30 Nov 2013 11:13 AM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Jadeveon Clowney tackles Florida’s Trey Burton. (Image Source: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Here’s a look at some of the top NFL Draft prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft taking the field tonight:
1) DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina, JR: He’s not having the type of junior season many predicted, but he remains the best NFL prospect in college football. Clowney’s freakish combination of size and athleticism is still unrivaled by any defender. Tonight: 7:00 vs. Clemson (ESPN2)
2) OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA, SR: For those down on Clowney, Barr is a tempting edge defender who combines speed and athleticism with an NFL-ready frame. A defensive playmaker who can get into the backfield against the run and as a pass rusher. Tonight: 8:00 @ USC (ABC)
3) WR Marquise Lee, USC, JR: A better football player than he is an athlete and he’s a pretty good athlete. Lee has elite ball skills, he knows how to runs routes, gets open against zone and man defenses, is dangerous after the catch and he can stretch the field. Tonight: 8:00 vs. UCLA (ABC)
4) WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson, JR: A better prospect than his former teammate DeAndre Hopkins, he’s right there with Lee among wide outs. Watkins has an extra gear and might be the best big-play threat heading into the 2014 NFL Draft. Tonight: 7:00 @ South Carolina (ESPN2)
5) NT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame, JR: As rare as Clowney’s skills are, those of Louis Nix III are in that same unique realm. The Golden Domer is a legit 340-pound nose tackle, who is blessed with superb hand and foot quickness. Probably the top run defender in the draft. Unfortunately (or fortunately in Stanford’s case) Nix is out, but he’s too good not to mention. Tonight: Out (Knee Injury)
6) OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M, SR: That’s right, Matthews is A&M’s top pro prospect. He’s tough, physical, smart, durable and has great bloodlines. He plays with leverage, can be a powerful run blocker and handles his own against both speed and bull rushers. Tonight: 7:45 @ Missouri (ESPN)
7) DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame, JR: Scheme versatile, Tuitt has prototypical length and strength to play the five-technique in a 3-4 scheme or DT in a 4-3 D. Capable of taking on double teams, Tuitt is stout at the point of attack and quick enough to get into the backfield. Tonight: 7:00 @ Stanford (FOX)
8) QB Brett Hundley, UCLA, RS SO: He’s far from a finished product and should probably come back to school for another season, but there’s no doubting Hundley has the tools to play at the next level. He has the size, the arm and the athleticism. Tonight: 8:00 @ USC (ABC)
9) QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, RS SO: As a sophomore, Manziel has shown improved arm strength and accuracy to go along with his freelance-style playmaking skills. However, I have my doubts as to whether or not his body can hold up to the NFL pounding. Tonight: 7:45 @ Missouri (ESPN)
10) HYB Vic Beasley, Clemson, JR: Extremely undersized and still a little raw, Beasley comes with some questions, but you can’t doubt his athleticism, nor his potential as a pass rusher coming off the edge. Critical question: can he play standing up in a 3-4 scheme as an OLB? Tonight: 7:00 @ South Carolina (ESPN2)
On Deck: 11) WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M, RS SO; 12) OT Antonio Richardson, Tennessee, JR; 13) OLB Trent Murphy, Stanford, SR; 14) OG David Yankey, Stanford, SR; 15) DT Will Sutton, Arizona State, SR; 16) DT Dan McCullers, Tennessee, SR; 17) RB Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona, JR; 18) DE Morgan Breslin, USC, SR (Injured); 19) DE Kony Ealy, Missouri, JR; 20) OT Cedric Ogbuehi, Texas A&M, JR
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.
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