2014 potential 1st round picks LINK
If the just-completed draft was lacking in sexy players, 2014 could bring just what NFL fans are craving: Big names and big-time skill position players.
So tear up those 2013 mock drafts and start looking ahead to 2014. Here are 15 players who could be walking across that stage at Radio City Music Hall as first-round picks next year:
Jadeveon Clowney, defensive end, South Carolina: Clowney could have been the first player taken in 2013, but he wasn't old enough to leave school yet. It certainly isn't too early to begin picturing him as the No. 1 pick – the first defensive player to be drafted there since Mario Williams in 2006.
Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Louisville: Bridgewater, like Clowney, will only be a junior this fall, but he is already regarded as the best NFL quarterback prospect for the next year. Had he been able to leave after 2012, when he led Louisville to a Sugar Bowl win, he might have been the first quarterback in 2013 as well.
Marqise Lee, wide receiver, Southern California: Lee, who caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012, won the Biletnikoff Award last year as the nation's best receiver. He easily could go higher than this year's first receiver – Tavon Austin at No. 8.
Jake Matthews, left tackle, Texas A&M: Matthews considered leaving the Aggies last year, but decided to stay for his senior year and replace 2013's No. 2 pick Luke Joeckel at left tackle. Matthews has a stellar NFL pedigree as the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews.
Cyrus Kouandijo, left tackle, Alabama: If the Crimson Tide's former right tackle, D.J. Fluker, was a first-round pick in 2013 (to San Diego), Kouandijo could be an even more impressive prospect should he decide to enter the 2014 draft after his junior year. Kouandijo started every game for Alabama last season.
Sammy Watkins, wide receiver, Clemson: Watkins will get scrutinized by teams for character issues after serving a drug-related suspension for two games in 2012, but he has undeniable first-round talent. Watkins was a first-team All-America selection in 2011 as a true freshman.
David Fales, quarterback, San Jose State: You probably haven't heard of him yet, but Fales is already on the NFL's radar after completing more than 72 percent of his passes and throwing 31 touchdowns last season. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, Fales certainly looks the part of an NFL quarterback.
Bradley Roby, cornerback, Ohio State: Roby seriously considered entering the 2013 draft, but decided that with one more year in Columbus, he would be a more NFL-ready player next year – and one that could wind up in the top 15.
Taylor Lewan, offensive tackle, Michigan: The 2013 draft was all about the offensive lineman, yet Lewan decided to return for a fifth year in Ann Arbor despite being considered on par with Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel. Hopefully for Lewan, he doesn't end up regretting his decision to play another year.
Kyle Van Noy, outside linebacker, Brigham Young: Van Noy had 13 sacks last season for the Cougars but needed another season to become a more NFL-ready player. With a similar season this fall, Van Noy could follow his friend Ziggy Ansah as a first-round pick.
C.J. Mosley, outside linebacker, Alabama: Nothing has become a better bet in recent years than Alabama defensive players going in the first round, and Mosley is expected to headline Alabama's next crop. Mosley has played well against spread offenses, a skill increasingly coveted by NFL defenses.
Anthony Barr, defensive end/outside linebacker, UCLA: A converted running back, Barr has a bright future as an NFL pass rusher, and attracted plenty of attention after recording 13 sacks in 2012. His UCLA defensive line teammate Datone Jones was a first-round pick in 2013 by Green Bay.
A.J. McCarron, quarterback, Alabama: We know McCarron can win, and he certainly seems primed to have more NFL success than his predecessors at Alabama. But who will get more predraft publicity: McCarron or his girlfriend, Katherine Webb?
Johnny Manziel, quarterback, Texas A&M: Manziel doesn't have the basic measurable of a classic NFL quarterback, but in this era of option football, and with the success of players like Russell Wilson, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner should be able to convince at least one team he's worth a first-round pick if he leaves after next season.
Tajh Boyd, quarterback, Clemson: If E.J. Manuel can be a first-round pick, why can't Boyd? Boyd would have been a mid-to-late pick in this draft, but by returning to school for his senior year, has the chance to significantly boost his draft stock.
I'd throw in these names as well:
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Stephon Tuitt, DT, Notre Dame
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
Scott Chrichton, DE/OLB, Oregon State
Deshazor Everett, CB, Texas A&M
Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma