As the new year approaches and the NFL regular season comes to an end, the buildup to the 2014 NFL draft will begin to hasten considerably, even with the draft not starting until May this year. As this buildup continues, more and more prospect names will continue to emerge as potential early-round draft picks.
If you follow the NFL draft even casually, there are some names in the 2014 draft class you should already know. The top members of the senior class, like Texas A&M left tackle Jake Matthews and UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr, are already generating plenty of buzz, as are the top underclassmen expected to declare, including Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
The following slides are not intended to look at those players, or players like Texas A&M redshirt sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel or Alabama senior quarterback AJ McCarron whose college football careers have already made them big names. Instead, let’s take a look at 10 prospects whose names you probably already know if you’ve been following college football closely all year, but whose names NFL fans may quickly learn as the draft comes closer.