Mel Kiper big board features Jadeveon Clowney, Teddy Bridgewater high; Johnny Manziel, too

Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper released his initial 2014 big board on Wednesday and it's a lot more than just seniors.

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper released his initial 2014 big board on Wednesday and it's a lot more than just seniors. In the past, Kiper's first big board rankings featured just 25 players and often only seniors. But now it's much deeper with 50 players rated.

Like most 2014 rankings, Kiper has South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney rated No. 1, followed by Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Kiper refers to Clowney as a "physical talent with an effective and still-growing arsenal of pass-rushing skills."

Also in Kiper's top five are Southern California wide receiver Marqise Lee, Alabama offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.

It's notable that Kiper has Kouandjio rated as his top offensive tackle. We currently have Kouandjio rated as the No. 3 tackle, but it's easy to see why he could be No. 1. Nine of Kiper's top 10 players are the same as ours. The only difference is we have Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt and he has Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy. Kiper has Tuitt at No. 13, while we have Purifoy at 45.

Four of Kiper's top 11 are offensive tackles. After Bridgewater, Kiper's next quarterback is Clemson's Tajh Boyd, who is at No. 21.

A big change in Kiper's rankings this year is the inclusion of redshirt sophomores. His highest rated redshirt sophomore is a Texas A&M player, but it's not the one you think. He has wide receiver Mike Evans at No. 18. He slides quarterback Johnny Manziel in at No. 25. Despite Manziel's popularity, we do not rate redshirt sophomores at this point of the year.

Curiously missing from Kiper's rankings: San Jose State quarterback David Fales.

Kiper's highest-rated player besides Evans not in our top 64: Florida State left tackle Cameron Erving. who is No. 19.

Read Kiper's big board here. This is ESPN Insider content, so do not paste his rankings in the comments.

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