The good news is the 2014 NFL Draft will be underway in a matter of hours. The bad news is, we still have a matter of hours until the 2014 NFL Draft will be underway. Here’s some light reading to help burn some time.
Fastest: RB Dri Archer (Kent State)
Archer burned up the turf and sent scouts’ stopwatches spinning with a 4.26-second time in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, which was tops among all performers (second best was Brandin Cooks with a 4.33). Archer was also tops among running backs with a 6.86 in the three-cone and 4.06 in the 20-yard shuttle.
Strongest: C Russell Bodine (North Carolina)
A competitive and versatile lineman, Bodine is also strong. He hoisted up 42 reps of the 225-pound bench press at the Combine, which was six more than the next closest performer among all players (Matt Feiler, Bloomsburg).
Tallest: OT Matt Hall (Belhaven)
At 6-9, 323 pounds, Hall is the most vertically-inclined prospect in this year’s class. He would be the tallest Viking, surpassing right tackle
Shortest: RBs Zach Bauman (No. Arizona), Torrance Hunt (Ga. Southern), LaDarius Perkins (Miss. State)
Each of these three running backs measure in at 5-7, making them the shortest of the draft-eligible players listed on NFL.com. Other sites have shorter players listed, but we’re sticking with NFL.com as the authority on the matter, so Bauman, Hunt and Perkins take home the honor.
Most likely rookie Pro Bowler: Sammy Watkins (Clemson)
Watkins could follow a similar path to
Most likely Defensive Rookie of the Year: Khalil Mack (Buffalo)
Scheme diverse, physical against the run and explosive off the edge as a pass rusher – that combination of traits equips Mack better than any other defensive prospect to earn rookie of the year honors.
Most likely Offensive Rookie of the Year: TE Eric Ebron (North Carolina)
Taking the draft’s top tight end could make some sense for several teams in the No. 10-20 range, including the Lions (No. 10), Giants (No. 12), Steelers (No. 15), Cowboys (No. 16) and Ravens (No. 17). What do all of those teams have in common? An established, productive quarterback who will be able to find Ebron at the right time. That could lead to him becoming the first tight end to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Most Hyped: QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)
Do I really need to support this one with a paragraph?
Most Underrated: DT Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh)
Donald is the top player at his position, yet you won’t find him any higher than 10th on NFL.com’s mock draft page and ESPN’s experts have him going 12th overall (Todd McShay) and 14th overall (Mel Kiper, Jr.). He dominated at the Senior Bowl and may well be a Day 1 starter in the trenches at the NFL level.
Most Overrated: Having the No. 1 overall pick
Having the opportunity to make the first selection of the draft is good because you literally have the pick of the litter. Other than that, it’s overrated. It means you’re more than likely coming off a disappointing season and it could put you in a position to take the draft’s best player rather than the player in the draft that best fits your team. The only solace Houston can take this year is that it’s more affordable than ever to trade up into the No. 1 spot, so if they don’t feel comfortable with the top player on their board they may be able to trade out.
Safest: OL Zack Martin (Notre Dame)
You won’t find Martin’s name atop the list of any positional rankings along the offensive line, yet he can play all five and many of them he can play at a high level, including the most premium spot along the line – left tackle. He’s safe because he’s experienced (52 career games at Notre Dame, program record) and versatile along with being competitive, smart and tough.
Deepest Position: Wide Receiver
Using the NFL.com mock draft page and ESPN’s experts, it’s clear that receiver is the deepest positions in this draft – in the first round and throughout its entirety. NFL.com’s mock drafters average 5.6 receivers in the first round and ESPN’s experts forecast six (McShay) and eight (Kiper).
Hardest Name to Pronounce: OG Xavier Su'a-Filo (UCLA)
There are good secondary candidates for this award, such as Georgia Tech linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, San Jose State cornerback Bene Benwikere, Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard and Penn State safety Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, but we give the nod to Su’a-Filo.