2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Positional Rankings


Nov 29, 2012; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) reacts after throwing a 14 yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Point Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Faytok/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

The college and NFL seasons are almost upon us and excitement is in the air. Not only that, but the world gets closer and closer to the NFL draft! Using the tape of the past college season, these rankings highlight the top 10 players at each position for the NFL Draft heading into the 2013 season.

Quarterback: The only quarterback who is a blue-chip prospect is Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater but there is no doubt a ton of talent behind him. Quarterbacks like Tajh Boyd, David Fales, and Jeff Matthews all have great tools, but more improvement has to be seen from them to be considered out of the gate, starting material.

  1. Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville)
  2. David Fales (SJSU)
  3. Tajh Boyd (Clemson)
  4. Jeff Matthews (Cornell)
  5. Brett Hundley (UCLA)
  6. Marcus Mariota (Oregon)
  7. Devin Gardner (Michigan)
  8. Stephen Morris (Miami)
  9. Derek Carr (Fresno State)
  10. Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)

Running Back: After a draft where not a single back was selected in the 1st round, 2014 potentially offers multiple backs with the talent to go on the 1st day. The group is full of dynamic athletes like James Wilder and Lache Seastrunk, but also possesses a ton of smaller school talent with big ability.

  1. James Wilder (FSU)
  2. Bishop Sankey (Washington)
  3. Zurlon Tipton (CMU)
  4. Lache Seastrunk (Baylor)
  5. Marion Grice (ASU)
  6. Charles Sims (WVU)
  7. Ka’Deem Carey (Arizona)
  8. Antonio Andrews (WKU)
  9. Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin)
  10. Isaiah Crowell (Alabama State)

Wide Receiver: The great thing about this draft is the amount of elite talents at the skill positions. If playing to their full potential, there are at least five first round prospects at the wide receiver position alone.

  1. Marquise Lee (USC)
  2. Donte Moncrief (Ole Miss)
  3. Kasen Williams (Washington)
  4. Sammy Watkins (Clemson)
  5. Davante Adams (Fresno State)
  6. Brandon Coleman (Rutgers)
  7. Jordan Matthews (Vanderbilt)
  8. Cody Hoffman (BYU)
  9. Jalen Saunders (Oklahoma)
  10. Mike Evans (Texas A&M)

Tight End: The tight end position has changed wildly over the past few years. The demand for a dynamic receiver who can use their size to create mismatches is a must in the modern day NFL offense. Luckily players like Colt Lyerla, Jace Amaro, and Eric Ebron offer that dynamic athletic ability while players like Arthur Lynch and CJ Fiedorowicz offer up a more conventional tight end prospect.

  1. Colt Lyerla (Oregon
  2. Jace Amaro (Texas Tech)
  3. Austin Sefarian Jenkins (Washington)
  4. Eric Ebron (UNC)
  5. Arthur Lynch (Georgia)
  6. C.J. Fiedorowicz (Iowa)
  7. Jacob Pedersen (Wisconsin)
  8. Justin Jones (ECU)
  9. Marcel Jensen (Fresno State)
  10. Xavier Grimble (USC)

Offensive Tackle: This offensive tackle class is loaded with top end talent. Taylor Lewan, Jake Matthews, and Antonio Richardson are some among a few names that could be first round picks. Arguably 6 of these players are worthy of a day 1 selection.

  1. Jake Matthews (Texas A&M)
  2. Taylor Lewan (Michigan)
  3. Antonio Richardson (Tennessee)
  4. Sentreal Henderson (Miami)
  5. Cornelius Lucas (Kansas State)
  6. Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama)
  7. Jake Fisher (Oregon)
  8. James Hurst (UNC)
  9. Morgan Moses (Virginia)
  10. Cameron Erving (FSU)

Offensive Guard: While this guard class lacks the elite prospects on the level of 2013 first rounders Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper, there are certainly players with the physical tools to propel themselves to that level. As of now, there are certainly first rounders in the group, but none yet worthy of a top 10 pick.

  1. Gabe Jackson (Mississippi)
  2. Cyril Richardson (Baylor)
  3. David Yankey (Stanford)
  4. Xavier Su’a-Filo (UCLA)
  5. Spencer Long (Nebraska)
  6. Zach Martin (Notre Dame)
  7. Anthony Steen ( Alabama)
  8. Antwan Lowery (Rutgers)
  9. Chris Burnette (Georgia)
  10. Brandon Thomas (Clemson)

Center: There is much debate as to who sits at the top of this center class. In the end, it could end up with what a team prefers with their center: Size, agility, strength and/or intelligence… Each of the center prospects in this years draft has at least 2 of those traits that they use to hold down the offensive line.

  1. Hroniss Grasu (Oregon)
  2. Tyler Larsen (Utah State)
  3. Gabe Ikard (Oklahoma)
  4. Travis Swanson (Arkansas
  5. James Stone (Tennessee)
  6. Bryan Stork (FSU)
  7. Weston Richburg (Colorado State)
  8. Corey Linsley (Ohio State)
  9. Jonathan Harrison (Florida)
  10. Zac Kerin (Toledo)

4-3 Defensive End: There is talent among this year’s 4-3 pass rushers, but none as talented as Jadeveon Clowney. If you haven’t heard of him yet…. Well, you’re just going to have to pay attention a bit more. He is the top prospect in the draft by far and is considered a once in a generation defensive prospect, much like Andrew Luck to offensive prospects.

  1. Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina)
  2. Aaron Lynch (USF)
  3. Kareem Martin (UNC)
  4. Scott Crichton (Oregon State)
  5. Chris Smith (Arkansas)
  6. Henry Anderson (Stanford)
  7. James Gayle (Virginia Tech)
  8. Larry Webster (Bloomsburg)
  9. Demarcus Lawrence (Boise State)
  10. Ben Gardner (Stanford)

Rush Linebacker or LEO: The difference between these pass rushers and a 4-3 defensive end is, usually, that the linebacker has to have the ability to play in space a bit more, requiring more athletic ability. While the tow positions could be interchangeable for most players, all of these players are organized into where they would best fit at the next pleasure.

  1. Anthony Barr (UCLA)
  2. Jeremiah Attaochu (Georgia Tech)
  3. Trent Murphy (Stanford)
  4. Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas)
  5. Adrian Hubbard (Alabama)
  6. Dee Ford (Auburn)
  7. Morgan Breslin (USC)
  8. Prince Shembo (Notre Dame)
  9. Kony Ealy (Missouri)
  10. Vic Beasley (Clemson)

Interior Defensive Linemen: Like many positions in the NFL, a defensive tackle is now asked to do a number of things, be it anchor against the run, rush the passer, or consume blockers for the pass rushers, there are a numerous amount of responsibilities for interior defensive lineman in today’s NFL. Luckily there is at least one defender who can meet the criteria.

  1. Louis Nix (Notre Dame
  2. Stephon Tuitt (Notre Dame)
  3. Will Sutton (ASU)
  4. Daniel McCullers (Tennessee)
  5. Dominique Easley (Florida)
  6. Anthony Johnston (LSU)
  7. Ra’Shede Hageman (Minnesota)
  8. Timmy Jernigan (FSU)
  9. Taylor Hart (Oregon)
  10. De’Andre Coleman (California)

Linebacker: This class has a number of highly talented linebackers who could play inside of a 3-4 defense and 4-3 defense or outside in a 4-3 defensive. The crop is filled with players who use strength, athletic ability, intelligence or all of the above to track down ball carriers, but there is no doubt a linebacker for every scheme.

  1. CJ Mosley (Alabama)
  2. Ryan Shazier (Ohio State)
  3. Christian Jones (FSU)
  4. Khalil Mack (Buffalo)
  5. Yarwin Smallwood (Conneticuit)
  6. Kyle Van Noy (BYU)
  7. Andrew Jackson (WKU)
  8. Carl Bradford (ASU)
  9. AJ Johnson (Tennessee)
  10. Chris Borland (Wisconsin)

Cornerback: Unlike last year’s class that had a ton of depth at corner and no undisputed top dog, this class has 3 players contending for the top corner position and the drop off after them is pretty significant. While there is raw talent in the rankings, there are very few day 1 starters outside the top 3.

  1. Bradley Roby (Ohio State)
  2. Jason Verrett (TCU)
  3. Ifo Ekpre Olumu (Oregon)
  4. Antone Exum (Virginia Tech)
  5. Marcus Roberson (Florida)
  6. Pierre Desir (Lindenwood)
  7. Darqueze Dennard (Michigan)
  8. Louchiez Purifoy (Florida)
  9. Andre Hal (Vanderbilt)
  10. Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech)

Free Safety: The free safety class is wrought with rangy athletes with phenomenal ball skills. Ha Ha Clinton Dix, besides having a fantastic name, is also a great ball hawk as well as a run stopper and is easily the top player in the class.

  1. Ha Ha Clinton Dix (Alabama)
  2. Tre Boston (UNC)
  3. LeMarcus Joyner (FSU)
  4. Bene Benikwere (SJSU)
  5. Ed Reynolds (Stanford)
  6. CJ Barnett (Ohio State)
  7. Kenny Ladler (Vanderbilt)
  8. Jamea Thomas (Georgia Tech)
  9. Deonne Buchannon (Washington State)
  10. Brian Jackson (Oregon)

Strong Safety: Strong Safety has a number of jobs that vary from scheme to scheme, some will interchange with the free safety as a deep cover man, play man up against a tight end or runningback and sometimes even play as a linebacker hybrid role (See: Kam Chancellor). This class has a wide array of talent that can play all over the field, but there is yet to be one player who breaks out as the undisputed strong safety.

  1. Sean Parker (Washington)
  2. Craig Loston (LSU)
  3. Ty Zimmerman (Kansas State)
  4. Karlos Williams (FSU)
  5. Ahmad Dixon (Baylor)
  6. Hakeem Smith (Louisville)
  7. Dion Bailey (USC)
  8. Jimmie Ward (NIU)
  9. Isaiah Lewis (Michigan State)
  10. Derron Smith (Fresno State)