2014 NFL Draft Prospects - Offensive Players to Watch in 2013

By John Harris
May 2, 2013

It's never too early. With this year's draft complete, we move on to 2014. Who are the guys to keep an eye out for in the fall?

The 2013 NFL Draft is over, and it's time to start thinking about the upcoming college football season. I'm sure as I watch more film from the 2013 season, there will be a few that I've forgotten or overlooked, but this will at least keep you interested looking forward.  So let it whet your appetite for August/September.  Be on lookout for the defensive prospects tomorrow.

Quarterbacks

  • #2 QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (RS Soph, 6-1, 200) - 2012 Heisman winner, most polarizing 2014 draft candidate
  • #10 QB AJ McCarron, Alabama (Sr, 6-4, 210) - led Alabama to second straight National championship
  • #11 QB Aaron Murray, Georgia (Sr, 6-1, 210) - soon to be four year starter, UGA record holder with something to prove
  • #10 QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson (Sr, 6-1, 225) - may be best dual threat QB in the senior class
  • #5 QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State (Jr, 6-2, 210) - release and accuracy must improve to be considered next level QB
  • #8 QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon (RS Soph, 6-4,196) - to think he's only scratched the surface is a scary thought
  • #8 QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU (Sr, 6-5, 230) - his 'Bama film, combined with a solid senior season could move him up
  • #3 QB Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (Sr, 6-6, 260) - has every physical tool to succeed, but had rough 2012 season
  • #10 QB David Fales, San Jose State (Sr, 6-3, 220) - most accurate QB in the nation, both % wise and ball placement
  • #17 QB Brett Hundley, UCLA (RS Soph, 6-3, 223) - finally, UCLA has competent QB
  • #4 QB Casey Pachall, TCU (Sr, 6-5, 226) - missed half of 2012 season having gone to rehab
  • #5 QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville (Jr, 6-3, 220) - the cream of this crop - tough, accurate, unflappable and a winner
  • #17 QB Keith Price, Washington (Sr, 6-1, 202) - '12 season left lot to be desired, but has weapons to help him bounce back
  • #4 QB Derek Carr, Fresno State (Sr, 6-3, 210) - if SMU's Margus Hunt returned his head, he'll have a strong senior season

Overall

This is one of the best overall groups we've seen in quite some time.  Dual threat guys mixed with pocket passers with size and arm strength makes this an eclectic, yet deep class potentially next April.  Fales is one that not many people know about, but he's a JUCO transfer who took over day one at SJSU and threw it well when he faced top competition.

Running Backs

  • #34 RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio State (Sr, 6-1, 235) - big back who has fit into Urban Meyer's offense well
  • #25 RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor (Jr, 5-10, 205) - when he hit his stride in '12, he flashed off-the-charts explosiveness
  • #33 RB/FB Trey Millard, Oklahoma (Sr, 6-2, 259) - surprised that OU doesn't use him more, but he's an intriguing prospect
  • #25 RB Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona (Jr, 5-10, 196) - flourished in Rich Rodgriguez's offense, but will be focus for opposing 'D's.
  • #25 RB Silas Redd, USC (Sr, 5-10, 200) - tore his meniscus in spring ball 
  • #32 RB James Wilder Jr, Florida State (Jr, 6-2, 226) - hasn't taken over the starting job, but has shown flashes
  • #26 RB Damien Williams, Oklahoma (Sr, 6-1, 214) - has every physical asset to be NFL back
  • #25 RB Bishop Sankey, Washington (Jr, 5-10, 200) - tough, stocky and quick, ran for over 1,400 yards in 2012
  • #44 FB JC Copeland, LSU (Sr, 6-1, 270) - a guard in the backfield who doesn't mince words when he hits you.
  • #5 RB Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky (6-0, 211) - 3,161 all purpose yards in 2012 - 2nd all-time in CFB history
  • #29 RB James Sims, Kansas (6-0, 202) - hard charging running back who was 1st team All-Big 12 in 2012
  • #22 RB David Fluellen, Toledo (6-0, 215) - three 200+ yard games in '12, nearly 1,500 yards total rushing

Overall

This isn't a stout group, with a handful of the best backs in the country not eligible for the draft - TJ Yeldon (Alabama), Todd Gurley (Georgia), Keith Marshall (Georgia) and Johnathan Gray (Texas) to name a few.  That said, Seastrunk could jump to the top of the list when this is said and done, if he stays healthy.  Keep an eye on Sankey - fun to watch and love his running style.

Wide Receivers

  • #9 WR Marqise Lee, USC (Jr, 6-0, 195) - does it all for the Trojans, either he or Watkins will be first WR off the board in '14
  • #87 WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt (Sr, 6-3, 205) - lanky, tough, athletic and productive - 94 rec, 1,323 yds & 8 TD
  • #2 WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson (Jr, 6-1, 200) - struggled finding groove in '12, yet one of most dangerous in this class
  • #8 WR Allen Robinson, Penn State (Jr, 6-3, 201) - set nearly every season receiving record at Penn State in 2012
  • #80 WR Chris Boyd, Vanderbilt (Sr, 6-4, 205) - he and Matthews are clearly the best duo in the nation
  • #15 WR Davante Adams, Fresno State (RS Soph, 6-2, 200) - freshman AA, caught 102 passes, 1,312 yards and 14 TD
  • #26 WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia (Jr, 6-1, 192) - needs a ton of polish, but the raw skills are attractive
  • #4 WR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin (Sr, 6-2, 180) - makes catches all over the field, averaged nearly 17 ypc in his career
  • #18 WR Eric Ward, Texas Tech (Sr, 6-0, 204) - strong after the catch, 82 receptions, 1,053 yards and 12 TD
  • #29 WR Austin Hill, Arizona (Jr, 6-3, 210) - plays even bigger than his 6-3 frame, 81 grabs, 1,364, yards and 11 TD
  • #2 WR Cody Hoffman, BYU (Sr, 6-4, 215) - what he could do with one of the quarterbacks listed above.  Wow.
  • #13 WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M (RS Soph, 6-5, 218) - b'ball player, still learning the game and that's scary…for opponents
  • #15 WR Jordan Taylor, Rice (Jr, 6-5, 210) - just get it in the vicinity and he'll find a way to make the catch
  • #15 WR Devin Street, Pitt (RS Sr., 6-4, 190) - 73 catches, 975 yards and five touchdowns
  • #3 WR Brandon Carter, TCU (Jr, 5-11, 186) - acrobatic receiver who can go get it in a crowd, 36 receptions and six TD
  • #17 WR Charlie Moore, Oklahoma State (Sr, 6-2, 202) - tremendous hands and strong across the middle
  • #87 WR/TE Tracy Moore, Oklahoma State (6-2, 215) - injury ended season four games into last year
  • #2 WR Kasen Williams, Washington (Jr, 6-2, 216) - Price's go-to receiver, high profile recruit that is paying dividends
  • #80 WR Jarvis Landry, LSU (Jr, 6-1, 195) - excellent route runner that starred over the last five weeks of 2012 season

Overall

Lee and Watkins lead this group and, more than likely, they'll be the first two WR off the board in 2014.  That said, it's a solid group with options in all rounds.  Keep an eye on the Vanderbilt duo - Matthews and Boyd.  Vandy hasn't had a pair of NFL prospects like this in quite some time.  If Hoffman can get some help from his quarterback in 2013, there's no telling what the 6-4, 215 pound senior can do.

Tight Ends

  • #88 TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia (Sr, 6-5, 258) - what he did in SEC champ game is just scratching surface of what he can do
  • #48 TE Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin (Sr, 6-4, 242) - another in long line of Wisconsin tight ends, only four TD in 2012
  • #22 TE/H-Back Jace Amaro, Texas Tech (Jr, 6-5, 257) - confident athlete that doesn't quite fit in TT offense, but will in NFL
  • #15 TE/H-Back Colt Lylera, Oregon (Jr, 6-5, 238) - the ultimate swiss army knife, can do it all in the passing game
  • #88 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington (Jr, 6-6, 266) - best of the class, but has recent DUI to move beyond
  • #35 TE Nick O'Leary, Florida State (Jr, 6-3, 238) - old school throwback with Mark Bavaro tendencies when he catches ball

Overall

If Seferian-Jenkins can walk the straight and narrow throughout the 2013 and curry favor with scouts after his recent off the field incident, he should be the top tight end in this class.  That said, Georgia's Lynch really caught my eye late in the season.  I really like his athleticism and ability to make something happen after the catch.

Offensive Linemen

  • #75 LT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M (Sr, 6-5, 305) - move to LT will increase his opportunity to be drafted in top ten
  • #61 G Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State (Sr, 6-4, 320) - perhaps more complete guard prospect than Chance Warmack
  • #68 G Chris Burnette, Georgia (Sr, 6-2, 322) - three year starter that has improved each year
  • #74 LT Antonio 'Tiny' Richardson, Tennessee (Jr, 6-6, 332) - Tiny doesn't do him justice, more nimble than his size indicates
  • #64 C Travis Swanson, Arkansas (Sr, 6-5, 305) - started 38 times for Arkansas, 2nd team All-SEC by AP
  • #67 T Wesley Johnson, Vanderbilt (Sr, 6-5, 285) - All SEC honorable mention and three year starter
  • #61 G Spencer Long, Nebraska (Sr, 6-4, 305) - pulls and gets out in front of backs in Nebraska run game
  • #71 LT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama (Jr, 6-6, 311) - mark it down, the best OL in this class, has the full package
  • #79 G Ryan Groy, Wisconsin (Sr, 6-5, 322) - Wisconsin continues to spit out interior prospects and Groy is the next one.
  • #77 LT Taylor Lewan, Michigan (Sr, 6-8, 309) - for the most part, he slowed down Jadeveon Clowney in Outback Bowl
  • #64 G John Urschel, Penn State (Sr, 6-3, 307) - nasty guard who has improved in pass protection
  • #68 G/T Cyril Richardson, Baylor (Sr, 6-5, 335) - one of my favorite prospects if he's focused and in shape
  • #78 LT Cornelius Lucas, Kansas State (Sr, 6-9, 324) - will more than likely move to RT, but he's a massive mass of man
  • #64 C/G Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma (Sr, 6-3, 288) - seemingly played everywhere on the offensive line.
  • #54 LT David Yankey, Stanford (Sr, 6-5, 301) - has played all over the OL, sometimes even changing positions during games
  • #63 G/T Brandon Thomas, Clemson (Sr, 6-3, 300) - 1st team All-ACC at tackle in 2012
  • #52 C Bryan Stork, Florida State (Sr, 6-4, 312) - leader of Florida State's OL, versatile - has played guard and center
  • #75 LT Cameron Erving, Florida State (Jr, 6-6, 309) - can get overextended in pass protection, but has a ton of potential
  • #77 RT Seantrel Henderson, Miami (Sr, 6-8, 340) - has turned into a truly big time right tackle at the U
  • #72 G Mason Walters, Texas (Sr, 6-6, 320) - nasty and grimy, likes contact and not afraid to mix it up
  • #59 LT Tayo Fabuluje, TCU (Jr, 6-7, 315) - feet and technique need a little work, but hard to find T with his physical build
  • #70 LT Zack Martin, Notre Dame (Sr, 6-4, 304) - great technician, doesn't drive DL off the ball, but complete tackle prospect
  • #73 RT Cameron Fleming, Stanford (Sr, 6-6, 314) - reminiscent of former Cardinal OL Jonathan Martin, similar issues too
  • #56 G Xavier Su'a Filo, UCLA (Jr, 6-3, 304) - took Mormon mission - missed two years (played LT as frosh, some last year)

Overall

It'll be hard to top last year's offensive linemen class, but this group could get close with LT prospects Matthews, Lewan and Kouandjio, RT prospect Seantrel Henderson and G prospect Gabe Jackson.  Keep an eye on a couple of other prospects who could jump into the first round with solid 2013 performances - 'Tiny' Richardson at Tennessee and Zack Martin at Notre Dame

All-Purpose

  • #2 QB/RB/WR Kain Colter, Northwestern (Sr, 6-0, 190) - can play four positions, luckily for opponents not all at once.
  • #5 RB/PR/KR Venric Mark, Northwestern (Sr, 5-8, 175) - showed SEC speed in Gator Bowl against Mississippi State
  • #5 AP Brendan Bigelow, Cal (Jr, 5-10, 190) - he can fly, but in Sonny Dykes new 'O', it'll be interesting to see how he fits
  • #5 RB/AP Charles Sims, Houston (Sr, 6-0, 213) - missed last three games of '12, but can do a little bit of everything
  • #5 WR/AP Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State (Jr, 5-10, 178) - electric talent that caught 101 passes last season
  • #6 WR/RB/AP De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon (Jr, 5-9, 173) - wow, just, well, wow
  • #1 RB/AP Dri Archer, Kent State (Sr, 5-8, 175) - pocket dynamite, turns on a dime, burst to the edge, change of direction
  • #8 RB/WR/AP Trey Burton, Florida (Sr, 6-3, 223) - Gators play him all over the place, but he makes a variety of plays

Overall

If DAT leaves Oregon, then he'll draw immediate comparisons to former West Virginia star Tavon Austin.  But, he doesn't have the shake that Austin has, but no one catches Thomas from behind.  As such, those two aren't readily comparable.  That said, Archer is a more apt comparison to Austin with his ability to stop, start, change direction and then beat teams with his speed.  Sims is one of my favorites as I've watched him for the last four years.  The Cougars were lost late last year without his combination running and receiving skills.

Photos: College Football Performance, BayNews9, Phil Steele

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