One of the deepest draft classes in recent memory will naturally result in one of the biggest green rooms ever at Radio City Music Hall. A record 30 top prospects accepted an invite to attend the 2014 NFL Draft in New York City on May 8-10, the NFL announced Tuesday on "Path to the Draft."
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and UCF quarterback Blake Bortles highlight the list of players. All three are top candidates to be selected by the Houston Texans with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
The lengthy list features most of the expected top picks but also a few selections that might not hear their name called until Day 2 of the draft. The NFL has typically limited invites to those considered near locks to go in the first round, but it has opened up on those guidelines this year.
The draft is still a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so we're sure those such as Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo or Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater won't mind too much even if they have to spend some extra time in the green room.
Speaking of quarterbacks, four of NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock's top six will be in attendance to hear their name called by the commissioner. The most notable exception is Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, who has opted to remain on the West Coast with his family. It should be noted that Carr has at least been a part of the draft experience already, having been on stage to see his brother David get selected with the top pick in 2002.
The wide receiver group leads the way with seven invitees, including likely top 10 picks in Clemson's Sammy Watkins and Texas A&M's Mike Evans. The two most recent Biletnikoff Award winners will also be present in the green room with Oregon State's Brandin Cooks and USC's Marqise Lee making the trip east. Just one tight end will be present: North Carolina's Eric Ebron.
In a sign of the times, not one running back was invited to the draft this year. Alabama's Eddie Lacy, now on the Green Bay Packers, was the lone invitee to the 2013 NFL Draft, but he lasted until the end of the second round in a draft in which no back went in the first round for the first time in 50 years. Ohio State's Carlos Hyde, Washington's Bishop Sankey and LSU's Jeremy Hill all have a chance to be selected late in the first round, but the backs are likely to find themselves taken on the second night of the draft.
Some of the notable names not making the trip to New York include Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Auburn defensive end Dee Ford, Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin and UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo.
Alabama and Texas A&M tied for the most players invited to the draft with three each. Louisville and Ohio State have two players apiece represented. The SEC led all conferences with 11 players invited, followed by the Big Ten (5), ACC (4), Pac-12 (3) and American Athletic (3).
The 2014 NFL Draft will begin live on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 8.
Prospects attending the 2014 NFL Draft:
Odell Beckham, WR, LSU
Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Marqise Lee, WR, USC
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Marcus Martin, C, USC
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.