BBD Editor: Dan Hope
South Carolina junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is a rare caliber of NFL draft prospect. He was highly touted as the No. 1 player in his high school recruiting class, and his development over his freshman and sophomore seasons project him as a player who can immediately become an elite defensive player in the NFL.
Yet although Clowney may be a “once-in-a-generation” defensive prospect, that does not necessarily make him the favorite to be the No. 1 overall selection.
While one can certainly debate who the best player is in the 2014 NFL draft, there is little doubt that the NFL is a quarterback-driven league. A top-tier quarterback holds more value than even the most elite of prospects on either side of the ball, including defensive superstars.
In the 2013 NFL Draft, Clowney would have been the clear-cut No. 1 overall prospect months before the proceedings even began. In a class without an elite quarterback prospect — or elite prospect at any position — the Kansas City Chiefs would have made a mistake in drafting anyone other than Clowney if he was draft-eligible.
The 2014 NFL draft class, however, does project to have an elite quarterback prospect: Louisville junior Teddy Bridgewater.