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Top 5 By Position for the 2014 NFL Draft

January 20, 2014

todd-mcshay-2014-quarterback-nfl-draft

With the NFL Draft season in it’s early phases I thought I’d get my initial Top 5 by position out there so readers can get a glimpse of how I rank players right now. Giving too much information this early in the process can sometimes make me look foolish down the road (like my picture does for Todd McShay who by draft time will probably have Manziel as a Top 10 guy but had him as a late 2nd rounder up until a month or two ago) as I haven’t completed my game film study on some of these guys, haven’t seen how they play in All-Star games (the Senior Bowl just began practice today) and I have no exact measurables on them as the Combine isn’t until late February but I do it anyway because I think my list will hold up the best. I apologize for the HORRIBLE format but it is a wordpress site so what do you expect. Below I gave my Top 5 players by position and then two other draft guys’ Top 5 list to compare (I had 5 columns but wordpress wouldn’t fit them in so unfortunately Daniel Jeremiah and Gil Brandt didn’t make the cut). As you will quickly see I’m the guy going out on a limb as most Top 5 lists have pretty much the same guy atop each position. McShay and Brooks both agree on the top QB, WR, TE, DE, OLB, CB and S while I only agree with them on the top QB and DE. Some of that is I do my own film study and make my own conclusions and some of that is it’s early in the pre-draft process and most people are just copying and pasting their lists with a tweak here or there. McShay has been notorious for that over the years as his Top 32 list would have every single player from Mel Kiper’s “Big Board” on it but in a slightly different order. Yet at least McShay has a list right now as Mike Mayock has, to this point at least, decided to not publish one. He likely will wait another month as he isn’t knowledgeable enough about the prospects, as is seen each year when he mispronounces names, gives bogus information or goes the generality route “he’s raw” “he’s blue collar” etc. To be fair to Mike he does work the Thursday night NFL game for the NFL network and does Notre Dame football for NBC so he’s a busy man but it always pisses me off when he struggles to give info on big name prospects in January at the Senior Bowl and then in February at the Combine I have to hear how he knows everything about everyone and is his usual condescending, know it all self. For a guy who basically crammed a season’s worth of study into 1 month he could be a little more humble. With my rant over though let’s get to the prospects:

QB Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Teddy Bridgewater Teddy Bridgewater Teddy Bridgewater
2 Johnny Manziel Blake Bortles Johnny Manziel
3 Blake Bortles Johnny Manziel Blake Bortles
4 Derek Carr Zach Mettenberger Derek Carr
5 Zach Mettenberger AJ McCarron Zach Mettenberger
RB Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Jeremy Hill Carlos Hyde Ka’Deem Carey
2 Carlos Hyde De’Anthony Thomas Jeremy Hill
3 De’Anthony Thomas Ka’Deem Carey Carlos Hyde
4 Ka’Deem Carey NL Tre Mason
5 Lache Seastrunk NL Bishop Sankey
WR Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Marquise Lee Sammy Watkins Sammy Watkins
2 Sammy Watkins Marquise Lee Odell Beckham Jr.
3 Mike Evans Mike Evans Marquise Lee
4 Allen Robinson Jordan Matthews Brandin Cooks
5 Kelvin Benjamin Kelvin Benjamin Mike Evans
TE Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Austin Seferian-Jenkins Eric Ebron Eric Ebron
2 Eric Ebron Austin Seferian-Jenkins Austin Seferian-Jenkins
3 Jace Amaro NL Jace Amaro
4 Arthur Lynch NL CJ Fiedorowicz
5 Troy Niklas NL Troy Niklas
OT Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Taylor Lewan Jake Matthews Greg Robinson
2 Jake Matthews Greg Robinson Jake Matthews
3 Cyrus Kouandjio Taylor Lewan Taylor Lewan
4 Antonio Richardson Cyrus Kouandjio Antonio Richardson
5 Greg Robinson Morgan Moses Cyrus Kouandjio
OG/C Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Travis Swanson Zach Martin Cyril Richardson
2 Zach Martin NL Travis Swanson
3 David Yankey NL Xavier Sua-Filo
4 Xavier Su’a-Filo NL Zach Martin
5 Gabe Jackson NL David Yankey
DT Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Aaron Donald Timmy Jernigan Louis Nix
2 Ra’Shede Hageman Louis Nix Timmy Jernigan
3 Will Sutton Ra’Shede Hageman Ra’Shede Hageman
4 Dominique Easley Aaron Donald Aaron Donald
5 Anthony Johnson NL Will Sutton
DE Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Jadeveon Clowney Jadeveon Clowney Jadeveon Clowney
2 Stephon Tuitt Stephon Tuitt Stephon Tuitt
3 Aaron Lynch Scott Crichton Trent Murphy
4 Scott Crichton Kony Ealy Kony Ealy
5 Kony Ealy NL Scott Crichton
OLB Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Khalil Mack Anthony Barr Anthony Barr
2 Anthony Barr Khalil Mack Ryan Shazier
3 Carl Bradford NL Khalil Mack
4 Kyle Van Noy NL Kyle Van Noy
5 DeMarcus Lawrence NL Adrian Hubbard
ILB Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 CJ Mosley CJ Mosley CJ Mosley
2 Shayne Skov Chris Borland Chris Borland
3 Shawn Jackson Shayne Skov Shayne Skov
4 Christian Jones Max Bullough Christian Jones
5 Chris Young Yawin Smallwood Yawin Smallwood
CB Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Darqueze Dennard Justin Gilbert Justin Gilbert
2 Justin Gilbert Darqueze Dennard Darqueze Dennard
3 Louchez Purifoy Marcus Roberson Jason Verrett
4 Jason Verrett Loucheiz Purifoy Bradley Roby
5 Marcus Roberson NL LaMarcus Joyner
S Jon Anderson Todd McShay Bucky Brooks
1 Haha Clinton-Dix Haha Clinton-Dix Haha Clinton-Dix
2 Deon Bucannon NL Calvin Pryor
3 LaMarcus Joyner NL Dion Bailey
4 Craig Loston NL Deon Bucannon
5 Dion Bailey NL Ahmad Dixon

I didn’t include Gil Brandt or Daniel Jeremiah’s list due to space but one interesting thing to note is that both actually had Johnny Football as their #1 QB ahead of Bridgewater. I agree that Johnny has the higher upside but to me Bridgewater is a franchise caliber QB (McShay doesn’t agree as he has him as his #12 prospect, I have him as my #1 prospect) and is a sure thing whereas Johnny is a bit of a gamble due to his size and playing style. Another interesting thing I got from making this Top 5 list was how much everyone disagrees with me about Timmy Jernigan. He is almost universally regarded as a Top 15 prospect and a Top 2 DT but in my rankings he’s a late 2nd/early 3rd rounder. I just saw too many games where he was invisible and I’d much prefer the more productive duo of Aaron Donald/Will Sutton or the more athletic trio of Hageman/Johnson/Easley over Jernigan. Jernigan is undersized, didn’t produce nearly as much as some of the others and has a lower upside than many in this DT class so it will be interesting to see if the “majority opinion” moves toward my opinion, if I change my mind (unlikely) or if Jernigan ends up as one of the most disagreed upon players of this draft. Another interesting discrepancy is how no one (not even the “invisible” lists of Brandt and Jeremiah) had any love for Carl Bradford. That surprises me as he is both productive and athletic so I don’t know how he isn’t considered a 1st rounder and a Top 5 OLB. I have him below only blue chips Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr, both of whom are likely Top 10 picks, but Bradford to me is far and away superior to any other OLB in this draft. Finally there is the Alabama situation. For some reason it seems to happen every year and I can already tell it’s going to be the case this year again but I just don’t grade Alabama’s defensive players as highly as the rest of the NFL does. So far I’ve been pretty right as guys like Rolando McClain, Donte Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, Dre Kirkpatrick, Javier Arenas, Terrence Cody, and Dee Milliner (one of the few Alabama guys I did agree with the hype about) have all underachieved relative to their draft status but that won’t keep me from getting a lot of surprised responses when they see how low I’m going to put CJ Mosley or Adrian Hubbard this year. CJ Mosley is currently the #8 player on Todd McShay’s board (I laugh at the idea of taking Mosley over Bridgewater who is #12 on his board right now) but Mosley doesn’t even get a 1st round grade from me. We both have him as the #1 ILB in this draft but that’s about all we agree on with him as to me he’s going to be an above average ILB in a 3-4 but will never make a Pro Bowl, will rarely make big plays in the run or passing game and is incredibly overhyped considering he wasn’t even a full time starter until late in the 2012 season. Saban has dominated the college landscape due to his incredible defensive schemes and it’s made many of his players look better than they really are. I suspect that once again the media will hype a lot of Alabama “talent” to the point where their 2nd round talents, like Mosley, will go in the 1st and their 4th round talents, like Hubbard, will go in the 2nd or 3rd. I warned of it before and I’ll warn of it again but it won’t change the fact that Saban has hypnotized the NFL and he can do no wrong in their eyes, track record of his previous players not working out in the NFL be damned.

I have so much to talk about this draft season but I’ll leave some for later as the draft process will be extra long this year due to the draft being moved from April to May. I like the change as it gives me more time to get my lists and rankings ready (a Top 500 list takes quite awhile to put together) but we will see if there are any drawbacks to the move. I know it might sound like I’m boasting when I go over my draft record but I try to remind people from time to time of my good calls so the random reader will see why it’s worth their time to read my blog. Blogs are a dime a dozen and there are countless media types out there that have more street cred than I do but at the end of the day I tend to get it right more often than the more celebrated guys like Mayock, McShay, or Kiper. In that vein I’d like to point out that I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Seattle-San Francisco game last night as the two stars of that game were Navarro Bowman and Richard Sherman. Both were named 1st Team All Pro this year and both would be Cowboys if I was the general manager. For more information it’s better to just read this. For those uninterested in reading another article it’s simply showing the results of the previous 3 drafts that I’ve covered. Each year as the draft unfolds I give analysis and after each Cowboys pick I say who the highest rated player at their position was aka whom I would have picked with that selection. When the Cowboys chose Sean Lee, Navarro Bowman was my highest rated ILB. When the Cowboys chose Josh Thomas, Richard Sherman was my highest rated CB. Those are two pretty amazing picks but it doesn’t stop there as when the Cowboys this year chose Terrance Williams I wrote here (scroll down to pick #74 of the Cowboys) that the highest rated WR on my board was Keenan Allen. Yes that Keenan Allen, the one who is about to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Cowboys obviously are not going to someday make me general manager but the fantasy game shows that I know what I’m talking about and my blog is a must read come draft season. Which we, interestingly enough, have just entered. That’s all I have for now but come back periodically and check out my blog postings these next few months and let me guide you through the 2014 NFL Draft process. See you soon.

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2 Comments
  1. peter permalink

    Thank you for this wonderful site. I think Vic Beasley is going back to school. People that like Greg Robinson normally are high on his potential. They think that next year he will improve more, relative to his tape, than people that have been playing left tackle longer. Do you take that into account in your ratings?

    • I do take upside into the rankings I just don’t see him as staying at LT which lowers him in my eyes more than others who see him as a “pure LT.” I see him as a very good RT who reminds me a bit of DJ Fluker for the Chargers, who by the way had a very solid rookie season this year. You are correct by the way on Beasley, I didn’t see that he had returned. With 98 underclassmen declaring I likely will make another error or two along the way as it is tough to keep them all straight. I’m replacing him with DeMarcus Lawrence from Boise State. Not a great replacement in my opinion but it’s either Lawrence or Shazier and at least Lawrence has some pass rush. Neither are 1st round caliber talents like Beasley but in my eyes this draft has a few elite pass rushers but little depth at 4-3 DE/3-4 OLB. We won’t be talking about any 2nd round steals at those positions in this draft class. I’m glad you enjoy the site. Talk to you soon.

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