With college football pro days in full swing across Big Ten universities, that can only mean one thing: The NFL Draft is fast approaching. ESPN’s Todd McShay recently released his updated 2014 NFL Mock Draft 3.0, which features four Big Ten standouts in the first round.
No. 12 – Michigan OT Taylor Lewan, New York Giants
No. 20 – Michigan State DB Darqueze Dennard, Arizona Cardinals
No. 22 – Ohio State DB Bradley Roby, Philadelphia Eagles
No. 29 – Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman, New England Patriots
Leading the way is Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, who McShay has going No. 12 overall to the New York Giants.
“This is another tricky one, because the two biggest need areas for the Giants, in my opinion, are offensive tackle and linebacker, and those are two positions they hardly ever use first-round picks on,” McShay says. “They broke their tackle streak last year, selecting Justin Pugh, and I think with him on the right and Lewan on the left they’d have a significant upgrade and a pairing that can better protect Eli Manning. Lewan certainly justifies the pick from a talent standpoint, as he’s long, has good experience and showcased his explosiveness at the combine.”
McShay then lists a pair of Big Ten defensive backs going in the early 20’s – Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard at No. 20 to the Arizona Cardinals, followed by Ohio State’s Bradley Roby at No. 22 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles.
While Dennard (5-10, 200) and Roby (5-11, 195) have similar size, the former Michigan State star is known more as an in-your-face cover corner, while Roby’s best asset is his lightning-fast speed and quickness.
The final Big Ten player listed in McShay’s mock draft is Minnesota defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman, who he has going No. 29 to the New England Patriots.
“This would be a good value pick, as Hageman could go anywhere in the 20’s, and he is a good scheme fit as well due to his versatility and rare size-speed combination,” McShay says of the 6-5, 310 pound defensive tackle. “Hageman had a challenging upbringing, and the fact that he has persevered is a testament to him, but he’s also a guy who will likely need structure around him to succeed, and he’d have that in New England.”
Others deserving consideration: Ryan Shazier (Ohio State), Carlos Hyde (Ohio State), Allen Robinson (Penn State).