The NFL Draft is almost here, and the tension among fans is palpable.
While some have used the extra time to learn about more prospects, the other 95 percent have had their fill of mock drafts, rumors and being told what their favorite team will or should do, so how about something a little different?
Over the next three days I’ll provide my favorite prospects at each position, not who I graded the highest, but guys I like to watch play the position the most, and fill out a team with those. Tuesday, I will fill out a team with the more highly regarded prospects who I want no part of, before providing my board of the top 100 players (over at Arizona Sports I will provide my best guess at what the Cardinals 120 player big board may look like and show the difference in a general board and a team specific board).
Here are my 2014 NFL Draft crushes.
Quarterback: Blake Bortles, Central Florida
I have made no secret about my affection for the way Bortles plays the quarterback position, and since September I have had my eye on Bortles as a round two target for the Cardinals.
I saw him like Colin Kaepernick, a guy who could sit for a year or two, work out his mechanical kinks and become a potential franchise quarterback.
Of course that was blown out the window now that he may go in the top ten.
Running Back: Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State
The best running back I graded in 2014, Crowell possesses the size, speed, vision combo of many elite runners, if only he could keep himself out of trouble.
Wide Receivers: Odell Beckham Jr, LSU; Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt; Allen Robinson, Penn State
While they may not be as dynamic as Watkins, or as physically imposing as Evans, I really enjoy the way these three play the game.
Tight End: C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
The ideal inline tight end, with plus-blocking skills and the ability to go out into routes and catch the ball, Fiedorowicz isn’t the upside athlete of Ebron or Sefarian-Jenkins, but he’s more complete and reliable on and off the field.
Offensive Line: Joel Bitonio, LT Nevada; Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG UCLA;Weston Richburg, C Colorado State; Trai Turner, OG LSU; Billy Turner, OT North Dakota State
Athleticism, a nasty demeanor, and smarts, that’s what I want in offensive linemen, and that’s what this group would give me, led by Richburg at the center position.
Inside I have a mauler at right guard in Turner, and an impressive move guard in Su’a-Filo, allowing me to run a traditional power run game, with tackles that show the ability to cover the backside with their athleticism.
Defensive line: Stephon Tuitt, DE Notre Dame; Justin Ellis, NT Louisiana Tech; Kareem Martin, DE North Carolina
Athleticism, the ability to play in a 3-4, and bring pressure without having to send extra rushers, the defensive line also has two excellent run stoppers, but Martin is the wild card.
Linebackers: Khalil Mack, OLB Buffalo; Jordan Zumwalt, ILB UCLA; C.J. Mosley, ILB Alabama; Kyle Van Noy, OLB BYU
This is the one group where I would have to rely heavily on day one and two picks, but Mack, Mosley and Van Noy would be an ideal grouping at the linebacker positions.
Zumwalt offers athleticism and an inside thumpers mentality.
Defensive backs: Kyle Fuller, CB Virginia Tech; Jimmie Ward, S Northern Illinois; Terrence Brooks, S Florida State; Pierre Desir, CB Lindenwood
Athleticism, versatility, and the ability to allow me to play different types of coverage’s on the back end, this grouping would come mostly out of day one and day two, but they are my favorites in this class at their respective positions.
How about yours?
- 2014 NFL Draft: Arizona Cardinals appear to have some confidence in Ryan Lindley
- 2014 NFL mock draft grades: Arizona Cardinals get B, B+ for picks of Ealy, Bucannon
- 2014 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock says Arizona Cardinals have no chance at Anthony Barr
- 2014 NFL Draft: Mike Mayock says Ryan Shazier not a fit Arizona Cardinals
- NFL mock draft 2014: Arizona Cardinals take Zack Martin in 1st, A.J. McCarron in 4th round