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2014 NFL Draft: Quick Hits on 30 Players Invited to Radio City for Draft

On Tuesday, a list of prospects attending Radio City for the draft was published. In all, thirty players will be attending, with notable non-attendees such as Anthony Barr, Derek Carr, Aaron Donald, and Darqueze Dennard. When looking into the other players, though, there’s a very real chance that the vast majority of them go in the first round.
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
First linked to Bill O’Brien, the late developing consensus seems to be swinging towards Bortles not going first overall, but he could still land in the top eight, where Cleveland and Minnesota are picking for their first time in 2014.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
If Jacksonville trades out of the third pick to pick outside of the top five, Teddy Bridgewater could end up landing in Jacksonville. If not, he could be waiting for a while, but the end of the first round is a possible trade up spot, as a team could lock up a fifth year in his contract if they pick him there.

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Linked to Cleveland and Jacksonville often, Garoppolo likely isn’t a first rounder, but an early second rounder.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Again, another quarterback linked to Cleveland. If Manziel goes in the first round, it’s going to be because an owner and a head coach are pulling the front office to do so, which is allegedly the case in Cleveland.

Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, Louisiana State
A dynamic receiver, there’s a chance that Beckham may spend more time in New York than just draft week, as the Jets could really use another receiver to compliment their passing game, for whoever is throwing, be it Geno Smith or Michael Vick.

Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The question with Cooks is if he’s a Y or Z receiver. Some teams could use a Y, like New York, who just needs weapons and showed interest in Tavon Austin last year. Others very much need an outside speedster, like San Francisco. The question becomes what specific teams think of the inkblot which is his frame.

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
A tall, long-striding receiver, Evans reminds many of Vincent Jackson. If Tampa Bay wants to replicate Chicago’s 2013 offense for McCown, drafting Evans is one way to take a step towards that. Cleveland could be a sleeper to take him at #4.

Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
If a team is unsatisfied with their Z receiver options, Latimer could be a late first round pick, but by no means is he a first round lock. San Francisco, Carolina, or Seattle could be potential landing spots.

Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Coming into the season, Lee was one of the highest rated receivers in the country. After losing some key members of the Trojan offense to the NFL in 2013, though, the USC offense took a dip in production in 2013. Lee could end up landing with one of two coaches known for targeting former Pac-12 stars: Chip Kelly or Pete Carroll. Kelly even recruited Lee to attempt to sign with the Ducks while at Oregon.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
A Jordy Nelson clone, he too is projected to go around the same range: the 30s-50s. Matthews would be a sleeper first round pick, but could go to a team who is trading back and liked Mike Evans. Like Evans, Matthews is a long-speed guy as opposed to short-speed, and has a stretched out frame. Potentially a team like Detroit or Tampa Bay could trade into the back end of the first round to get him, but he’s likely a second round pick.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
There has been a lot of debate about Watkins’ stock this draft cycle, but one thing is certain: he’s going to go off the board early. If Jacksonville trades out of the third pick, that could lead to a move up from Detroit or Oakland to grab him, but if not, he’s Jacksonville’s guy. Many have also speculated that Watkins could go as high as #2 to St. Louis.

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
While there are only a few dynamic tight ends in the NFL, it has become a new premium position. A team like Buffalo or New York, teams with young quarterbacks and lack of dynamic pass catchers, could benefit greatly from a joker type of move tight end.

Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Kouandjio quickly dropped down draft boards after the Combine, but has been rising the past couple of days. A team as early as Miami, hungry for pass protectors, could take a shot at him.

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Many have said Lewan is in the top tier of prospects, potentially even pushing Matthews for the second tackle spot. It’s hard to pin where Lewan will go because of which teams need a tackle, but someone trading up, like Baltimore, could very much be in play.

Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
If Cleveland really is thinking about reshuffling their offensive line, Matthews could go as early as #4 to them, starting as a right tackle from day 1 of his rookie season.

Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Linked to many teams, Moses seems likely as a late first round pick to a team in need, such as the Carolina Panthers.

Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
While Clowney is talked about as a transcendent talent, Robinson is right behind him. Robinson’s floor is the best guard prospect of all time, as many would have taken him over Cooper, who last year was the highest interior lineman selected in the modern draft. I think when it’s all said and done, Robinson goes in the top four, either to St. Louis or Cleveland.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
A transcendent talent, Clowney will likely be the number one pick. It may be Houston, or a trade to either Atlanta or Buffalo, but at this point, he’s likely the first prospect out of the green room in May.

Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
An edge player who lives off his first step, Ealy would also be a great interior defensive lineman in pressure situations. This makes him ideal for a 43 defensive end role or a one-gapping 34 defensive end role, like in Arizona.

Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Aged, but athletic, Hageman has the upside of a J.J. Watt, which alone could get him drafted in the first round. Landing spots include Tennessee, Pittsburgh, or Green Bay, where he’d be best used as a 34 defensive end and nickel/dime nose tackle.

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
Best suited for a 43 tackle role, Jernigan could fit with a multitude of teams, as the class is weak on front seven talent outside of the edge players. He could land in two spots in the NFC East: Dallas or New York.

Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
Khalil Mack is likely a linebacker wherever he lands, but could put his hand in the dirt or passing downs in a 43. Minnesota is a great landing spot, where he could play SAM in base, then defensive end on nickel and dime situations.

Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
Shazier is an undersized linebacker, who, despite Combine weight, will likely be sub-230 by the end of his rookie season. When looking at Shazier, you think of him in a traditional 43 WILL role, which could get him landed in Miami.

C.J. Mosley, MLB, Alabama
Mosley has versatility, but may have injury concerns. He could play either ILB spot in a traditional 34, either OLB spot in a traditional 43, and MIKE in a Tampa 2 type of defense like Tampa Bay is allegedly going to run.

Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Fuller was hurt his final season at Virginia Tech, but he’s still potentially the best length corner in the draft. Fuller could be the first defensive back off the board if he goes to St. Louis with their second first round pick.

Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
A press and run corner with great size, Gilbert will both make and allow big plays. As early as Pittsburgh, you could see Justin Gilbert come off the board.

Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
One of the highest rated corners coming into the season, Roby’s stock seems to have dropped off compared to what it was in 2012. Some have expressed character concerns, but a team like Cincinnati could take a shot at him in the first.

Jason Verrett, CB, Texas Christian
An undersized, but very talented, corner, Verrett doesn’t have many options, and may have to play in the slot to start off his career. A team putting a high premium on slot corners, making a run for a title, could take a shot at him in the late first. Denver is in the mix.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
The consensus top safety in the class, Clinton-Dix showed plenty of one-high, split, and box looks while at Alabama running Saban’s Liz/Rip concept frequently. Clinton-Dix could go as early as Atlanta at #6, pending how the board shakes out.

Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Pryor had one of the quietest Combines, but one of the most impactful. Measuring in three inches under his listed size at Louisville, and not testing very well, puts him into a position where he may no longer be the second first round lock at safety. A team like Kansas City, desperate for safety help in an inflated safety market, could take a shot at him in the first round.


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