed to live up to expectations, statistically speaking. He also raised concerns about his maturity with two speeding tickets in recent weeks. Clowney's red flags are real, but so is his talent. Imposing, explosive and more technically sound than many realize, Clowney competes only with former No. 2 overall pick Julius Peppers (2002) as the most gifted defensive end prospect I have ever seen.

        2. Teddy Bridgewater*, QB, Louisville (6-3, 220): In an era in which college QBs' numbers are often inflated by short passes and simplistic schemes, Bridgewater's sparkling production is due to Pro Bowl-caliber accuracy. His success (71 percent completions, 31 touchdowns, four interceptions) comes out of a pro-style offense that requires him to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage and complete NFL throws. Those traits make Bridgewater an ideal fit in new Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien's offense, making him the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft.

        3. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 305): The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews proves the cliché -- the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. He has played well at left tackle this season after starring at right tackle over his first three years. Matthews is a terrific player, demonstrating impressive technique, strength and consistency. He is not an elite athlete and some view his future back on the right side in the NFL.

        4. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA (6-4, 238): A running back until last season, Barr has emerged as one of the elite prospects in the country and is my top-rated senior at any position. A powerful and fluid athlete at his best rushing off the edge, Barr was named the 2013 recipient of the Lott IMPACT Trophy with 62 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and five forced fumbles during the regular season.

        5. Sammy Watkins*, WR, Clemson (6-1, 200): With 85 catches for 1,235 yards and 10 touchdowns, Watkins erased...
        -01-03-2014, 02:32 PM
      • Nick
        CBS Big Board: Senior Bowl best chance for upperclassmen to make move
        by Nick
        Big Board: Senior Bowl best chance for upperclassmen to make move
        by Rob Rang | NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst
        Jan. 23, 2014 4:23 PM ET

        MOBILE, Ala. -- The scouting combine in February is the made-for-TV main event leading up to the NFL Draft, but no pre-draft gathering will have a greater effect on adjusting player grades than this week's practices at the Senior Bowl.

        In Mobile, 109 of the nation's elite senior prospects auditioned in front of hundreds of NFL scouts and personnel men. Roughly 30 more turned down the invitation due to injury or personal choice. A year ago, Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher's dominant play led to his steady ascent toward the No. 1 overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. EJ Manuel rode an MVP performance in the game to become the only quarterback to earn a selection in the first round -- No. 16 overall to the Buffalo Bills.

        The No. 1 pick this May will almost surely be an underclassman, but don't be fooled -- top prospects at the Senior Bowl have had a lot on the line this week, and my current Big Board reflects it.

        The Big Board isn't a mock draft. There is no attention given to team needs or the projected selection order. It is simply a ranking of the 50 best prospects potentially eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft.


        1. Jadeveon Clowney*, DE, South Carolina (6-feet-6, 268 pounds): There's no denying Clowney failed to live up to expectations, statistically speaking. He also inflamed concerns about his maturity with two speeding tickets before the Gamecocks' bowl game. Clowney's red flags are real, but so is his talent. Imposing, explosive and more technically sound than many realize, Clowney competes only with former No. 2 overall pick Julius Peppers (2002) as the most gifted defensive end prospect I have ever seen.

        2. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (6-5, 305): The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, Jake proves the cliché -- the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. He has played well at left tackle this season after starring at right tackle over his first three years. Matthews is a terrific player, demonstrating impressive technique, strength and consistency. He is not, however, an elite athlete and some view his future back on the right side in the NFL.

        3. Greg Robinson*, OT, Auburn (6-5, 320): Redshirt offensive linemen rarely earn more than a whisper in scouting circles, but the buzz around the Tigers' star left tackle is venturing into deafening. Physical and tenacious, Robinson is a grizzly bear in the running game, mauling opponents with an exciting blend of size, strength and athleticism. Auburn's reliance on the running game gave Robinson few opportunities in pass protection, meaning he could struggle initially in this role. Robinson isn't as polished as Matthews, which is why he ranks behind the Aggies' star for me, but the redshirt sophomore has an extraordinary upside which could...
        -01-25-2014, 09:04 AM
      • Nick
        2014 NFL Draft: Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook for Week 17
        by Nick
        2014 NFL Draft: Matt Miller's Scouting Notebook for Week 17
        By Matt Miller
        (NFL Draft Lead Writer) on December 26, 2013

        With Christmas in our rearview mirrors, college football heads into bowl season, and a crucial time of player evaluation begins.

        For many college players, the best competition they will face all season comes in a bowl game. For players like Fresno State's Derek Carr, who struggled against USC in the Las Vegas Bowl, it's important to hit the ground running after the bowls to repair any damage done to their stock in the bowl game. But can a player really hurt his stock in one game? That's something we'll dig into this week.

        This is an exciting week on the NFL draft calendar, and a full slate of games gives us plenty to watch this week.

        Let's get started.


        Five Up, Five Down

        Five Up

        5. DE Marcus Smith, Louisville
        Productive, athletic and eye-catching when you turn on the film, Louisville's Marcus Smith has flown too far under my radar this season. With a second look at Louisville before its matchup against Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl, I finally gave Smith the full attention he's deserved. And I was impressed.

        Smith is quick off the ball and has the hand use you want to see from an edge-defender. At 6'3" and 255 pounds, he looks more like a left defensive end (LEO) or stand-up 3-4 linebacker, but Smith's quickness and range are underrated at this point. He's firmly in my top 120 prospects heading into the new year.

        4. OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada
        The Nevada football program has churned out solid prospects for years now, but with few draftable 2014 players on the roster, I hadn't sat down and dedicated time to its film yet. Thankfully I was nudged to look at offensive tackle Joel Bitonio.

        Based on 2012 film, I had a preseason undrafted grade on the left tackle prospect, but his agility and strength stood out as I took a new look. Bitonio isn't the biggest guy at 6'4", but he packs a punch and is able to slide out with pass-rushers. With the ability to play tackle or guard, Bitonio looks like a top-100 prospect.

        3. DE Josh Mauro, Stanford
        Injuries allowed senior Josh Mauro more playing time at defensive end in the Stanford 3-4 scheme, and with that opportunity he has flourished. Mauro, at 6'6", 282 pounds, has the ideal length and strength to play as a 5-technique in the NFL. And after his production and impact were on display during the second half of the season, Mauro has shot up my board.

        A one-time seventh-round prospect, Mauro is now inside my top 100.

        2. OT Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt
        A 50-game starter for Vanderbilt, tackle Wesley Johnson is ready for the NFL. He's a mobile, agile left tackle who added strength this season in order to better fuel the run game. It's paid off, as Johnson has been a dominant...
        -12-30-2013, 08:20 AM
      • RamBill
        Rob Rang's 2013 Big Board--Top 64
        by RamBill
        Big Board: 2013 combine should help answer lingering questions

        By Rob Rang | NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst
        Feb. 8, 2013 4:41 PM ET

        Big Board: 2013 combine should help answer lingering questions - NFL, NFLDRAFT - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com

        NFL scouts may have taken off Super Bowl Sunday to watch the Baltimore Ravens hold on to beat the San Francisco *****, but the final game of the 2012 NFL season served as the unofficial kickoff to their time to shine.

        With the official underclassmen list settled, the senior all-star games wrapped up and the annual scouting combine on deck, some teams have already begun building the boards that will serve as their draft-day master lists. The rankings below serve this same purpose.

        The Big Board isn't a mock draft. There is no attention given to team needs or the draft order. It is simply a ranking of the 64 best draft-eligible prospects in the entire country.

        Underclassmen are denoted with an asterisk (*).

        1. *Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M: Having earned all-conference recognition all three years of his career, Joeckel has cemented his stock as the top offensive tackle in college football. In answering the unique challenges presented by SEC defenders this season, he earned the Outland Trophy as the nation's best lineman and vaulted himself to the top of this draft board. Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel may have won the Heisman Trophy, but Joeckel could be the one holding the bigger prize -- the thrill of being the first offensive lineman since Jake Long (2008) to be selected No. 1 overall.

        2. *Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia: A first-team All-SEC pick in each of his two eligible seasons at Georgia, Jones has proven himself to be a playmaker against both the pass and run. The 6-foot-3, 241-pound Jones led the country in three critical statistics -- sacks (14½), tackles for loss (24½) and forced fumbles (seven) despite missing two games (Kentucky, Florida Atlantic) due to injury. As dynamic as he is, the redshirt junior's medical grade will ultimately determine his draft status. He was diagnosed with a mild case of spinal stenosis in 2009 and some NFL doctors may be unwilling to clear him.

        3. *Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State: Blessed with a quick first step, heavy hands and surprising instincts given the fact that the German-born Werner has played just five years of American football, the 6-4, 255-pounder has established himself as one of the country's elite prospects. An immediate standout in Tallahassee, Werner improved in each of his three seasons at Florida State, culminating with winning ACC Defensive Player of the Year this season with 18 tackles for loss, including 13 sacks.
        More on NFL Draft

        4. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: With the Utes struggling through a disappointing 5-7 campaign, their senior defensive tackle didn't generate as much national attention...
        -02-10-2013, 05:44 PM
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