2014 NFL Draft: Top 5 SEC Prospects Not Playing for Alabama
Top 5 SEC Prospects Not From Alabama
This is the first of a series of articles that will outline the top five prospects eligible for the 2014 NFL draft. This is a purely subjective look at some of my personal favorite players from each of the major conferences. Obviously, over the course of the college football season, things will change. Of course, to kick things off, we have to get a little strange.
It only made sense that I start this little exercise with the power conference of all power conferences, the SEC. They are the conference that dominates the draft every year in prospects, and this year’s crop is no different. As I started putting in work for my top-five SEC draft-eligible prospects, three of them were going to come from the University of Alabama. We all understand that the Crimson Tide is the 800-pound gorilla in the middle of the room in terms of talent. There's no shame in that, but for this I wanted to give the rest of the conference a fair shake.
Rest assured, guys like C.J. Mosley, Adrian Hubbard and Hasean Clinton-Dix would have been firmly in the mix at numbers 3-5. But removing them allowed me to showcase some different names who have a shot to be really great this year.
The most notable omission from this list that should stir up Georgia fans is quarterback Aaron Murray. He was a tough player to leave off of this list, and could have easily been in the no. 5 hole. Murray is a very good player and could be one of the best college players in the entire nation this year. However, this is a list for NFL draft prospects and the more I look at Murray, the less enamored I am with him as an NFL player, and that keeps him just off the list.
So with that, lets take a look at the top five NFL draft prospects from the SEC who don’t suit up for the Crimson Tide.
5. Loucheiz Purifoy, CB/WR Florida
There is some question about where exactly Purifoy will play this season, and that puts his NFL future into question. Physically, Purifoy is a marvel, but he is raw and lacks polish as both a cornerback and wide receiver. Two full seasons at one spot would really allow him to bring his technical skills up to the point of his physical gifts.
4. Jordan Matthews, WR Vanderbilt
If Matthews played for a bigger, more notable football program, everyone would know who he is. But being at Vandy, he remains under the radar. It doesn't change the fact that he is a potent weapon and is emerging as one of the top pass catchers in the country.
3. Mike Evans, WR Texas A&M
Speaking of top pass catchers, Evans is the best draft-eligible wide receiver in the SEC. Evans is a huge target who is impossible to miss on the field. However, he is just a redshirt sophomore, so his decision whether or not to stay in school could be dependent on whether or not his quarterback Johnny Manziel chooses to remain with the Aggies.
2. Jake Matthews, OT Texas A&M
I think most assumed that Matthews would have declared for the 2013 NFL draft. However, he chose to return to make a run at an SEC and BCS championship, but also to make his transition to left tackle, which he hopes to turn into a top-five pick in 2014. Matthews is the top offensive lineman in the SEC by a significant margin, and looks to be the anchor of that group.
1. Jadeveon Clowney, DE South Carolina
I doubt anyone is going to be shocked that Clowney is here. He's one of the top prospects in the entire country and the top player in the SEC by a long shot. If Clowney can continue to build on his 2012 season, he will be in the mix as not only the top pick, but a candidate for every major college football award as well.