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The Observer’s Top 100 NFL draft prospects

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/07/17/48/1jvyCz.Em.138.jpeg|233
    Robert Willett - rwillett@newsobserver.com
    South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is NFL ready and plenty motivated to get after NFL quarterbacks.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/07/17/48/YE7qq.Em.138.jpeg|210
    Joe Robbins - Getty Images
    Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack could easily be the top player in this year’s draft. Mack has supreme instincts and tackling abilities.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/07/17/48/AFaam.Em.138.jpeg|237
    David T. Foster III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins has speed and size. He’s a franchise wide receiver.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/05/07/17/48/eJXrQ.Em.138.jpeg|441
    Mike Zarrilli - Getty Images
    College defenses couldn’t stop Texas A&M quarterback Manziel, and his size won’t hinder him much in the NFL because he’s so dynamic.

1 Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina: The top player in college for two seasons, Clowney is NFL ready. He’ll be plenty motivated to get after NFL quarterbacks.

2 Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo: He could easily be the top player in this year’s draft. Mack has supreme instincts and tackling abilities.

3 Greg Robinson, T, Auburn: The most athletic lineman in the draft, Robinson could be a Pro Bowler for a decade.

4 Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson: Speed and size kill, and Watkins has both in spades. He’s a franchise wide receiver.

5 Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M: The most polished offensive lineman in the draft, Matthews has the football pedigree that makes him a solid starter.

6 Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M: The type of receiver who makes defensive backs look silly when he goes up for a catch.

7 Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh: Donald is the most consistently disruptive defensive lineman in the draft. His smaller size won’t matter.

8 Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M: College defenses couldn’t stop Manziel, and his size won’t hinder him much in the NFL because he’s so dynamic.

9 Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma: Gilbert has a nose for the ball, and he’s the best corner in this year’s draft.

10 Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan: Lewan plays through the whistle and knows when to turn on his mean streak. His team will love him, and the opponents will hate him.

11 Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: A fantastically fast tight end who needs to work on his drops.

12 Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: Very fast with good, strong hands, Beckham is the last in the elite receivers class.

13 Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA: Barr is very tall (6-5) for a linebacker, and he can be used as an edge rusher.

14 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama: The anchor of one of college football’s best defensive backfields for two seasons.

15 Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: Dennard had 10 career interceptions.

16 Zack Martin, T, Notre Dame: Martin allowed only one sack in his final two seasons with the Irish.

17 Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida: Bortles has the prototypical quarterback body, but will he be successful?

18 C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama: He had 215 tackles in his final two seasons for the Crimson Tide.

19 Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: The fastest receiver of the class, he had 128 catches last year.

20 Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: Had two interceptions as a senior before an injury.

21 Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State: Led the Big Ten in solo tackles (101) and tackles for loss (22.5 ) as a junior.

22 Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame: Totaled 21.5 sacks in his career, including 12 in his sophomore season.

23 Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California: Six-foot receiver with more than 2,800 yards in his final two seasons.

24 Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville: Has a reputation as a big hitter.

25 Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, UCLA: Has experience at tackle but has shorter arms that slide him to guard.

26 Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington: Won the Mackey Award for the country’s top tight end.

27 Jason Verrett, CB, TCU: A two-time All-America selection who had eight picks in final two seasons.

28 Jimmie Ward, SS, Northern Illinois: Ran a 4.47 at his pro day despite a foot injury that sidelined him at the combine.

29 Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State: Suspended three times in college but said he has matured.

30 Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State: A reported failed drug test at the combine may decrease his stock.

31 Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville: On tape he’s the best quarterback in the draft class.

32 Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: A disruptive nose tackle nicknamed “Irish Chocolate.”

33 Dee Ford, DE, Auburn: Disruptive edge rusher who impressed many at the Senior Bowl.

34 Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State: A 6-foot-6 receiver who is raw but can evolve into a stud.

35 Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State: Had 32 passes defensed in his final two seasons.

36 Morgan Moses, T, Virginia: Long arms but doesn’t bend well and lacks consistency.

37 Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State: The top running back entering a league that has devalued the position.

38 Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: A first-team all-conference pick who only bench pressed 22 reps.

39 Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU: Couldn’t duplicate junior season that saw him tally 13 sacks.

40 Cyrus Kouandjio, T, Alabama: Questions about the health of his knee make the first-team All-American fall.

41 Joel Bitonio, T, Nevada: Shorter arms may make him better suited inside at guard.

42 Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: A former tight end, Hageman has speed for his size.

43 Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State: Ten interceptions in his final two seasons.

44 Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana: A hot name in the weeks leading up to the draft.

45 Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: Set FBS record with 1,352 receiving yards as a tight end in 2013.

46 Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona: Had 3,814 rushing yards in his final two seasons.

47 Lamarcus Joyner, DB, Florida State: First-team All-America as a senior with two picks.

48 Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State: The state of Mississippi’s top player in 2013.

49 Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State: Led major college football with 131 receptions; has decent speed.

50 Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State: Had three sacks in each of his three seasons with the Beavers.

51 DaQuan Jones, DT, Penn State: Jones had a team-high 11.5 sacks last season.

52 Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State: Passed for more than 5,000 yards as a senior with the Bulldogs.

53 Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson: Played well despite playing behind DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins his entire career.

54 Marcus Martin, C, Southern California: Ran a 5.35 40-yard dash after missing combine with knee injury.

55 Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State: One of the best broad jumps of the combine and has good size.

56 Jack Mewhort, T, Ohio State: Great size and can play right tackle and guard.

57 Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt: Smart, big receiver who set an SEC record for receptions.

58 Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech: Had 12.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss in 2013.

59 Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame: The 6-foot-6 tight end had 498 receiving yards last year.

60 Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado: Rebounded nicely from ACL tear to catch 10 touchdowns as a junior.

61 Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville: Had 14.5 sacks last season and was the AAC Player of the Year.

62 Chris Borland, ILB, Wisconsin: Second-team All-America who had 15 sacks in his career.

63 Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU: Mettenberger looked great at his pro day coming off an ACL tear.

64 Dominique Easley, DT, Florida: If not for two ACL tears in his history, Easley would be a top-10 pick.

65 Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia: Works well as a pass-catching back with 2,100 career receiving yards.

66 Billy Turner, T, North Dakota State: Ran the 40 in 5.16 at 315 pounds.

67 Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska: A converted receiver with fantastic size but still raw.

68 C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa: Had six touchdowns for the Hawkeyes as a blocking tight end.

69 Trent Murphy, DE, Stanford: An All-American who had 15 sacks as a senior.

70 Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU: Had 1,809 receiving yards in 12 career starts.

71 Jimmy Garappolo, QB, Eastern Illinois: Threw for 5,050 yards last season.

72 Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: Undersized with big hands and 36 touchdowns in final two seasons.

73 Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson: He had 13 pass break-ups in 2013 for the Tigers.

74 Ed Stinson, DE, Alabama: Didn’t participate at the combine with a groin injury.

75 Will Clarke, DE, West Virginia: A former basketball player, Clarke had six sacks last year.

76 Devon Kennard, OLB, Southern California: Had nine sacks and 13 tackles for loss as a senior.

77 Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina: At 5-foot-9, Ellington caught 49 passes last season.

78 Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood: Physical corner best used in man-to-man coverage.

79 Antonio Richardson, T, Tennessee: Massive body but slow-moving parts.

80 Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State: Totaled 1,016 rushing yards for the national champs.

81 Telvin Smith, OLB, Florida State: Had 15 tackles in the national title game.

82 Ego Ferguson, DT, LSU: A force in his only season as a starter, he needs to get stronger.

83 Andre Williams, RB, Boston College: Led the nation in rushing yards and was a finalist for the Heisman.

84 Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina: A crafty lineman who comes from a strong line of recent Tar Heel linemen.

85 Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi State: Had a dip in production in his final season.

86 Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas: Blocked for three 3,000-yard passers in his career.

87 Anthony Johnson, DT, LSU: A seven sacks in his three-year career.

88 Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU: Averaged 116.8 rushing yards per game but character questions.

89 Tre Mason, RB, Auburn: Had 1,816 rushing yards last season for the national runners-up.

90 Cameron Fleming, T, Stanford: A smart player who blocked for Andrew Luck and Kevin Hogan.

91 Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama: Can be a solid edge rusher with great length.

92 Terrance West, RB, Towson: Posted 2,519 rushing yards in 2013.

93 Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State: Set a school record with 50 starts and never missed a game.

94 Josh Mauro, DE, Stanford: Had 12.5 tackles for loss as a senior.

95 Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor: A first-team All-American at Baylor, Richardson struggled at the Senior Bowl.

96 Ja’Waun James, T, Tennessee: Set a school record for most starts (49) by an offensive lineman.

97 Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford: Exploded his senior year with 1,709 rushing yards after playing baseball.

98 Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas State: Had 17.5 sacks in final two seasons for the Hogs.

99 James Hurst, T, North Carolina: Still recovering from a broken leg suffered in bowl game.

100 Josh Huff, WR, Oregon: Totaled 1,140 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in 2013 for the Ducks.

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