The 2014 NFL Draft is being talked about as one of the deepest in years talent wise and the headlines are filled with news about star players such as Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney and Blake Bortles. However the good news is that the draft class (on paper anyway) has the depth in multiple positions to give every team the chance to sign a player (even in the later rounds) who will contribute to their roster from the start of the season.
As with most years the hype is mainly on quarterbacks, wide receiver and left tackle positions and they should dominate the first day of the NFL Draft. However it is important to remember that that key players in every position are needed to build a Super Bowl calibre club, and this includes kickers, punters & returners. Here is a list of the top players who could fill these vital if unglamorous roles in an NFL roster.
Anthony Fera, out of the University of Texas – Fera could be the best kicker in this draft and after the recent success of Justin Tucker in the NFL it could help his draft stock. Fera connected on 20 of 22 kicks as a senior and six for six from forty plus yards including one fifty yard attempt.
Top Punt Returner:
Devon Smith, Marshall University – Smith put together a strong senior season returning 27 punts for 381 yards along with one touchdown return. Smith also has the ability to make plays in the passing game pulling in 39 catches for 653 yards and four touchdowns this past season.
Top Kick Retuner:
John Brown, Pittsburgh State – Brown might not be the big time name such as Odell Beckham but he should be on the board in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. Brown put together an amazing 4.34 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine. In three seasons at Pittsburgh State Brown averaged 26.9 yards per return with two touchdown returns.
We will be watching where these three end up closely.