BBD Assistant Editor: Joe Marino
With the NFL Scouting Combine on the horizon and the 2014 NFL Draft less than three months away, teams are starting to set up their boards of the draft’s top prospects, and so are we here at Buffalo Bills Draft.
Over the next four pages, take a look at how BBD assistant editor Joe Marino currently ranks the draft’s top 100 prospects.
1. Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: Bridgewater already has an advanced understanding of passing game concepts, presnap reads and execution. He has all the physical tools and intangibles and is ready to be the face of a franchise.
2. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M: Matthews has everything you want in a blindside protector. He will solidify an offensive line for a decade.
3. Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn: Perhaps the most dominant run blocker I have ever scouted, Robinson is a terrific athlete with as much upside as any player in this class.
4. Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: Clowney is a special athlete with rare and unique ability as an edge defender. Some say he is the best defensive prospect since Bruce Smith.
5. Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: The NCAA’s all-time leader with 16 career forced fumbles, Mack also finished his collegiate career tied for the all-time lead with 75 career tackles for loss. Mack is a dynamic playmaker who is excellent as a pass-rusher, run defender and in coverage.
6. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: With his speed and explosiveness, Ebron brings a dimension to an offense that is difficult to defend. He has the makings of a game-changing tight end at the next level.
7. Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: Watkins is the top receiver in this year’s class. He has tremendous ability with the ball in his hands and is an explosive, quick-twitch athlete.
8. C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama: Mosley is an instinctive, all-around playmaking linebacker with good athletic ability. He can become the face of a defense.
9. Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: Nix is a big, strong, athletic force who plays with a high motor. A defense will be instantly improved by plugging Nix into the middle of it.
10. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU: Van Noy has a physical and aggressive playing style and “finds his way” to the football incredibly well. He can rush the passer but also drop into coverage.
11. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: Gilbert brings a lot to the table as a prospect. His combination of coverage ability, length, athleticism and return ability has him looking the part of the first corner drafted.
12. Zack Martin, OT, Notre Dame: Whether it’s at guard or tackle, Martin has the makeup of a long-term starter who can dominate. He started 52 consecutive games for the Fighting Irish.
13. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan: Lewan started 48 games (41 consecutive) at left tackle for the Wolverines. He is a physical and aggressive run blocker and competes well as a pass blocker.
14. Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: Carr has big-time arm strength and intangibles. He has some footwork issues to clean up, but there is hope that he can be a franchise quarterback at the next level. Players with that potential are elevated on the board.
15. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: Beckham is a tremendous athlete that works all levels of field extremely well. He offers the ability to contribute as a returner.
16. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama: Clinton-Dix is versatile and can allow a team to use diverse looks on the backend of their defense. Safeties like him are rare and valuable.
17. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt: Matthews is the SEC’s all-time leading receiver despite a lack of high-level quarterback play during his Vanderbilt career. He is a terrific route-runner who competes well at the catch point and is underrated after the catch.
18. David Yankey, G, Stanford: Yankey is technically sound and can dominate in the run game. Although he has played some offensive tackle in college, he doesn’t have the foot speed to project to that position in the NFL.
19. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: Robinson is a big, strong, athletic receiver who can work all levels of the field. Opponents knew the ball was going to Robinson in college, and they still couldn’t stop him.
20. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: Roby has great athleticism and coverage ability. His movements are extremely fluid and explosive. Whether he is covering, blitzing or chasing down ball carriers, his athletic ability and explosiveness are elite.
21. Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford: Murphy is a complete player who embodies many of the valued characteristics in an edge player. He led the nation in sacks as a senior in 2013.
22. Dominique Easley, DE, Florida: Easley is coming off of a torn ACL, but he is one of the most dominant, disruptive, penetrating forces in college football when healthy.
23. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: Dennard is a physical corner who can cover and play the run. Simply put, it’s difficult to complete a pass against him.
24. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama: Kouandjio has all the physical ability to become an excellent offensive tackle. He is incredibly powerful and has an ideal frame for the position. His game is somewhat raw but comes with high upside.
25. Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: Hageman is big and athletic with the versatility to play multiple positions along the defensive front. He has some technique and consistency issues to iron out, but his talent is obvious.