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Dan Armelli’s 2014 NFL Mock Draft


My favorite time of the year has finally come. The NFL Draft is here and it’s time to release my mock draft. I am a mock drafter at heart, starting them in 2008 when Jake Long when number one to the Dolphins. From there I got more heavily invested into the draft, especially mocks, and finally made the dreaded 7-round mock in 2012. I’ve shifted more towards evaluating (or trying to) talent  these days and the prospect profiles are my main focus. But mock drafts will always be my favorite part of the whole process. As I did with my big board, I will preface my mock with a some points:

1) There’s always a debate of whether a mock should be what the mocker thinks the team will do or what the mocker would do. Apparently, it’s immoral to do the latter, but this is all in good fun so it doesn’t matter to me either way. In this instance, for the most part, I tried to predict what I think the teams will do on Thursday night.

2) I have my own big board that I looked off during this, but also took into account “hot” names being thrown around and dots being connected. And for what it’s worth, by the end of this process, the highest player left on my board at the end of round one was cornerback Phillip Gaines from Rice (20th).

3) I threw in one big surprise on here that will be easy to point out. It’s unlikely to happen, but no one in the history of mock drafting has ever gotten all 32 picks right. If I get this pick right, I look like a genius. If I don’t, you’ll forget about it anyway🙂

4) Unlike last year, I didn’t add any trades. I pretty much went rogue with them last year but went back to a more traditional style this year. The names under the player selected will be other possibilities I think the team will look at (including trades). After, I’ll give a brief description of my thought process.

5) This is my last post before the draft, if any of you so much as glanced at one of my posts via Facebook or Twitter and thought, “Hm, that seems interesting,” I appreciate it. I do all of this for my own enjoyment but I get more out of it if I can see other people share in the enjoyment as well.


Crank it, Jerry.


1. Houston Texans- Edge Rusher Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina

ER Khalil Mack, QB Blake Bortles

Jadeveon Clowney is the most talented player in this draft and that’s why they take him first overall. He played defensive end in college but his great athletic ability will enable him to play outside linebacker in the Texans’s defense. Clowney next to J.J. Watt is going to give quarterbacks nightmares for years.

2. St. Louis Rams (from WAS)- OT Greg Robinson, Auburn

            WR Sammy Watkins, OT Jake Matthews, Trade Down

The Rams take a tackle they need to protect Sam Bradford. However, Robinson may play inside his first year in the league, making Jake Matthews, who will presumably play left tackle right away, a possibility here. Greg Robinson has greater physical attributes and huge potential, thus making him the number two pick.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars- ER Khalil Mack, Buffalo

WR Sammy Watkins, QB Johnny Manziel

Dion Jordan would’ve been a great pick last year for the Jags, but they went with Luke Joeckel instead. Now, in a similar situation, they get their guy to plug into the Leo linebacker role. Manziel is also a possibility; the quarterback who GM David Caldwell said is the most pro ready in this class.

4. Cleveland Browns- WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M

QB Johnny Manziel, WR Sammy Watkins, QB Teddy Bridgewater

The Browns would probably love one of the edge rushers to fall here, but scoop up Evans to line up next to Josh Gordon. No quarterback has been taken yet, so the Browns should be looking for one later in the round.

5. Oakland Raiders- DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh

            WR Sammy Watkins

The Raiders likely won’t be thinking quarterback early – which is probably a mistake – but still pick up a great player in Donald. They spent money in free agency at defensive tackle, but Donald is too good to pass up here.

6. Atlanta Falcons- OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M

Trade Up

The Falcons get a potentially great player here in Jake Matthews, though it’s likely the Falcons will try (and have been trying) to trade up for better talent. Matthews could start at right tackle and eventually take over for current left tackle Sam Baker, but it’s not inconceivable that happens right away.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

QB Johnny Manziel, OL Zack Martin

Tampa most likely runs up to the podium no matter what the pick is. In this scenario, they take Watkins to go with an aging Vincent Jackson. [Insert quarterback here] now has a couple good weapons to throw to. The pick could also be Zack Martin if they plan to use him at guard.

8. Minnesota Vikings- QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

QB Johnny Manziel, QB Blake Bortles

The Vikings somehow made the playoffs two years ago with a mess of a quarterback situation, and now it’s arguably worse. The only question here is which quarterback to take. Here, they have the pick of the litter and take the best one available in Bridgewater.

9. Buffalo Bills- TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina

OL Zack Martin

The Bills probably have a bigger need all along the offensive line and could pick Martin to help, but the best thing to do for a young quarterback like E.J. Manuel is to give him a great receiving tight end to bail him out. Ebron is the best tight end in this class and should be what Manuel needs to give him a spark.

10. Detroit Lions- WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU

CB Kyle Fuller

The Lions signed Golden Tate in the offseason to play the slot, but could still use a number 2 to go with Calvin Johnson. They fall into a great situation and take Beckham, who has big play ability down the field. They could also go with Fuller to sure up a weak defensive backfield.

11. Tennessee Titans- QB Blake Brotles, UCF

QB Johnny Manziel, CB Kyle Fuller

The Titans declined to pick up quarterback Jake Locker’s fifth-year option, conveying that they don’t think he’s the quarterback of the future. It’ll likely be a matter of which quarterback head coach Ken Whisenhunt likes the most. Bortles has received comparisons to former Whisenhunt quarterback Ben Roethlisburger (and Jake Locker for that matter). That’s my best attempt at connecting the dots here.

12. New York Giants- OL Zack Martin, Notre Dame

            OT Taylor Lewan, CB Kyle Fuller

The Giants need help all over the offensive line. Teams seem to be very high on Martin and the Giants take him here. They’ll get to choose which position is best for him as they need help everywhere.

13. St. Louis Rams- QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

            Trade Down, S HaHa Clinton-Dix

The Rams have many holes to fix, quarterback arguably being one of them. They have Sam Bradford, but apparently are high on Manziel and could pick him at 2. Luckily for them, he slides to their next pick. If he’s gone before then, they could trade down to collect more picks as they have plenty of holes to fill.

14. Chicago Bears- S HaHa Clinton-Dix, Alabama

S Jimmie Ward, CB Kyle Fuller

The Bears would probably like to take a defensive tackle here, but there’s not one here that fits their scheme worthy enough to take over Clinton-Dix. Granted, safety is still a big need for Chicago and they take arguably the best one in the class to put him in centerfield.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers- CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

WR Brandin Cooks

This pick makes too much sense, as the Steelers need a cornerback and Fuller is the best one in the class. They may consider Cooks to put in the slot, but corner is the greater need and Fuller is the better player.

16. Dallas Cowboys- RE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State

ER Anthony Barr, S Jimmie Ward

The Cowboys will be looking to fill the void of DeMarcus Ware and draft his namesake Lawrence here. But this isn’t just a play on names, Lawrence is a legitimate pass rushing weapon. Ward might also be tempting here as they are weak at safety.

17. Baltimore Ravens- OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

            S Jimmie Ward

The Ravens have a dire need at both free safety and offensive tackle, with two guys available to fill either spot. The go with the tackle Lewan here to protect the heavily invested Joe Flacco.

18. New York Jets- CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State

S Jimmie Ward

The Jets desperately need to fill the void Antonio Cromartie left when he went to Arizona. They grab Gilbert here, who teams will flock to because of his athletic upside. The Jets have other avenues to look at such as both safeties and more targets to give Michael Vick and/or Geno Smith.

19. Miami Dolphins- OT Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee

            Trade Down, C.J. Mosley

The Dolphins are a mess up front on the offensive side of the ball but most of the top guys aren’t available. If the board falls this way, they will probably look to acquire more picks and trade down. Should they stay here, James isn’t a bad fallback plan.

20. Arizona Cardinals- ER Anthony Barr, UCLA

QB Derek Carr, S Jimmie Ward

This is a tough call for Arizona. Derek Carr would most likely be a good fit to take over after Carson Palmer is done, but they also have a glaring need at outside linebacker in their 3-4. They have John Abraham, but he’s 36. They’ll look to Barr to become a premier game breaker.

21. Green Bay Packers- S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois

LB Ryan Shazier, LB C.J. Mosley

Arguably the Packers’s biggest need is at free safety and Ward falls to them here. They will most likely consider linebacker here as well. Mosley is arguably the better player, but Shazier has more athleticism to play inside a 3-4 defense.

22. Philadelphia Eagles- WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

Trade Up, WR Cody Latimer

The Eagles badly need a wide receiver as they basically don’t have anyone of worth after releasing DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant. Whether it’s a speedy slot guy like Cooks or a down the field threat like Latimer, they’ll most likely look to get one here or trade up for a better one (though they only have six picks to work with).

23. Kansas City Chiefs- WR Marqise Lee, USC

WR Cody Latimer, OG Gabe Jackson

Kansas City will look for a wide receiver to pair with Dwayne Bowe. Lee has been the hot name connected to the Chiefs, but Latimer is apparently also very highly thought of league-wide.

24. Cincinnati Bengals- CB Jason Verrett, TCU

CB Darqueze Dennard, ILB C.J. Mosley

The Bengals take the best cornerback left, and a good one at that to spell injury-ridden Leon Hall in the slot. Cincinnati is aging quickly at corner with only Dre Kirkpatrick to turn to. They could also look to Mosley here, who is dropping, which could happen due to medical concerns.

25. San Diego Chargers- ER Dee Ford, Auburn

NT Louis Nix III, CB Darqueze Dennard

The Chargers will almost certainly look for a defender here as that whole side of the ball is depleted, besides free safety Eric Weddle. They can basically go defensive BPA and defensive coordinator John Pagano is probably pining for a stable edge rusher. Ford is the selection here, but Nix and Dennard would be a fit as well.

26. Cleveland Browns- QB Derek Carr, Fresno State

Trade Up

The Browns sprint up to the podium in this scenario, hoping a quarterback they like falls if they can’t trade up (or don’t draft one at four). Carr is a nice fit for offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan’s offense with the big arm and mobility to go with it. Cleveland hopes this quarterback can stick.

27. New Orleans Saints- QB David Fales, San Jose State

CB Darqueze Dennard, WR Cody Latimer

Shocker of the first round. The Saints will almost certainly pick 35-year-old Drew Brees’s successor this year or the next. There are a variety of mixed opinions on Fales, but if they like him enough, they shouldn’t hesitate to take him here. Fales received hype at the end of last year but lost steam. He’s also been compared to Drew Brees and sitting a couple years behind him could do wonders (see: Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre). Or I could be nuts and they go the boring route of Darqueze Dennard – who would be a good pick here. It’s also a deep enough draft where they can wait for a wide receiver in the 2nd round.

28. Carolina Panthers- WR Cody Latimer, Indiana

            WR Martavis Bryant, WR Davante Adams, anyone who’s ever played catch in their backyard

In the 2004 draft, the Redskins purposely didn’t sign a safety or tight end in free agency so they could draft either Kellen Winslow II or Sean Taylor (they drafted that latter). This year, it almost feels like the Panthers are doing the same at wide receiver, as the draft is loaded at this position. Latimer has been a hot name and the Panthers scoop him up here.

29. New England Patriots- DT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame

            CB Darqueze Dennard, WR Davante Adams

The rich get richer. Nix, who some consider a Vince Wilfork clone, falls to the Patriots who need help in the interior. Starters Tommy Kelly and Wilford are 33 and 32, respectively, so Nix will bring some new blood to the big men up front. The only question will be is if Nix can fit in a 4-3. Dennard also seems like a Bill Belichick type player and could very well be the pick here.

30. San Francisco 49ers- CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State

WR Martavis Bryant

The 49ers have very little holes and can go with a loose BPA in this situation. C.J. Mosley is still out there, but with Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, he’s out of the question for San Francisco. Dennard adds depth to their good cornerback group.

31. Denver Broncos- LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama

LB Ryan Shazier

The Broncos are another team with not a lot of holes thanks to a great free agency. Their biggest is arguably at inside linebacker and C.J. Mosley finally gets picked up. If Mosley gets picked up earlier than this, which is also highly possible, the Broncos could look to Shazier to sure up their linebacker corps.

32. Seattle Seahawks- OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA

WR Martavis Bryant, DT Dominique Easley

The Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks pick up arguably the best guard in the draft in Su’a-Filo, who fits their zone blocking scheme perfectly. They could also look to get an outside weapon for Russell Wilson or take a chance on the injury-ridden Easley.


*Indicates underclassmen


All games evaluated courtesy of

Links to my prospect profiles can be found HERE


-Dan Armelli @dano708


P.S. Now I’m done *drops mic*

From Clowney to Yankey: Dan Armelli’s 2014 NFL Draft Big Board


After watching over 400 videos and 137 different prospects, I decided to do something I’ve never done before: put together a big board. Last year was my first time formally writing up profiles for prospects and I took the next step this year by ranking every prospect as I went along. A few things I’d like to preface before I reveal the list.

1) I’ve always been against doing a big board, for the simple reason that I think it’s so difficult to mix all the positions into one ranking – sort of like comparing apples and oranges. But I decided to try it because it was something new/fun and I ended up really enjoying it.

2) This list was made mostly for fun just so I can go back and see what I got right and wrong (but mostly right… just kidding). I like doing all of this for myself to look back on, but I put it out to people because I know that I personally like looking at all the different opinions of people that I respect.

3) Before, during, and after the season, I’ll write down names of prospects receiving buzz. I try to get a consensus of players to watch to nail down the one’s that are worth evaluating, since there’s no way I can watch over 250 prospects. I have to be somewhat selective. Therefore, there will be players left off here that should be on and vice versa. In no way it this a flat out ranking of all the prospects available. This is a ranking of the prospects I watched.

4) At times, this was as difficult as I thought it would be. Picking between a 3rd round safety and a 3rd round offensive tackle is really weird. My thought process for most of this was “Who would I rather start a team with?” Obviously this probably isn’t the most expert way to go about this, but I’m just in this for the fun of it, which is what the draft is. I hope you get a little bit of interest out of this and find where your favorite players are.


South Carolina edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney


1. *RUSH Jadeveon Clowney, S. Car. (T3)

2. *QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (T5)

3. *OT Greg Robinson, Auburn (T5)

4. *WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson (T10)

5. RUSH Khalil Mack, Buffalo (T10)

6. DL Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh (T15)

7. *TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina (T15)

8. *QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (M1)

9. *WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU (M1)

10. CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech (M1)

Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley

11. LB C.J. Mosley, Alabama (M1)

12. *RUSH Demarcus Lawrence, BSU (M1)

13 .RUSH Dee Ford, Auburn (M1)

14. *WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State (M1)

15. *WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M (M1)

16. *DL Louis Nix III, Notre Dame (M1)

17. OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (M1)

18. CB Jason Verrett, TCU (L1)

19. S Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois (L1)

20. CB Phillip Gaines, Rice (L1)

21. RUSH Anthony Barr, UCLA (L1)

22. S Terrence Brooks, Florida State (L1)

23. *S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama (L1)

24. QB David Fales, San Jose State (L1)

25. **DL Dominique Easley, Florida (L1)

26. *LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (L1)

27. DL DaQuan Jones, Penn State (L1)

28. *DL Timmy Jernigan, Florida State (L1)

UCF’s mascot, Knightro, and quarterback, Blake Bortles

29. *QB Blake Bortles, UCF (L1)

30. CB Darqueze Dennard, MSU (L1)

31. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State (L1)

32. OG Gabe Jackson, Mississippi St. (L1)


This is where normal big boards end, but luckily for you, I’m just having too much fun.


33. OT Ja’Wuan James, Tennessee (L1)

34. OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan (L1)

Clemson wide receiver Martavis Bryant (he caught it)

35. LB Telvin Smith, Florida State (E2)

36. *WR Martavis Bryant, Clemson (E2)

37. *WR Cody Latimer, Indiana (E2)

38. DL Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota (E2)

39. *C Marcus Martin, USC (E2)

40. OT/OG Zack Martin, Notre Dame (E2)

41. *RB Bishop Sankey, Washington (E2)

42. *TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech (E2)

43. *OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA (E2)

44. *OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (E2)

45. OT Morgan Moses, Virginia (E2)

46. *CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State (E2)

47. LB Preston Brown, Louisville (E2)

48. *WR Davante Adams, Fresno State (2)

49. WR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin (2)

50. *WR Marqise Lee, USC (2)

Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde aka El Guapo

51. RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State (2)

52. LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin (2)

53. *RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor (2)

54. C Travis Swanson, Arkansas (2)

55. OT/OG Joel Bitonio, Nevada (2)

56. CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State (2)

57. *WR Bruce Ellington, S. Carolina (L2)

58. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa (L2)

Kent State running back Dri Archer

59. RB Charles Sims, West Virginia (L2)

60. *TE Troy Niklas, Notre Dame (L2)

61. RB Dri Archer, Kent State (L2)

62. QB Aaron Murray, Georgia (L2)

63. *WR Jarvis Landry, LSU (L2)

64. C Weston Richburg, Colorado State (L2)

65. RUSH Marcus Smith, Louisville (L2)

66. RUSH Kyle Van Noy, BYU (L2)

67. CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebrask. (L2)

68. *RUSH Aaron Lynch, USF (L2)

69. *WR Kelvin Benjamin, FSU (L2)

70. S Tre Boston, North Carolina (L2/E3)

71. S Deone Bucannon, WSU (L2/E3)

72. RUSH Trent Murphy, Stanford (L2/E3)

73. *RUSH Scott Crichton, Or. St. (L2/E3)

74. *OG Trai Turner, LSU (L2/E3)

75. *S Calvin Pryor, Louisville (L2/E3)


Seventy-five is a nice number, I’m getting tired. If you stop reading, I won’t blame you. Plus it’s 2 in the morning right now.


Mississippi (or Ole Miss) wide receiver Donte Moncrief

76. *WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss (L2/E3)

77. DL Will Sutton, Arizona State (L2/E3)

78. RUSH Trevor Reilly, Utah (E3)

79. RUSH Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas (E3)

80. *RUSH/LB Carl Bradford, ASU (E3)

81. RUSH Jeremiah Attaochu, GT (E3)

82. *CB Victor Hampton, S. Carolina (E3)

83. *CB Bashaud Breeland, Clemson (E3)

Florida State running back Devonta Freeman

84. OG Dakota Dozier, Furman (E3)

85. *DL Ego Ferguson, LSU (E3)

86. *RB Devonta Freeman, Florida State (3)

87. *WR Allen Robinson, Penn State (3)

88. WR Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma (3)

89. *RB Storm Johnson, UCF (3)

90. *S Dion Bailey, USC (3)

91. OT Jack Mewhort, Ohio State (3)

92. *WR Paul Richardson, Colorado (3)

93. RUSH Christian Jones, Florida State (3)

94. *RB Tre Mason, Auburn (L3)

95. WR Devin Street, Pittsburgh (L3)

96. *RB Jeremy Hill, LSU (L3)

97. LB Shayne Skov, Stanford (L3)

98. WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (L3)

99. *RB Kadeem Carey, Arizona (L3/E4)

100. *DL Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame (L3/E4)


Alright, if you’ve read this far you might as well finish the rest.


Utah tight end Jake Murphy

101. *TE Jake Murphy, Utah (E4)

102. *TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Was. (E4)

103. RUSH Kareem Martin, UNC (E4)

104. QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson (4)

105. QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (4)

106. TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia (4)

107. CB E.J. Gaines, Missouri (4)

108. RB James White, Wisconsin (4)

Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas aka DAT aka [insert Kobe Bryant’s nickname here]

109. *RB De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon (4)

110. CB Keith McGill, Utah (4)

111. *CB Marcus Roberson, Florida (4)

112. *RUSH Kony Ealy, Missouri (4)

113. *OT Antonio Richardson, Tennessee (4)

114. LB Christian Kirksey, Iowa (L4)

115. LB Lamin Barrow, LSU (L4)

116. *RB Terrance West, Towson (L4)

117. LB Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA (L4)

118. *QB Brett Smith, Wyoming (L4)

119. QB Jimmy Garoppolo, E. Illinois (L4)

120. OG Brandon Thomas, Clemson (E5)

121. OG Cyril Richardson, Baylor (E5)

122. DL Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas St. (E5)

123. *DL Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina (E5)

Missouri edge rusher Michael Sam… with THE rock

124. S Kenny Ladler, Vanderbilt (E5)

Missouri edge rusher Michael Sam… with a rock

125. RUSH Michael Sam, Missouri (5)

126. *LB Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut (5)

127. RB Andre Williams, Boston College (5)

128. QB A.J. McCarron, Alabama (5)

129. S Craig Loston, LSU (L5)

130. RUSH Will Clarke, WVU (L5/E6)

131. *WR Brandon Coleman, Rutgers (6)

132. WR Cody Hoffman, BYU (6)

Stanford offensive guard David Yankey

133. *DL Anthony Johnson, LSU (6)

134. QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU (6)

135. RUSH Chris Smith, Arkansas (6)

136. S Ahmad Dixon, Baylor (7)

137. *OG David Yankey, Stanford (7)




*Indicates underclassmen

(T) = top

(E) = early

(M) = middle

(L) = late

All games evaluated courtesy of

Links to my prospect profiles can be found HERE


I appreciate you reading this far. If nothing else, I tried to provide somewhat entertaining photos/captions since just reading 137 names is pretty bland. Anyway, whatever you’re doing for the draft, have fun. It’s an exciting time and full of surprises.


-Dan Armelli @dano708

2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles- Interior Offensive Linemen


1. OG Gabe Jackson (6’3 336), Mississippi State– Jackson was redshirted his freshman year in 2009 and the following year was able to start all 13 games at left guard. This became a trend, as he would go on to start in every game in four years for the Bulldogs on his way to being named to the All-SEC First Team in 2013. Jackson gets a quick jump out of his stance in both fazes. He has great body posture; he’s able to kick back, sit down with his knees bent and not overextend with his upper body. This is crucial because the second he starts lunging, a smart defender will be able to perform and arm-over on him, getting to the quarterback easily. But Jackson keeps his back upward and is able to anchor consistently, using his long arms to keep big rushers away from his body. He’s able to stick his feet in the dirt and hold off bull rush attempts. He has average arm length but maximizes his use with them by stretching them out and locking his elbows in. He has good upper body strength and can stonewall very heavy interior defenders. He’s an overall aggressive player but is patient enough to let stunts develop and come to him. He mirrors his defenders very well and rarely gets beat by guys getting around him – or through him for that matter. He’s a very reliable pass blocker. In the run game, Jackson has the physicality you look for in a guard. He doesn’t just look to seal lanes, he wants to drive guys off the line and finish them off. On occasion he has some trouble getting out of his stance when he goes to pull, though he does move fairly well for his size. He does surprisingly well in space. He carries his weight very well, which is a great attribute because him being able to move well on top of having a massive body is a threat to linebackers at the second level. He’s able to break down and swallow up backers with flush contact. Jackson is an asset in both the run and pass games, which is impressive considering how big of a player he is. He has both the physicality as a run blocker and the finesse as a pass blocker.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round

Games Evaluated: Oklahoma State, LSU, Alabama

2. C *Marcus Martin (6’3 320), USC– Martin started 10 games at guard his freshman year in 2011. This continued in the 2012 season as well, playing in a total of 12 games. In 2013 he was moved to center and started in all 13 games, being named to the All-Pac-12 First Team. The first thing that pops out about Martin is his size; he has a thick, wide middle and very long arms. He uses his long arms to his advantage by keeping his defenders out of his body. He uses his wide wingspan to make sure no rusher passes through him and he keeps his head on a swivel. He sometimes overextends and smart defenders can take advantage of this with arm-over moves. Martin should fix this issue because he’s already a bit undersized for the position. He can have some trouble resetting when his man starts to penetrate the line. Some of this is due to lack of foot quickness. Martin’s staple to his game is his strength. He has great core and leg strength to anchor consistently against big bull rushers. He also translates this strength in the run game; he punishes defenders with violent hands and pancakes more guys than centers usually do. He’s constantly able to drive guys off the line. He’s always looking to block someone and plays to the echo of the whistle. He snaps the ball quickly and pops out of his stance in the same manner. He fires off the line to get his head across his man to get the advantage and help seal the lane. He can chip at the first level and get a flush block on the linebacker very well. He shows impressive athleticism for his size. He has some trouble breaking down in space when the linebacker attempts to get around him. Sometimes he’ll fall without getting a body on him. But when he is able to, it’s extremely affective. He understands how to seal running lanes by flipping his hips while maintaining good hand placement on his man. Martin projects to be a great all around center if he can fix little things like overextending and resetting as a pass blocker. He already has the attitude, power, and athleticism that teams will gush over.

PROJECTION: Early 2nd round

Games Evaluated: Stanford, @Notre Dame, Arizona

3. OG *Xavier Su’a-Filo (6’4 307), UCLA– Su’a-Filo started early and often at UCLA in the seasons he was on the team. After his freshman year in 2009, he went on a Mormon mission for two years and came back in 2012. He didn’t skip a beat and started all 14 games making the All-Pac-12 First Team. He continued to start every game in his final season in 2013, being named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team. Su’a-Filo is undersized for a guard but he runs and moves exceptionally well. He played left tackle at the end of the 1st half and the entire 2nd half against Arizona State after their usual starter got injured. He did a commendable job, not giving up any sacks and only a few pressures (just an estimate). He again saw snaps at left tackle in the 2nd half of the game at Stanford and started there against Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, most of the time I got to see him in 2013 was as a left tackle. However, I was still able to see a lot of the qualities that can make him a good guard in the NFL. As a left tackle, Su’a-Filo was able to show how quick his feet were. He was able to do a respectable job of mirroring edge rushers. Even still, he shouldn’t make the move there full-time. His hand placement is usually pretty good in terms of placing them inside of the defender’s shoulders, but sometimes he loses his leverage by getting his hands too high – sometimes into the defenders face, for which he has drawn penalties. He’s already 6’4, so as an interior lineman, he’s usually at a leverage disadvantage anyway. He has average arm length but utilizes it well. He’s always looking to extend them and locking his elbows to keep his man out of his body. Su’a-Filo doesn’t have a lot of weight on him but has good strength and can move defenders in the run game. He has small hands, but they are quick and can pack a punch. He’s super athletic and showed many times that he could chip a defender at the line and then get to the second level and seal off a linebacker. This is a great and useful skill to have and he did this constantly. Su’a-Filo makes a positive impact in both facets on offense and can play tackle if a team gets in a pinch with injuries. Because of his great athleticism for his position, he’ll most likely be best valued in a zone-blocking scheme.

PROJECTION: Early 2nd round

Games Evaluated: Arizona State, @Stanford, Virginia

4. C Travis Swanson (6’5 312), Arkansas– Swanson was redshirted his freshman year in 2009. He went on to start all 50 games for Arkansas the next four years. Swanson has great size for a center. He snaps the ball and gets off the line quickly and with authority. He does a great job of anchoring consistently and limiting the amount of time the pocket is collapsed from the middle; he keeps a wide base with his legs. He also doesn’t have to overextend to keep guys from pushing him back; this shows great core strength. He’s constantly keeping his head on a swivel, looking around to see if any rushers are coming from either A-gap. He moves very well to chip on one guy and then help his other guard with a block. He has long arms which he takes advantage of by keeping rushers out of his body. He has a tremendous ability to push back and reset if he gets pushed back initially. This shows how much resiliency he has as a player. In the three games that I watched, I think I saw only one player able to get through the middle on a pass rush – because of a late stunt. Swanson shows moments of brilliance in the run game but is still inconsistent. His numbers at the combine didn’t show it, but he outputs some pretty good power, which he uses to move guys in the run game. A lot of this power comes from his aggressive playing style and motor. He has no problem chipping at the first level and then getting a body on a linebacker. He can get to the second level just fine – though he’s not the smoothest runner – but has trouble breaking down, often losing balance when trying to cut to mirror the linebacker. He’s much better blocking two defenders in a tight space – not due to lack of athleticism. Because of his inability to consistently break down, he lunges a lot, forcing him to come unbalanced and sometimes falling down. He also needs to start latching onto these linebackers to sustain blocks longer. Swanson has the chance to be an elite center as far as pass blocking goes. He’s very aware of his surroundings, he rarely gives up pressure and has great anchoring ability. He just needs to clean up the lunging in the run game, find a way to break down in space and latch onto linebackers more. He has the athleticism to play in a zone-blocking scheme, though he’ll need to prove he can break down better. Regardless, he should be a good overall player.

PROJECTION: 2nd round

Games Evaluated: @Alabama, @LSU, @Rutgers

5. C Weston Richburg (6’3 298), Colorado State– Richburg redshirted as a freshman in 2009 and then started all of the Rams’s 12 games in 2010 – three at guard and nine at center. In 2011, he started two games at tackle and 10 games at center. In his final season in 2013, he was named to the All-MWC First Team after starting all 14 games at center. Richburg is undersized as a center, but is more than the sum of his parts. He snaps the ball, gets out of his stance rapidly and is ready to battle his opponent. Even though he doesn’t have the strongest legs, he’s still able to anchor extremely well and be stout enough to hold his ground against bull rushes; shows good core strength. He keeps his back upward and relies on his long arms to push rushers off. He needs to keep his head on a swivel at times; gave up an uncontested pressure versus Utah State to his right while he was looking left. He keeps a wide leg base with quick feet to slide around the pocket and prevent defenders from slipping through. He keeps his arms out wide to feel out for any oncoming rushers. He has long arms and locks his elbows to prevent rushers from getting into his body. Richburg has great upper body strength and on multiple occasions has knocked down an opponent with just one shove. He does, however, need to improve his lower body strength. He didn’t show that he could drive defenders off the line that much. He needs to be able to turn his hips consistently; this goes along with getting stronger in the lower body. Right now, he’s just pushing forward and not moving anywhere. He does flash the ability to seal, but it usually happens slowly. He is, however, able to get great leverage and hand placement on his defender, which is a good starting point. He has small, but strong hands, giving him a violent initial punch to his opponents. He fires off the ball and gets enough leverage to win in short yardage situations in the red zone. He’s not a flashy athlete, but he’s able to get to the second level to get a body on a linebacker very well. Richburg his a solid pass blocker with room to grow in the run game. He has great technique, which shows he has a good foundation to become even better.

PROJECTION: Late 2nd round

Games Evaluated: @Alabama, Colorado, @Utah State

6. OG *Trai Turner (6’3 310), LSU– Turner redshirted his freshman year in 2011. He only played two more years and 25 games (20 starts) before he decided to go pro. Turner has a big, wide body with plenty of girth in the middle. He starts with a great jump out of his stance. He’s very powerful and aggressive, looking to drive guys off the line and into the dirt. He moves extremely well for his size and is able to be reliable getting to the second level and sealing off lanes on pulls. He’s a great weapon to have as a pulling guard. He pops out of his stance quickly and moves pretty well for his size. He takes good angles to seal off the lane or just blow up whoever is in his way. While he’s light feet, he doesn’t have ideal agility to consistently get flush blocks at the second level. He also struggles at times trying to keep quicker rushers from penetrating. But for the most part, if Turner wins right away, which he usually does, he can keep rushers in check with his strong hands and latching ability. He has strong hands and long arms, both are assets he takes advantage of. He packs a powerful initial punch to defenders. He uses his hands to stay latch onto his man and drive them. He keeps his elbows locked in to keep the defenders out of his body. He doesn’t overextend much and has pretty good balance because of his strong base in his lower body. He anchors well consistently with strong, thick legs. He’s also able to move well laterally to shift around the pocket if he ever needs to. Turner is a big and powerful prospect that teams should be attracted to. He moves relatively well along with an aggression you like to see out of your interior offensive linemen. The biggest thing with him is to see if the quickness in the NFL overwhelms him. If it does, he might struggle a bit right away. But even then, he should progress into an extremely efficient pro guard.

PROJECTION: Late 2nd/early 3rd round

Games Evaluated: Arkansas, Texas A&M, Alabama

7. OG Dakota Dozier (6’4 313), Furman– Dozier redshirted his freshman year in 2009. The next two years he started 21 games at left tackle. In 2012 he missed a couple games because of a knee injury. In his final year in 2013, he was able to start all 14 games and was named a First Team AP FCS All-American. He saw snaps at left guard this past year at South Carolina State (played three different positions in that game) and would also line up at right tackle in 4th and short/goal line situations. Dozier has a quick twitch off the snap and gets out of his stance in a hurry. He carries his weight extremely well and is a smooth runner. He can get up to the second level easily and is able to break down, getting a flush block on the linebacker. He can help double-team a defender at the first level and then seal off a backer at the second level. He has solid athleticism, despite what his combine numbers look like. He doesn’t have a lot of power but has functional strength to hold off defenders. He isn’t much of a body-mover but can seal lanes well. In the passing game, Dozier isn’t quick enough in his kick step to consistently meet edge rushers as a tackle; a move to guard should benefit him nicely in the NFL. However, this isn’t necessarily an indictment on his foot quickness. He has good feet and has shown he’s able to mirror defenders that cut their rush to the inside; as a guard playing tackle, this is impressive. He overextends too often, causing him to become unbalanced and making it easier for defenders to shed him. This also causes him to put his head down a lot. He would be able to sustain blocks longer if he could just keep his back upward. He’s constantly locking his elbows and using his arms to keep defenders off of him. He does a good job of maintaining leverage by bending his knees and using good hand placement. Dozier will most likely be moved to guard at the next level, which should be a good move for him. He has above average athleticism for a guard, making him a candidate for a zone-blocking scheme.

PROJECTION: Early 3rd round

Games Evaluated: @Clemson (2012), @Coastal Carolina, @South Carolina State

8. OG Brandon Thomas (6’3 317), Clemson– Thomas was redshirted his freshman year in 2009 and played in 10 games in 2010. In 2011 he split time playing on the left side at guard and tackle. The next two years he would receive to Second Team All-ACC selections while starting all 26 games for the Tigers at left tackle. Thomas spent most of his college career at tackle and was very undersized. He’ll likely be moved to guard but will still be relatively short for the position. That said, he has long arms to extend rushers off his body. This is something he needs to do more often. Usually he’ll just push at the rush instead of latching his hands to his opponent’s pads. He does have a violent first punch to initially win against the defender. He has good hand placement, getting them inside of his man’s shoulders and is able to seal the lane while doing this. He plays hard on every play, always looking to block someone. He moves very well with the ability to efficiently pull and get to the second level to block a linebacker. As a pass blocker, Thomas wasn’t quick enough on the outside to handle rushers cutting inside. It remains to be seen if this will be the case if he makes the switch to guard and it’s something to be aware of. He didn’t always get off the ball well and his kick step wasn’t that quick, but this problem should be reduced if he makes the move inside. He shows good technical awareness, keeping a wide base and bending his knees; this allows him to anchor well. He does need to make sure he’s not lunging at defenders, as he can do this on occasion. He does a good job at landing a punch when his man exposes his body by putting his arms up. Thomas faced Jadeveon Clowney against South Carolina in some one-on-one situations and was able to hold him off pretty well (gave up one sack, though quarterback Tajh Boyd ran into it). The biggest thing Thomas needs to start doing is sustaining blocks for a better amount of time. He can do this by latching onto his man instead of just using quick shoves to keep defenders off. He has the power to drive and move bodies. This will also help him seal off lanes better for his running back. Thomas showed some struggle playing at tackle, but a move to guard should benefit him and allow him to work in tight spaces, which he’s comfortable doing. Thomas suffered a torn ACL at a private workout for the Saints and will likely miss the entire 2014 season. Had he been healthy, I think he would’ve been taken around the late 2nd/early 3rd round. However, it’s likely that a team won’t be willing to take him until the third day of the draft.

PROJECTION: Early 5th round

Games Evaluated: @Syracuse, @South Carolina, Ohio State

9. OG Cyril Richardson (6’5 329), Baylor– Richardson redshirted in 2009 and made four starts playing in 12 games in 2010. By 2012 he was named the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. He followed that up the next year by being named a First Team AP All-American in 2013. Richardson has mammoth size for a guard, has a lot of girth in the middle of his body and strong legs that enable him to anchor consistently. He has relatively long arms and is able to stretch them out and lock them to keep rushers out of his body. He’s light on his feet, but he’s not able to move them fast enough as a pass blocker. He can be beaten consistently with a lot of quick moves and he’s not able to mirror or recover well enough to stop them. He’s good with handling powerful players, as that fits right into his playing style. However, quicker interior guys will be able to get by him without much competition. He’s very slow moving laterally, which makes it a problem if he’s forced to mirror rushers. In the run game, Richardson is a powerful player that is capable of finishing off blocks and driving guys into the ground on a given play. However, problems arise on occasion when he stands up too straight while driving his man, losing leverage, causing him to get off balance. He too often gets out of his stance initially putting his head down. When he does this, he enables defenders to take advantage by getting him off balance or swimming over him. He’s a big player but is impressively light on his feet when going to pull or block at the second level. He can destroy still defenders on pulls because of his straight-line speed and power. Richardson has some ideal characteristics guards need to have to be successful. However, his negatives are just as prevalent and it will be tough for him to be reliably consistent if he’s a starter. His limited athleticism will likely reduce him to a backup role, but his great power and aggression will make him a good one to have.

PROJECTION: Early 5th round

Games Evaluated: Oklahoma, Texas Tech, UCF

10. OG *David Yankey (6’6 315), Stanford– Yankey played in two games his freshman year in 2010 before he suffered a season-ending injury. In 2011, he started 13 games at left guard. Over the next two years he started all Stanford’s games at left guard. He was a Second Team All-American in 2012 and made the First Team in 2013. Yankey has great size for an interior lineman with long arms. His height can work against him, however. He tends to get very high when he’s run blocking and gets very off balance. Against Notre Dame, he was put on the ground three plays in a row, one time with one arm. He needs to start bending his knees and improve his leverage since he’s already a tall guard to begin with. He doesn’t have a lot of power and is rarely able to drive guys off the line. The only times he shows flashes of moving his man is coming off pulls when he has a head of steam. He pops out pretty well out of his stance on pulls. He can get some good momentum going and can smother defenders that are in his way. He’s a rough runner when he’s pulling with slow leg movement. On some plays he wasn’t able to get to the hole in time and resorted to blocking a fellow offensive lineman in the back. Yankey can get to the second level pretty well but has a difficult time breaking down. A lot of this has to due with his lack of foot quickness. It’s hard for him to make any sort of quick cut in the open and he can get off balance, allowing the linebacker to get past him relatively easy. He lowers his head too much on first contact, causing him to lunge and allowing the defender to get by him with an arm-over move or just take advantage of him by getting him off balance. He shows some decent stoutness at times, but he’s not overpowering by any means. He’s not consistently balanced enough to stick to his man. He needs to start latching onto defenders instead of just relying on his punch alone. This will help him to sustain blocks longer and seal lanes. Yankey’s long arms help him as a pass blocker to keep defenders from getting into his body. He flashes nimble movement on his feet to move to the outside if he needs to on stunts. He has good awareness for stunts and keeps his arms out to feel for rushers coming from any direction when he’s being unoccupied. He does have a hard time recovering when rushers start to penetrate through the line. He can be okay when he’s facing a bull rush, but he has trouble with almost everything else. The bottom line with Yankey is that he has a lot of inconsistencies with limited strength and athleticism. The things that will get him drafted are his size and long arms. Right now, the only time he has success are when the defenders he’s blocking don’t move.  If he can get stronger and add power to his game, he has a good shot at being a rotational player. The athletic limitations will most likely always be there, so he needs to make the best of the situation by getting stronger.

PROJECTION: 7th round

Games Evaluated: UCLA, Notre Dame, Michigan State


*Indicates underclassmen

All height and weight measurements come from the combine participant page

All games evaluated courtesy of


My Big Board

Other positional rankings:

Quarterbacks- Part 1 Part 2

Running Backs- Part 1 Part 2

Wide Receivers- Part 1 Part 2

Tight Ends

Offensive Tackles

Edge Rushers- Part 1 Part 2

Defensive Linemen





-Dan Armelli @dano708

2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles- Offensive Tackles


1. *Greg Robinson (6’5 332), Auburn– Robinson redshirted his freshman year in 2011, which means he only played two years before deciding to turn pro. In those two years, he started all but one game and was a Third Team All-American in 2013. Robinson is a mammoth player and is inarguably one of the most athletic players in this draft class. He’s a pretty interesting prospect in that he rarely had to kick back like a normal tackle because Auburn’s offense was so run-heavy (118th in pass attempts, 2nd in rush attempts). In the drop backs that I did see – which were very few – his athleticism holds up. He’s able to get a good first kick and has long legs to cover ground well. He was also able to lock his arms and not let his man get into his body. One time he had to face a defensive back blitzing and got to his spot in time with quick feet. Likewise with his run blocking, he’ll have to make sure he’s not overextending or keep latching on if he does. Robinson was interestingly asked to operate in space a lot, which for his size, could be a pretty daunting task. But his athleticism for his size is rare. He was not only able to put good blocks on defensive backs on the outside, but he flat out destroyed them. Robinson gives great effort on every play and looks to knock his opponents in the dirt. On one play in particular vs. Alabama, he pancaked one guy into the ground in front of him, leaned over him and got a block on another defender. He loves to get a body on someone. He has a lot of mass on him, but is able to effectively chip on his guard’s man and get up to the second level to get a block on a linebacker. He has a tendency to overextend his upper body – in addition to putting his head down on initial contact – on run blocks and can lose his balance – and sometimes fall over – if his opponent takes advantage. Also, at times he’s not able to rips his hands off the defender and can cause some holding calls. He has very long and strong arms with violent hands. It’s extremely rare that he doesn’t win every battle he’s in, at least initially. When a defender lines up on his inside shoulder and he performs a down block on him, it’s almost a guaranteed pancake. Robinson has some technical flaws in his pass blocking – and as a run blocker for that matter – that need to be addressed. He projects as a long-term left tackle, but not necessarily right away. He could easily be stashed as a right tackle – lined up there one play vs. Missouri – or even more likely inside at guard for a season or two before he gets some of the flaws worked out. Robinson has potential as big as he is, and it isn’t a stretch to say he’ll be able to reach it. He’s a tremendous athlete with a great attitude.

PROJECTION: Top 5 pick

Games Evaluated: Alabama, Missouri, Florida State

2. Jake Matthews (6’5 308), Texas A&M– of the famous Matthews family football lineage (son of Bruce), Jake played right away for the Aggies, making seven starts his freshman year. He started all 26 games the next two years before being named a First Team All-American in his senior year in 2013. Has a very lean build, especially in his upper body. He has room to get stronger if need be. He gets a quick kick out of his stance and is pretty light on his feet. He has a nice, wide leg base while he keeps his knees bent. He has an exceptional kick step; he’s on the balls of his feet and glides backwards. He has short arms, and sometimes it’s apparent as a pass blocker, but it doesn’t necessarily hurt him. Defenders with longer arms can get into Matthews, but he’s able to anchor and has good flexibility; he’s able to withstand most of the push he receives. Something else that doesn’t help his short arms is that he’s inconsistent at locking his elbows, allowing his man to get into him even easier. He usually reads and reacts to different moves very well. He’s also shown he can punch a rusher who tries to get his arms up to bat down a pass. He does a great job of sustaining blocks when he can get his hands inside and latched on his man. His quarterback, Johnny Manziel, usually held onto the ball for a long time, so he’s used to having to hold blocks for seconds more than most linemen. Matthews plays more with technique than with power – in both fazes of the game – and doesn’t maul his opponents. Especially in the run game, he usually just does what he needs to do and doesn’t go overboard. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave a little chance that the play is extended and his man is the one that ends up making a play. He has shown that he’s able to drive guys off the ball, so it in all likelihood has nothing to do with lack of passion. He carriers his weight extremely well and is very fluid. He moves efficiently and does well getting to the second level to perform blocks on linebackers. Matthews is a solid left tackle that can be relied upon in the NFL. His best asset is pass blocking, and in a passing league, teams will highly value him.

PROJECTION: Mid 1st round

Games Evaluated: Alabama, Missouri, LSU

3. Ja’Wuan James (6’6 311), Tennessee– James impressively started in every game for Tennessee as a freshman and was named to the Freshman All-SEC team. The next three years was more of the same. He started in every single game during his 4-year career (49 all at right tackle), a record for Tennessee offensive linemen. James is a massive player with exceptional athleticism that enables him to be an impact in both the run and pass games. He doesn’t get a long kick off the line but he has light feet to glide backward pretty quickly. He has big strong legs and is able to anchor consistently. He’s able to do this because of his great body positioning; he plays on his toes with a great base and knee bend. He rarely overextends, but when he does it’s exposed. He has extremely long arms and takes advantage of them. He’s usually good with keeping them extended with his arms locked. He doesn’t get bent backwards much. As a pass blocker, he’s able to come off from helping the guard’s man and transition to a blitzer from the outside smoothly. He’s very reliable in this regard. James has a hard time mirroring a pass rusher when he cuts inside. It seems that it’s a mixed bag of not being able to take a sharp cut back inside and a slow reaction. Overall, his combination of long arms, light feet and good body positioning make him a reliable pass blocker. As a run blocker, James is a big brute and can drive guys off the line. He’s constantly looking to turn his hips, seal the lane and drive his guy. He does have his fair share of inconsistencies, however. He has a tendency to put his head down, bracing for impact on run blocks. He’s tall and not always able to get leverage. On occasion, good defenders can get their hands in his pits and push off, getting him off balance. Sometimes when he goes to the second level he’s not able to break down and get a good block on the backer. Though he’s also shown he can swallow them up as well. Most of these issues are more things he just needs to clean up rather than a big problem that will inhibit his game. James is a tall player and has long arms to keep rushers out of his body and limit their ability to perform arm-over moves on him. Putting his head down and occasional overextending compromise these qualities in favor of the defender. If he can eliminate these tendencies, he’ll be hard to get by. He’s played four years as a right tackle, so it would be good to keep him there. But I wouldn’t rule out an eventual switch to left tackle.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round

Games Evaluated: @Oregon, South Carolina, @Alabama

4. Taylor Lewan (6’7 309), Michigan– Lewan redshirted his freshman year in 2009 and got nine starts in 2010. In 2012, he was named to the First Team Big-Ten and All-American lists. He followed that up with another First Team Big-Ten and Second Team All-American performance in 2013. Lewan has great size and towers over most of the players on the field. He has a good jump off the line when he’s pass blocking, and in the run game for that mater. He has an excellent kick step that is very consistent. His arms are relatively short, but it doesn’t really show that much on tape because of his height. He’s less susceptible to arm-over moves because at 6’7, it’s hard to swim over him (h/t @Jmcobern1). On occasion he’ll pass block with one arm out when he has control of his man, perhaps trying to make up for his arm length. Lewan has really good feet; he’s able to mirror most guy’s pass rushes even when he’s not making contact with them. He also flashes the ability to reset when his man cuts to the opposite direction; he re-anchors well when he does this too. On occasion, he will overextend with his upper body and get caught lunging cutting back inside. He keeps a wide base with his legs while still being able to bend his knees. He does have a bad habit of putting his head down at times when contact is initiated, which is a no-no for offensive linemen. He doesn’t lunge when arm moves are being thrown at him. He keeps his stance and waits to brace for contact. He recognizes when blitzes from the outside are about to come his way and takes an extra big first step back to compensate. He played right tackle twice versus Michigan State. He was also used at times as a big tight end on the left side. In the run game, Lewan does a nice job of consistently and legally latching onto his man and keeping his hands inside their shoulders. He has very thick, strong legs that he uses well to drive guys off, though he didn’t really bowl anyone over. He didn’t pull a ton, but sometimes when he was on the move he’d get his feet stuck in the ground and the defender would be able to get around him fairly easily. He’s shown he moves very well moving to the second level and any time he needs to get into space. Lewan struggled vs. Joey Bosa of Ohio State, probably the best talent he faced in the three games I watched of Lewan. This does raise some questions of whether or not he’s consistent enough to be a left tackle. Another thing that makes the case for him to be on the right is how much help Michigan gave him in terms of tight ends lining up next to him. It may not be a case of limited talent for Lewan; it could very well be that’s just the way Michigan likes to do things. But if I were to say where I’d be most comfortable putting Lewan, it’d be at right tackle.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round

Games Evaluated: Notre Dame, @Michigan State, Ohio State

5. Zack Martin (6’4 308), Notre Dame– Martin didn’t get any playing time in 2009, but he was rewarded with his patience in the long run. Over the next four years, he started in every game he played (52 – all but two at left tackle), the most in Notre Dame’s history. On paper, Martin’s size doesn’t stand out, but he looks and plays bigger on the field. He anchors extremely well with his thick, strong legs. I don’t remember once seeing him get man handled in the run game. He has a great competitive spirit and finishes every play. He’s left a lot of guys on the ground because of his strong push. He has a very violent first punch that sometimes looks to physically shake his man. He’s able to consistently seal his man, even at the second level. Martin can move pretty well when performing down blocks or going to the second level. He didn’t pull much, but if he’s moved inside, he seems to have translatable skills that would make him a success in this area. He was pretty good as a pass blocker in college, but he has some issues that may not translate well into the NFL. For one, he has short arms, which left him vulnerable to arm-over moves. Sometimes he needs to initiate contact first in pass blocking to ensure he’ll win the battle. Also, his feet are just okay. On occasion, he’d get beat off the jump and couldn’t recover in time; he found himself having to run to catch up to his man on the outside. He also isn’t great and cutting back inside when his man crosses in front of him to rush the B-gap. But as long as Martin made first contact, he was usually pretty solid – which is why he was fine in college as a tackle, but most likely not at the next level. He is great at locking up his arms and doesn’t get fazed by defenders trying to slap away at them. He gets great leverage on his blocks because he’s able to bend at the knees while still being able to keep his balance. Martin would most likely be more successful inside as a guard. He has great anchoring ability to play there and his short arms – and to a degree, his feet – will limit his effectiveness on the outside.

PROJECTION: Early 2nd round

Games Evaluated: USC, Michigan State, @Stanford

6. *Cyrus Kouandjio (6’7 322), Alabama– Kouandjio played in eight games his freshman year before tearing his ACL. He was good to go in 2012, however, starting all 14 games a left tackle. In 2013, he was an AP First Team All-American. Kouandjio stands tall at 6’7 and has ideal weight for a tackle. He gets out of his stance quickly right after the ball is snapped. He doesn’t have the smoothest kick back and can look like a pogo stick moving back. Good rushers can take advantage of this by punching at the right time and get him off balance. He uses his long arms correctly, preventing rushers from getting into his body and locking his elbows in. He’s not always technically sound with his pass blocking terms of his back being in an upward position or being completely balanced. This was evident against Virginia Tech in which he did not have a good game. Tackles his height shouldn’t be giving up arm-over moves. He’s shown some trouble mirroring rushers when they cut back inside to get to the quarterback. A lot of this is that sometimes Kouandjio gets such a hard kick to the outside, it’s hard for him to get back inside quick enough. He has mammoth legs and has the ability to anchor while still sliding around the pocket. He has quick enough movements to where he can pull off out-of-nowhere cut blocks that surprise defenders. In the run game, Kouandjio also gets out of the gate fast. He has great hand placement at both levels, getting his hands inside the defender’s shoulders. He has big, violent hands that he uses to create a good initial punch. He’s able to turn his wide hips to seal the defender off, but doesn’t necessarily look to drive guys off the line. This should be a dimension added to his game since he has the size do to it. He sometimes just lowers his head down to put a big initial hit on his man, which is not good. He needs to keep his head up, latch onto his man and drive him back. He’s able to break down in space at the second level and swallow up linebackers, disabling them from getting to the ball carrier. Kouandjio has the natural ability to become a more-than-solid offensive tackle. He has the size and impressive athleticism, more than his combine numbers would show you. But he does need to be more consistent with his technique in both fazes of the game. I wouldn’t doubt the possibility of him playing at left tackle at some point in the NFL, even though it might be best for him to at least start out on the right side.

PROJECTION: Early 2nd round

Games Evaluated: Virginia Tech, LSU, @Auburn

7. Morgan Moses (6’6 314), Virginia– Moses was able to play early and often at Virginia, starting seven games at right tackle his freshman year in 2010. By 2013, he made the switch to left tackle, starting in every game and was named a Third Team All-ACC member. He has tremendous size with the arm length to back it up. Moses kicks to get to his spot rather than kicking to get after the rusher, which is a good thing. Meeting the rusher or waiting for him after your kick step is better as a pass blocker than trying to punish him. He can get depth quickly against a speed rush. He reacts seamlessly to rushers cutting inside to the quarterback and picks them up on a consistent basis. He’s a large player, but is impressively light on his feet; he can mirror many rushers’ movements. Also because of his size, he rarely gets bent backwards or pushed back. He has thick legs and is able to anchor exceptionally. He found himself overextending on occasion and was exposed with quick spin moves that he couldn’t adjust quickly enough to. Moses also lets rushers get into his body too much and doesn’t stretch his arms and lock his elbows enough. Too many times he has his elbows bent and sticking his head into his man. He does do a great job of giving his man a shove when he’s about to put his arms up in attempt of batting the pass down. He has aggressively quick hands and can get them back on the rusher if he ever gets them slapped away. He does a great job of getting leverage and not letting his man get under his pads and push them up; he doesn’t get bent back much. Moses snaps out of his stance quickly off the line after the ball snaps in the run game. He also has the tendency to overextend in the run game and can be fought off by defenders that slap away at him. He has a good punch with violent hands. A couple times he’s knocked guys on the ground with just one shove and no drive; an impressive sign of strength. His legs can get too stiff on run blocks, limiting him from turning his man and sealing the play off. This also limits the amount of drive he can get on the defender. He’s able to break down and get a good block on linebackers when he gets to the second level. He moves very well for his size and gets there in an efficient manner. He’s very reliable and consistent blocking on the move. Moses needs to clean up his overextending in both facets of the game and also lock in his arms on pass rushes. This should limit the amount of rushers and run defenders that get by him to make a play.

PROJECTION: Early 2nd round

Games Evaluated: Oregon, Virginia Tech, BYU

8. Joel Bitonio (6’4 302), Nevada– Bitonio was redshirted in 2009 during his freshman year. In 2013, he was named to the All-MWC First Team. He’s smaller than most tackles, but has pretty good athleticism to compromise. He also has very short arms. He gets a short first step out of his kick step, but makes up for it with super quick feet. Sometimes he just isn’t able to recover against edge players that get a great jump. His lack of arm length really shows sometimes and can get his upper body bent backwards when blocking a man that has length on him. He’s usually able to keep a nice, wide base while bending his knees and sliding out. Though, on occasion he would resort to waste bending if he got beat by a defender’s agility. He does a nice job of consistently playing on his toes. As a run blocker, Bitonio has the athleticism to make contact with a backer at the second level and seal him out of the play in one motion. He also has the ability to consistently reach two levels and chip and block effectively. When he flips his hips to seal, he has the leg drive to push his man back off the line further from the play. When he can get a legal hold of his man on initial contact, he can usually sustain the block. Bitonio’s arm length shows up in the run game as well. He’s been had with quick arm-over moves. If he had a longer reach, he would be able to take advantage of the defender’s exposed body more often and knock him off his rush. Bitonio played left tackle at Nevada, but he might be best served moving to guard because of his lack of arm length and slow first step. He looks to have the strength and competitiveness for a man blocking scheme and the athleticism and foot quickness for a zone-blocking scheme. The latter may be a more ideal landing spot because of his short arms. Bitonio will most likely be a nice start as a guard, but if he is left at tackle, he’ll most likely be a rotational guy, which isn’t bad. His physicality and tenacity will keep him in the league for a while.

PROJECTION: 2nd round

Games Evaluated: @Fresno State, @UCLA, @Florida State

9. Jack Mewhort (6’6 309), Ohio State– Mewhort redshirted his freshman year in 2009 and followed up with 10 games played in 2010. In 2011, he started all 13 games for the Buckeyes, five at left guard and eight at right guard. In his final year in 2013, he was kicked outside and started 13 games at left tackle. Mewhort has excellent size and a pretty lean build as well. He snaps out of his stance well with a hard kick step. He shows great technique and body positioning, rarely overextending, keeping a wide base with his legs and bend in his knees while pass blocking. He doesn’t have overly long arms, but he uses them well as he locks his elbows in, keeping rusher out of his body. He doesn’t have huge legs but shows that he can anchor with good consistency. He’s limited a bit athletically and has a hard time mirroring his rusher when he cuts his rush to the quarterback inside. He’s able to get an extra shove to his defender when he goes up to bat the pass down. Mewhort is a work in progress in the run game. He isn’t bad, but there are definitely some flaws that can get exposed if he doesn’t get them fixed. He gets off pretty well and knows how to seal off lanes. He will stop moving his legs on blocks at times, allowing his defender to move him around and get off the block more easily. He gets a little lazy in the lower half of his body, though it could also be that it just doesn’t move as quickly as the rest of his body. He isn’t a very fluid athlete and can have some slow movements at times, especially getting to the second level. Many times he went to go block a linebacker he ended up on the ground and sometimes wasn’t even able to make contact. He’s tall so he’s already at a leverage disadvantage but has a tendency to compound it by not bending his knees. This prevents the type of drive he could generate to push his man off the line. Mewhort is an intriguing prospect. He has good size and some attributes that will be useful in the NFL, like his arm extension for instance. Buts he also has some things that will limit him from playing on the left side. He’s too limited athletically to handle speed rushers consistently on the left. He’s most likely a right tackle in the NFL, though he still needs to show more power.

PROJECTION: 3rd round

Games Evaluated: Buffalo, Wisconsin, Clemson

10. *Antonio Richardson (6’5 336), Tennessee– Nicknamed “Tiny,” Richardson played in 12 games his freshman year. The latter two years of his career in 2012 and 2013, he started in all 24 games for the Vols at left tackle. Richardson is a big player, even by his position’s standards, and has long arms. He gets a pretty quick jump out of his stance as both a pass and run blocker. He has long arms and is usually able to keep rushers away from his body by locking his elbows in. He looks like a waste bender and overextends a lot in both fazes of the game. This happens way too much and needs to be corrected. He has long enough arms to wear he shouldn’t rely on bending at the waste. He lunges right off the snap most of the time and it compromises his 6’5 height in favor of the defender he’s blocking. Jadeveon Clowney exposed this versus Richardson as he beat him clean with an arm-over move twice in a row – and multiple times after that. Also against Clowney, he was “called” for offsides twice (though him and the tight end went at the same time once and the latter got the brunt of the call). Richardson also found himself kicking back on his heels, which leaves offensive lineman open to getting bull rushed easily. It wasn’t all bad for Richardson against Clowney, however. The former did show some times that he could stonewall Clowney and was up to the challenge of blocking the top defender in the nation. Richardson isn’t too agile and has some trouble mirroring guys that are quicker; this especially goes for when guys try to cut back inside on a rush. Richardson is better in the running game, but he also can struggle there. He shows his strength and can drive guys off the line, though his overextension comes into play here as well. His hand positioning isn’t always on point either. Too many times they’re on the outside of the defender’s shoulders instead of on the inside. His athleticism is okay, but he doesn’t do great in space and isn’t reliable at the second level yet. Richardson most likely isn’t a left tackle in the NFL. His style is much more suited for the right side where he’s not facing team’s most flashy pass rusher. His size and measurables will be valuable to teams though.

PROJECTION: 4th round

Games Evaluated: @Oregon, South Carolina, @Alabama


*Indicates underclassmen

All height and weight measurements come from the combine participant page

All games evaluated courtesy of


My Big Board

Other positional rankings:

Quarterbacks- Part 1 Part 2

Running Backs- Part 1 Part 2

Wide Receivers- Part 1 Part 2

Tight Ends

Interior Offensive Linemen

Edge Rushers- Part 1 Part 2

Defensive Linemen





-Dan Armelli @dano708

2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles- Defensive Linemen


1. Aaron Donald (6’1 285), Pittsburgh– the Panthers’ main cog in their defensive line, Donald was in the top 11 in the nation for sacks twice during his four-year career – 6th with 11 in 2011 and 11th with 11 in 2013. He looks undersized, but he plays just the opposite. He has a lot of the things you ask for in a defensive lineman. Because he’s short for his position, it’s easier for him to get leverage on his blockers and he takes advantage. Donald shoots out of his stance with determination and a frequently low stance. He has a great jump off the ball. His great first step enables him to be an affective player on the outside of the line. He also has the active hands and quick feet to compliment him. He carries his weight extremely well and shows off excellent speed to chase down ball carriers and scrambling quarterbacks. Donald can take on two blockers at a time and still be able to locate the ball. He’s able to hold his ground as well and work laterally toward the ball carrier. He holds his ground relatively well against double teams and never gets dominated by them. What Donald needs to fix in the run game is that he can get washed out of the play when he turns his shoulders. He needs to stay facing the offensive side of the field when working towards the ball. He also isn’t always able to free himself in the run game when the running backs come by him. Donald sometimes gets caught playing too much with his hands instead of using his overall body quickness to beat linemen. He has good explosion off his feet to burst off the line and dive at ball carriers. He also has the bend and foot quickness to change directions better than big men are supposed to. At this point, Donald is a better pass rusher than run defender but has the tools to be able to dominate in both. He should be dominant being put anywhere between the 3- to 5-technique, maybe some nose tackle as well. The skills alone are enough to warrant a lot of buzz, but the great versatility is just the cherry on top.

PROJECTION: Top 15 pick

Games Evaluated: Miami (Florida), Florida State, @Georgia Tech

2. *Louis Nix III (6’2 331), Notre Dame– Nix was able to start in at least eight games each of the three seasons after he was redshirted his freshman year in 2010. In 2013, he missed five games due to a torn meniscus. He’s at a great weight for his position, even though he may be technically undersized, height wise. He has active hands and relatively quick all around body movements for his size; he is surprisingly light on his feet. He gets a pretty good jump off the line and has a powerful punch. He has pretty good strength to go with his mass. He has shown he can perform quick rip and swim moves to get passed linemen. He has a very good and respectable motor for a guy his size. He will pursuit players – especially quarterbacks – that run to the outside. He can work his way laterally when he’s tracking the running back going to the outside; he keeps his shoulders parallel to the line. One of Nix’s best traits is the ability to read where the ball is. He also has the change of direction down pat as well. He’s able to read blocks well; he usually knows when to swipe away at them or power through. Even if he gets stonewalled at the line, he will keep driving his legs and even put a hand up if he thinks the quarterback is getting ready to pass. The effort is there on these plays, but he still needs to find away to create pressure consistently when this happens. Nix can get skinny to split a gap but also shows the strength not to get completely turned and washed out of the play. This is sometimes also due in part to his quickness. If he ever does get his shoulders turned, he performs a spin move to get himself back on track. Nix has a lot of weight on him, but he isn’t too slow and is the opposite of lazy. He can clog lanes and is stout at the line, making him a nice match as a nose tackle in a 3-4. Because of his ability to move well, it’s also not out of the question for him to play 3-technique in a 4-3.

PROJECTION: Mid 1st round

Games Evaluated: @Michigan, Arizona State, @Pittsburgh

3. *Dominique Easley (6’2 288), Florida– Easley’s name will most likely be on a varying range of place on teams’ draft boards, as he’s a great player who has succumbed to awful injuries during his career. He has torn both of his ACL’s – the first one in the last game of 2011 and the other one in practice after starting three games in 2013. Nonetheless, his tape is rock solid. Easley is a bit undersized, but even still, he moves like he’s 50 pounds lighter because of all of the quick movements in his body, especially his hands. His hands are active and he uses them to swat away from blocker’s arms. He’s constantly penetrating the offensive line, no matter how many blockers are put on him. His motor can’t be matched; he’s always playing and always fighting to get the ball carrier. Easley can split double teams so well because of his quickness and ability to get skinny and slide past them. He has shown he can dip under one blocker and shove the other one away. He doesn’t have overly long arms, but has shown he can stick them out while being blocked to stop the running back. He utilizes a quick spin move to help him get off blockers and change direction in pursuit of the ball carrier. He has quick feet that allow him to control his change of direction and also to help him in his spin moves and rush to the quarterback. He does need to watch out for getting too low enabling his man to push him to the ground, though this doesn’t happen often. Easley is just as disruptive in the pass game. He may not get a lot of sacks, but he constantly collapses the pocket, pushing offensive linemen into their quarterback. He collapses the pocket easily when he’s one-on-one with a blocker just by his get off and combination of leverage and power. His jump off the line and first step is so good that, regardless of his weight, Florida rushed him as a 4-3 defensive end on rare occasions. If his blocker is ever able to mirror him initially, Easley will extend his arms and then try to do a quick move to get off and is usually efficient. He has a knack for drawing numerous holding penalties because blockers can’t handle his jump off the line, quickness, and leverage. Easley, on pure talent alone, is one of the best prospects in the whole draft. He can play any position on the line – though not all of them full-time. He would probably perform best as a defensive tackle in a 4-3, but would also be able to thrive as a 5-technique in a 3-4. However, his injury concerns are legitimate. Only the teams can know how much these injuries will affect him or if they see more of these injuries in the future. Easley has the talent of a top 10 pick. But from an outsider’s perspective, I probably wouldn’t take a shot on him either until I’ve already selected a first rounder or I’m playoff team that can take a gamble, be wrong, and still be able to function.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round (Top 10 if healthy)

Games Evaluated: Louisville (2012), @Miami (Florida), Tennessee

4. DaQuan Jones (6’4 322), Penn State– After playing sparingly his freshman year in 2010, Jones gradually worked his way up for playing time, eventually being named a First-Team All-Big Ten selection in 2013. Jones is a big athlete and fits in well with his position. He moves extremely well for his size and can chase down runners in the backfield. He flashes an explosive burst off the ball – doesn’t always come off the quickest – but his first step is definitely a good one. He gets a pretty good initial push with his strong hands. He has good flexibility and lower body strength to hold his ground when he gets beaten off the line. He can then use his hands to throw the blocker off of him. He has very good leverage for a player his height; he gets low, will push his blocker’s pads up and drive with his legs. He has a great swim move that he performs and has the arm and hand quickness to do it. He has shown many times he can be relentless against double teams and split them. Jones doesn’t always get it right on who has the ball, but he never makes any big mistakes in that regard. He’s pretty quick to see who does or doesn’t have the ball. Because of his stoutness and ability to use his hands to shift blockers away from him, he should be fine with two-gap responsibilities. Overall, Jones has a pretty good toolset and has the ability to get by guys with his quickness or push through them with his power. The biggest thing he needs to work on is knowing when to use these tools he has. It doesn’t happen too often, but to get to the next level in his game, knowing how to use each of his assets will help. Also, getting a better jump of the ball more consistently can greaten his chances of getting leverage and improving his push.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round

Games Evaluated: Nebraska, Michigan, @Ohio State

5. *Timmy Jernigan (6’2 299), Florida State– Jernigan was effective each year of his career at Florida State, especially in Florida State’s national championship season when he set career highs in tackles (63), tackles for a loss (11), and sacks (4.5). He has a compact body that he can control and move very well. He’s able to change directions without his mass holding him down too much. He’s light on his feet, which enables him to move them quickly and bounce around. Jernigan gets an average-to-bad jump off the line. Sometimes he’s the last guy off and his first step is to brace for the block. He needs better anticipation of the snap and has to have his first step be forward and not backward. He has very swift and active hands that he uses to battle his man; his hands are the staple of his game. He has such a good feel for how to shoo away blockers and what hand movements to use to make them miss. Jernigan is more of a finesse player, if there is such a thing for a defensive tackle, but has flashed power. It might not be a matter of him not having power; rather it’s just his style of play. If he does have the consistent power, he should mix it in more with his great quickness. When he shows power, it’s because of the leverage he gets when getting under the blocker’s pads and pushing up. He just needs to do this more consistently. Something that would help his power and strength is to get a good step off the line and get into the offensive lineman. Another element to produce power is his legs. A lot of the time he’s just hand fighting and pushing guys with his upper body. Driving his legs more would go a long way to generating more power. That said, he doesn’t get pushed off the line often and has shown he’s stout enough to hold his position. Jernigan can work laterally across the line by keeping his shoulders square to the field and locating the football. He’s also very good at locating the ball and can shed his blocker if the ball carrier comes by. Jernigan is a very short strider, so he would most likely be limited to inside positions. He projects best as a 3-technique in a 4-3, where he would have one-gap responsibility and wouldn’t have to be counted on that much to clog lanes. Jernigan already has a great base to start with going into the NFL with his smart use of his quick hands. He just needs to work on his power game and getting a better jump off the line.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round

Games Evaluated: @Clemson, Miami (Florida), Auburn

6. Ra’Shede Hageman (6’6 310), Minnesota– former tight end turned defensive tackle, Hageman was rewarded with the switch by being named first-team All-Big Ten in his senior season. Hageman shows a lot of promise but his game is also riddled with inconsistency and flashes of traits. Most of his bad plays stem from the very beginning of those plays. He’s freakishly tall for his position, which makes it difficult for him to get leverage. He flashes that he can overcome lack of leverage by extending his long arms and using his strength to gain ground. If he doesn’t get leverage right away and just stands up out of his stance, he gets washed out of the play quick. When Hageman does get the leverage desired, it’s because he shoots out of his stance quickly and keeps his pad level low. He has shown that he has quick hands, but a lot of the time he gets stuck to the blocker. He shows off a quick rip move on occasion to get under the blocker, but his height will limit how off he can pull this off. He does have the strength to bull rush through, and even push over, offensive linemen when he’s on an island. Usually when he has two-gap responsibility and his double-teamed, he absolutely needs that off-the-ball speed that he too often leaves behind. He doesn’t have quick feet and his legs don’t get moving at a high rate, making his leverage and get off that more important. Because of his height and length, Hageman has a knack for knocking down passes at the line of scrimmage – eight passes broken up in 2013 – and has even picked off a ball when dropping into coverage. He can also recognize cut blocks fast enough to keep his feet and has the wherewithal to look for where the ball is headed afterward. Hageman is very tough to project. He has so many tools but shows virtually none of them consistently from play-to-play. I think where he wins, however, is when he’s able to be put on an island and can use quick hands, arm length, and strength to collapse the pocket on pass plays. In my eyes, he seems to fit best as a 3-technique in a 4-3. Because of his potential, he shouldn’t be pigeonholed to one position. Trying out different positions for him may be what’s best and see what sticks.

PROJECTION: Early 2nd round

Games Evaluated: @Northwestern, Wisconsin, Penn State

7. Will Sutton (6’0 303), Arizona– Sutton came into Arizona State with high expectations right away and started two games as a freshman in 2009. The following year, he was ruled academically ineligible and sat out the whole season. He came back in 2011 and started 12 out of 13 games for the Sun Devils. Then he broke out in a big way as he was 12th in the nation in sacks (12) and 2nd in tackles for a loss (23.5). He put up unmatchable numbers and in comparison it looks like he had a down year statistically, but he was still able to produce with four sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss in 2013. Sutton is undersized as far as height goes, which isn’t terribly bad, if you’re able to capitalize on its advantages, which he does. Sutton has a great combination of a quick jump off the ball as well as an explosive first step. He’s shorter than most interior linemen and takes advantage of this by staying low and winning the leverage battle. He shows flashes of good strength, but has been blown off the ball at times. He doesn’t generate a lot of power on his own, so his burst off the line and leverage are keys to driving his man off the line; which he does well. Sutton has swift, sometimes violent, and active hands he can use to swim or rip through blockers efficiently. He locates the ball pretty well and can shed a blocker at the line and get his arms around the ball carrier. He is willing to pursuit the ball far away from where the snap was and shows a great understanding of angles. Though he has a great jump, it seems to decrease later in the game at times because of tiredness. Conditioning might be something he’ll have to improve to stay on the field at the next level. Sutton shows off a swim move he can perform quickly to penetrate through the line. He also has a quick, effective spin move he performs to free himself from blockers. He has short arms, so he can get locked onto blockers on occasion. He does a very good job reading blocks and sniffing out screens. Sutton was pretty undersized coming into ASU, but gained at least 60 pounds while there. His weight has drastically changed since his freshman year and is now trying to shed some weight, which should fit his style of play. If he can get around the 290’s, he’d be a nice fit as either a 3-technique in a 4-3 or a 5-technique in a 3-4. He won’t be stout enough to be a nose tackle. His game is more predicated on his quickness, splitting gaps and shedding blocks. Sutton needs to work on being able to drive his opponents more consistently, and likely getting into better shape to maximize the amount of plays he can show his great burst off the line.

PROJECTION: Late 2nd/early 3rd round

Games Evaluated: Wisconsin, @Stanford, Washington

8. *Ego Ferguson (6’3 315), LSU– Ferguson was redshirted his freshman year and didn’t see a start until his redshirt junior year. But that was enough for him to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the draft. He has the ideal body you want out of an interior defensive lineman. He gets an average-to-good jump off the line with violent hands for a respectable initial push. He’s pretty quick on his feet, which will allow him to play multiple positions and perform different stunts. He flashes quick hands that he uses to slap away at blockers. His hands are big and strong so he can use them to drive linemen backward or shove them aside. He doesn’t always get the leverage desired; he needs to lower his pads and drive with his legs to collapse the pocket. He doesn’t have long arms but can stick them out while he’s being blocked and get a hold of the ball carrier. He’s very good at locating the ball, which maximizes his ability to stack and shed. If Ferguson gets stonewalled at the line on a run, he does a good job of maintaining his position and shedding the block when the ball carrier comes to him. However, on pass plays in this situation, he can’t affectively counter it. Unless he beats his man or men on the first move, he’s pretty much out of the play. He can read the linemen when they go out for a screen and will look to cover the running back right away. Ferguson is a more usable player in the run game than in the passing game, mostly due to the fact that he doesn’t necessarily have to beat his man right away on run plays. He can rely on his ability to timely shed blockers. Not to say he never penetrates the line, because he does. But he also has his fair share of times where he gets stuck at the line getting handled. Ferguson would be best as a 3-technique in a 4-3 but could also play nose tackle in a 3-4 because he doesn’t often get blown back and his stack and shed ability will allow him to control two gaps. To be a reliable and affective player consistently, he needs to learn how to disengage form blockers, especially in the passing game.

PROJECTION: Early 3rd round

Games Evaluated: TCU, @Mississippi State, Arkansas 

9. *Stephon Tuitt (6’5 304), Notre Dame– after getting three starts as a freshman in 2011, Tuitt exploded onto the scene in 2012. He was 15th in the nation in sacks that year with 11 – also his number of tackles for a loss. He followed up that performance with a top 50 ranking with 7.5 sacks and also added on 13 quarterback hurries. Tuitt has overwhelming size and towers over many interior offensive linemen. For the most part, he starts off plays very bad. He has terrible explosion off the ball and a lot of the times comes out of his crouching stance straight up. This limits the amount of strength he can use. Even when he does show a good bull rush afterward, it’s usually too late and the ball is already out. All that said, he has exceptionally light and efficient hands. His jump off the ball seems to be more of an anticipation issue, as he’s shown decent get-off, though he isn’t a very fluid athlete. Because of his sometimes bad get off, he too often loses the leverage game, which is also in part due to his height. Tuitt flashes the ability to drive his blockers back but doesn’t do it consistently. This is partly due to his jump off the ball. He’s a lot better at moving his opponents to the side than backward. He has surprisingly good shedding ability even when he’s beaten off the ball. When he loses the initial battle – which happens too often – he’s able to step in the dirt and stop his momentum. He can spin off blocks to either change direction or simply shed the block. He is always in pursuit of the ball no matter where he is on the field in correlation to the ball carrier. He’s a bad tackler in the open field and just sticks his head straight down; he needs to get better at wrapping guys up. Tuitt’s a mixed bag as a pass rusher on the outside. He loves to use his quick hands and is very good at slapping away at the blocker’s arms. However, he has extremely stiff hips and gets virtually no bend there. Sometimes when he’s turning the edge, he has to go to one knee or pause when he reaches a certain angle because he just can’t bend enough. He just doesn’t have the flexibility to finish off rushes consistently. Tuitt is very hard to evaluate. His overall movement looks out of place, but somehow gets the job done frequently. The biggest thing is to determine what from his game will translate to the next level. His hands are phenomenal and should be a good weapon in the NFL. His inconsistent stoutness may be a problem, though he seems to be a good stack and shed player. He looks to fit the part of a 5-technique in a 3-4, but his bend is really bad and might have trouble consistently finishing off rushes. Nonetheless, this is probably where he will be best as a pro, though most teams will view him as a versatile player along the line as that is how he was played at Notre Dame. Whatever the case, Tuitt must improve his jump off the ball, which is the crux of some of his issues. He also must be able to maintain his weight, as he came in overweight prior to the 2013 season.

PROJECTION: Late 3rd/early 4th round

Games Evaluated: USC, @Stanford, Arizona State 

10. Ryan Carrethers (6’1 337), Arkansas State– After being redshirted in his freshman year in 2009, Carrethers played sparingly in 2010. Afterward, his stats began to gradually increase and blew up in 2013. In his final year of eligibility, he got an amazing 93 tackles for an interior defensive lineman and a career high four sacks. Carrethers has huge size and big legs. He has a pretty quick jump off the line, but doesn’t have the best/a long first step. His leverage is satisfactory as well, but he doesn’t have the leg drive to push his man back on a regular basis. He’s very big, but doesn’t get a consistent push on his man; he usually just stays at the line and hand fights or waits for the ball carrier on run plays. In fact, the amount of times he pushes his man back isn’t all the different from the amount of times he himself gets pushed off the line. He’s stout, but not necessarily overly strong, especially in the lower body. Carrethers gets many of his tackles near the line of scrimmage by wrapping or tripping up the ball carrier after timely shedding his blocker. His best attribute as a player is his ability to consistently stack and shed and get a hold of the running back. He gets good arm extension on his blocks to help him hold his ground and give him a better chance to shed the blocker when the ball carrier comes by. He will pursue the ball carrier yards down the field from where the snap is. Carrethers flashes a quick swim move over his man that has proven to enable him to penetrate. He has a wrestling background, so it’s no surprise that he’s very skilled with his quick hands. He probably relies on this more than he should, but it’s not a bad thing to have. Carrethers makes more of an impact in the run game than the passing game since his game is heavily predicated on stacking and shedding. He doesn’t collapse the pocket nearly enough to be called upon to hurry up the quarterback’s process. Carrethers is only a two-down player as it stands and is not a bad option to have in the run game. The best fit scheme-wise for him would be a 0-technique in a 3-4.

PROJECTION: Early 5th round

Games Evaluated: @Oregon/Kent State (2012), Louisiana-Lafayette, Idaho

11. *Kelcy Quarles (6’4 297), South Carolina– Quarles got good playing time right away as a freshman in 2011, playing in 12 of the Gamecock’s 13 games. His three major statistical categories – tackles, sacks, and tackles for a loss – were all improved each year of his career. In 2013, he was 19th in the nation in sacks with 9.5. Quarles has a fantastic body size for an interior defensive lineman. He has a great jump off the ball, sometimes even besting his teammate Jadeveon Clowney in that regard. Quarles has shown the ability to methodically bull rush his man by extending his long arms and driving his man back with his legs to collapse the pocket. He isn’t always able to generate this type of drive from his legs, however. Many times he’s pumping but just isn’t going anywhere. He has good stack and shed ability because of his long arms and extension on his man. He will always be willing in pursuit of the ball and will chase ball carriers down the field. He shows quick hands but doesn’t use them nearly enough. A lot of times they’re locked in the shoulders of his blocker trying to drive him backwards. He needs to find even ground to mix in both power and quickness. There were too many times where he was either stalled or washed out of the play when he shows that he does have the ability to penetrate. He isn’t always aware of where the ball is at and can be fooled on end-arounds and fakes. Quarles is tall, but he shows that he’s able to get leverage by getting under his man’s pads and driving upwards, though he probably doesn’t do this enough. In passing situations, he relies on his quick jump to split the gap. Other than that, if he can’t bull rush his way through, he’s pretty much ineffective. Quarles is tough to pigeonhole to a single position. He’s not stout enough to play nose, and he doesn’t penetrate nearly enough to play the 3-technique. He’ll likely be moved around, at least just at the start of his career. That said, his best fit right now is most likely at the 3-technique because he does show more promise with his quickness than he does with his stoutness. Quarles has the potential to be a good player because of his size and quickness. He just needs to learn some new moves/ways to penetrate more and collapse the pocket.

PROJECTION: Early 5th round

Games Evaluated: @Tennessee, Clemson, Florida

12. *Anthony Johnson (6’2 308), LSU– after playing sparingly in his freshman year in 2011, Johnson has a steady two years and collected three sacks in each of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. During those two years, he also had a combined 19 tackles for a loss. Johnson shoots out of his stance with a good jump off the ball. He’s light on his feet and moves pretty well for a big player. He has a good motor and will pursuit ball carriers that go far beyond the start of the play. This is where the inconsistencies start. Johnson doesn’t play with leverage consistently and gets pushed off the line and is bent backward. He isn’t too tall so it shouldn’t be much of a problem. He just needs to learn to get lower as he comes up from his stance. He flashes a decent swim move that can get quicker, but doesn’t use it, or his hands, nearly enough. He gets either stonewalled or pushed off the line too many times for his size, and sometimes in one-on-one situations. Part of the reason he struggles with this is lack of upper body strength and not being able to extend his arms to drive his man backwards. If he doesn’t win with an initial move, he doesn’t know how to counter and just gets handled by whoever’s blocking him; this isn’t even always versus double teams either. He’s okay at stacking and shedding, but again, he doesn’t do it frequently enough. Even though he had six sacks in two years, he makes more of an impact against the run at this point. His sacks come few and far in between the times he’s able to win with his burst off the line and rip or swim. Not all hope is lost for Johnson as he has a great base to work with in terms of quickness and effort. He doesn’t really have a perfect fit as far as position goes because of his deficiencies/inconsistencies in many areas. By default, he’s probably a defensive tackle in a 4-3 since that’s what he played in college. He’s big enough to play nose tackle, but he’s not stout enough. He’s got the burst and quickness to play the 5-technique in a 3-4 but he doesn’t have a toolbox of moves to separate from his man. Johnson has a lot of potential because of his size and quickness. But he also has a lot of work to do. His potential shouldn’t be confused with skill.

PROJECTION: 6th round

Games Evaluated: TCU, @Mississippi State, @Georgia


Prospects on my list that I couldn’t get enough video on: Ed Stinson, Alabama

*Indicates underclassmen

All height and weight measurements come from the combine participant page

All games evaluated courtesy of


My Big Board

Other positional rankings:

Quarterbacks- Part 1 Part 2

Running Backs- Part 1 Part 2

Wide Receivers- Part 1 Part 2

Tight Ends

Offensive Tackles

Interior Offensive Linemen

Edge Rushers- Part 1 Part 2





-Dan Armelli @dano708

2014 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles- Linebackers


1. C.J. Mosley (6’2 234), Alabama– Mosley was a critical part of Alabama winning back-to-back national titles in 2011 and 2012, which says a lot being on a defense like Alabama’s. Even though the Crimson Tide couldn’t make it a third straight, Mosley still seemed to be at the top of his game, setting career highs in tackles (108) and tackles for a loss (9). Mosley has great instincts and awareness with his eye always in the backfield. He can quickly diagnose what is going on and who has the ball. He doesn’t have elite speed for his position, but he can get downhill very well and meet running backs with a powerful thump. He has huge legs and long arms. He takes advantage of these physical attributes to be a sure tackler by wrapping up and driving. Mosley still has room to get stronger and add weight. He gets pushed back a bit too much in the run game. He also needs to disengage from blockers faster on a more consistent basis and not let running backs zoom by him. In the passing game is where Mosley makes hay. He’s not the fastest guy out on the field, but he makes up for it by knowing what to do and how to do it. He moves extremely well in zone coverage and can read and follow along with the quarterback’s eyes. There’s no wasted movement when he’s covering; he’s such a fluid player and knows where to go in coverage. Mosley has good bend in his hips and can also flip them quickly, which enables him to change direction hastily. He can easily cover almost any running back out of the backfield tight ends as well. He can recover well in coverage if he gets sucked in a bit by play action. Mosley has long arms and can reach out and knock balls down that are away from his body. Mosley could potentially fit as an outside linebacker in a 4-3, though he may not have enough range. He could also play well inside in a 3-4, but would need to gain significant weight. His perfect fit is playing middle linebacker in a 4-3. He does extremely well in space and playing with two defensive tackles in front of him would allow him to hone in on his instincts and not always worry about taking on blockers, though he should improve in that area anyway.

PROJECTION: Mid 1st round

Games Evaluated: Mississippi, LSU, @Auburn

2. *Ryan Shazier (6’1 237), Ohio State– Shazier had an enviable junior year for the Buckeyes, as he was tied for 2nd in the nation in tackles for a loss (23.5) and 3rd in total tackles (144). He was also able to put up 15 sacks throughout his career. To say he was productive as a collegiate athlete would be an understatement. Shazier is a tremendous athlete and destroyed most of the workouts in the combine in February. But he’s not just a workout warrior; he has translatable skills that carry over onto the field. He has unlimited range and his speed is displayed all over the field: downhill, laterally, and vertically. He has a good first step with burst that helps him get down field in a hurry and get to ball carriers. He does a great job going after the running back hard. He can get swallowed up at the line sometimes and doesn’t always have the strength to keep pursuing. The causation of getting in this position is by over pursuing. He needs to stay more gap-disciplined on a regular basis. He does, however, have a great understanding of angles when running after a ball carrier on the outside. He’s consistently shown that he can take on a blocker, locate the ball carrier then shed the block and tackle the running back. He’s usually able to wrap up but on occasion will just bring his shoulder for the hard hit. In that passing game, Shazier’s speed and quickness are assets in coverage. He can shuffle around nicely and knows where to go by reading the quarterback’s eyes. He didn’t play much man coverage but he has what you need to do well in this area. He came on a lot of blitzes in the middle of the trenches. Although he doesn’t have much power as a pass rusher, he uses his speed to get past the interior line. He may not developed enough to rush as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he should suffice as a 4-3 weak side backer. Shazier was an exciting player in college who may not have as many eye popping plays in the pros, be he looks to be a very safe player to have on defense, especially to mirror more athletic guys in the passing game. He does need to get stronger to become stouter in the run game, but he should be good enough to start right away.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round

Games Evaluated: Wisconsin, @Northwestern, Clemson

3. Telvin Smith (6’3 218), Florida State– Smith was a steady player in the stacked Seminoles defense for the better part of four years at Florida State. He never amassed over 100 tackles, but got a career high with 90 in 2013 along with three interceptions – two for touchdowns. He’s tall and thin for his position, but can get leverage on his opponents my sticking his mitts under their pads. He has pretty good balance and can scrape off blockers well as he moves laterally to mirror the running back. He has utilized his quickness to avoid blockers at the second level and get to the ball carrier. When he makes flush contact with the blocker, his lack of overall strength disables him from shedding consistently. He has unlimited range because of his speed and eye level; he mirrors players out of that backfield incredibly well. Smith isn’t a sure tackler. He’ll bring his arms with him but fails to wrap up. He also needs to strengthen his lower body so he can drive through hits and get the ball carrier off-balance. He has a high motor and an aggressive nature, which is good, but leads to occasional bad angles pursuing the ball. He moves so well in space and has quick feet to change direction in an instant. Smith uses his arms in coverage to push receivers within the legal area to disturb their routes. He’s a fluid athlete and plays well in space, making him a natural fit in coverage. He can also move around with the quarterback’s eyes and should have no problem if asked to cover athletic tight ends man-to-man. Smith has the potential to be a versatile player in terms of scheme fit. Even though he’s underweight, he has the elite athleticism desired as an inside linebacker in a 3-4. His most natural fit is most likely a 4-3 weak side linebacker. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see him moved to a strong safety position because of his range and size there. In any case, the biggest thing Smith has to do to improve is get stronger and a lot of his weaknesses will go away.

PROJECTION: Early 2nd round

Games Evaluated: @Boston College, @Clemson, Miami (Florida)

4. Preston Brown (6’1 251), Louisville– Brown was everywhere for the Cardinals in 2013, collecting career highs in tackles for a loss (12.5) and sacks (4.5). He was able to get over 80 tackles in his last three years after he spent little time on the field his freshman year in 2010. Brown is a pretty special talent in the run game. He mirrors the running back in the backfield well while moving laterally. He monitors their movement and meets them if they cut to the outside or cut inside the tackles. His speed is nothing special but he’s explosive when he’s running down field. He has no problem going through traffic to do so either. He can stick out either of his long arms out while being blocked to grab a hold of the back and take him town. Because of his long arms, he doesn’t get into blockers’ bodies and can get off of them fairly quick. He also has swift hands to get blockers off of him faster. He has a huge body to just swallow ball carriers and the arms to wrap up. Only a couple problems arise with Brown in the run game. Sometimes he’s too high when he tackles and can lose the leverage game. He also doesn’t have the best range, so he’ll have to play inside of whatever defense he’s on. Brown spent most of his time in the passing game as a blitzer. He’s not a bad as a cover linebacker, but he also doesn’t make many plays to prevent the man in his area from getting the ball. He’s a little slow to react, although it seems he can read the quarterback decently. He has average speed and quickness and the separation he gives up will be predicated on what type of tight end he’s covering. He has flashed the ability to use his long arms to swat away passes far away from his body. He needs to be able to put himself in position more to do this. Brown trusts what he sees so he can get sucked in pretty good by play action. Because of his size innate ability to get off blockers so well, he would do thrive, although maybe not right away, as an inside backer in a 3-4, but still needs to improve his pass coverage. For now, his best fit for success is as a middle linebacker in a 4-3.

PROJECTION: Early 2nd round

Games Evaluated: Cincinnati (2012), Florida International, @USF

5. Chris Borland (5’11 248), Wisconsin– Borland comes into the NFL Draft as a fifth year senior after getting hurt in 2010 and being redshirted. Afterward, he became one of the most productive defensive players in the nation, racking up 358 tackles in his last three years at Wisconsin. Borland is extremely undersized, as far as height goes for any linebacker position. However, he has the weight for pretty much all of them. Even though he has a stocky build, he has plenty of athleticism. He’s quick, very fluid throughout his body and has nice short area speed. He uses this speed get down hill fast and attack running backs. He has very quick movements and nice explosiveness to change directions in an instant. His strength is limited in that he can get manhandled and pushed out of the play by bigger lineman at the second level. However, he can get a good push on linemen if he gets a head of steam going downfield. Borland is quick minded, which increases his speed in short areas. If he ever bites on the play action he can recover to get back in coverage seamlessly, although he’ll usually make the correct read on whether or not the quarterback kept it. He’s a very reliable tackler with good form and a lot of flush hits. He can stone running backs that mirror his size. In the passing game, he’s effective as both a rusher and in coverage. He can be a great blitzer from the middle of the field – or even off the edge at times due to his leverage and bend – because of his down field speed and ability to change directions quickly. He relies on his quickness at the line of scrimmage because he doesn’t have much overall power – which is more of a problem in the run game. He has shown an abundance of different effective pass rush moves including: rips, dips, and spin and swim moves. He didn’t play much man coverage but has the tools to be able to go hip-to-hip with tight ends or quickly cover running backs out of the backfield. He has a pretty good shuffle in zone coverage with nice burst coming from his feet and he reads the quarterback well. Borland has virtually every tool you’d want out of a linebacker. The overarching limitation is his height, which can’t and won’t be overlooked. Not many players his height play linebacker in the NFL successfully. That said, some of the tools he has are so special that he has the potential to affect offenses in many ways. He’s going to need to play middle linebacker 4-3 so there are more guys in front of him to eat up blockers and let him work in space. This is the best chance he’ll have to see his potential.

PROJECTION: 2nd round

Games Evaluated: @Arizona State, @Ohio State, South Carolina

6. Shayne Skov (6’2 245), Stanford– Skov’s career at Stanford was certainly quite eventful. He got significant playing time as a freshman in 2009, allotting 62 tackles. In 2010, he got his career high in sacks with seven. Things turned sour when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game of 2011 and was arrested for DUI and subsequently suspended for a game in 2012. He bounced back in 2013 and got a career high 109 tackles. Skov is built very well and has thick, powerful legs. He doesn’t have great speed for his position but makes up for it, especially laterally, with his understanding of angles. He’s always in proper pursuit of ball carriers and attacks and hits them hard. He has good downfield speed and even though he doesn’t have long arms, he wraps up exceptionally well. He has tremendous ability to stack and shed often and can come off blockers the moment the ball carrier arrives. He isn’t super athletic but he has adequate feet and hips. Skov doesn’t have huge range even though he’s okay moving laterally; he just doesn’t have the speed going that way. His speed is more usable going downhill more than any other direction on the field, including vertically in coverage. He can only cover for a certain amount of time; he grabs onto guys that come into his zone a lot. He’s functional reading the quarterback’s eyes, but won’t have the athleticism to cover top-end tight ends. However, because of his downhill explosiveness, he’ll be a very good blitzer up the middle in the NFL. Skov likely translates best to a middle linebacker in a 4-3. He has attributes that fit him well inside a 3-4, but athletically he just isn’t there. Skov should be a top-flight run stopper because of his motor, physicality and instincts.

PROJECTION: Late 3rd round

Games Evaluated: UCLA, Oregon, Notre Dame

7. Christian Kirksey (6’2 233), Iowa– Kirksey was nearly able to attain 100 tackles in three straight years – five short in 2012 – after getting only six his freshman year in 2010. In his senior year, he scored his third and final touchdown of his career, returning a fumble 52 yards to the house. Kirksey is very undersized as it pertains to weight. But he understands leverage when going up against blockers and sheds them by getting under their pads and pushing up. He isn’t the strongest, but he flashes active hands, though he does get stuck to blockers. In open space, he needs to break down when he meets a ball carrier instead of attempting a diving tackle. He’s pretty raw in the run game both physically and instinctually. He doesn’t always take proper angles to the ball, leaving cut back lanes. He needs to sure up his tackling, not just as far as strength goes, but also his form; he needs to see what he’s tackling. Kirksey’s feet aren’t quick enough to change directions on a dime, allowing runners to get the best of him with agility. He doesn’t get much side bend from his hips and his feet are inconsistent; most of the time they get stuck to the ground when trying to directions, but flashes quick feet at times too. He also takes a while to recover from cut blocks. Kirksey was put in man coverage a ton on the outside against both tight ends and slot receivers. He was able to stay with his man and limit separation by flipping his hips quickly and extending an arm to feel where his man went. He spent most of his time in coverage and that will be his calling card if he turns out to be a success in the NFL. He can mirror guys with ease in the flat. He’s a pretty fast blitzer off the edge, especially when coming from the slot. Kirksey will most likely only ever be a weak side linebacker in a 4-3, though he does have some characteristics of an inside backer in a 3-4. He needs to get stronger and stouter in the run game if he wants to become a reliable 3-down linebacker.

PROJECTION: Late 4th round

Games Evaluated: Michigan, Nebraska, LSU

8. Lamin Barrow (6’1 237), LSU– Barrow broke out in 2012 and led the Tigers in tackles (91) after fellow teammate and linebacker Kevin Minter went pro. He became the leader of LSU’s defense his senior year and was issued No. 18 “as a tribute to him being the consummate LSU Tiger.” Barrow is a bit undersized an outside linebacker, but he has the athleticism you’d want that comes along with it. He’s a great athlete with pretty good overall body quickness and flexibility. He’s a worthy contributor in the run game. He’s a good hitter with sheer size alone; he also goes in with his arms and gets flush contact on most of the ball carriers he meets. He does need to finish wrapping up, however, as he will let some ball carrier escape his grasp. He also needs to start driving his legs into guys rather than relying on dragging them down with his arms. At times, he will get sucked into the middle of the field and leave his gap open for running backs to break through. He isn’t very quick, but he can make up for it with his ability to get off blocks in a timely manner. Going through traffic doesn’t faze him. Barrow isn’t anything special in coverage, especially zone, but he has traits that a team could build on. His feet are a bit slow in his backpedal but he has a wide base and can cover ground efficiently. He does a good job of reading the quarterback when he drops back in coverage and breaks on the ball with no problem. He can cover tight ends and running backs coming out of the backfield very well, and does a respectable job on guys coming out of the slot. Barrow would best fit in a 4-3 as a weak side linebacker as he has plenty of range. He could also play inside in a 3-4 but might have to add upwards of 10 pounds, depending on who picks him; there are teams that don’t necessarily need a guy at his position to be 250. Right now, he’s most likely a rotational player and can become a solid starter if he improves his zone coverage, tackling and has better gap discipline.

PROJECTION: Late 4th round

Games Evaluated: Mississippi State (20120, @Arkansas (2012), @Georgia

9. Jordan Zumwalt (6’4 235), UCLA– Zumwalt didn’t pack the stats with the Bruins throughout his career, but he probably has returned more punts and kicks than anyone in his position combined – one punt return, three kick returns. Nonetheless, he still had a good year in 2013, collecting 91 tackles, two interceptions, and 6.5 tackles for a loss. Zumwalt has a nice frame to build more weight and muscle to get stronger to help fight off blocks more consistently. He has respectable foot quickness, especially for a player his size, though he doesn’t have the hip flexibility to go with it in order to change direction swiftly; he doesn’t perform well in space. He has an extremely aggressive nature, drawing penalties for hits and biting on fakes; he’ll guess wrong on who has the ball on occasion. He goes for the big hit a lot and just tackles with his shoulder/head. He must learn to wrap up and drive on a regular basis. He has stiff hips and plays high, often losing the leverage battle. However, he does a pretty good job using his hands and keeping his arms extended to help him shed blocker to get to the ball carrier. He doesn’t discriminate either; no matter what size you are he will hit you hard. In the passing game, Zumwalt can read the quarterback’s eyes but doesn’t always take advantage of where he’s looking; he’ll just sit in the zone and inch his way over instead of attacking. He will bump any receiver that crosses underneath him to disturb their route. He’s not great in space, so he usually looks out of place the further down field he covers. He does a fine job in a short area, though. Because of his lack of athleticism, Zumwalt will need to be put inside of a 4-3 for his best shot at success. Has plenty of special teams experience so he already has a head start in that regard. He also needs to get stronger so that his physicality will be able to reach its potential.

PROJECTION: Late 4th round

Games Evaluated: @Oregon, @Arizona, Virginia Tech

10. *Yawin Smallwood (6’2 246), Connecticut– Smallwood was a tackling machine from the day he stepped on the field for the Huskies. He recorded 94, 120 and 118 tackles, respectively, in his three years at Connecticut. What’s more, in his last two seasons, he accumulated 24.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. Smallwood has really good starting build going into the league, but he can get stronger. He can scrape off of blocks pretty well, although he’s still not strong enough – even though his weight is at a good spot – and doesn’t show much power. For now, he just uses his swift hands to get off blockers, which has been useful. He has decent feet but they can get stuck in the ground at times, allowing more agile runners to beat him. He has questionable range. He’s not as slow as his 40-time at the combine displays – 5.01 due to a hamstring injury. However, his laterally speed isn’t all that special and he never really meets guys to the outside; he’s usually diving from behind trying to get them down. Smallwood reads things very well in both facets of the game. He can see who has the ball and where he’s at. He is also able to read and mirror the quarterback’s eyes. He takes a lot of false steps in both areas as well. He bites hard on play action and doesn’t have smooth pursuits to the outside. He plays pretty high and doesn’t display much hip bend, limiting his ability to change directions in a quick manner. He picks up guys in front of him coming into his zone pretty well and can stick with them for a short amount of time. He has good downhill speed that he utilizes as a blitzer. Smallwood will most likely be limited to a middle linebacker role in a 4-3 as he’s not quite strong or athletic enough to play outside or even inside in a 3-4. His strength he can improve. His athleticism on the other hand may only be functional in the middle of the field. He must also clean up the bad movements in his game.

PROJECTION: 5th round

Games Evaluated: @Louisville (2012), Maryland, Michigan


*Indicates underclassmen

All height and weight measurements come from the combine participant page

All games evaluated courtesy of


My Big Board

Other positional rankings:

Quarterbacks- Part 1 Part 2

Running Backs- Part 1 Part 2

Wide Receivers- Part 1 Part 2

Tight Ends

Offensive Tackles

Interior Offensive Linemen

Edge Rushers- Part 1 Part 2

Defensive Linemen




-Dan Armelli @dano708

2014 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings- Cornerbacks


1. Kyle Fuller (6’0 190), Virginia Tech– Fuller has great physical traits for a corner; he has good height and long arms. He plays extremely loose but seems to know what he’s looking at in terms of routes. He has quick feet to go with his size and can flip his hips with ease; this enables him to change direction when a wide receiver breaks and doesn’t give up much separation. However, he does like to bate quarterbacks into throwing his way by letting his man getting initial separation and then using his closing speed to deflect the pass away. He has a great reaction to the receiver bracing for the ball and sticks his hand in at the right moment. Fuller shows many times he’s confidant with what route his man is running. He has a great recognition of what’s going on in the backfield when he takes a peek. He has great ball skills, even though he didn’t have that many interceptions at Virginia Tech (6). He isn’t overly agile and will sometimes give up shorter routes if he’s giving too much initial cushion. He has good speed for his size, but relative to other corners it’s just above average. However, he has pretty good burst, which helps him recover to his man. He didn’t get beat deep many times in college, but he might have trouble with doubles moves early on; has been beat when he bit on an out and up. It would be to his benefit to add some more muscle to help keep up with his aggressive nature; he’s a little thin. He is not afraid to get physical, even in the trenches. He was asked to play in the box against Georgia Tech, an extremely run-heavy team, and showed off his athleticism and toughness. He also showed how well he’s able to seek out ball carriers in the backfield. He doesn’t always take proper angles to the backfield, however. Fuller doesn’t miss a lot of tackles, but he needs to work on his form. For the most part, he’ll just dive at the ball carrier’s legs, which can lead to a lot of head shots and missed tackles. He shows some flashes of the ability to wrap up, so it might just be a matter of consciously doing it consistently. Fuller would be best manning up on his guy and mirroring him. He has the confidence, length, and ball skills to be a good man cover corner. He should still add some strength to help him press guys at the line. His speed may limit him somewhat, but adding more physicality to his game can overcome some of that.

PROJECTION: Mid 1st round

Games Evaluated: @Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Alabama

2. Jason Verrett (5’9 189), TCU– It was hard to throw on Verrett, especially last year, when he ranked top-15 in the nation in both passes broken up (14) and passes defended (16). Verrett is a smaller corner, but takes full advantage of it with his quickness. He’s also very efficiently physical. He knows how to play with his hands and press at the line without getting too grabby; he also times his physical play perfectly so he doesn’t get penalized. He has quick feet and can transition from a shuffle to a run seamlessly. He does stand too upright at times, which slows him up a bit. Verrett can read the quarterback while following the receiver’s route. This allows him to track the ball better and break on it regardless of where the receiver is. After his man makes his first cut, he’ll look into the backfield and still be able to feel where his guy is. He tracks the ball nicely and can time his pass deflections up even better. He knows how to play the ball while still running with his guy; he’ll rest his off arm on the receiver and knock the ball away with his other hand. He breaks on the ball incredibly well because of his quickness and awareness. He goes all out to knock the ball out of the receiver’s hands; he’ll leap or dive at the ball. He’s a shorter cornerback, but he has great leaping ability to go up and knock away passes. Verrett does need to be more cognizant of the possibility of a double move; he plays so confidently that he can bite hard on them. He makes solid open field tackles with good form instead of just diving at legs all the time. Verrett’s size may limit him to more of an inside position on the slot, but he’s physical enough to where he won’t be constantly beaten if put on the outside. He would succeed in the slot because of his quick movements and solid recognition of his man’s routes. He’d also play well in zone since he knows how to pass guys off and is quick to pick up another man coming into his zone. He’s a smart player with great ball skills. His size may dictate where he goes, but his play will be the ultimate judge of how successful he’ll be; which will probably be pretty good.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round

Games Evaluated: LSU, Baylor, @Kansas State

3. Phillip Gaines (6’0 193), Rice– Gaines is a respectably sized corner that used his length to defend 18 and 13 passes in 2012 and 2013, respectively. He was also able to grab 4 interceptions in his final year at Rice after not getting any in his first four years. He played all five years he was there, receiving a medical redshirt after he got hurt five games into the season in 2011. Gaines is a great athlete with quickness to go with his length. He’s a quick athlete, especially for his size. He has good feet and he can flip his hips efficiently to change directions or turn and run with his man. He has very good long speed and rarely gets beat deep in man coverage. He stays hip-to-hip with his man extremely well throughout routes. Gaines looks into the backfield when his receiver makes a cut on a route and can see when the ball is coming; he’s a great tracker of the ball and knows how to get to it. Because of his awareness of what’s going on in the backfield, he’ll come off his man if he sees the quarterback looking at a different target to try to make a play on the ball. He’s so good at mirroring receivers in man coverage, but also plays very well in zone; he can pass of his man all the while switching to a different receiver. Gaines drives on the ball well, but his anticipation with longer routes can improve. He’s tall, so he has a propensity for playing too high at times, throwing off his quickness and balance. He should get a little bit stronger to prevent from getting pushed around by blockers in the run game. He’s very blockable at this point. He’s also a pretty poor tackler and will just throw his shoulder at the ball tackler. He needs to significantly improve in this area. Gaines biggest weakness is in the run game, which is a relatively good thing for a corner. Quarterbacks rarely tested him in college because of how little separation he left for their receivers. Gaines can push his game to the next level if he can improve catching the ball and getting better anticipation on his receiver’s routes. Other than that, he should be a good corner in most situations he’s put into.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round

Games Evaluated: Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Mississippi State

4. Darqueze Dennard (5’11 199), Michigan State– Dennard was a productive corner for the Spartans for the last three years, getting at least three interceptions each. Dennard has really good size for his position, including some good build on his nice frame. He has quick feet, enabling him to flip his hips and run with his man pretty seamlessly, even though he’s not overly agile. Press coverage is where he’s most comfortable. He’ll stick to his man in press right up to his break or when he reaches 10 yards. He knows when and when not to have his hands on his man. He wreaks havoc on his man’s release and slow his route down. He usually knows when to let go during press, but sometimes has a tendency to hold onto his man when he goes in the opposite direction. He doesn’t always get a good break on the ball on longer routes; if he’s at a bad angle he has to twist almost 360 degrees to get back to his man. Dennard doesn’t panic when his back is turned to the quarterback and times up when he can stick his hand into the arms of his receiver by reacting to the receiver. He doesn’t have blazing speed and can get beat deep at times. His short speed is more impressive than his long speed. Dennard has no problem being physical in the run game and will fight off blocks. He has good form on most tackles but surprisingly fails to wrap up at times and ball carriers are able to break away. Dennard is pretty technically sound and whatever he lacks in speed he makes up for in physicality. He’s not the best at breaking on routes, but his usually in his man’s left pocket anyway.

PROJECTION: Late 1st round

Games Evaluated: Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford

5. *Bradley Roby (5’11 194), Ohio State– Roby has showed some good ball skills over the years at OSU, housing the football three times in his last two years. He’s one of the best athletes in this class with good size, great speed and agility to go with it. He has quick feet and is able to flip his hips well to run with his man at the beginning of the route. He allows a lot of short throws because of how much initial separation he gives his man on certain plays. His speed and light feet allow him to mirror his man very well. He has great long speed and can catch runners from behind. Though he does have good feet, Roby surprisingly lacks ideal burst to break back on the ball. He can get his feet stuck with breaks on deeper routes, which gives receivers the separation needed to get the ball without initial contest. He has flashed the ability to drive to the football, but it doesn’t happen enough. He sometimes panics when the ball is in the air and starts getting too grabby with the receiver instead of just tracking the ball. He can get his eyes caught up in the backfield on a double move and get burned over the top. Roby uses subtle contact on many plays in order to limit separation that may or may not get called from play-to-play. He does a nice job of resting his arm on his receiver to enable him to feel out his route and make it easier to mirror where he’s going. Roby isn’t an efficient tackler and doesn’t have good form; he usually just dives at the ball carrier’s legs and rarely brings his arms with him. Though he lacks the technical aspect of tackling, he at least shows that he’s willing to put his body on the line. Roby has a great base to start with in terms of athleticism. Most consider his 2013 a down year from 2012, so there’s obviously substantial opportunity to be a good corner in the NFL. To do this, however, he’ll have to get used to playing press, fixing how he breaks on the ball, and doing a better job of tracking the ball in the air. Roby has the ability to bring these traits together.

PROJECTION: Early 2nd round

Games Evaluated: Indiana, Wisconsin, Penn State, @Michigan

6. Justin Gilbert (6’0 202), Oklahoma State– Gilbert was tied for 2nd in the nation in interceptions (7) and has scored eight touchdowns in his career – six on kickoff returns, two on interceptions. These statistics show how much of a playmaker he can be with the ball in his hands. Gilbert gave his man a free release most of the time, but when he did press, he was off balance a lot; he’d either lean too far forward and let his man get behind him, or he just got manhandled. He struggles to play with initial contact, but can sometimes make up for it with his speed on longer routes. He gives way too much initial cushion and sometimes just keeps backpedaling when the play starts, which can lead to easy, short passes. Gilbert has extremely quick feet that he shows off in his backpedal and can efficiently plant his foot to change direction when his man makes a cut. His feet are a bit messy at times, but he can cover this up with seamlessly flipping his hips to run with his man. He breaks very well on the ball and can break up short passes when he doesn’t give too much cushion. Down field, he can get a little handsy when he has his back turned to the backfield and his receiver is behind him. He’s late tracking the ball too often and it doesn’t help that he usually gives the receiver a lot of space to work with anyway. Gilbert does not get beat often because of his dominant speed that goes along well with his size. He has the ideal size for a prototypical corner, including some thickness to hold up in physical plays. Although he has this great size, he seems to shy away from contact too much, especially on run plays; he won’t really fight off blocks. Gilbert is one of the most physically gifted athletes in this class, not just his position. He has loads of potential, but needs to clean up some fundamental issues to become the huge impact player that he can become.

PROJECTION: 2nd round

Games Evaluated: Mississippi State, @Texas Tech, Missouri

7. Stanley Jean-Baptiste (6’3 218), Nebraska– Jean-Baptiste, a receiver turned corner, made a successful transition. He was tied for 13th in the nation in passes defended (16) in 2013, putting his size and length to good use. Jean-Baptiste’s length isn’t the only positive thing about his game. Whether he’s in press or playing off coverage, he likes to absorb his man and then quickly flip his hips to run with him. He has good mirroring skills, including on breaks; his feet are relatively quick for a corner his size. On short routes, he uses his quick feet to get a great jump on the ball. Down the field, however, he’s shown that he can have some difficulty tracking the ball. Jean-Baptiste uses his length to knock down passes; whether he has to dive for the ball, leap, or put his arm in the receiver’s bread basket, he takes advantage of his longer arms. He really has to watch out for double moves. He doesn’t have the agility or long speed to recover if he bites hard and is beaten deep. His lack of long speed is negated when he shows his confidence in what route his man is running. Jean-Baptiste is built well for the run game, but dives into ball carrier’s legs like he’s 3 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter. He needs to keep his head up and wrap up. Jean-Baptiste could probably play safety in the NFL because of his ability to break on the ball. However, because he struggles to tackle in the open field, he would be better served to learn how to do that as a corner. If he can learn how to track the ball and take advantage of his body and tackle properly, he can fulfill his potential as a legitimate large corner.

PROJECTION: Late 2nd round

Games Evaluated: @Penn State, @Michigan, Georgia

8. *Victor Hampton (5’9 197), South Carolina– The Gamecocks’ lost their best cover corner after Hampton declared for the draft after his redshirt junior year. He isn’t too tall, but he is built just fine. He has extremely quick feet and has tremendous drive on the ball, even in bail technique. He gets a great push in press coverage but sometimes a little too much, becoming unbalanced and letting his man get behind him. He can get too comfortable at times and lose technique; he’ll get spun around when his wide receiver breaks short or he’ll backpedal too high. In off coverage, Hampton sometimes starts to backpedal even when he gives a large initial cushion to his man and can give up easy underneath completions; he has the quickness and drive on the ball to where he doesn’t need to do this. Though there is upside to him in this coverage; it allows him to see the backfield and allows him to utilize his great break on the ball. Even still, backpedaling in this scenario is unnecessary. Hampton can flip his hips quickly when he needs to change direction or turn and run with his man. He doesn’t have great leaping ability but that doesn’t stop him from going up and contesting for a ball in the air. He’s supreme at tracking the ball and positioning himself to deflect it from the receiver. He has great instincts and has a knack for knowing the routes his receivers are running. He isn’t terribly fast and can be susceptible to getting torched by fast receivers. However, he’s willing to get physical and is good at keeping receivers in front of him, feeling out their routes and always knows when to look back at the quarterback. Hampton is pretty sloppy and inconsistent with his tackling. He flashes the ability to wrap up and go in hard, but not necessarily in the same play. Sometimes he doesn’t bring his arms with him and just goes for the big hit. He’s very competitive though, and will constantly be in pursuit. Hampton would be perfect for zone concepts. He’s great at reading the backfield and breaking on the ball. He’s poor at tackling so safety may be out of the question, at least at first, but he’d be at his best as a zone corner.

PROJECTION: Early 3rd round

Games Evaluated: Georgia (2012), Mississippi State, @Arkansas

9. *Bashaud Breeland (5’11 197), Clemson– Breeland decided to forgo his senior season after just one season of being a full starter, but he showed enough on tape to show that he has promise as a defensive back in the NFL. Breeland has respectable size with good arm length that he takes advantage of to go up and disrupt passes. He has great overall ball skills and has the ability to go up and make a catch. He works very well when he gives his man an outside release, using the sidelines to his advantage. He can time up his contact with receivers on short routes perfectly to disrupt the catch. When he gives his man a cushion, he does a good job of paying attention of what’s going on in the backfield if the receiver’s break crosses his face. He can mirror very well on deep routes, especially when he’s on his man from the start. He’s a fluid athlete with good flexibility. He’s a good tracker of the ball down field and doesn’t just try to knock the ball out; he’ll try to catch it if he’s close enough. The problem comes if Breeland gets beat deep down field, which can happen because he doesn’t have the best long speed. He doesn’t always look back to the backfield when the ball is thrown and can panic. He needs to either turn his head promptly or gauge the receiver’s movements better to know when to stick his hand in. He likes to get his hands on the receiver at the beginning of his route. However, he can get too handsy at times down the field and draw penalties. He is a decent contributor in the run game. He’s willing to get physical but doesn’t always have the form to complete every tackle. Breeland was a regular as a gunner on special teams. Breeland has promise to be a good NFL defensive back but needs some fine-tuning. His lack of speed will probably always limit him in some way, but he can overcome that by learning how to perfect his press ability and looking back for the ball. He could also become a nice free safety, which would enable him to keep everything in front of him; his range transfers to this position pretty well.

PROJECTION: Early 3rd round

Games Evaluated: @Syracuse, @North Carolina State, Florida State

10. E.J. Gaines (5’10 190), Missouri– Gaines broke out his sophomore year when he got his first chance as a full-time starter. He was able to nab three interceptions in 2011 and had five in 2013, his last season. Gaines is a compact athlete with decent quickness. He can turn his hips and run with his receiver efficiently and has pretty good speed so he rarely gets beat deep. He played a lot of off coverage so the underneath routes were left open a lot. He has good foot quickness but his break on the ball isn’t always consistent. He can stop his backpedal pretty quickly, but his acceleration isn’t special; he doesn’t get a lot of burst from his feet. Also, sometimes he gets too high in his backpedal and doesn’t bend his knees. Gaines can anticipate routes well, especially shorter ones. He gets his eyes into the backfield when he knows the route and tracks the ball very well. Maybe Gaines’s most impressive trait is his willingness in the run game. He can get off blocks quickly and likes to fly around in pursuit of the ball carrier. His weakness in this area is he likes to go for the big hit most of the time and won’t rely on technique. Gaines plays the game pretty loose, sometimes too loose; he’ll play too high and lose some of his quickness, allowing his man to get the separation needed to catch the ball. Overall, Gaines is a good athlete with better build but doesn’t always bring his abilities together on each play. Sometimes he’s not quick enough to the ball, sometimes he’s giving his man too much separation, and sometimes he’s playing to high. The good thing about him is he likes to keep things in front of him, so he’s never giving up big plays.

PROJECTION: 4th round

Games Evaluated: @Mississippi, Tennessee, Oklahoma State

11. Keith McGill (6’3 211), Utah– Already 25 years old, McGill had an uncommon path leading to the NFL Draft. He started his college career as a safety at Cerritos College, a community college in California. He then transferred to Utah in 2011 following his sophomore year. In his first season with the Utes, he sustained an injury that forced him to miss the rest of that season and all of 2012. In 2013, he was finally able to play his first full season as a Division 1 football player. McGill is a tale of two players depending on how he starts off the play. When he’s playing off his man, he opens his hips towards the backfield. His feet aren’t quick and his hips are stiff, so he doesn’t break on the ball well, especially when his man has significant separation. He does okay on his backpedal in terms of foot speed, but struggles when trying to stop his momentum, sticking his foot in the ground and driving to the football. He isn’t overly agile so plenty of ball carriers will be able to shake him from tackles with elusiveness. He can get burned deep if he sits too much on his man’s route and doesn’t react quickly enough to the receiver taking off down field. Press coverage is where McGill is able to make hay. He’s much better if he’s able to press him man, slow his route down, and most importantly, get a feel for where he’s going. He shows much more promise when he’s lined up right over his man, makes contact with him, and runs with him. He doesn’t allow as much separation and is able to read the ball instead of being forced to just break on the ball. He tracks the ball very well in tight coverage. He knows how to play the ball and can fit his hand in to knock the ball away from his man. McGill doesn’t have to bite hard on a double move to get lost in coverage. He doesn’t have the foot quickness or long speed to make little mistakes against receivers with quick breaks. In the run game, he isn’t as physical as his size would suggest and isn’t as big of a threat as he could be. He barely fights through blocks, which is a sin for a guy of his size. He also doesn’t have great tackling form and a lot of times comes in too high, which throws off his balance. A team that intends to let him play tight coverage on his man and not play in space should draft McGill. Even though he has the size of a safety, he’s at his best when he’s on top of his receiver and feeling his route. Not in space where he’s forced to have quick movements on the ball.

PROJECTION: 4th round

Games Evaluated: @BYU, Colorado, UCLA

12. *Marcus Roberson (6’0 191), Florida– Suspension and injuries hampered Roberson’s last season as a Gator, but he felt good enough about his abilities to forgo his senior season and go pro. Roberson can flip his hips pretty well to turn and run but needs to be in his man’s hip the whole time as he doesn’t have good recovery speed if he gets beat. He uses his hands well in press and will rest his hand on the defender to feel where he is while he tracks the ball in the air. His agility and foot quickness shows up nicely when he breaks on the ball. He has a good reaction to the ball being thrown and has good burst when he plants his foot in the ground. Roberson is willing to get physical with his man, he just doesn’t have ideal strength yet and is susceptible to getting manhandled by bigger receivers right now. He can get a little grabby down the field when the ball is in the air, even when he’s able to track it. He’s sometimes too physical and doesn’t really have a good feel for when to take his hands off the receiver. He can anticipate routes pretty well to go with his drive on the ball. When he starts tight on his man, he rarely gives up separation during the route. The problem can arise when his man is going deep, as Roberson has limited long speed. He gives up a lot of shorter throws when playing bail or shuffle. When he backpedals, he tends to get too high, losing his leverage. Roberson has a hard time disengaging from blockers in the run game, even though his effort is there; he needs to get stronger. He doesn’t always wrap up when he tries to tackle; a lot of times he will just tuck his head down and go for the big hit. Roberson is a pretty smart player, but gets a little too comfortable out on the field. He can improve by getting significantly stronger and getting his technique down at the beginning of routes. He also needs to learn when to be physical with his man and playing the ball in the air a bit better.

PROJECTION: 4th round

Games Evaluated: Georgia, @Missouri, Toledo


Prospects on my list that I couldn’t get enough video on: Pierre Desir, Lindenwood; Jaylen Watkins, Florida

*Indicates underclassmen

All height and weight measurements come from the combine participant page

All games evaluated courtesy of


My Big Board

Other positional rankings:

Quarterbacks- Part 1 Part 2

Running Backs- Part 1 Part 2

Wide Receivers- Part 1 Part 2

Tight Ends

Offensive Tackles

Interior Offensive Linemen

Edge Rushers- Part 1 Part 2

Defensive Linemen




-Dan Armelli @dano708