The 2014 NFL Draft is coming up and it is time for my annual predictions on where certain players will be drafted.  Now, I’m not doing any random predictions here.  I’m basing all my predictions on how fast the athletes ran the 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine a couple months ago.

Here’s the deal:

I will pick a player at all positions except quarterback, kicker, and punter.  I will then make a prediction on where he is drafted based on the 40 time mainly, but I might look at a few of the other tests he did at the combine.

I am not the biggest college football fan so beyond Ohio State and some of the popular names, I really don’t know how good some of these players are.  And one more thing – all I’m predicting is the round where they will be picked, not the team.

Running Back – It is amazing how the RB position has changed in even the last 5 years.  Probably won’t be a back taken in the first round, but my prediction will be for the fastest person at the combine this year, Dri Archer from Kent State.  This guy ran an incredible 4.26 in the 40, but because of his size teams might shy away from him.  He will get drafted, so I’m going to say a middle third round pick.

Wide Receiver – Teams love speed at this position, but they really love speed with size.  If I say Clemson receiver, most people think Sammy Watkins and yes he will be a top 5 pick.  My prediction is for his running mate, Martavis Bryant.  Dude is 6′ 4″, 211, and ran a 4.42.  Unless he has hands of stone, I think he’ll go late second round.

Tight End – Who is the next Jimmy Graham?  I have no clue if he is in this draft, but Eric Ebron from North Carolina could fill the bill.  He ran a 4.60 in the 40, second fastest among tight ends.  He also knocked out 24 reps on the bench press, which was the same or better than previous top round picks.  His size is good, so I’m saying a mid to late first round pick.

Tackle – Tackles are valuable in the NFL and out of the three O-Line positions (tackles, guards, and centers), the athletic results really can correspond to a draft position.  Taylor Lewan of Michigan ran the fastest 40 at 4.87.  He also had top 5 measurables in the remaining drills.  He stands 6′ 7″ and weighs 309.  I’m going to project him as a late first round pick.

Guard and Center – These are the two positions where the measurables really don’t matter as much and it is more what scouts see on the tape.  That being said, this is really a crapshoot for me.  At guard, Xavier Su’a-Filo from UCLA had a good combine so I’ll say high third round.  At center, Weston Richburg from Colorado St. will go high fourth round.  Weston had the fastest 40’s among centers at 5.10.

Defensive End – There are some big time defensive ends, so I’m going to look at James Gayle from Virginia Tech.  Not quite as big as Clowney, but big enough.  He ran a 4.70 in the 40 and had good measurables elsewhere.  I’m going to say a low second round pick (meaning one of the last picks in that round).

Defensive Tackle – You need someone to plug up the middle and Aaron Donald from Pittsburgh might do that.  He’s got size and ranked #1 among DT’s in the 40, 20 yard shuttle, broad jump, and bench press.  Comparing his numbers to previous first round defensive tackle picks, I can see him getting picked in the mid first round.

Outside LinebackerKevin Pierre-Louis from Boston College ran the fastest 40 at 4.51, had the best bench press, and was second or third in the 20 yard shuttle, broad, and vertical jumps.  No OLB in the last five years that has run a 4.51 or faster at the NFL Combine has never not been drafted.  Just got to figure out where.  He’s 6′ even and that might be a problem so I’m going to say high fourth round pick (meaning some of the first picks of the fourth round).

Inside Linebacker – Generally, a little less athletic than the OLB, I’m going to go in an opposite direction here.  Chris Borland from Wisconsin was a great linebacker in college (I did see him), but his height (5′ 11″) and speed (ran a 4.83 in the 40) might deter teams from looking at him.  Because he is a baller, I’m going to say a mid to late 5th round pick.

Cornerback – Alright, back to the speed guys.  Justin Gilbert from Oklahoma State was the fastest at the combine running a 4.37.  There have been a few guys to run that fast and not get drafted, but he definitely will.  Plus, he is 6′ 202.  That size, speed, and strength (3rd best bench press), I believe he will easily be a mid-first round pick.

Safety – Usually, teams don’t spend high picks on safeties unless they are studs.  It is tough to figure that out from previous drafts based on results so I think they go by a lot of game film.  Anyways, Brock Vereen from Minnesota ran the second fastest 40 at 4.47 and the best bench press so he has strength.  At 6′ 199, it is one pound, but in the past drafts safeties under 200 haven’t gone very high.  I will say early fourth round pick.

After the draft, I will have a summary of how my predictions went.  Obviously, this is just a little fun thing I like to do just to see how much the combine correlates with their football play and/or draft position.  Usually, the great athletes get drafted, but I’m analytical with numbers so we will see.