The 2014 NFL Draft is still a year away, but the Pac-12 is absolutely loaded with draft-eligible players for next year's draft, so it's really exciting to look forward to 2014 when I think the Pac-12 has the chance to easily have at least 10 players go in the first round. This is very, very early, but here are some of the Pac-12's returning stars who have the best 2014 stock right now.
1. Marqise Lee WR USC (Jr.)
Lee will probably leave college a year early as the best receiver to ever play in the Pac-12. He has good, but not great size and speed and his production is simply astounding. However, Lee is one of the guys on this list that I could see falling a bit though because he is going to have to deal with USC breaking in a new quarterback who may not be able to get him the ball as well as Matt Barkley did.
2. Anthony Barr LB UCLA
Barr should be a pre-season All-American and frontrunner for Pac-12 Defensive Player of the year. Throw in the fact that he has ideal measurables for maybe the most sought after position in the league right now and Barr is a guy who could go as high as the top overall pick if he has a stellar season and tests well enough.
3. Brett Hundley QB UCLA (So.)
Physically, Hundley already has it all - size, speed and a rocket arm - and if he can replicate the production that he had during his freshman season, he will also have experience and superb numbers. Hundley has the toolset of a quarterback that could go first overall if all goes right whenever he decides to head to the NFL in the next three years.
4. De'Anthony Thomas RB Oregon (Jr.)
Some think that Thomas isn't a top NFL prospect due to his diminutive size, but after seeing Tavon Austin going in the Top 10 this year, it's clear that teams are willing to take a chance on a very small athlete if he has out of this world speed and production and that is exactly what Thomas has. He likely won't be a running back at the next level, but could be invaluable in the Percy Harvin role of offensive playmaker that can carry the ball and catch it down the field as he has shown the ability to do already at Oregon.
5. Marcus Mariota QB Oregon (So.)
Another Duck that doesn't have the prototypical NFL toolset, but has too much talent to have him slip too far in the draft. Mariota has good enough size and excellent athleticism and savvy but doesn't look like a guy who could play in a traditional NFL offense yet. However, if a team is looking for the next Colin Kaepernick that can play in a up-tempo, dynamic offense, then he could the best option available for the next three years whenever he decides to declare.
6. Austin Seferian-Jenkins TE Washington (Jr.)
Seferian-Jenkins is the best tight end prospect out of the conference since Rob Gronkowski. He's huge, has great production for a tight end and already has experience being an offense's go-to-guy. Seferian-Jenkins' stock would be a little higher, but he simply plays a position that isn't that valuable and while a great athlete, he isn't going to put up the freakish combine numbers that can launch a tight end up the board.
7. David Yankey T Stanford
Clearly, the 2013 draft shows just how valuable the tackle position is in the NFL and though Yankey doesn't have the athleticism that will probably push him into the Top 10, he should be scooped up in the first round.
8. Morgan Breslin DE USC
Guys who can get after the passer are at a premium in the draft and Breslin might be the best guy at doing that coming back into the conference next year. At 260, he also already is close to the weight he will need to be at to handle the position at the next level.
9. Scott Crichton DE Oregon State (Jr.)
Another big, talented pass-rusher, Crichton is neck-and-neck with Breslin in regards as who is the best defensive end in the Pac-12 and he isn't quite as heavy, but may be a little bit more athletic. If he can have another productive season in sacks and tests well, he should be a guaranteed first rounder as a junior.
10. Will Sutton DT Arizona State
Sutton is a very interesting prospect. If he was just a little bit bigger then he probably would have gone at the very, very top of this year's draft as a junior, but he is a little undersized and a tweener, so he is probably a borderline first rounder at best. If Sutton can have another incredible season in 2013 though, it will simply be impossible to not have him come off the board early due to his production.