The dust has barely settled on the 2014 NFL Draft, but we are already looking forward to which Pac-12 players will be the top prospects for the 2015 draft.
1. Marcus Mariota Jr. QB Oregon
Many think that Mariota would have been the first player taken in the draft had he not decided to return. I always take that with a grain of salt as the off-season portion leading up to the draft usually ends up being just as important as the season (See Teddy Bridgewater) and there is no telling how he would have done. Regardless, he has the size, athleticism, poise and winning record combined with a lack of baggage to make him the top quarterback on most draft boards going into the 2014 season.
2. Leonard Williams Jr. DE USC
I think Williams would have been a top draft pick if he could have declared as a true sophomore, but luckily for the Trojans he has to come back one more year and will be the leading candidate to win Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He could play end or tackle at the next level and he has the kind of athleticism and quickness paired with size (6'5 290) that will make him a Top 5 pick at either spot.
3. Andrus Peat Jr. T Stanford
The massive Peat (6‘7 315) is poised to be the next Stanford All-American tackle and he is the most athletic of any of the recent standout Stanford offensive linemen. If he has a good enough season and tests the way he is capable of at the combine, expect Peat to be the first offensive lineman taken in the draft (If he declares).
4. Brett Hundley Jr. QB UCLA
General logic has seemed to suggest the Hundley is right behind Mariota, but I think that he needs to play at a top level consistently in 2014 before gets there. I really like Hundley and think that he has the potential to actually be taken ahead of Mariota, but he needs to have a signature game or two and lead UCLA to some higher success before I think he is in the discussion to be the top Pac-12 prospect in the draft.
5. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu Sr. CB Oregon
Many had Ekpre-Olomu as the top cornerback in the 2014 draft before he decide to return for his senior season, but that was partly because the draft was initially analyzed on being light on elite corners. Still, his proven lock down ability, strength and excellence in the run game should make him a first round draft pick, but the fact that he is 5'10 might keep him out of the Top 10-15.
6. Jaelen Strong Jr. WR Arizona State
Quietly had 75 receptions for more than 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013 and was unstoppable at times with his size (6'4 205) and speed. He is an explosive player who could end up being the top receiver in the draft if he has a good enough junior season.
7. Nelson Agholar Jr. WR USC
Agholar has been lurking behind Robert Woods and Marqise Lee throughout his career and this should be his year to shine as a big, athletic playmaker with major NFL potential. He isn't going to blow anyone with any specific tangible, but he is an excellent all-around receiver that could end up being the top receiver in the draft if he has a good enough season in 2013.
8. Hroniss Grasu Sr. C Oregon
Grasu could have been the top center in the 2014 draft, but came back for his senior year and should hold onto his top standing with another solid season. Centers generally have low ceilings in the draft, but Grasu could easily get into the first round and even into the top half if he has a good enough season and combine period.
9. Alex Carter Jr. CB Stanford
Kind of a big drop off here in my opinion, but Carter is the prototypical player that hasn't done a ton on the field, but has all of the physical tools that make scouts drool. He is big, strong, fast and athletic and if he can start putting it all together on the field he could be a sure-fire first rounder.
10. Sean Mannion Sr. QB Oregon State
Haven't heard too much buzz about Mannion and the NFL, but it is kind of a crapshoot after Carter and a big quarterback who can fill up the stat sheet with efficiency is the kind of player that could be a second or third round pick. His lack of mobility will probably keep him out of the first round, but if he can put up numbers along the lines of what he has the past two years without Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks, he could be the next Nic Foles.
11. Myles Jack So. LB UCLA
Jack isn't even eligible to declare for the draft after next season, but that doesn't mean that he isn't already one of the top Pac-12 players with NFL potential. When you have the size and athleticism that Jack does to excel in both run and pass coverage combined with the versatility to have monster games on offense, you have an incredibly intriguing NFL prospect.
12. Hayes Pullard Sr. LB USC
Not flashy, but a leader with solid size and a proven track record of holding down a defense, Pullard might not have the ceiling to get into the first round, but he should get close.
Ty Montgomery Sr. WR Stanford
Hau'oli Kikaha Jr. DE Washington
Marcus Peters Jr. CB Washington
Henry Anderson Sr. DE Stanford
Danny Shelton Sr. DT Washington