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Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews seen as potential first-rounder

We're a bit less than two weeks from the draft, and while the Jadeveon Clowneys and Khalil Macks and Johnny Manziels of the world continue to draw attention (and rightfully so), there are a multitude of players who deserve more notice in the run-up to May 8.

Analysts talked about some of those players on Thursday night's "Path to the Draft" on the NFL Network, and we'll spotlight three of them.

Jeremiah Attaochu, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech

NFL Media draft analyst Charles Davis said there is an overall "lack of edge pass rushers in this draft," and one player who is drawing more attention of late is Attaochu (6-foot-3, 252 pounds). He played at 242 pounds at Tech as a senior.

Attaochu's main selling point is his pass-rush ability; he had 12.5 sacks in 2013 and 10 in 2012 and finished his career with 31.5, which is the most in Tech history. He played end at Tech as a senior but Davis called outside linebacker Attaochu's "natural position." It's also the position he played in his first three seasons at Tech. He suffered at the Reese's Senior Bowl, Davis said, because he was "miscast as an inside linebacker."

Attaochu (his last name is pronounced "Ah-ta-chew") has good speed and can go sideline-to-sideline. His lack of bulk hurt him at end against the run, but that shouldn't be an issue in the NFL.

Attaochu, who was born in Nigeria and went to high school in Washington, D.C., should come off the board in the second round.

Demarcus Lawrence, DE/OLB, Boise State

NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Lawrence -- another player known for his pass-rushing ability -- should be a top-40 pick. Lawrence (6-3, 251) was an end at Boise State but almost certainly will be an outside 'backer in the NFL.

Lawrence had a combined 20 sacks and 34 tackles for loss in 2012 and '13 at Boise State. Lawrence left Boise State after his junior season, and played at a junior college before signing with the Broncos.

"If you're a team running a 3-4 defense, you're looking for someone to come off the edge to give you some pressure but also athletic enough to drop into coverage," Jeremiah said. "I think he gives you these things."

Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt:

NFL Network analyst Curtis Conway especially likes Matthews' size (6-foot-3, 212 pounds). Matthews also is the leading receiver in SEC history, with 262 receptions and 3,759 yards.

"He's a receiver who can make things happen," Conway said.

Conway noted the deep class and said that while Matthews would be considered a "third-tier" receiver in this draft, he wouldn't be all that surprised if a team took him in the first round. "He's a third-tier wide receiver that I think can easily jump into the first round," Conway said.

Still, Matthews is expected to go somewhere on the second day.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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