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.