Outside of reviewing how each prospect has done three years down the road, it’s only fair to see how I did evaluating each prospect. Listed below is my final Top 32 and analysis of what went right and what went wrong.
My Top 32 Prospects for the 2014 Draft
1. Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina
2. Khalil Mack LB Buffalo
3. Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
4. Greg Robinson OT Auburn
5. Sammie Watkins WR Clemson
6. Tim Jernigan DT Florida State
7. Justin Gilbert CB Oklahoma State
8. Anthony Barr LB UCLA
9. Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
10. Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh
11. Odell Beckham Jr. WR LSU
12. Brandin Cooks WR Oregon State
13. Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State
14. Zach Martin OT Notre Dame
15. Kyle Fuller CB Virginia Tech
16. Eric Ebron TE North Carolina
17. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix S Alabama
18. Kony Ealy DE Missouri
19. Louis Nix DT Notre Dame
20. Dee Ford DE Auburn
21. Scott Crichton DE Oregon State
22. Gabe Jackson G Mississippi State
23. Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
24. Calvin Pryor S Louisville
25. CJ Mosley LB Alabama
26. Kelvin Benjamin WR Florida State
27. Derek Carr QB Fresno State
28. Kyle Van Noy LB BYU
29. Blake Bortels QB UCF
30. Lamarcus Joyner S Florida State
31. Stephon Tuitt DE Notre Dame
32. Jace Amaro TE Texas Tech
Where I was right
Jake Matthews over Greg Robinson
I still had Greg Robinson ranked as a top 5 prospect, but from early on I saw Matthews as the better prospect and his skill set translating well to the league. Now Matthews may not be the third best player from this class, I doubt the Falcons are second guessing their selection of him.
The guard out of Mississippi State was one of my favorite prospects coming out of the draft and was one of the few that had him this high. I was surprised to see Jackson fall to the third round, but he’s proven to be one of the best young guards in the league and a big reason why the Raiders offensive line is considered one of the three best in the league.
Derek Carr as Top QB
Throughout the whole process Derek Carr was my top quarterback with a strong arm and playmaking ability. Now I didn’t see him being a top 10 prospect or pick, but for sure thought he’d go in the first round and was surprised to see him fall to the second round. While the other quarterbacks have struggled in the league, Carr is continuing to develop into a top end starter.
Where I went wrong
I knew that Gilbert was raw and more of an athlete playing the position even comparing him to Antonio Cromartie. What I didn’t know (and maybe the Browns either) was that he was a mess off the field and that would cause him to be cut from two teams already.
Tim Jernigan over Aaron Donald
While it’s not that I didn’t like Donald, having him 10th overall, but I was heads over heels for Jernigan. I saw a prospect that can play both the run and the rush the passer. Now Jernigan has had a good career so far helping the Ravens have the best run defense in the league but Donald has developed into one of the best defensive players in the league very quickly.
Injuries derailed his career, but there is no reason that Nix should have been a top 20 prospect in this class and was drafted in the third round. I fell in love with his power and manhandling college offensive lineman and assumed that would continue in the NFL. Nix is currently unsigned and looks like he may be out of the league already.
Crichton had an explosive first step that allowed him to get into the backfield for 22.5 sacks and 51 TFL and for me to have him as my 21st rated prospect in the class. Instead he failed to make an impact in the league only playing 147 snaps in two years and registering zero sacks. He was recently cut by the Vikings and picked up by the Bills. He’ll get a shot, but it doesn’t look good for the former Beaver.
It wasn’t that I hated Mike Evans (23rd overall), but I was not sold on him as a number one receiver an a top ten prospect. I got way too hung up on him not being able to separation and didn’t put a big enough emphasis on his ability to win contested catches. Evans have been a force for the Bucs and is in the discussion as one of the 10 best receivers in the league.
My New Top 5
1. Aaron Donald
2. Khalil Mack
3. Jadeveon Clowney
4. Odell Beckham
5. Zach Martin
6. Derek Carr
7. Mike Evans
8. Jason Verrett
9. Martavious Bryant
10. Gabe Jackson