Posts Tagged ‘Draft Sleepers’

2014 NFL Draft: Conference USA, Sun Belt Conference Sleepers to Watch

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Western Kentucky running back Antonio Andrews is a player to watch in the Sun Belt Conference this season. (Photo: Mark Zerof — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joseph Curtis

Despite not being power conferences, both Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference have produced their share of NFL talent in recent years. An average of eight players have been selected from C-USA during the last five drafts, including one first-round pick in each of the past two drafts (Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe in 2012, Houston cornerback D.J Hayden in 2013). During the same period, the Sun Belt has averaged 4.8 selections with no first-round picks.

While neither conference possesses any surefire first-round caliber prospects for the 2014 NFL draft, Western Kentucky linebacker Andrew Jackson is gaining notoriety heading into the season.

Due to conference realignments, C-USA boasts six new football schools this season while the Sun Belt adds two schools. In this article, we’ll explore some names other than Jackson to watch this season amongst the C-USA and Sun Belt teams.

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2014 NFL Draft: American Athletic Conference and Mid-American Conference Sleepers to Watch

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

USF defensive end Ryne Giddins could be a riser in the 2014 NFL draft class if he bounces back strong from an injury-riddled junior season. (Photo: Danny Wild — USA Today Sports)

BBD Staff Writer: Joseph Curtis

The Mid-American Conference has consistently produced a few selections in each NFL Draft. The American Athletic Conference, formerly known as the Big East, has produced a good amount of NFL talent.

As one of the power conferences, the Big East produced a good amount of selections, averaging 19.4 picks over the last five drafts. With an exodus of many of the conference’s top teams in progress, it remains to be seen whether the AAC will be able to sustain that production of NFL talent.

During that same five-year period, the MAC averaged 6.6 players selected. However, the MAC did produce the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, as the Kansas City Chiefs drafted Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher.

Top quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville leads the draft-eligible talent for the AAC this season, while the MAC’s top prospects are Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack and Kent State running back/wide receiver Dri Archer.

Although they do not play in any of college football’s major conferences, Bridgewater, Mack and Archer are already well-established names as prospect. Let’s take a look at some of the lesser-established names who could be sleeper prospects for the 2014 NFL draft.

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