Top 2014 NFL draft sleepers

A look at a number of non-FBS players who could get the call

Updated: May 8, 2014, 11:07 AM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Jimmy GaroppoloBradley Leeb/USA TODAY SportsQuarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could be taken as early as Round 2 in the 2014 NFL draft.

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When I originally put a "sleepers" list in the print versions of my NFL draft guide many years ago, the term meant something different. For me, these were kids you'd have a tough time seeing on TV. And that sentiment holds true many years later. While it's not hard to get the film nowadays, for the average fan, these are guys they've never seen.

I wanted to maintain that concept with this list, even though "sleepers" seems to apply to many things.

A couple of notes on this list:
1. To qualify for this, you must not have played at an FBS (Division I) school in 2013.
2. I've broken it down into two categories, based on likelihood to be drafted.

With that, here are the 2014 NFL draft sleepers.


First tier

These are guys likely to get drafted, some as high as Round 2.

Offense

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Eastern Illinois
Jeff Mathews, QB, Cornell

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Garoppolo go early in Round 2, and if you can go early in Round 2, that certainly opens up the possibility that you could go late in Round 1. Once Derek Carr and Teddy Bridgewater are drafted, Garoppolo could be the next name called. Mathews has good size and pretty good arm strength, and will get picked as a late-round project to develop.

[+] EnlargeTerrance West
Photo courtesy of IMG AcademyTerrance West had a productive college career at Towson.

Terrance West, RB, Towson
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB, Coastal Carolina

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst