Former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney went wire to wire as the top prospect in the Scout.com 2014 NFL Draft Top 100 rankings. From this time one year ago until now, it's always been Clowney.
On Thursday we will see if the Texans make him the No. 1 overall draft pick.
Houston, you are on the clock.
While Clowney didn't post big numbers and have a productive 2013 campaign, his size, speed, athletic ability and upside are, quite frankly, off the charts. I said it before and I will say it again - Clowney is the best non-quarterback prospect to enter the draft is quite some time. The mystery is will he ever live up to his incredible ceiling?
Rounding out the next three picks are some usual suspects in outside linebacker Khalil Mack, offensive tackle Greg Robinson and wide receiver Sammy Watkins. They check in at No. 2, 3 and 4 respectively.
There's a new entry into the top 10 and he comes in the final top 100 at No. 5, defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He has been a fast riser, after a stellar Senior Bowl week and an outstanding performance at the NFL Combine. This is coming off a big senior season. How big? Donald was the first Pitt player to be a unanimous All-American selection since linebacker Hugh Green (1980). He won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year. That's some serious hardware coming off a year in which Donald recorded 59 tackles, 28 tackles for a loss, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles and 16 quarterback hurries. Those are some serious numbers for a defensive tackle.
Speaking of numbers how about the 4.68 forty he posted. His 10 yard split was almost identical to Clowney's. This is an ultra-quick tackle that plays with great leverage and an outstanding motor.
The No. 6 ranked prospect in the top 100 is the big and steady offensive tackle Jake Matthews. He seems like an immediate plug and play lineman at either tackle position.
Outside linebacker Anthony Barr comes in at No. 7. There seems to be a consensus that he is sliding in the wrong direction with the draft a few short days away but you simply can't ignore the film. He remains inside the top 10 here.
Next are two quarterbacks in Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel. I see Bortles as having the most upside of any signal caller in this class. He's got size, mobility and the big arm. Bortles needs some refinement and time to develop.
On the flip side, Manziel seems to be the more ready of the two. His biggest question mark is his size combined with his playing style. Can he continue to play his style and stay healthy in the NFL? Johnny Football is this era's Fran Tarkenton. Manziel is a terrific playmaker who seems to just have it.
At No. 10 is offensive tackle Taylor Lewan. Some feel he could end up going a little higher than this ranking or perhaps slide a little bit in the first round.
Speaking of offensive tackle, Zach Martin checks in at No. 11. He's a prospect on the rise and one of the best pure football players in this draft. What coaches around the NFL love is his versatility. While he may not be the same athlete as Robinson or Lewan or as polished as Matthews, he will give one franchise the options of playing both guard and tackle positions. That really enhances his value on draft day.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater seems to be free falling since his poor pro day. He was the consensus top quarterback coming out of the college football season, after three big years at Louisville. I get it, he didn't throw well in front of the scouts. But guys, the tape doesn't lie. He comes in at No. 12.
Click below to check out the Scout.com 2014 NFL Draft Top 100, 25 at a time.