CFB 24/7  

 

Analyzing likely replacements for 2014 ACC draft picks

Jamie Rhodes/USA TODAY Sports
Will Gardner will get the opportunity to replace first-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville.

The ACC had 42 draft picks in 2014, the second-most of any conference this year and the second-highest total in league history.

National-champion Florida State led the way with seven picks, and every league school had at least one player selected. There were five first-rounders, again the second-most among the conferences.

ACC schools will be important stops for NFL scouts again this fall, especially Florida State, which could -- not will or should, but could -- have as many as six first-rounders in 2015.

Here's a look at every ACC draft pick this year and who's in line to replace that player this fall.

Boston College

RB Andre Williams

Round 4 (113), New York Giants
Possibilities: Sophomores Tyler Rouse (5-foot-9, 192 pounds) and Myles Willis (5-9, 192) combined for 86 carries and 471 yards in backup duty last season. Both had solid springs and seem likely to share time this fall as BC looks to replace Williams, who led the nation in rushing last season.

LB Kevin Pierre-Louis

Round 4 (132), Seattle Seahawks
Possibilities: Senior Josh Keyes (6-2, 220), who started twice last season and had 3.5 sacks, is expected to start in Pierre-Louis' vacated strong-side linebacker spot. Sophomore Matt Milano (6-0, 215), a converted safety, is strong in pass coverage and also could see time at the position.

K Nate Freese

Round 7 (229), Detroit Lions
Possibilities: Junior Alex Howell and true freshman Mike Knoll likely will be the top contenders for the job during fall drills. Freese handled BC's kicking chores in each of the past four seasons.

DE Kaleb Ramsey

Round 7 (243), San Francisco 49ers
Possibilities: Senior Brian Mihalik is expected to start at one end spot. He is an intriguing prospect, mainly because he's 6-9 and 288 pounds. Mihalik started four games last season, including two at tackle, but fits best at end. He never has redshirted and still is growing into his body, in a way, but he is a prospect who bears watching this fall.

Clemson

WR Sammy Watkins

Round 1 (4), Buffalo Bills
Possibilities: Clemson lost two of its three starting receivers, and Watkins obviously is going to be impossible to replace. Sophomore Mike Williams (6-3, 205) has the talent to become the go-to receiver; he had 20 receptions and three TD catches as a true freshman last season. He must prove he has the focus to be the No. 1 guy.

OT Brandon Thomas

Round 3 (100), San Francisco 49ers
Possibilities: Sophomore Isaiah Battle (6-7, 275), a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., started the final four games at right tackle last season, but should start on the left side this season. He needs to add bulk, but the former basketball player has good feet and a big upside.

CB Bashaud Breeland

Round 4 (102), Washington Redskins
Possibilities: Clemson lost both starting corners, and redshirt freshman Mackensie Alexander (5-11, 185) and seniors Martin Jenkins (5-9, 185) and Garry Peters (6-0, 185) are the top contenders for the two spots. Alexander was one of the jewels of the 2013 recruiting class; he is physical (he was a star high school wrestler) and fast. Peters played well in the second half of the 2012 season but lacked consistency in a reserve role last fall. Jenkins started four times last season and, depending on other developments, could be the main nickel back this season.

WR Martavis Bryant

Round 4 (118), Pittsburgh Steelers
Possibilities: Bryant finally started to reach his potential last season, and this season, it might be time for junior Charone Peake (6-2, 205) to do the same. He is a former national top-100 recruit who suffered a torn ACL last season; he has good size and can run. Senior Adam Humphries (5-11, 190) is the lone returning starter at receiver, but he is more of a possession guy.

QB Tahj Boyd

Round 6 (213), New York Jets
Possibilities: Senior Cole Stoudt (6-4, 210) -- whose dad, Cliff, played quarterback in the NFL from 1977-89 -- will head into fall drills as the starter. He won't wow you with his athleticism or his arm, but he understands the offense and shouldn't make many mistakes. True freshman Deshaun Watson (6-3, 190) enrolled early and looked good in spring drills until suffering a collarbone injury. He has a higher upside than Stoudt.

Duke

CB Ross Cockrell

Round 4 (109), Buffalo Bills
Possibilities: Sophomore Breon Borders (6-0, 175) is Cockrell's expected replacement, and he has a big upside. Borders played in all 14 games last season, with four picks -- including two of Heisman winner Jameis Winston -- and eight pass breakups. The four picks were a Duke freshman record. Borders also starred in basketball and track in high school in North Carolina, and was a state-champion hurdler.

Florida State

WR Kelvin Benjamin

Round 1 (28), Carolina Panthers
Possibilities: Benjamin was FSU's No 2 receiver last fall, and top dog Rashad Greene returns. Who will be the new No. 2 guy? Good question. The top candidates are sophomores Isaiah Jones (6-4, 193) and Jesus "Bobo" Wilson (5-9, 180). Senior Christian Green (6-2, 207) also returns, but he hasn't done much in his career and looks to be a No. 4 receiver at best.

CB Lamarcus Joyner

Round 2 (41), St. Louis Rams
Possibilities: Joyner was a team leader, and that aspect might end up being tougher to replace than his on-field production. FSU is deep at cornerback, and look for juniors Ronald Darby (5-11, 188) and P.J. Williams (6-0, 196) to head into the fall as starters. Williams is a tough, physical corner who should make NFL teams drool, while Darby has elite speed. Sophomore Keelin Smith (6-3, 191) has a chance to be the third corner, and his size is a plus.

NT Timmy Jernigan

Round 2 (48), Baltimore Ravens
Possibilities: Junior Nile Lawrence-Stample (6-1, 319) started six games alongside Jernigan last season (FSU opened in a 3-4 set in the other eight games) and will move over to replace Jernigan at nose tackle this season. While Lawrence-Stample is not disruptive, he is stout at the point of attack and tough to root out of the middle. His backup should be senior Desmond Hollin (6-3, 286), a former JC transfer who is a bit undersized but understands leverage and has good strength.

S Terrence Brooks

Round 3 (79), Baltimore Ravens
Possibilities: Brooks -- who began the season as the starting free safety but had to move to strong safety because of injuries -- was an underrated part of FSU's tough defense last fall, but the Seminoles look to have the necessary pieces to replace his production. The health of junior Tyler Hunter (5-11, 205) bears watching; he began the 2013 season as the starting strong safety, but a serious neck injury -- he had a metal plate inserted -- ended his season after three games. If he can go this fall, he should pair with highly touted sophomore Jalen Ramsey (6-1, 198). Ramsey also can play corner if sophomore S Nate Andrews (5-11, 209), who played a lot last season, shows enough in fall drills to be a starting safety.

RB Devonta Freeman

Round 4 (103), Atlanta Falcons
Possibilities: FSU used a tailback-by-committee approach last season, but Freeman still became the first Seminoles player to rush for 1,000 yards since Warrick Dunn in 1996. Junior Karlos Williams (6-1, 219) will be atop the committee list this fall; he was moved from safety early in the 2013 season. He runs hard and has good speed, but needs to show he can handle 15-plus carries a game. And he might get more carries, as there is no pecking order yet for the other committee members. Williams has 1,000-yard potential.

C Bryan Stork

Round 4 (105), New England Patriots
Possibilities: FSU returns four starting offensive linemen, and senior Austin Barron -- who has five career starts -- is expected to step in for Stork. While Barron likely will be the line's weak link, "weak link" is relative. OT Cameron Erving and guards Tre Jackson and Josue Matias are big-timers, and Erving and Jackson are potential All-Americans.

OLB Telvin Smith

Round 5 (144), Jacksonville Jaguars
Possibilities: FSU lost both starting outside 'backers, and sophomores Ukeme Eligwe (6-2, 233) and E.J. Levenberry (6-3, 237) and junior Reggie Northrup (6-2, 217) are the top contenders for the two spots. Levenberry has the highest ceiling of the three.

Georgia Tech

DE Jeremiah Attaochu

Round 2 (50), San Diego Chargers
Possibilities: Replacing Attaochu just got tougher for Tech. Jabari Hunt-Days, who was moved to end from inside 'backer to replace Attaochu, had a solid spring, but recently was ruled academically ineligible for the season. Tech lost both starting ends, and sophomores Tyler Stargel (6-3, 242) and Roderick Rook-Chunong (6-3, 248), true freshman KeShun Freeman (6-4, 230) and JC transfer Kenderius Whitehead (6-5, 220) likely will be the top four in the rotation. Freeman enrolled early and had a strong spring; Whitehead arrives in the summer, and he needs to make an immediate impact this fall. He originally signed with North Carolina State before leaving for a junior college.

S Jemea Thomas

Round 6 (206), New England Patriots
Possibilities: Thomas started the first five games at corner (his likely position in the NFL), then started the final eight at safety, which is the position we'll talk about here. Senior Isaiah Johnson (6-2, 213), who sat out last season while recovering from knee surgery, should slide back into the starting lineup; he was Tech's leading tackler in 2012 and is a force in run support. Also back at safety is Jamal Golden (6-0, 193), who started the first three games, then hurt his shoulder and missed the rest of the season. Despite Thomas' departure, safety should be a strength for Tech this season.

OLB Brandon Watts

Round 7 (223), Minnesota Vikings
Possibilities: Tech runs a 4-2-5 set, with one of the end spots (Attaochu filled it last season) a hybrid end/outside linebacker. Watts' more traditional linebacker spot should go to junior Tyler Marcordes (6-4, 243), who played a lot last season.

Louisville

FS Calvin Pryor

Round 1 (18), New York Jets
Possibilities: Big-hitting junior Gerod Holliman (6-0, 201) was the top reserve at both safety spots last season, and whether he plays free or strong this season hasn't been determined. Junior Jermaine Reve (6-0, 180) emerged from spring drills atop the depth chart at free safety; his coverage ability is better than Holliman's. Both players are from Miami.

DE Marcus Smith

Round 1 (26), Philadelphia Eagles
Possibilities: The Cardinals are moving to a 3-4 set this season, so Smith's 4-3 end position basically has disappeared from the defense. Senior Lorenzo Mauldin (6-4, 250) had 9.5 sacks as a starting end last season and will be counted on to be the guy this fall, a spot Smith held last season for Louisville's front seven. Mauldin should be one of the top pass rushers in the nation.

QB Teddy Bridgewater

Round 1 (32) Minnesota Vikings
Possibilities: Sophomore Will Gardner (6-5, 226) will be the guy tasked with replacing Bridgewater. He has prototypical size and a good arm; can he lead -- and produce -- as well as Bridgewater?

ILB Preston Brown

Round 3 (73), Buffalo Bills
Possibilities: With the move to the 3-4 from the 4-3, Brown's middle 'backer position is gone. Juniors Keith Brown (6-1, 235) and James Burgess (6-0, 227) -- both from Miami -- look to be the top contenders at the inside linebacker spots; Brown played extensively (and well) as a true freshman in 2012, but he missed all but three games with a knee injury last season.

Miami

G Brandon Linder

Round 3 (93), Jacksonville Jaguars
Possibilities: Sophomores Alex Gall (6-5, 305) and Danny Isidora (6-4, 316) will vie for the job. There are especially high hopes for Isidora, who played in just two games last season because of a foot injury. Linder was a steadying influence on the line and his leadership will be missed.

P Pat O'Donnell

Round 6 (191), Chicago Bears
Possibilities: O'Donnell was the only punter drafted. K Matt Goudis, who hasn't punted since he was a senior in high school in 2010, is first in line to replace O'Donnell. Senior Ricky Carroll, a former JC transfer who hasn't seen the field in two seasons at UM, also is a candidate.

OT Seantrel Henderson

Round 7 (237), Buffalo Bills
Possibilities: Henderson wasn't exactly Mr. Consistent, on or off the field. Sophomore Taylor Gadbois (6-8, 316), who played sparingly in 2013, is the No. 1 candidate to take over for Henderson at right tackle. Redshirt freshman Sunny Odugwu (6-8, 324), a Nigerian native who has played just three years of football, is an interesting prospect who should push Gadbois.

North Carolina

TE Eric Ebron

Round 1 (10), Detroit Lions
Possibilities: Senior Jack Tabb (6-3, 250) is an intriguing prospect. His athleticism was wasted, in a way, playing behind Ebron, so in addition to backup duty at tight end, he saw some time at linebacker last fall. The tight end job is all his this fall, and he bears watching.

DE Kareem Martin

Round 3 (84), Arizona Cardinals
Possibilities: Martin was an underrated force on the line, so junior Jessie Rogers (6-4, 270) has some big shoes to fill. Rogers has 14 tackles in his two seasons. He is athletic and will get every opportunity to show off his abilities.

C Russell Bodine

Round 4 (111), Cincinnati Bengals
Possibilities: Sophomore Lucas Crowley (6-3, 290) was a touted recruit and played a lot last season. He is a good run blocker, and he has the potential to develop into an All-ACC player down the line.

FS Tre Boston

Round 4 (128), Carolina Panthers
Possibilities: Senior Tim Scott (5-11, 195) was a three-year starter at cornerback, but he moved to free safety during the spring and should be the starter at Boston's old spot. Scott is solid in coverage and should take fewer chances than Boston, who sometimes overrated his own speed.

CB Jabari Price

Round 7 (225), Minnesota Vikings
Possibilities: Sophomore CBs Brian Walker (5-11, 185) and Desmond Lawrence (6-1, 185) played as true freshmen last season, and coaches are comfortable enough with them as the starters to move Scott to free safety. Lawrence has good size but needs to become more physical. Walker arrived amid much hype and has a ton of potential.

NFL Exposure

Top 25 seniors-to-be

Take a look at the best college players to watch in the fall.

North Carolina State

FS Dontae Johnson

Round 4 (129), San Francisco 49ers
Possibilities: Johnson was drafted as a corner, but he started the last seven games in 2013 at free safety after moving from corner, so we're going with free safety as the position that needs to be filled. The top contender is sixth-year senior Jarvis Byrd, whose torn ACL -- his third -- last season led to Johnson moving from corner to free safety. When healthy, Byrd (5-10, 190) -- who played alongside St. Louis Rams CB Janoris Jenkins at Pahokee (Fla.) High -- is a heady, instinctive player. NCSU needs him to stay healthy: True freshman Kalen McCain, who enrolled early and went through spring drills, appears to be next in line.

Pitt

DT Aaron Donald

Round 1 (13), St. Louis Rams
Possibilities: Junior Darryl Render (6-2, 285) has the unenviable -- and, frankly, impossible -- task of trying to replace Donald, who was a wrecking ball in the interior. Render was a solid reserve last fall.

QB Tom Savage

Round 4 (135), Houston Texans
Possibilities: Highly touted sophomore Chad Voytik (6-1, 210) should be able to fend off junior Trey Anderson (6-0, 195), a former walk-on, for the starting job. Voytik is a good athlete with mobility, a nice arm and a good upside.

WR Devin Street

Round 5 (146), Dallas Cowboys
Possibilities: Senior Manasseh Garner (6-2, 230), who played extensively at tight end and H-back last season, has moved outside and is first in line to take Street's starting spot. He was Pitt's third-leading receiver last season, with 33 receptions.

Syracuse

DT Jay Bromley

Round 3 (74), New York Giants
Possibilities: Depth is a concern at tackle, much less who is going to replace the productive Bromley. It seems likely that at times, Syracuse will have three ends on the four-man line. From a talent standpoint, the guy who seemingly would be first in line for Bromley's vacated spot is JC transfer Wayne Williams (6-4, 330), who hasn't played a full season of football since he was a senior in high school in 2010 in Brooklyn, N.Y. But his weight, maturity and focus are concerns. Sophomore Marcus Coleman (6-1, 315), who played sparingly last season, might be the most likely starter, and it seems a given that a freshman is going to see time at tackle.

ILB Marquis Spruill

Round 5 (168), Atlanta Falcons
Possibilities: Sophomore Marqez Hodge (6-1, 216) had a good spring and will head into fall camp as the starter in Spruill's old spot. But senior Luke Arciniega (6-2, 251) should contend, too; he missed most of spring with what Syracuse called a lower-body injury. Hodge's lack of size is worrisome; he played outside linebacker last season but moved inside during the spring. He is a tough, physical player who can run.

NFL Exposure

Nike college uniforms for 2014

Take a look at Nike's latest updates to college football uniforms for the 2014 season.

Virginia

OT Morgan Moses

Round 3 (66), Washington Redskins
Possibilities: Junior Jay Whitmire (6-6, 310) started all 12 games last fall, with eight of them coming at guard. He also started four times at right tackle but will take over for Moses at left tackle this fall. Whitmire played a bit at left tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2012. He missed spring drills with an injury.

DT Brent Urban

Round 4 (134), Baltimore Ravens
Possibilities: Squatty sophomore Donte Wilkins (6-2, 290), who started four times last season, will head into fall drills at Urban's old spot. But highly touted true freshman Andrew Brown (6-4, 300), who enrolled early and went through spring practice, will be a contender for the job. Brown was a consensus national top-15 prospect in the 2014 recruiting class.

C Luke Bowanko

Round 6 (205), Jacksonville Jaguars
Possibilities: Sophomore Eric Tetlow (6-6, 310) saw some time as a true freshman last fall and needs to take on a much bigger role this fall as he tries to replace Bowanko. He had a strong spring.

Virginia Tech

CB Kyle Fuller

Round 1 (14), Chicago Bears
Possibilities: Fuller was the second corner taken in the draft, but as talented as he was, the Hokies look fine at corner. His younger brother, Kendall, and Brandon Facyson -- both sophomores -- will be the Hokies' starting corners. They have a chance to be one of the top 10 corner duos in the nation this fall.

QB Logan Thomas

Round 4 (120), Arizona Cardinals
Possibilities: Fifth-year senior Mark Leal was expected to start, but he had an uneven spring and the job is up for grabs between him, sophomore Brenden Motley, Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer, a junior with immediate eligibility, and true freshman Chris Durkin. The Hokies were used to erratic quarterback play from Thomas and seem likely to get more of the same this fall.

CB Antone Exum

Round 6 (182), Minnesota Vikings
Possibilities: Exum started just three times last season as he battled back from a severe knee injury. As noted above, sophomores Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson will be the starting corners. Kendall Fuller started 11 games last season; Facyson started nine.

Wake Forest

WR Michael Campanaro

Round 7 (218), Baltimore Ravens
Possibilities: Campanaro was Wake's best offensive player last season, and the new coaching staff is going to have trouble replacing his production. Senior E.J. Scott (5-11, 185), a transfer from Virginia who is eligible to play immediately, likely gets first crack at Campanaro's vacated starting spot; Scott caught 32 passes in his UVa career. Sophomore Tyree Harris (6-2, 180) likely takes over Campanaro's role as the go-to receiver.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15