2014 NFL Draft And Groupthink: Who's Hot And Who's Not?

By Carlton Chin
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Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 NFL Draft is set for Thursday evening, May 8, amidst much fanfare. Exactly two months ago, I used a “groupthink” approach to tabulate the results of mock drafts and rank the top draft NFL picks. Since that time, players have moved up and down draft boards, especially after the NFL Combine and NFL Pro Day.

Teams have had a chance to digest the new information, and interestingly several players at the very top of mock drafts have made relatively large moves on the draft boards. Here is an updated “groupthink” analysis based on current mock drafts.  I’ll summarize potential top NFL Draft picks along with their current rankings and rankings from two months ago.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE (currently ranked No. 1; previously ranked No. 1): Clowney remains at the top of many mock drafts. He is the consensus top draft pick, although the cloudiness surrounding his work ethic and mediocre 2013 college season have some dropping Clowney a notch or two.

Greg Robinson, OT (current No. 2, previous No. 8): Robinson has moved up strongly in mock draft rankings. This is the result of his strong NFL Combine results and the 2014 draft class of quarterbacks’ declining outlook.

Sammy Watkins, WR (current No. 3, previous No. 6): Watkins has also moved up in the draft, with many seeing him as not only the best receiver in the draft, but an electrifying game-breaker.

Khalil Mack, OLB/DE (current No. 4, previous No. 7): Mack is another position player who has been on the rise in mock drafts.

Blake Bortles, QB (current No. 6, previous No. 3): Analysts say that this year’s draft has some of the best prospects — and is one of the deepest drafts — in years. On the other hand, the 2014 draft is not known for elite quarterbacks. All of the top prospects at QB have dropped on draft boards. Of course, this may also be teams disguising their true intentions. In any case, the top QB prospects all saw their stock drop dramatically from just two months ago.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB (current No. 8, previous No. 2) and Johnny Manziel, QB (current No. 9, previous No. 4): While Bortles dropped slightly in the groupthink draft analysis, Bridgewater and Manziel had steeper drops on draft boards. Some analysts have these QBs dropping even more in the actual draft. Quarterbacks took a hit after the NFL Combine at the expense of other position players.

Carlton Chin is a portfolio manager, quant researcher, and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.

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