With the 2014 East-West Shrine Game in the books, the path to the 2014 NFL draft now turns its attention to the 2014 Senior Bowl.
At this event, the nation's top seniors will hit Mobile, Ala. for an all-star affair that does much every year to help top prospects separate themselves from the rest of the draft class.
The game has a significant impact for a variety of different talents. For some well-known names, it is yet another chance to solidify their status as a top prospect. For small-school players, it is a chance to prove that gaudy statistics and performances against lesser-known competition were the real deal.
Several names have much more to prove than others in the big game, but here is a look at who to watch out for.
|Derek Carr||Fresno State||QB|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||Eastern Illinois||QB|
|David Fales||San Jose State||QB|
|Antonio Andrews||Western Kentucky||RB|
|Jerick McKinnon||Georgia Southern||RB|
|Lorenzo Taliaferro||Coastal Carolina||RB|
|Marcel Jensen||Fresno State||TE|
|Bryan Stork||Florida State||OL|
|Gabe Jackson||Mississippi State||OL|
|Billy Turner||North Dakota State||OL|
|Justin Ellis||Louisiana Tech||DL|
|Will Sutton||Arizona State||DL|
|Christian Jones||Florida State||LB|
|Jeremiah Attaochu||Georgia Tech||LB|
|Telvin Smith||Florida State||LB|
|Kyle Van Noy||BYU||LB|
|Lavelle Westbrooks||Georgia Southern||DB|
|Terrence Brooks||Florida State||DB|
|Jemea Thomas||Georgia Tech||DB|
|Marcus Heit||Kansas State||LS|
Senior Bowl Official Website
|Logan Thomas||Virginia Tech||QB|
|Charles Sims||West Virginia||RB|
|Jared Abbrederis||, Wisconsin||WR|
|Michael Campanaro||Wake Forest||WR|
|Jeff Janis||Saginaw Valley St.||WR|
|Tyler Larsen||Utah State||OL|
|Weston Richburg||Colorado State||OL|
|Kadeem Edwards||Tennessee St.||OL|
|Zack Martin||Notre Dame||OL|
|Jack Mewhort||Ohio State||OL|
|DaQuan Jones||Penn State||DL|
|Will Clarke||West Virginia||DL|
|James Gayle||Virginia Tech||DL|
|Kareem Martin||North Carolina||DL|
|Nevin Lawson||Utah State||DB|
|Deone Bucannon||Washington State||DB|
|Dontae Johnson||North Carolina State||DB|
|Jimmie Ward||Northern Illinois||DB|
|Kirby Van Der Kamp||Iowa State||P|
Senior Bowl Official Website
Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
The 2014 wide receiver class is one of the deepest in recent memory, so the Senior Bowl serves as an opportunity for some perceived mid-round talents to break free of the logjam.
One such player with this unique chance is Oregon's Josh Huff, who is already seeing expectations rise in the week leading up to the game by names such as Rotoworld's Josh Norris and CBS Sports' Dane Brugler:
@JoshNorris Oregon's Josh Huff is a candidate— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 18, 2014
Standing at 5'11" and 202 pounds, Huff was one of the main targets in Oregon's high-flying attack this year, as he hauled in 62 catches for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns. Despite the stellar year, the gurus over at CBS Sports have Huff pegged with a fifth- to sixth-round grade.
But given what fans have seen in the past from Huff, there is a chance that he can take the game over on his own and boost his stock in a major way.
Chris Davis, CB, Auburn
Fans may have heard about Auburn's Chris Davis—the defensive back who took a kick back 108 yards for a touchdown in this season's infamous Iron Bowl, as the Tigers upset the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The 5'11", 200-pound senior has plenty to prove despite the career-defining moment, especially if he is to boost his stock at another deep position this year.
Davis is stout in man coverage, and as CBS Sports' Rob Rang writes, he is an unheralded prospect who compares to Kareem Jackson of the Houston Texans:
Stout (if somewhat short) frame, physicality and versatile coverage ability make the underrated Davis a potential early-round pick and future starter in the NFL, just as Jackson was from rival Alabama in 2010.
Despite the praise, CBS Sports still has Davis as just a third- or fourth-round pick, behind big names such as Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert and others.
Lining up opposite of guys like Huff, Davis has a big chance to improve his draft outlook in Mobile.
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Derek Carr is one of those names who could go anywhere from No. 1 overall to completely out of the first round on draft day.
Carr has a lot of ground to make up, as other top names such as Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles are all more than capable of being selected ahead of him. But Brugler gives Carr plenty of credit for competing in the Senior Bowl at all:
I give a lot of credit to QB Derek Carr for competing in the Senior Bowl. He has top-10 pick implications on the line. Competitor #NFLDraft— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 17, 2014
As NFL.com captures, Carr wants to take the opportunity to prove to critics that he is worthy of being in the conversation for the top pick:
After a season in which he threw for 5,082 yards with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions, Carr simply has to show evaluators that he can play at a similar level against college football's best.
Expect a pretty display of passing from Carr as he enters the game with a chip on his shoulder and countless millions on the line.