Most of the chatter surrounding the NFL Draft prospects of Pac-12 was devoted to the top quarterbacks this season Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley. Here’s a list of few others on top of their class.
TOP PAC-12 NFL DRAFT PROSPECTS
Ka’Deem Carey RB
Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey has been named the Pac-12 offensive player of the year. Carey has the fifth most rushing yards in the nation and is tops in the Pac-12. He is also a Doak Walker Award finalist and a Heisman Trophy and All-America candidate. Carey is Arizona's all-time career rushing leader (4,070 yards) and second among active FBS players with 4,070 career rushing yards. He owns or shares 21 single-game, season and career school records and leads all FBS players with 15-straight 100-yard rushing games. Clearly bigger and stronger than a year ago, Carey demonstrated greater power and determination on interior runs as well as the vision and sharp cutting ability in 2013. Displays patience, willingness to be tackled in bounds to keep the clock moving and improved awareness as a pass blocker. A proven workhorse who shows good durability the praise and accolades Carey has received in 2014 will elevate his stock and high draft prospects.
Will Sutton DL
Arizona State defensive lineman Will Sutton joins an elite fraternity, earning his second straight Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year award. Sutton is the man in the middle of the Sun Devils defense and is the leader who sets the tone. He will leave a legacy of defensive dominance and a place among the best defensemen to wear the maroon and gold. He did not receive the overall NFL draft evaluation he had hoped for last year in 2012, which is why he returned to ASU for his senior season. His biggest improvement between this year and last? Leadership. With the recent loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship he was out shined by counter part but he still has good chance to bolster his NFL stock as ASU faces off against Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl at the end of the month.
Deandre Coleman DT
Coleman showed he could produce stats as a defensive end in 2012. He has the size — 6-3 and 315 — to compete combined with the versatility to play either as a standing end or drop down inside tackle. Though his skill set probably profiles more accurately as a tackle. Coleman played on a sad-sack Bears team this year and his stats did not blossom as expected. He did receive an honorable mention for the Pac-12 all-conference team. But his value lies in his potential and what NFL prospects see in him. Expect an NFL team to select him and groom his talents.
Paul Richardson WR
Richardson has declared early for the 2014 NFL draft. Much to the heartbreak of Colorado Buffalo fans. On a downtrodden team trying to find its way out of the Pac-12 cellar Richardson was the lone highlight and CU’s most potent offensive weapon. Richardson caught 83 passes for 1,343 yards and 10 touchdowns this season which equated to sixth best in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in terms of receiving yards. While Richardson set 29 school receiving records the knock against him is his playing weight. He will need to add weight for durability factors while maintaining his lightning fast speed. Even with his diminutive stature look for NFL teams in need of high WR talent to give a Richardson serious evaluation and consideration.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB
The junior cornerback ranks second on the Ducks team in tackles (78) and interceptions (3). He has terrific hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes and explosive footwork to make plays against the pass and the run. He fights off blocks and is quick to recognize screens and runs. It is Ekpre-Olomu's physicality which stands out in comparison to most of the other highly regarded cornerbacks across the country, and as the 2013 season draws to a close there does not appear a better draft-eligible cornerback in the country. Ekpre-Olomu is currently projected to be the 16th overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft.
Sean Mannion QB
Mannion lead the Pac-12 in total passing yards with 4,403. He is only second in the nation behind Fresno State’s Derek Carr. (Conner Halliday of WSU is second in the Pac-12 at 4,187, which is good for fourth in the nation). While Mannion will sit in the shadows of more ballyhooed QBs such as Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Brett Hundley, and Derek Carr, etc. his numbers cannot be ignored. And with Marcus Mariota coming back for his junior season Mannion represents the best QB coming out of the Pac-12 for the 2014 draft. Expect him to be picked up on the lower rounds and not be passed over.
Trent Murphy LB
Trent Murphy is not only the top sack leader in all of the Pac-12 conference he is also the sack leader in the entire country leading the FBS Division I-A with 13. Half a sack better than the second most sacks in the nation. Considering Murphy plays the linebacker position this is quite a feat. The majority of sacks come from defensive lineman. In face of the top 17 sack leaders only three are linebackers. This means Murphy has a nose for the quarterback and can flow quickly to the ball. In a NFL in need of solid linebackers Murphy will be highly sought after prospect.
Anthony Barr LB
Former running back Anthony Barr is an athletic talent with room to grow into a dominant player. He may have been a top 10 pick in the 2013 draft if he had declared and his stock has solidified since then. He still has the upside to go high in May, as his speed and length are intriguing. NFL teams will take a really close look this all-around pass-rusher especially those looking for a 3-4 outside linebacker. Barr is currently projected to go 4th overall in the first round of the draft. If so he would be the first player taken out of the Pac-12 conference.
Marquis Lee WR
Marquis Lee is the marquee (no pun intended) wide receiver in all of the Pac-12 for 2014. Despite a disappointing setback due to injury earlier in the season Lee still shows the athleticism, toughness and timing he has exhibited over the past two seasons. The reigning Biletnkikof Award winner has regained his trademark explosiveness. This bodes well for Lee in the upcoming draft. When healthy, Lee is a dominant performer well worth first round consideration. Questions about his slim frame and durability will surface. However due to his past reputation, track record and future potential expect Lee to be drafted somewhere in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE
Seferian-Jenkins is considered a strong candidate to be the first tight end selected in the NFL Draft when he decides to go pro, however Seferian-Jenkins is currently serving an indefinite team suspension after being charged with DUI following an accident in early 2013. A two-sport star (football and basketball) at Washington, Seferian-Jenkins is a true junior, but already holds the school records for career catches (110), receiving yards (1,390) and touchdowns (13) by a tight end after just two collegiate seasons. In 2013 he has 33 receptions for 413 yards and leads UW with seven receiving touchdowns. He is one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award. While the DUI and suspension are a black eye on his NFL resume, it likely won't hurt his standing in the eyes of most pro teams as long as there are no further incidents.
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