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ICYMI: What we learned about draft prospects this week

  • By Chase Goodbread and Mike Huguenin
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One week after Johnny Manziel lived up to the hype with an impressive workout, it was Jadeveon Clowney's turn to take center stage at his pro day Wednesday. He didn't disappoint, with several analysts agreeing the workout confirmed Clowney is the best prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft.

As much as Clowney dominated the week's draft buzz, however, several other top prospects made headlines, some positive, others -- not so much.

In case you missed it, here are our top 10 takeaways on draft prospects this week.

1. Clowney: Best ever?

It didn't take long for NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock's pro day comment about Jadeveon Clowney being the best athlete to ever play the position to be misinterpreted, so let's frame it right here. Mayock didn't put Clowney in the Hall of Fame or suggest anything about what he'll produce as an NFL player. He did, however, say the potential No. 1 pick is as good a natural athlete as anyone who's ever played the position. Big difference, but nonetheless, big praise.

2. Pats looking at QBs

Tom Brady will be 37 during the 2014 season, and at the least, the Patriots are doing their due diligence on some of the top quarterbacks available in this draft, scheduling visits this week with Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. It seems unlikely they spend a first-round pick on a quarterback -- after all, Brady's window of opportunity is getting smaller each season, and the Pats can find a starter with their first-round pick -- but Bill Belichick and the Patriots' front office is adding some intrigue to the pre-draft proceedings.

3. Carr likes Cleveland

The Cleveland Browns have reportedly built up a liking for Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr. And after Carr had a private workout with the club last week, he said he hit it off with Browns coaches and likes the potential fit, as well. Something tells us he likes the fit with Cleveland's No. 4 overall pick a lot more than he does its No. 26 pick.

4. Watkins thinks he's good

Sammy Watkins appears to agree with analysts who call him the top wide receiver in the class and one of the top prospects overall. "I have some freakish talents," Watkins told a San Francisco radio station. He could go as high as No. 2 in the draft and is a top-10 lock. Watkins also admitted he wouldn't mind pairing with Calvin Johnson in Detroit.

5. 'Johnny Football' top QB in draft

Analyst Mike Mayock also has updated his top 50 list, and he has Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel as the top quarterback available. He supplants Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater at the top of the list; indeed, Bridgewater slid to No. 3, with UCF's Blake Bortles now No. 2.

6. Jeremiah: Gilbert top CB

NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah has updated his list of the top 50 prospects in the draft, and he says former Oklahoma State star Justin Gilbert -- his No. 8 player overall -- unquestionably is the top corner. Jeremiah thinks Gilbert will be off the board by the mid-teens.

7. Barr better prospect than Mack

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks rated UCLA's Anthony Barr one spot ahead of Buffalo's Khalil Mack in his updated list of the top 25 draft prospects. Brooks also likes Johnny Manziel better than Teddy Bridgewater, who dropped three spots, to No. 10, on his list. Manziel is No. 5 and Bortles No. 16.

8. Savage stock rising

While four quarterbacks are expected to be drafted in the first round, or close to it, projections for others are a lot more varied. Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage is one such wild card, but NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt is a believer. Brandt thinks he'll be picked higher than expected, and Savage's private workout and visit schedule backs that up.

9. Cooks confident

The "I'm the best (insert position) in the draft" comment sounded pretty bold when Johnny Manziel first said it about the quarterback class. Then it got re-used, over-used and, finally, used up. Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks set a new bar by saying he could do more for the Philadelphia Eagles than DeSean Jackson has.

10. TE class draws fire

North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron looks well on his way to being a top 20 pick in the draft, but one NFL executive said he wouldn't get anywhere near him with a draft pick. Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins also drew the executive's ire. The tight end class as a whole took a beating here.

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