My highest ranked defensive end prospect since Bruce Smith came out of Virginia Tech in 1985. Clowney's defensive playmaking skills are off the charts and the 6-5 ½, 270 pounder has great edge speed and closing skills to the ballcarrier. Despite constant double-team blocking he recorded 54 tackles, 23 ½ tackles for losses, 3 forced fumbles and 13 quarterback sacks in 2012.
2. Teddy Bridgewater — Quarterback —Louisville
Bridgewater is a tremendous overall athlete who has excellent size, a strong arm and he has 1st rate accuracy skills in the pocket. His ability to move around outside the pocket is outstanding and he buys extra time for his receivers to get open downfield. The 6-3, 220-pounder completed 66.9% of his passes in 2012, he threw for 5,847 yards and 41 touchdowns.
3. Tajh Boyd — Quarterback — Clemson
Boyd reminds me in so many ways of former Tennessee Titans QB. Steve McNair. The Clemson standout passer is one tough dude hanging in the pocket until the last second to make a throw, he throws accurately from the pocket, he has excellent mobility skills and he is dangerous running with the ball. He completed 67.2% of his passes in 2012. Boyd passed for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns as a junior. He would have been the first QB. off the 2013 NFL draft board, had he decided to come out early.
4. Marqise Lee — Wide Receiver — USC
The 2012 Fred Biletnikoff Award winner caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 scores for the Trojans. The 6-0, 200 pound Lee has very sure hands, great foot speed and explosive openfield moves. Lee is not only a gold chip "stretch" receiver, but he also excels in the return game averaging 28.5 yards per runback on kickoff returns.
5. Jake Matthews — Offensive Tackle — Texas A&M
Jake has some strong football genes in him being the son of former Houston Oilers NFL Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. The 6-5, 305 pounder is a very good technician, he is a strong in-line run blocker and a very good pass protector. Has started for the Aggies since midway into his freshman season. This season he plays left tackle for the Aggies.
6. Taylor Lewan — Offensive Tackle — Michigan
Lewan is tough, strong, a mauler as a run blocker and his size and length makes him a very good pass protector. The 6-7, 310 pounder has 35 starts at left tackle for the Wolverines and he moves his feet so smoothly for a big man. He has skills in the same area code as another former Wolverine standout in former Miami Dolphins and current St. Louis Rams left tackle Jake Long.
7. Sammy Watkins — Wide Receiver — Clemson
The former prep track star put up great numbers as a freshman totaling 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 12 scores, but DeAndre Hopkins became the "go-to" wide receiver in 2012. Watkins now becomes the #1 receiver for the Tigers in 2013 and will better his 57 catch, 708 yards and 3 touchdown totals of 2012. This young man can really stretch the deep areas of the field, but he needs to refine his short to medium pass catching area of the game in 2013.
8. Anthony Barr — Outside Linebacker — UCLA
Former running back who displayed tremendous openfield running skills and defensive trackdown instincts in 2012. Barr recorded 83 tackles, 21 ½ tackles for losses and 13 ½ QB. sacks at outside linebacker for the Bruins. Anthony's dad, Tony Brooks, and 3 uncles all played in the NFL.
9. Austin Seferian-Jenkins — Tight End — Washington
Jenkins is the most dangerous pass catching tight end in college football. His 6-6, 260 pound frame and outstanding eye-hand coordination makes him a huge threat in the short to medium range areas of the field and he has the speed to stretch the deep middle. An April DUI charge will not scare away NFL teams from falling in love with his tremendous football talent.
10. Cyrus Kouandjio — Offensive Tackle — Alabama
The former Parade Magazine All-American has quickly developed into one of the premier left tackles in college football. Cyrus is a quick-footed tackle, who knows how to use his arms and hands well in pass protection sets and he is a power-packed run blocker. Kouandjio is a very athletic and flexible 6-5 ½, 310 pounder.
11. De'Anthony Thomas — Halfback/Wide Receiver/Return Man — Oregon Thomas will be the 2013 version of what Tavon Austin brought to the table for West Virginia in 2012. Thomas has world-class sprinter's speed and he is so difficult to bring down in one-on-one situations out on the field. Last season Thomas rushed for 701 yards and averaged 7.6 yards per carry, he caught 45 passes for 445 yards and 5 scores, and the 5-9, 180 pounder averaged 17.1 yards per return as a punt returner and 24.3 yards per runback as a kickoff returner.
12. Brett Hundley — Quarterback — UCLA
Hundley has only started one season for the Bruins, but the 6-3, 225 pound strong-armed QB. really impressed me with his accuracy throwing from the pocket and his ability to find the correct open receiver downfield in his first season as a starter. Brett completed 66.5% of his throws for 3,740 yards, 29 TD's and only 9 pass interceptions in 2012. Keep an eye on the development of Hundley in 2013 and he could vault up into the top-5 of this list quickly.
13. Johnny Manziel — Quarterback — Texas A&M
"Johnny Football" made quite an impact in his first season playing college football in 2012. The redshirt freshman won the Heisman Trophy and he looked so much like a younger version of what I saw in Steve Young when he was at Brigham Young. The 6-0 ½, 200 pounder completed 68% of his passes in 2012. He also threw for 3,706 yards, 26 touchdowns and 9 pass interceptions going up against the toughest competition college football can offer in the SEC. His foot speed and running skills made him quite a threat as he compiled 1,410 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. What impressed me the most was his quick release and accuracy skills throwing from the pocket.
14. Kyle Van Noy — Outside Linebacker — Brigham Young
Ezekiel Ansah got most of the attention last season due to his great athleticism and his journey into football, but the best defensive player on the Cougar team was Van Noy. The former prep wide receiver and track sprinter racked up 53 tackles, a team-leading 22 tackles for losses, 13 QB. sacks and he forced 6 fumbles. Van Noy is quite a threat coming off the edge and he has developed a very strong array of moves and countermoves to get away from potential blockers.
15. Stephon Tuitt — Defensive End — Notre Dame
Tutt is a big defensive end measuring in at 6-5 ½, and 305 pounds and he is perfect for a 3-4 alignment defense. But what stands out is his ability to push the pocket either off the edge or inside. Tuitt racked up 41 tackles, 13 tackles for losses and 12 QB. sacks last season for the Irish.
16. C.J. Mosley — Outside Linebacker — Alabama
17. Antonio Richardson — Offensive Tackle — Tennessee
18. Bradley Roby — Cornerback — Ohio State
19. Donte Moncrief — Wide Receiver — Ole Miss
20. Jason Verrett — Cornerback — TCU
21. La'el Collins — Offensive Tackle — LSU
22. Anthony Johnson — Defensive Tackle — LSU
23. Louis Nix III — Defensive Tackle — Notre Dame
24. Will Sutton — Defensive Tackle — Arizona State
25. A.J. McCarron — Quarterback — Alabama
26. Larry Webster — Defensive End — Bloomsburg State
27. Adrian Hubbard — Outside Linebacker — Alabama
28. Jordan Matthews — Wide Receiver — Vanderbilt
29. Ryan Shazier — Outside Linebacker — Ohio State
30. Jackson Jeffcoat — Defensive End — Texas
31. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu — Cornerback — Oregon
32. Brandon Coleman Wide Receiver — Rutgers
Later in the week (33-64) on my list of top players for the 2014 NFL Draft