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Published: April 30, 2014 at 09:07 p.m.
Updated: April 30, 2014 at 09:29 p.m.

2014 All-Draft Team

When the 2014 NFL Draft commences next week, 32 teams will converge on Radio City Music Hall to divvy up, one pick at a time, the crop of rising rookies. But what if you were building a squad from scratch -- and you didn't have to take turns with anyone else? What if you could construct a starting roster consisting of the best prospects at each position?

As the big event nears, I thought I'd take a pass at assembling a 2014 All-Draft Team, filling out a starting offensive, defensive and special teams lineup with the top talents available. Many of the names below are highly recognizable, but some are flying slightly below the radar.

Agree with my selections? Feel differently? Let me know @MoveTheSticks.

27 Photos Total

  • Offense 27 Illustration


  • Quarterback: Teddy Bridgewater 26

    Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

    Quarterback: Teddy Bridgewater

    Bridgewater is the top signal-caller in this draft, despite his miserable pro-day showing. He's already comfortable playing under center. He's accurate. He's an outstanding decision-maker. Bridgewater might lack ideal size (he checks in at 6-foot-2, 214 pounds) and a power arm, but he makes up for it with timing, touch and poise.

    Projection: Late first-round pick.

  • Running back: Carlos Hyde 25

    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Running back: Carlos Hyde

    Hyde has the power to move the pile between the tackles and enough speed to turn the corner on outside runs. He also has excellent hands out of the backfield -- and that will keep him on the field for all three downs.

    Projection: Second-round pick.

  • Wide receiver: Sammy Watkins 24

    Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

    Wide receiver: Sammy Watkins

    Watkins has the wheels to stretch the field, and he's strong enough to work between the hashes. He also has the kind of after-the-catch speed, power and elusiveness to turn short passes into long touchdowns.

    Projection: Top-five pick.

  • Wide receiver: Mike Evans 23

    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Wide receiver: Mike Evans

    Evans has a rare blend of size (6-5, 231), speed (4.53-second 40-yard dash) and ball skills. He is a nightmare matchup in the red zone who could easily post double-digit touchdowns as a rookie.

    Projection: Top-10 pick.

  • Wide receiver: Odell Beckham 22

    Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

    Wide receiver: Odell Beckham

    With Watkins and Evans lining up outside, Beckham would be an ideal receiver to put in the slot. He is arguably the best route-runner in the entire draft, someone who explodes in and out of the break point. He's also electric after the catch.

    Projection: Top-20 pick.

  • Tight end: Eric Ebron 21

    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Tight end: Eric Ebron

    Ebron is by far the most talented tight end in this draft class. He has outstanding speed (4.6 40) and he's a clean route-runner. Ebron creates a lot of separation on tape and has a big catching radius. He isn't a dominant blocker -- but then, he wouldn't have to be with this collection of offensive linemen.

    Projection: Top-15 pick.

  • Offensive tackle: Greg Robinson 20

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Offensive tackle: Greg Robinson

    Robinson is a dominant run blocker. He consistently collapses defenders at the line of scrimmage and he's athletic enough to adjust in space. Though Robinson doesn't have a lot of experience in pass protection, he does have all the tools to excel in that area, as well.

    Projection: Top-five pick.

  • Offensive tackle: Jake Matthews 19

    Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL

    Offensive tackle: Jake Matthews

    Matthews has excellent foot quickness, balance and instincts. He isn't as physically dominant as Robinson, but he's currently more polished in pass protection. For that reason, he'll start on the left side and allow Robinson to maul defenders in the run game while lined up at right tackle.

    Projection: Top-10 pick.

  • Offensive guard: Zack Martin 18

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Offensive guard: Zack Martin

    Martin played left tackle at Notre Dame, but on our team, he'll slide inside to play guard. He has Pro Bowl potential at this position, thanks to his ability to squat on bull rushers in the passing game and create movement at the point of attack in the run game.

    Projection: Top-20 pick.

  • Offensive guard: Xavier Su'a-Filo 17

    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Offensive guard: Xavier Su'a-Filo

    Su'a-Filo brings a nasty temperament to our team. I would line him up to play next to Robinson at right guard, as both are dominant in the run game. With these two nasty blockers on the field, I don't see anyone stopping Hyde on fourth-and-short.

    Projection: Second-round pick.

  • Center: Weston Richburg 16

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Center: Weston Richburg

    Richburg is the top center prospect in this draft class. He's a little light (298), but he has the strength to hold up against power rushers, and he's very effective at the second level in the run game.

    Projection: Late second-round pick.

  • Defense 15 Illustration


  • Defensive end: Jadeveon Clowney 14

    Stephen Morton/Associated Press

    Defensive end: Jadeveon Clowney

    Clowney is a no-brainer selection for this team. He has the size (6-6, 266), length and explosiveness to take over a game.

    Projection: Top-three pick.

  • Defensive end: Anthony Barr 13

    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Defensive end: Anthony Barr

    Barr is ideally suited to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, but we're still going to put him at end in our 4-3 scheme. He has the speed and athleticism to create outside pressure in the passing game and enough athleticism to peel off and cover running backs or tight ends if needed.

    Projection: Top-20 pick.

  • Defensive tackle: Aaron Donald 12

    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Defensive tackle: Aaron Donald

    I'd line Donald up on the same side as Clowney and force offenses to single-block one of them. Donald has rare first-step quickness as a pass rusher and his motor never stops revving.

    Projection: Top-15 pick.

  • Defensive tackle: Timmy Jernigan 11

    Phil Sears/Associated Press

    Defensive tackle: Timmy Jernigan

    Jernigan will handle the run-stuffing duties on our defensive line. He has the strength to consistently hold the point of attack, but he also brings the quickness to penetrate and disrupt.

    Projection: Late first-round pick.

  • Linebacker: Khalil Mack 10

    Mike Groll/Associated Press

    Linebacker: Khalil Mack

    Mack's versatility makes him a perfect fit for our defense. He would terrorize running backs and tight ends when blitzing -- and he's athletic enough to cover them, as well.

    Projection: Top-five pick.

  • Linebacker: C.J. Mosley 9

    Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL

    Linebacker: C.J. Mosley

    Mosley would be the captain of our defense. He has outstanding instincts against both the run and the pass. He also has the range to make plays sideline-to-sideline, and he's one of the few linebackers in this draft who can shock and shed interior offensive linemen.

    Projection: Top-20 pick.

  • Linebacker: Ryan Shazier 8

    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Linebacker: Ryan Shazier

    Shazier has rare speed and explosiveness for the position. He's an outstanding blitzer who will generate turnovers with his physical brand of play.

    Projection: Late first-round pick.

  • Cornerback: Justin Gilbert 7

    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Cornerback: Justin Gilbert

    Gilbert has the size (6-foot, 202) and speed (4.37 40) to match up with the NFL's bigger wideouts. He gets his hands on a lot of footballs and is a threat to score every time he picks off a pass.

    Projection: Top-15 pick.

  • Cornerback: Darqueze Dennard 6

    Andrew Nelles/Associated Press

    Cornerback: Darqueze Dennard

    Dennard is more physical than Gilbert; we'll keep him in press coverage in our defensive scheme. He's fundamentally very sound, and he's also an outstanding run defender.

    Projection: Top-20 pick.

  • Safety: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 5

    Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL

    Safety: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

    Clinton-Dix would start at free safety, what with his combination of range and ball skills. He has enough size (6-1, 208) and athleticism to match up against top-tier tight ends, as well.

    Projection: Top-15 pick.

  • Safety: Calvin Pryor 4

    Garry Jones/Associated Press

    Safety: Calvin Pryor

    Pryor would be the enforcer in our secondary; he's aggressive to fill the alley and he generates "wow" shots upon arrival.

    Projection: Top-20 pick.

  • Punter: Steven Clark 3

    Beth Hall/Associated Press

    Punter: Steven Clark

    Clark excels at dropping punts inside the 20-yard line.

    Projection: Seventh-round pick.

  • Kicker: Chris Boswell 2

    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Kicker: Chris Boswell

    Boswell has a big leg. He's widely regarded as the top kicker in the draft.

    Projection: Seventh-round pick.

  • Returner: Dri Archer 1

    G.M. Andrews/Associated Press

    Returner: Dri Archer

    Archer was the fastest man at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, posting a 4.26-second 40, and that speed shows up on tape. He returned four kickoffs for touchdowns in the past two seasons.

    Projection: Third-round pick.

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