Today, Mel Kiper begins a weeklong series looking at the top players at their respective positions for the 2014 NFL draft.
This is obviously an incredibly early look at where some of these prospects rank, but gives a good sense of who stands where with nearly a year to go before the draft rolls around again.
No. 2 Sammy Watkins, Clemson. Kiper says: "Watkins has good size at 6-2, strong hands and is a big threat once he catches the ball. I'd be surprised if he didn't come back with a good season, but he needs to have a good August, too."
Next up: Devin Street, Pitt.
Speaking of Watkins, ESPN Insider Travis Haney believes Watkins has the capability of elevating the Tigers program before heading on to the pros. Haney writes that he had a tough time choosing between Watkins and Tajh Boyd because they are so intertwined, but settled on the junior-to-be receiver because, "I think we have sort of forgotten what type of impact player he can be -- and was two seasons ago." Haney goes on at length, so be sure to check out the link for more.
Let's not forget that Watkins is an underclassman and will have to decide when the season ends whether to skip his senior season and head to the NFL draft. He is rated as a first-round pick virtually everywhere, so if he is as productive as he was as a freshman, then the Tigers may only have him for one more season.
As for Street, he is the only proven offensive playmaker the Panthers have at this point, so you can be sure he will be targeted plenty this season. Street has great size at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, so he has a chance to rise.
Nobody makes the top 5, but three are listed in the next up category:
I firmly believe all three players are in line to have outstanding seasons. Martin had an MVP-type spring in Chapel Hill and wants to be the leader of a defensive line that lost its top playmaker in Sylvester Williams. Chickillo has heaps of potential and is on the verge of a breakout season. Gayle, meanwhile, turned down a chance to enter the NFL draft a year early and has the opportunity to rise up with another solid season. Of this trio, Chickillo is the only one who is an underclassman.