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  • CBS Sports Updated Big Board (12/13)

    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 in the country. Back in 2002, his older brother David sealed up the No. 1 overall pick with a dominant performance at the Senior Bowl. It isn't out of the question that Derek could match the feat 12 years later.

    5. OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (6-5, 305, 5.14: The son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, Jake proves the cliché true -- the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. He has played well at left tackle this season after starring at right tackle during his first three years. Matthews is a terrific football 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.

    6. WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson (6-1, 200, 4.49)*: With 85 catches for 1,235 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013, Watkins erased any memories of his disappointing sophomore campaign. He is an explosive athlete with impressive body control and natural hands to pluck the ball. Unlike some of his teammates, Watkins played well against Clemson's top opponents this season, including Florida State and South Carolina. Watkins' matchup against Ohio State's Bradley Roby in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3 could be the most tantalizing one-on-one matchup of the bowl season.

    7. CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State (5-11, 197, 4.52): Quick feet, loose hips and a fluid turning motion make Dennard a classic cover corner capable of shutting down half the field. His ability in coverage played a huge role in the Spartans' run to the Big Ten Championship, as was recognized with Dennard winning the Thorpe Award as the nation's elite defensive back.

    8. OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (6-5, 312, 5.12)*: -- Nick Saban questioned draft analysts for pegging Kouandjio as a first-round talent before the season, but given the junior left tackle's exciting skill set, the projection has been an easy one. Athletic and aggressive, Kouandjio could overtake some of the other top tackles in this class should he elect to enter the draft a year early.

    9. OT Cameron Erving, Florida State (6-5, 310, 5.26)*: Erving played in 13 games as a redshirt freshman defensive tackle, but looked like a natural when moved to left tackle a season ago, though he remains a bit inconsistent. Long, balanced and athletic, he's a hidden factor in the dynamic play of freshman quarterback Jameis Winston and could enjoy a "quiet" ride into the top 10 of the 2014 draft just as former Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel did a year ago while blocking for Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.

    10. OLB C.J. Mosley, Alabama (6-2, 232, 4.56): 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. Mosley lacks the bulk scouts want in a pass rusher but his awareness in coverage is special.

    11. OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo (6-3, 248, 4.66): With a record-tying 75 career tackles for loss, Mack's statistics jump off the page. Against the most gifted opponents he faced this year (Ohio State, Connecticut), it was his game that jumped off the screen. His size, instincts and agility as an edge rusher make him equally intriguing to teams operating out of a 4-3 or 3-4 alignment.

    12. OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M (6-5, 300, 5.15)*: 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) took over for Jake Matthews at right tackle in 2013 and has excelled. Possessing long arms and light feet, Ogbuehi offers more upside than his more celebrated teammate, though he is not yet as polished.

    13. WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M (6-5, 225, 4.58)*: Like his famous quarterback Johnny Manziel, Evans is only a redshirt sophomore, but he has a big decision to make after dominating the SEC most of the season. Deceptively fast and possessing great body control as well as timing, Evans is an exciting split end prospect who reminds scouts of Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Vincent Jackson. Of concern, however, is the fact that Evans struggled in his final two regular-season games, catching only eight passes for a combined 59 yards in losses to LSU and Missouri.

    14. TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina (6-4, 245, 4.67)*: Ebron possesses a jaw-dropping combination of size and athleticism that has earned comparisons to ***** star Vernon Davis. Like Davis, however, Ebron struggles with consistency, relying too much on his athleticism rather than dedicating himself to learning the finer techniques of the position. Ebron will forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 draft.

    15. CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon (5-10, 190, 4.52)*: Lost in the hype of Oregon's offense are a number of highly regarded defenders, including Ekpre-Olomu, who combines great instincts, agility and physicality to shut down his side of the field. Ekpre-Olomu's toughness on the perimeter played a significant role in Oregon's victory against Oregon State in the Civil War; he posted 12 tackles (all solos), deflected three passes and intercepted another while helping to limit Beavers star WR Brandin Cooks.

    16. OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan (6-7, 310, 5.04): Possessing an impressive combination of size, strength and toughness, Lewan has earned comparisons to former Michigan standout Jake Long throughout his career with the Wolverines. He certainly looked the part against Ohio State, dominating the action up front.

    17. DL Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame (6-5, 303, 4.89)*: Offseason sports hernia surgery may have played a role in Tuitt weighing 20 pounds more this season than a year ago, and early on the extra weight seemed to be slowing him. He played much better over the second half of the season, however, and his athleticism and frame project well to either scheme in the NFL.

    18. DE Trent Murphy, Stanford (6-6, 261, 4.85): Used as a standup outside linebacker as well as a down defensive lineman for the Cardinal, Murphy is equally impactful in the passing game, running game and on special teams due to his instincts, physicality and awareness. His play and production (58 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, 14 sacks) should have earned him the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award that went to Arizona defensive lineman Will Sutton. Though he has starred in Stanford's 3-4 scheme, Murphy projects best as a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL.

    19. TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech (6-5, 260, 4.67)*: The NFL is looking for seam threats rather than extra blockers at tight end in today's game, and there hasn't been a more impressive prospect in the country in 2013 in this role than Amaro, who finished the regular season with 98 catches for 1,240 yards and seven touchdowns. Scouts are beginning to mention the name Jimmy Graham when discussing the Red Raiders junior. After dropping a few passes against Texas in his regular-season finale Nov. 30, Amaro will be tested against an aggressive Arizona State defense in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 30.

    20. OT Greg Robinson, Auburn* (6-5, 320, 5.38): Redshirt offensive linemen rarely earn more than a whisper in scouting circles, but the buzz generating 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 (6-5, 320 pounds), strength and athleticism. Auburn's reliance on the running game, however, has given Robinson few opportunities in pass protection, making him a bit of a boom-or-bust prospect at this early point.

    21. WR Marqise Lee, Southern Cal (6-0, 195, 4.51)*: A nagging left knee injury has hampered Lee for much of the 2013 season, robbing the 2012 Biletnikof Award winner of his trademark elusiveness and acceleration. Finally healthy, he starred against Stanford on Nov. 16, helping guide the Trojans to an upset victory and seeming to solidify his stock -- only to register a relatively nondescript six grabs for 69 yards in a Nov. 30 loss to UCLA.

    22. OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor (6-5, 335, 5.27): 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. Richardson was recognized with the Jim Parker Award as the nation's top blocker and headlines a strong class of interior linemen.

    23. OC Travis Swanson, Arkansas (6-4, 318, 5.26): If Richardson is the elite interior lineman of the 2014 senior class, Swanson ranks as a close second. Athletic, powerful and versatile (some view him as a potential guard convert), Swanson will continue former Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema's tradition of churning out quality NFL prospects along the offensive line.

    24. OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (6-2, 226, 4.58)*: 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. No one played better for the Buckeyes against Michigan State in the Big Ten title game than Shazier, who recorded 12 tackles, two pass breakups and a blocked punt against the Spartans.

    25. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (5-11, 210, 4.45)*: Manziel's vision, elusiveness and accuracy while on the move make him a mesmerizing prospect, but red flags were raised with mediocre performances against LSU and Missouri to end the regular season. Bottled in the pocket by both, Manziel was unable to throw his receivers open and he struggled. The NFL rule books have never been more accommodating to dual-threat passers, but consistent accuracy from the pocket remains the most critical element to quarterback play at the next level.

    26. CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (6-0, 200, 4.52): In terms of size, agility and speed, no cornerback offers a more intriguing skill-set than the Cowboys' star. Gilbert, a Thorpe Award finalist, led the Big 12 with six interceptions this season and has returned six kickoffs for touchdowns during his time in Stillwater.

    27. QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida* (6-3, 230, 4.78): A prototypically built pocket passer with good awareness and anticipation, Bortles looks the part of an NFL starting quarterback. Should he star in UCF's Fiesta Bowl showdown with the explosive Baylor Bears, the junior could have a tough time ignoring the NFL buzz his play is building.

    28. WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State* (5-10, 186, 4.52): Beavers coach Mike Riley has made a career out of finding undersized pass-catchers to star in his offense, but Cooks is a different level of athlete than Sammie Stroughter, Markus Wheaton and the Rodgers brothers (James and Jacquizz). Boasting a combination of elusiveness, acceleration and toughness that is earning comparisons to Percy Harvin, the Biletnikof Award finalist rewrote school and conference record books with 120 catches for 1,670 yards and 15 touchdowns in the regular season.

    29. DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota (6-6, 311, 4.95): Blessed with an extraordinary combination of size and athleticism, Hageman could join Michael Brockers and Dontari Poe as recent big defensive tackles whose real rise up draft boards doesn't begin until the Scouting Combine. Hageman has looked unblockable at times, but he struggles with consistency.

    30. CB Jason Verrett, TCU (5-10, 182, 4.49): 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. Through the end of the 2013 regular season, he led again in pass deflections (16) while recording two pass thefts. While light, Verrett is scrappy and tenacious, making him an ideal nickel corner with the tackling ability to threaten on an occasional blitz.

    31. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington* (6-6, 276, 4.75): The third-year junior didn't enjoy the flashy season many projected, but that was largely due to the Huskies utilizing Seferian-Jenkins more as a blocker and decoy rather than as the focal point of their offense. He might not possess the straight-line speed of the two tight ends ranked higher on this list (UNC's Ebron, Texas Tech's Amaro), but the NFL will grade him highly for the same reason the Mackey Award Committee did -- he's the best all-around tight end in the country.

    32. OG David Yankey, Stanford* (6-5, 314, 5.08): Another impressive performance against two-time defending Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Will Sutton has Yankey's stock rising. Athletic and powerful, Yankey is earning similar grades from some clubs as his former teammate, David DeCastro, the No. 24 overall selection of the 2012 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Just missed the cut:

    DT Will Sutton, Arizona State
    OLB Vic Beasley, Clemson*
    CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State*
    RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona*
    ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford
    WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
    QB Brett Hundley, UCLA*
    WR Allen Robinson, Penn State*
    FS Hasean Clinton-Dix, Alabama*
    OT La'el Collins, LSU*
    OG Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA*
    DE/OLB Trevor Reilly, Utah
    DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh
    DT Ego Ferguson, LSU*
    OLB Kyle Van Noy, BYU

  • #2
    Re: CBS Sports Updated Big Board (12/13)

    So, a lot of linemen? Not that Fisher will draft any in the first round, but that's good for us I think.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: CBS Sports Updated Big Board (12/13)

      Manziel in the final two games supposedly had a broken thumb on his throwing hand.
      If you watched him, his accuracy wasn't very good at all and there was an obvious problem.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: CBS Sports Updated Big Board (12/13)

        Thanks for posting Nick I had not seen this yet...
        Some interesting prospects for us in there, what about the CB Gilbert did not get to see him play that I remember anyone like this guy? Lots of talented O-Linemen really get me hoping Fish might change it up and go for one. Guess the offseason will determine where that goes. Of the wide outs Evans seems the most intriguing to me and I know many on the board like him allot (AvR etc). Going to be very exciting to see what Les & Fish do this year I really like this draft even though many project it as a weak one.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: CBS Sports Updated Big Board (12/13)

          just noting...marqise lee was only healthy enough to play...healthy is not limping off the field several times lol

          and i think clowney is going to be a trainwreck

          Comment

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          • 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, 03:32 PM
          • Nick
            CBS Big Board: 2014 first round could feature tight-end hat trick
            by Nick
            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...
            -10-05-2013, 08:30 AM
          • 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, 10:04 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, 09:20 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.
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            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, 06:44 PM
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