Senior Bowl 2014: Highlighting Biggest Sleeper Prospects in Game

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 25, 2014

South Squad quarterback Derek Carr of Fresno State (4) throws to a receiver during Senior Bowl practice at Fairhope Municipal Stadium, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 in Fairhope, Ala. (AP Photo/G.M. Andrews)
G.M. ANDREWS/Associated Press

Some of the nation's best players got together for the 2014 Senior Bowl as these college football studs geared up in preparation for the upcoming NFL draft, and there are sleepers in the mix that will make noise after being selected with a low draft pick.

While these playmakers won't go too early in the draft, their impact will far outweigh the position they were drafted in as they will come in and immediately produce for their team.

Some players are overhyped heading into the league and others are just picked over mistakenly. Here are a couple of players who fit the latter end of that bill.


Dee Ford, DE, Auburn

Butch Dill/Associated Press

Dee Ford's ability as an elite pass-rusher is no secret after Auburn's magical 2013 season, as the skilled defensive end wreaked havoc in the Tigers' biggest games of the year. 

Ford sits at 6'2" and 240 pounds, and can line up at both the defensive end or outside linebacker position. With his top speed and crushing strength, however, his ability to play both is more of an asset than a knock on him.

The Auburn standout ranks as the 60th overall prospect in the draft per CBS Sports, which means he is projected to be taken in the second round. But that will be incredible value for whoever lands him, as this end is ready to be a big-impact player and develop into a starter at the highest level.


Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State

David Cleveland/Associated Press

Derek Carr may end up being a great quarterback who lasts as a starter, but he could be all but forgotten about in the 2014 draft thanks to a stacked class ahead of him. 

With Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles all looking like sure-fire top picks this season, players like Carr could be left waiting until the second round if quarterback-needy teams don't pick him up early in the opening round. But whoever lands him will get extreme upside. 

B/R draft expert Matt Miller said that Carr was the most talented player on hand at the Senior Bowl and that his "dominant" performance left an impression on anyone who witnessed. And it's with good reason—he possesses great velocity combined with the accuracy that makes him a prototypical starter in the NFL.

General managers will blush at the prospect of landing a Bridgewater or Manziel, but whoever lands Carr will reap the benefits if they develop him correctly. 


Daniel McCullers, DT, Tennessee

Wade Payne/Associated Press

While the first two candidates are sleepers that will still come off the board early, big Daniel McCullers of Tennessee could be a mid-round player who pans out as a solid defensive tackle.

McCullers transferred from junior college to Rocky Top and enjoyed two seasons there. As a 6'7", 350-pound monster, he wreaked havoc on SEC offenses. His size will be a welcomed commodity for the defense that gets him, as he can swallow up the entire line at once.

CBS Sports has McCullers coming off the board at No. 99, but any team in the third or fourth round that lands McCullers will be getting a menace that won't be playing every down but will impact the trenches heavily on the downs he does play.