- Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
We're now a quarter of the way through the college football season, giving us more opportunities to study the performances and witness the improvements of several of college football's top prospects for the 2014 NFL draft.
Two Heisman candidate QBs who are joining our Top 32 prospects ranking this week are among those who have impressed with their on-field performances: Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel.
Before I get into what these guys have done well (more on that later), I would like to point out that just because these guys are in our Top 32 right now does not mean we have them locked into first-round grades. Only the top 17 prospects on this list actually have grades that translate to first-round scores at this point in the season, and there will be plenty of opportunity for guys to move in and out of these rankings both during the season and during the draft process.
But based on what they've done to this point, and the improvements they've shown, they've earned a spot in this week's rankings.
Here are our Top 32 prospects for the 2014 NFL draft.
(Note: The scouting reports will largely stay the same for each edition of these rankings, but we'll update as needed based on recent performances and upcoming matchups. Draft-eligible non-seniors are noted with an asterisk.)
COLLEGE: South Carolina
Analysis: If you read my most recent rankings, you'll know that I haven't been subscribing to the theory that Clowney is off to a "slow" start this season. (If you want to nit-pick numbers, he's only three tackles and one sack behind his pace of last season through three games.) He remains the best prospect on this list and the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in 2014. He possesses a rare blend of size, athleticism, upper-body power and playmaking instincts.
PREVIOUS RANK: 1 | PLAYER CARD
Analysis: Bridgewater has continued to impress so far this season, even if he has been facing subpar competition. He has a quick release, above-average accuracy and is a good athlete who can buy time and pick up the occasional first down with his feet. He's at his best in the pocket, picking apart defenses with his ability to read defenses and deliver accurate throws. He sees the entire field and does not get stuck on his primary target. Bridgewater is also tough and has the temperament you look for at the position.
PREVIOUS RANK: 2 | PLAYER CARD
COLLEGE: Texas A&M
Analysis: Matthews moved up a couple of spots in these rankings this week, ahead of the Aggies' game against Arkansas. He does an excellent job with his hands in both pass protection and run blocking, and shows good initial pop with the ability to consistently jar defenders. He's a tough, hardworking player who clearly puts in time studying tape and has a nasty side on the field.
PREVIOUS RANK: 5 | PLAYER CARD