Sports Out West

2014 NFL Draft: 5 Pac-12 standouts who could make an immediate impact

Anthony Barr

The SEC is often referred to as the best conference in college football because they have dominated, winning the BCS title seven years in a row.  During that stretch, the conference has also produced a numerous NFL standouts and legends.  

But while the SEC may be the best conference by some standards, the PAC-12 ha produced it’s fair share of NFL talent as well. 

Cal product Aaron Rodgers, is considered by many to be the best quarterback in the NFL.  Fellow Cal star DeSean Jackson is one of the most dynamic receivers in the league.  The best cornerback in the league, Richard Sherman, is a Stanford product.  Andrew Luck, also from Stanford, has led his team to the playoffs his first two seasons in the league.  Rob Gronkowski, the former Arizona standout, has been the best tight end in football when healthy. The list could go on.

As the 2014 NFL draft approaches, the question becomes who will be the PAC-12 standouts to make impacts on their new teams? 

Here are five stars that will certainly help their team from day one:

Will Sutton, DT, ASU:

Sutton, like former teammate Vontaze Burfict did two years ago, failed to impress at the NFL combine.  He is undersized for a defensive tackle and ran a 5.36 40 yard dash.  He will not be selected on the first two days of the draft, however, whoever selects him will have a difference-maker on their defensive line.  He will find a way to make impact plays.

Marcus Martin, C, USC:

The former Trojan will transition to the NFL well.  He is not going to do anything that turns heads, but he will be more than an adequate blocker and hold his own in pass protection.  Teams with a need at center will be happy that they can get a player of his caliber in the third round. 

Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State:  

Cooks lacks the ideal height and size wanted at the position but he will more than compensate for his lack of stature with speed. At the combine Cooks ran a 4.33 40 yard dash and had a 36 inch vertical.  In short, he is explosive. 

He will be a dynamic addition to whatever team selects him.  Most analyst have him slated to go late in the first-round, he’d fit well with the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 23 overall. 

Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona:

He is listed as the No.1 back on many draft board and will compete with Auburn star Tre Mason to be the first back taken. He is a tad slow for a top-tier back, running a 4.7 in the 40 yard dash.  Everyone can’t have the speed of a Jamaal Charles.  He will fit more in the mold of Knowshon Moreno, whom it took a few seasons to find his way in the NFL. 

Hopefully for Carey, he will be able to contribute sooner rather than later.   

Anthony Barr LB, UCLA:

Barr will be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL and will have to learn how to drop in coverage and play in space.  His speed and quickness is going to give offensive lineman fits.  He will have to develop his pass rushing technique, but with just raw ability he has the potential to be a factor.  Many scouts are starting to tout Khalil Mack over him, but Mack is raw and has not played against the competition Barr has.  Mack could turn out to be a star down the road, but Barr is a starter from day one.    

 Photo Courtesy  (USATSI)

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Keenan Actkins

Keenan Actkins is an Arizona resident living in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He brings a wealth of sports knowledge and passion to the team with his unique insight and strong voice and opinion. He also contributes to Yahoo! Voices and has written for WoodyPaige.com.