Scout.com NFL Draft Top 100
Just over a month ago Jadeveon Clowney was the slam dunk top pick for the upcoming NFL Draft next spring. But after a slow start to his junior season in Columbia this South Carolina defensive end clings to the top spot in the FOXSports.com 2014 NFL Draft Top 100. This is a list of the top 100 eligible prospects for next year’s draft.
Clowney had a terrific sophomore campaign, where he more than lived up to the billing as the nation’s top prospect in the Class of 2011. He topped it off with the hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith that rocked the college football world in the Outback Bowl.
That play jumped started his Heisman Trophy campaign. It was a forgone conclusion that Clowney would be gone after this season and become the consensus top non-quarterback prospect to enter the NFL Draft in some time.
But things don’t always happen according to plan. Clowney has not been his dominant self over the first four weeks of the college football season. In fact, the 6-foot-6, 280-pounder has only recorded two sacks thus far. He trails teammate, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, who has three.
Maybe Clowney’s Heisman hopes are dashed but not his talent and future on Sundays. He has a wealth of speed and athleticism that has been slowed this year. This Gamecock pass rusher is battling painful bone spurs in his right foot and is being schemed against very well. Clowney still holds the top spot as he did with our first set of the ’14 draft rankings posted at the end of April.
The gap between No. 1 and No. 2 is much closer than before. The next spot goes to UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr. Barr has a similar game to Dion Jordan, who starred at Oregon last year and was the No. 3 overall pick this past April.
Quarterback will be a huge theme of this draft class. Headlining this position is Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater. There’s no question that he could ultimately become the first pick in the draft because of the huge need at this position for many of the bad teams in the NFL. Bridgewater checks in at No. 3.
Coming in at No. 4 and No. 5 are two offensive tackles in Jake Matthews from Texas A&M and Cyrus Kouanjido from Alabama. Matthews is every bit the same prospect as Luke Joeckel and Joeckel was taken No. 2 overall this past April by Jacksonville. Then you have Kouandijo, the next great linemen from Tuscaloosa who could certainly work his way up the charts.
Stephon Tuitt is an ideal 3-4 defensive end from Notre Dame and he comes in at No. 6. USC’s Marqise Lee is the draft’s top wide receiver and there’s no question he could make a huge impact in the NFL. But Lee has really struggled with consistency so far this season for the Trojans. He’s currently No. 7.
The No. 8 spot goes to the controversial Johnny Manziel. The Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M doesn’t have ideal measurables and many will be turned off by what he does away from the game. But you can’t deny the football talent this kid has at the game’s most important position.
Coming in at No. 9 and No. 10 are Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. Ekpre-Olomu is a very productive cover corner for the Ducks with some super measurables while Lewan surprised many coming back for his senior year. He certainly did well blocking Clowney in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.
Here's a look at the FOXSports.com 2014 NFL Draft Top 100.
Who made this list?
This is not a set list. This is a list of the top 100 draft prospects that could make themselves eligible for next year’s draft. The deadline for the underclassmen to declare will be sometime in mid-January.
Having said that, here’s a breakdown of who made this top 100.
Red-shirt seniors (14)
Red-shirt juniors (11)
Red-shirt sophomores (6)
Top 10 Seniors
1) Anthony Barr (OLB), UCLA
2) Jake Matthews (OT), Texas A&M
3) Taylor Lewan (OT), Michigan
4) C.J. Mosley (OLB), Alabama
5) Tajh Boyd (QB), Clemson
6) Louis Nix (DT), Notre Dame
7) Gabe Jackson (OG), Mississippi State
8) Trent Murphy (OLB), Stanford
9) Aaron Murray (QB), Georgia
10) Zack Martin (OT)Notre Dame
You better have a quarterback if you are going to compete in today’s NFL. It’s sports most important position more than ever.
Jacksonville, Cleveland, Arizona, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay are just a few teams that will quarterback hunting in this next draft and it looks as if there could be quite a buffet of signal callers.
Already mentioned above are Bridgewater and Manziel. There are four more quarterbacks that land inside the top 32 prospects. Checking in at No. 11 is UCLA’s Brett Hundley. Just behind him is Oregon’s Marcus Mariota at No. 14. Clemson Tajh Boyd is No. 20 while Aaron Murray sits at No. 32.
A.J. McCarron (Alabama), Braxton Miller (Ohio State), Derek Carr (Fresno State), Zach Mettenberger (LSU), and Stephen Morris (Miami) all made this list as well.
There’s still a very long way to go and it’s early. But it appears that there are some quality quarterbacks that could make themselves eligible for this draft.
There are a handful of players that have seen their stock rise over the first month of the college football season. There are a handful of quarterbacks that have played well but two come to mind that made this list in Derek Carr (Fresno State) and Zach Mettenberger (LSU). Carr’s had a terrific start to the season. Perhaps no one has surprised as much as Mettenberger, who has really excelled and developed under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
Speaking of LSU, Odell Beckman (No. 52) has had a super start to this season, catching a ton of big passes from Mettenberger. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks (No. 57) has been on absolute fire for the Beavers. This Oregon State standout has already caught 52 passes for over 800 yards and nine touchdowns. Speaking of wide receiver, did you see what Mike Evans (Texas A&M) did against Alabama? In case you missed it Evans racked up 279 receiving yards against the national champions.
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon (No. 58) is averaging over ten yards per carry.
Arizona State running back Marion Grice (No. 84) leads the nation with 12 touchdowns.
Clemson outside linebacker Victor Beasley (No. 62) has already picked up six sacks.
Don’t forget about CrowellIsaiah Crowell was one of the top recruits in the 2011 class. He signed with the University of Georgia and was on his way to be the next big time running back for the Dawgs. But he eventually left the program because of off the field issues. Crowell ended up at Alabama State last year.
Those close to Crowell insists that he has grown up since he left Athens. He's already rushed for 595 yards and nine touchdowns. Perhaps he’s a little high at No. 73 but this kid has Sunday talent. There’s no denying that.
Crowell will have to interview incredibly well and prove to the coaches, scouts and front office personal that he has truly grown up to warrant a high selection.
Pac 12 coming up big
The SEC still leads the way with the most potential draft prospects. The SEC accounts for 23 players on this list. They narrowly edged the Pac 12, who had 21. The ACC had 17, followed by the Big 10 with 12, the Big 12 with seven, and the AAC with four.
Last year there were a handful of prospects who had significant injuries the prior season. Those injuries hurt their draft stock. Who got hit in this pool?
Perhaps the hardest is Florida defensive lineman Dominique Easley. He would have likely been a high first round selection but suffered an ACL injury last week while at practice. Easley now checks in at No. 94. Certainly a good rehab could bolster his draft stock. This was Easley’s second knee injury as a Gator.
FOXSports.com 2014 NFL Draft Top 100
Jamie has been covering college football recruiting since 1992 and is entering his ninth year with Scout.com and FOXSportsNext. He’s currently a National Recruiting Analyst and Manager for the state of Florida. Jamie is also covering the NFL Draft for the network.