2014 Draft: Consensus Rankings v3.0

USA TODAY Sports

The Daily Norseman scours the web to arrive at a consensus of value for the top prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft.

This is a long overdue update of the consensus rankings, but the timing of it is actually quite good. The combine and free agency frenzy are distant memories, and most if not all college Pro Days are finished. This means that the draftniks have pretty much all of the information they're going to get about these prospects in hand. It also just so happens that we here at the Daily Norseman have begun piecing together our community Big Board of which this consensus ranking can help inform our decisions! For those just catching up, the Consensus Draft Ranking collates the rankings of 10 of the top online draft sources to arrive at an average "consensus" ranking of prospects at positions of need for the Minnesota Vikings. This can give us a better (hopefully more accurate) idea of relative value of the NFL's top draft prospects to keep us better informed when looking at mock drafts, or the eventual real draft in May. In order for a player to make the consensus ranking, they had to appear in the top 10 of at least one positional ranking source I consulted.

In this latest installment I have decided to drop defensive tackles from consideration, since we went out and signed Linval Joseph and Tom Johnson in free agency and resigned Fred Evans as well. It would appear to be much less of a need than it was back in March before free agency started. In place of defensive tackle I have included offensive guard, although with the resigning of Charlie Johnson this may also be slightly less of a short-term need. I considered including safety, but I actually like our two starters in Smith and Sanford and our depth appears decent with Sendejo, Raymond and Blanton. It recently got even better after signing free agent Kurt Coleman. I also could have included running back, but opted not to for lack of time. In any case, I have kept the rest of the positions of need: quarterback, inside linebacker, outside linebacker and cornerback. Lastly, I had to adjust which sources I consulted ever so slightly. I dropped Optimum Scouting as a source, since they haven't updated their Big Board since January, and have instead adopted the Great Blue North ranking, which has consistently high accuracy marks from the Huddle Report. That means I consulted the following ten ranking sources: NFL.com, ESPN, CBS, SB Nation (Dan Kadar's Top 200), Walterfootball, Draftek, Draft Countdown, Scout on MSN, Great Blue North and the National Football Post, all of which have been updated since the last version of the consensus rankings. And lastly, due to lack of time I have dropped the "overall change" statistic. For anyone curious to see how much movement each player has made in detail, please consult the v2.0 ranking manually by clicking this link and comparing the previous ranking with this one!

Quarterbacks

Player Name

School

Average Positional Rank

Average Overall Rank

1. Blake Bortles

UCF

1.8

14.4

2. Teddy Bridgewater

Louisville

2

9.4

3. Johnny Manziel

Texas A&M

2.4

17.2

4. Derek Carr

Fresno State

4.3

38.8

5. Jimmy Garoppolo

Eastern Illinois

6

76.5

6. AJ McCarron

Alabama

6.6

80.3

7. Zach Mettenberger

LSU

7.2

89

8. Aaron Murray

Georgia

9.9

152.5

9. David Fales

San Jose State

10.2

154.75

10. Logan Thomas

Virginia Tech

10.5

161.5556

11. Tajh Boyd

Clemson

10.6

175.75

12. Brett Smith

Wyoming

11.666667

186.1429

13. Tom Savage

Pittsburgh

12.777778

206

14. Stephen Morris

Miami (FL)

13.4

212.8333

The fall of Teddy Bridgewater, unfortunately, is very real. Blake Bortles has officially leap-frogged Bridgewater as the #1 quarterback in the draft...based on the positional rankings. But don't go anointing him king just yet. If you notice, Bridgewater's overall ranking is still higher. That means that the few ranking sources that have Bridgewater ahead of Bortles, have him ahead by a much larger margin than majority of those that don't. So, it's not quite a full-blown consensus that Bortles is ahead of Bridgewater, and their average positional rank is only a difference of 0.2, hardly significant. Derek Carr continues to have an overall rank just outside the 1st round. Tajh Boyd continues to tumble down the draft board while all of the quarterbacks ranked 8th or lower drop some in the overall ranks. If the overall ranks are to be believed, all of these quarterbacks should be available at #8, but as we know from the past, this position is always over-drafted. It's not a question of if a quarterback will be drafted within the first seven picks, it's a matter of who, and how many.

Inside Linebackers

Player Name and Position

School

Average Positional Rank

Average Overall Rank

1. CJ Mosley ILB/OLB

Alabama

1

12.5

2. Chris Borland

Wisconsin

3.2

75.3

3. Shayne Skov ILB/OLB

Stanford

4.3

91.8

4. Christian Jones ILB/OLB

Florida State

4.9

100.5

5. Telvin Smith ILB/OLB

Florida State

5.3

111.8

6. Yawin Smallwood ILB/OLB

Connecticut

6.3

112.3

7. Lamin Barrow ILB/OLB

LSU

6.6

126.1

8. Preston Brown

Louisville

7.8

160

9. Jordan Zumwalt ILB/OLB

UCLA

8.3

150.6

10. Max Bullough

Michigan St.

8.9

157.3

11. Andrew Jackson

Western Kentucky

10.3

181.3

12. Avery Williamson

Kentucky

11.6

169

13. Glenn Carson ILB/OLB

Penn State

14.6

254.6

14. Andrew Wilson

Missouri

19

540.5

As before there is C.J. Mosley, and then everyone else. No other inside linebacker receives a 1st or 2nd round grade in the average overall rankings outside of Mosley. So, if the Vikings pass on C.J. Mosley (who I personally think is every bit as good of a prospect as Luke Kuechly was), they should be fine to wait until the 3rd round for a guy like Chris Borland or Shane Skov, who swapped positions (Borland has been climbing many rankings since March). It's worth pointing out that the list of inside linebackers is much, much smaller than in the last update. This is because the rankings did not have nearly as many highly ranked linebackers and the ones on the list almost all saw a drop in the overall rankings. This draft doesn't feature a lot of elite inside linebackers and contains a whole slew of just a bunch of "guys", unfortunately.

Outside Linebackers

Player Name and Position

School

Average Positional Rank

Average Overall Rank

1. Khalil Mack

Buffalo

1.1

3.8

2. Anthony Barr

UCLA

2.2

10.5

3. CJ Mosley OLB/ILB

Alabama

2.8

12.4

4. Ryan Shazier

Ohio State

4.4

22.4

5. Dee Ford OLB/DE

Auburn

5.5

36.3

6. Kyle Van Noy

Brigham Young

6.9

48.5

7. DeMarcus Lawerence OLB/DE

Boise State

7.6

49.2

8. Jeremiah Attaochu

Georgia Tech

7.9

55.3

9. Trent Murphy OLB/DE

Stanford

8.7

64

10. Shayne Skov ILB/OLB

Stanford

12.8

91.6

11. Christian Jones OLB/ILB

Florida State

12.8

100.6

12. Carl Bradford OLB/DE

Arizona State

13.1

97.9

13. Telvin Smith OLB/ILB

Florida State

14.4

111.7

14. Adrian Hubbard

Alabama

15

120.3

15. Yawin Smallwood OLB/ILB

Connecticut

16.5

125.3

16. Trevor Reilly OLB/DE

Utah

16.6

129

17. Jordie Tripp

Montana

16.9

164.3

While inside linebackers look pretty thin in this year's draft the outside linebackers continue to look very good with a lot of excellent depth. Mack has asserted his way into the Top 5 overall pretty decisively, and Ryan Shazier has been climbing a few spots in the 1st round as well. DeMarcus Lawerence has made huge climbs from 84th overall in the last ranking to 49th in this latest update. We lost a few names at the bottom of the ranking as they no longer appeared as a top 10 player. It's worth pointing out that if the top 3 quarterbacks in the draft are all taken by pick #8, the Vikings would be very wise to go after Mack, Barr or Mosley with their 8th pick as one of those three players will almost surely be available and address a huge position of need. If they did that, then they could address the quarterback position by drafting the best available prospect at pick #40, or trade back into the 1st round with their extra 3rd round pick and a few other selections to get a guy like Derek Carr if they feel he will go sooner than #40. As I've said before, there would be excellent value at outside linebacker right around our 8th pick.

Cornerback

Player Name

School

Average Positional Rank

Average Overall Rank

1. Darqueze Dennard

Michigan St.

1.7

16.8

2. Justin Gilbert

Oklahoma St.

1.8

15.5

3. Bradley Roby

Ohio St.

4

31.3

4. Kyle Fuller

Virginia Tech

4

30.8

5. Jason Verrett

TCU

4.4

36

6. Lamarcus Joyner CB/S

Florida St.

7.5

59.1

7. Marcus Roberson

Florida

10.1

84.4

8. Keith McGill

Utah

10.2

85.1

9. Bashaud Breeland

Clemson

10.7

84.2

10. Stanley Jean-Baptiste

Nebraska

10.7

88.9

11. Pierre Desir

Lindenwood

12.4

96.5

12. Jaylen Watkins

Florida

13.9

104.7

13. Loucheiz Purifoy

Florida

14.9

118.8

14. Vic Hampton

South Carolina

16.3

118.8

15. Rashaad Reynolds

Oregon State

17

123

16. Antone Exum CB/S

Virginia Tech

17

133.3

17. E.J. Gaines

Missouri

17.2

128.5

18. Terrance Mitchell

Oregon

18.1

130.3

19. Andre Hal

Vander Bilt

24.9

186.5

20. Travis Carrie

Ohio

26.7

204.5

Cornerback continues to be one of the deepest positions in this draft, and Dennard and Gilbert have solidified themselves as the two elite prospects. Dennard has a slight edge over Gilbert in the positional ranks, but Gilbert has the edge in the overall ranks. Like Bridgewater and Bortles, these two prospects are ranked almost identically. After that there is a group of four, 2nd round graded players and then a slew of 3rd and 4th round graded players as well. A full 20 prospects are ranked in the top 10 of at least one ranking source of which 19 have a grade in the 5th round or better, the most of any position relevant to the Vikings. Based on overall value, it probably doesn't make sense to draft a cornerback with the 8th overall selection, but if the Vikings were to trade down a few spots taking either Dennard or Gilbert at #10-15 they they would get a lot more value than standing pat at #8. Or, they could wait until the 2nd or 3rd round and still get a very good prospect.

Offensive Guard

Player Name

School

Average Positional Rank

Average Overall Rank

1. Martin, Zach OG/OT

Notre Dame

1.2

23.4

2. Su'a-Filo, Xavier

UCLA

2.4

34.7

3. Yankey, David

Stanford

3.8

50.8

4. Jackson, Gabe

Mississippi State

3.9

53.7

5. Bitonio, Joel OG/OT

Nevada

5.1

66.9

6. Richardson, Cyril

Baylor

7

83.1

7. Thomas, Brandon OG/OT

Clemson

8.1

83.4

8. Turner, Trai

LSU

10.3

114.3

9. Bodine, Russell OG/C

North Carolina

10.4

149.5

10. Dozier, Dakota OG/OT

Furman

10.6

98

11. Steen, Anthony

Alabama

11.1

137.4

12. Watt, Chris

Notre Dame

12.8

146

13. Halapio, Jon

Florida

13.2

186.3

14. Schofield, Michael OG/OT

Michigan

13.5

184.7

15. Urschel, John

Penn State

14.3

169.7

16. Linder, Brandon

Miami

15.5

209.3

17. Fulton, Zach

Tennessee

16.6

226.6

18. Long, Spencer

Nebraska

17.1

224.5

This list of offensive guards appears to be long and deep at first glance with 18 names appearing in the top 10 of at least one positional ranking source. However, if you look a little closer, the bottom six names all receive a 5th round grade or worse in the overall ranks, and only one prospect grades out as a first round talent. Also, after the top 7, the talent gap is huge and many of these prospects project more as an offensive tackle or center than they do a guard. In reality, this is a very weak draft class for offensive guard. If the Vikings want to secure a top talent at guard, they are going to have to address it in the 2nd or 3rd round. Otherwise, they're looking at trying to develop a late round prospect as they have tried to do in the recent past. After getting lucky with John Sullivan in the 6th round of the 2008 draft, they've tried to repeat their late round offensive line selections with guys like Travis Bond, DeMarcus Love, Chris DeGeare, Jeff Baca and Brandon Fusco with rather mixed results.

Top 10 Overall

Player Name

Position

School

Average Overall Rank

1. Jadeveon Clowney

DE

South Carolina

1

2. Greg Robinson

OT

Auburn

3.3

3. Sammy Watkins

WR

Clemson

3.6

4. Khalil Mack

OLB

Buffalo

4.1

5. Jake Matthews

OT

Texas A&M

4.7

6. Teddy Bridgewater

QB

Louisville

9.4

7. Taylor Lewan

OT

Michigan

9.9

8. Anthony Barr

OLB

UCLA

10.5

9. Mike Evans

WR

Texas A&M

11.2

10. Eric Ebron

TE

North Carolina

11.9

11. C.J. Mosley

ILB

Alabama

12.5

12. Blake Bortles

QB

UCF

14.4

13. Justin Gilbert

CB

Oklahoma State

15.5

14. Ha'Sean "HaHa" Clinton-Dix

S

Alabama

16.3

15. Darqueze Dennard

CB

Michigan State

16.8

16. Johnny Manziel

QB

Texas A&M

17.2

17. Marqise Lee

WR

USC

20.1

18. Kelvin Benjamin

WR

Florida State

36.6

In a stunning turn of events, Clowney has secured a unanimous #1 ranking from all 10 online draft sources. This is a very difficult feat to achieve, and it just speaks to the value that Clowney has as a "can't miss" prospect in this draft. Based on this new information, Houston will look very foolish if they pass on Clowney, despite their severe need for a quarterback. If they don't want Clowney, they would be wise to entertain trade offers. The top 5 remains unchanged, although the order has shifted a bit. Bridgewater drops 2 spots in the overall ranks, but retains his #6 ranking here. Taylor Lewin and Mike Evans climb up the boards a little bit as does Blake Bortles. Meanwhile, C.J. Mosley and Johnny Manziel fall a bit. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan falls off the ranking completely as no source has him as a Top 10 prospect, and wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin is viewed by most as a 2nd round prospect (or lower) despite his one appearance in the top 10.

If the draft fell according to this consensus ranking, the Vikings would land Anthony Barr with the 8th pick and I wouldn't be upset with that at all. But seeing as how Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel would all be available under that totally unrealistic scenario, it's very hard to project who will be there for the Vikings. Despite the fact that both Greg Robinson and Jake Mathews are ranked so highly, there are not a lot of teams that desperately need a franchise left tackle ahead of the Vikings in this draft. It will be interesting to see if any teams below the Vikings are willing to trade up for one of those blue chip prospects, which would potentially cause a quarterback to fall in our lap.

Normally I would offer up a potential mock draft and boil down the value of all these positions as it relates to the Vikings draft selections, but Mark has done a good job of cornering the market on mock drafts around here. So instead, I'll leave you with a poll.

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