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25 Bold Predictions for the 2014 NFL Draft

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25 Bold Predictions for the 2014 NFL Draft

Roger Goodell
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft is full of countless surprises every year. With an extra two weeks to formulate strategies this year, the 2014 draft could be the wildest one to date. Let's take a look at 25 bold predictions for the entire three-day spectacle.

25. Ja'Wuan James Will Be Surprise First-Round Pick

Ja'Wuan James
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

25. Ja'Wuan James Will Be Surprise First-Round Pick

 Ja'Wuan James
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There are teams that have supposedly given Tennessee right tackle Ja'Wuan James a first-round grade. Expect a tackle-needy team -- there are several -- to swoop him up near the end of the first round.

24. Austin Seferian-Jenkins Will Be Surprise First-Round Pick

Austin Seferian-Jenkins Washington
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

24. Austin Seferian-Jenkins Will Be Surprise First-Round Pick

Austin Seferian-Jenkins Washington
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 Mackey Award winner has the size and athleticism to potentially become a prolific receiving option at the next level. It would only take one team to become enamored with Austin Seferian-Jenkins' potential in the first round.

23. Seantrel Henderson Will Go Undrafted

Seantrel Henderson
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

23. Seantrel Henderson Will Go Undrafted

Seantrel Henderson
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Character concerns and a questionable work ethic have undoubtedly made Miami's Sentrel Henderson undraftable for some teams, which is a shame because he possesses the talent of an early-round selection.

22. Colt Lyerla Will Go Undrafted

Colt Lyerla
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

22. Colt Lyerla Will Go Undrafted

Colt Lyerla
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of talent, Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla has plenty of it. He's one of the most athletic tight ends of the class, but alleged cocaine use among other off-field issues might knock him out of all seven rounds.

21. David Yankey Will Be Day 3 Pick

David Yankey
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

21. David Yankey Will Be Day 3 Pick

David Yankey
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the pre-draft evaluation process initially began, many pundits believed Stanford's David Yankey could be a late first-round pick. Yankey tested poorly at the combine, however, and now likely won't come off the board until the draft's third day.

20. Despite Injury, Brandon Thomas Will Be Gone By Fourth Round

Brandon Thomas
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

20. Despite Injury, Brandon Thomas Will Be Gone By Fourth Round

Brandon Thomas
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Thomas was thought of as a potential first-round pick before tearing his ACL during a pre-draft workout. There will be enough teams interested in stashing him on their roster as a redshirt rookie that he likely won't make it out of the third round, though.

19. Jordan Matthews Won't Hear Name Called Until Third Round

Jordan Matthews
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

19. Jordan Matthews Won't Hear Name Called Until Third Round

Jordan Matthews
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

As talented as Jordan Matthews is, it's an incredibility rich class at the receiver position. Matthews has impressive size and straight-line speed, but doesn't compare favorably to the draft's other top wideouts when evaluating explosiveness.

18. Jace Amaro Won't Hear Name Called Until Third Round

Jace Amro
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

18. Jace Amaro Won't Hear Name Called Until Third Round

jace Amaro
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Playing on an air-it-out attack while facing soft coverages often, Jace Amaro's production was undoubtedly inflated at Texas Tech. He also didn't do much in-line blocking. Add it up, and he might be a slightly overrated player who is bound to fall during the draft.

17. Jimmie Ward Will Be First Safety Selected

Jimmie Ward
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

17. Jimmie Ward Will Be First Safety Selected

Jimmie Ward
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

There are many who believe Northern Illinois product Jimmie Ward is the top safety of the draft. It only takes one team to agree with that notion for Ward to become the first safety selected. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor will be steep competition, though.

16. Marcus Martin Will Be First Interior Offensive Lineman Taken

Marcus Martin
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

16. Marcus Martin Will Be First Interior Offensive Lineman Taken

Marcus Martin
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC's Marcus Martin could come off the board late in the first round or early in the second to either a center or guard-needy club. He has a high ceiling at either position.

15. Carolina Panthers Will Trade Up for Left Tackle

Cam Newton Sack
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

15. Carolina Panthers Will Trade Up for Left Tackle

Cam Newton Sack
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers lost their entire receiver corps this offseason, but their biggest void is along the offensive line after the retirement of Jordan Gross. Considering it won't matter who Cam Newton has to throw to if he doesn't have sufficient time in the pocket, the Panthers should trade up in the first round for a plug-and-play blindside protector.

14. No Running Backs Will Be Selected In First or Second Round

Carlos Hyde fumble
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

14. No Running Backs Will Be Selected In First or Second Round

Carlos Hyde fumble
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The devalue of the running back position has never been more obvious. Last year, no running backs were selected during the first round for the first time since 1963. That will undoubtedly happen again on Thursday night. Don't be so sure that a runner will be drafted in the second round this year, either, though. It's not a particularly strong running back class.

13. Jeremy Hill Will Be First Running Back Selected

Jeremy Hill
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

13. Jeremy Hill Will Be First Running Back Selected

Jeremy Hill
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If teams can overlook Jeremy Hill's off-the-field issues, he could easily be the first running back off the board. His blend of size, speed, agility, power and vision are perhaps unmatched in this draft. He's capable of producing in a zone scheme or in more of a power-oriented attack.

12. Kyle Fuller Will Be First Cornerback Selected

Kyle Fuller
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

12. Kyle Fuller Will Be First Cornerback Selected

Kyle Fuller
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The majority of draft analysts peg Justin Gilbert and Dennard Darqueze as the top two corners of the draft. However, there is quietly a small contingent of evaluators who prefer Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller. At least one cornerback-starved team could feel the same way during the first round.

11. Odell Beckham Jr. Will Be Top 10 Pick

Odell Beckham Jr.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

11. Odell Beckham Jr. Will Be Top 10 Pick

Odell Beckham Jr.
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Dynamic playmakers like Odell Beckham Jr. typically don't last very long during the draft. He might not be as appreciated as he normally would be given the immense talent at the position, but there is nothing stopping a team inside the top 10 from swooping him up or another, outside of the top 10, from trading up for his services.

10. Eric Ebron Will Slip Out of Top 15

Eric Ebron
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

10. Eric Ebron Will Slip Out of Top 15

Eric Ebron
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Inconstant hands and a perception that he's a bit of a diva could lead to Eric Ebron waiting longer to hear his name called than projected. He's not as athletic as Vernon Dais or as big as Jimmy Graham -- two tight ends Ebron is often compared to from a pure talent perspective.

9. Seven Wide Receivers Will Be Drafted in First Round

Cody Latimer
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

9. Seven Wide Receivers Will Be Drafted in First Round

Cody Latimer
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This draft might be one of the deepest classes at receiver ever. With that said, the chances of snagging a contributor at the position in the middle-to-later rounds are higher than normal. But the talent available in the first round will likely be too tempting to pass on for many clubs. Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Marqise Lee, Cody Latimer, Allen Robinson and Kelvin Benjamin are all first-round possibilities.

8. Ryan Shazier Will Be Selected Before C.J. Mosley

Ryan Shazier
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

8. Ryan Shazier Will Be Selected Before C.J. Mosley

Ryan Shazier
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes talent isn't good enough. Alabama's C.J. Mosley is arguably one of the most talented prospects of the class, but a concerning medical file and the devalue of non-rush linebackers could ensure he slips in the first round. Ryan Shazier, meanwhile, has a high enough ceiling as a freak athlete to entice a team within the top 20 picks.

7. Denver Broncos Will Trade Up for C.J. Mosley

C.J. Mosley
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

7. Denver Broncos Will Trade Up for C.J. Mosley

C.J. Mosley
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

With Peyton Manning's Super Bowl window closing, the Denver Broncos have gone all in this offseason to get back to the big game with the intention of actually taking home the title next time around. A revamped defense is still void of a difference-making middle linebacker. C.J. Mosley fits the bill, but would likely require trading up for.

6. Zack Martin Will Be Selected Before Taylor Lewan

Zack Martin
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

6. Zack Martin Will Be Selected Before Taylor Lewan

Zack Martin
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Zack Martin doesn't have Taylor Lewan's size or raw athleticism. But he's the more polished prospect. Don't be surprised if a team nabs Martin with Lewan still on the board early in the first round.

5. Blake Bortles Will Be First Quarterback Taken

Blake Bortles
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

5. Blake Bortles Will Be First Quarterback Taken

Blake Bortles
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Johnny Manziel is far and away the most popular quarterback in the 2014 draft class. But that doesn't mean he's the best. It only takes one team to believe that title belongs to Central Florida's Blake Bortles, who has more prototypical qualities than Manziel.

4. Cleveland Browns Will Select Three Times in First Round

Browns helmet
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

4. Cleveland Browns Will Select Three Times in First Round

Browns helmet
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are rumored to be gauging the trade winds for a potential move up in the first round. No, not from pick No. 4 overall. No, not from pick No. 26 overall, either. The Browns are said to be attempting to package their Day 2 picks together to trade up into the first day for a third selection in the opening round.

3. New England Patriots Will Trade Up for Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

3. New England Patriots Will Trade Up for Teddy Bridgewater

Teddy Bridgewater
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Despite what it may seam to rivals of the Patriots, Tom Brady's reign won't last forever. New England would love to equip Brady with the best supporting cast possible for another run at an oh-so-elusive fourth Super Bowl title, but the more beneficial long-term move for the franchise would be finding Brady's successor. Teddy Bridgewater, once considered to be the top passer of the class, could possibly be had by moving up into the lower 20s.

2. San Francisco 49ers Will Trade Up for Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

2. San Francisco 49ers Will Trade Up for Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have the resources to pull off something big during the draft's first round. With a need for a game-changing wide receiver to contribute immediately and eventually replace Anquan Boldin, the 49ers should consider jumping up into the top five for Sammy Watkins, who could be one of the game's most dangerous weapons from day one and the final piece to a Super Bowl-caliber team.

1. Khalil Mack Will Be No. 1 Overall Pick

Khalil Mack
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

1. Khalil Mack Will Be No. 1 Overall Pick

Khalil Mack
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans are reportedly mulling what to do with their No. 1 overall pick. The top two candidates for the choice are said to be Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack. While it's unlikely that the Texans bypass a chance to nab a truly elite talent like Clowney, the longer they ponder the pick, the chances of Mack defying the odds as the first player chosen will only increase.