There are always a couple prospects who slide through the cracks for a while before rising up big boards during the run up to draft day. The most common reason for the jump is impressive offseason workouts, which you can expect from the three seniors below.
Nick Foles (QB – Arizona)
The first thing that will jump out about Foles is his prototypical quarterback size. At 6'5'', 240 pounds he shouldn't have any problem holding his own at the next level when monster pass rushers are baring down on his blind side.
His numbers aren't too shabby, either. He completed 69 percent of his passes for over 4,300 yards and 28 touchdowns for the Wildcats this season. They've continued to place more pressure on his shoulders with each passing year, and he's risen to the occasion each time.
Since Matt Barkley decided to return to USC for his senior season, there's an opening behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III to be the third quarterback selected. Don't be surprised if Foles ends up outdueling Landry Jones and Ryan Tannehill to earn that distinction.
Zebrie Sanders (OT – Florida State)
If there's one position that basically every NFL team could use more of, it's offensive tackle. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, you can't have enough depth, especially when you consider how important tackles are in all facets of an offensive attack.
As of right now, Sanders is on an island. He's not really an elite prospect that teams would be willing to select early in the first round, but he's ahead of the second tier of players who will likely starting flying off the board in the middle of Round 2.
He's a four-year starter and has made great strides during his time at Florida State. If there's any concern, it's his ability to slow down speed rushers. Look for him to have a strong combine that will push him up big boards before April.
Which of these players will turn into the best pro?
Jared Crick (DE – Nebraska)
Crick suffered a pectoral injury that forced him to miss the second half of the season for Nebraska. It's also caused his draft stock to take a hit as analysts are unsure how he'll recover from the injury heading into his first pro season.
He's not a top-notch pass rusher or dominant run stopper, but instead what you'll get from Crick is a tireless worker. He doesn't take plays off and will be most effective in the latter portion of a game, when opposing linemen are wearing down and he's still operating at full speed.
It's his work ethic that will impress scouts as they make their final evaluations and should end up pushing him into the middle of the first round before it's all said and done. That's assuming he's able to prove there are no health concerns, of course.