Johnny Manziel and More 2014 NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in Texas A&M vs. Duke

Ben Malena (No. 1) and Cedric Ogbuehi (70) get overshadowed by the stars of Texas A&M’s offense, but both have NFL potential. (Photo: Thomas Campbell — USA Today Sports)

Cedric Ogbuehi, RT, Texas A&M, Jr. (6’5”, 300 lbs)

Even with Matthews’ move to the left side of the offensive line, Texas A&M has not had much drop-off at the right tackle position either, as Cedric Ogbuehi has had a fantastic season since moving outside from guard.

Ogbuehi is not quite as physically gifted as Matthews, but he has enough size and strength to play either tackle or guard while he has very clean footwork.

Ogbuehi is at his best when he quickly gets his hands on his opponents. He has a strong punch, plays with good pad level and can really lock down his opponent when he has his hands engaged. One big issue in Ogbuehi’s game, however, is a tendency to retreat a catch blockers, which is typically the case when he does allow pressure.

Ogbuehi is not a great second-level run blocker, but he is a very effective pass protector who slides his feet naturally and quickly and does a great job mirroring opponents. He shields his opponents outside effectively and has demonstrated a consistent ability to give the quarterback time, even with a quarterback whose style of play demands pass protection to hold up significantly longer than most collegiate offenses.

Ogbuehi needs to be more active off the snap, but he is a technically sound lineman who has the versatility to play both right tackle and guard and could be a quick fix on an NFL offensive line if he declares for the draft, in which he would likely be a first- or second-round pick.

More Prospects to Watch:

Ross Cockrell is Duke’s top prospect for the 2014 draft. (Photo: Mark Dolejs — USA Today Sports)

Ross Cockrell, CB, Duke, Sr. (6’, 190 lbs)

Even though Duke won 10 games as an ACC team this season, the Blue Devils do not have many significant prospects to the 2014 NFL draft, but they do have one strong mid-round possibility in senior cornerback Ross Cockrell.

Cockrell is an athletic cornerback who uses his hands well and plays with physicality, while he also plays the ball very well. He does a solid job jamming his opponents at the line and is better in man coverage than zone, but he uses his eyes well when he has a chance to read the quarterback’s decision and make a play on the ball.

One of the biggest concerns with Cockrell is his strength, however, both as it pertains to his ability to go up against bigger receivers in man coverage and in tackling in run support. That will put Cockrell to the test in this game, as he will have a very tough matchup against Evans while he will also need to be disciplined and sound in run defense to account for Manziel as a dynamic running threat.

There might be no player in this game with his draft stock more on the line than Cockrell.

Ben Malena, RB, Texas A&M, Sr. (5’9”, 195 lbs)

Malena has been largely overshadowed in his Texas A&M career by the offensive playmakers around him, but he is a tough runner who attacks holes at the line of scrimmage with good vision and has decent shiftiness to make defenders miss.

Malena is not a particularly explosive runner and would probably need to bulk up to hold up between the tackles at the next level, but he has potential to contribute as a depth running back and on special teams, likely as an undrafted free-agent signing.

Kenny Anunike, DE, Duke, Sr. (6’5”, 260 lbs)

Outside of Cockrell, Duke’s most likely draft selection is Kenny Anunike, a defensive end who leads the Blue Devils with six sacks and 13 tackles for loss this season.

Anunike has the size and strength of an NFL defensive end, but he is not particularly explosive, has an injury history and will be 24 by next season, all of which could push him to being a more likely undrafted free-agent signing than draft selection.

Howard Matthews, SS, Texas A&M, Jr. (6’2”, 200 lbs)

Virtually all of the 2014 NFL prospects in this game will be on the field when Texas A&M is on offense, but one defensive player who could shake up the draft if he declared as a junior would be strong safety Howard Matthews.

Matthews has the size and athleticism of an NFL strong safety. He thrives at coming up in the box as a hitter in run support, but also tracks the ball well in the air and makes plays on the back end. It would come as a surprise if he declares and he would benefit from another year of developing his game, especially in coverage, but he could factor into the middle rounds of a relatively thin safety draft class.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft, Ben Malena, Bowl Games, Cedric Ogbuehi, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Duke, Howard Matthews, Jake Matthews, Johnny Manziel, Kenny Anunike, Mike Evans, Ross Cockrell, Texas A&M

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