For most football fans, the NFL Draft is the second-most important event of the year, topped only by the Super Bowl. Over the next three days, a handful of former Colorado State football standouts will await their fate as the 2014 NFL Draft begins. After months of being poked, prodded, measured and asked a bevy of questions, these players will see their professional futures take shape in the coming days.
1. Weston Richburg
Hometown: Bushland, Texas
Height: 6’4″ Weight: 300 lbs.
Games Started/Games Played: 50/50
Richburg, one of the most decorated Ram players in recent history, is thought by many to be the best center available in this year’s draft. His combination of size, quickness, and cerebral ability will make him a hot commodity over the next three days of the draft. A four-year starter, Richburg anchored an offensive line this past season that helped CSU’s offense to a record-setting season including paving the way for running back Kapri Bibbs to become one of only four players in Football Bowl Subdivision to score 30 or more touchdowns in a single season.
Draft Projection: 1st-3rd Round
Possible Landing Spots: Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers
2. Kapri Bibbs
Position: Running Back
Hometown: Plainfield, Illinois
Height: 5’11″ Weight: 203 lbs.
Games Started/Games Played: 6/13
Bibbs, a redshirt sophomore, exploded onto the scene this past season, rushing for 1,741 yards and 31 touchdowns, while starting just six games this season. He does lack top-end speed and tackle-breaking ability, but does possess good quickness, vision and balance. It remains to be seen how well he can catch the ball out of the backfield, but has a great nose for the end zone, something teams will look for in drafting a late-round back.
Draft Projection: 5th Round-Undrafted
Possible Landing Spots: New England Patriots, New York Jets, Denver Broncos
3. Crockett Gillmore
Position: Tight End/H-Back
Hometown: Bushland, Texas
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 255 lbs.
Games Started/Games Played: 36/46
Also a native of Bushland, Texas, Gillmore climbed up most people’s draft boards at the end of the 2013 season and in his workouts this spring. Gillmore a prototypical tight end frame with long arms and big hands. Also catches well in traffic and has the ability to break arm tackles. However, he lacks big-time athleticism and game-breaking speed. His durability is also a question with a laundry list of injuries during his college career. Gillmore likely won’t become a starting tight end, but could provide a nice backup or No. 3 pass catcher for a team looking in the mid-to-late rounds.
Draft Projection: 4th-6th Round
Possible Landing Spots: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots
4. Shaquille Barrett
Position: Outside Linebacker
Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 250 lbs.
Games Started/Games Played: 33/38
Barrett, last season’s Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, may be the steal of all the Rams drafted this year. While he doesn’t have the prototypical build of a rush linebacker, lacking first-step quickness and athletic hips, Barrett has the innate ability to finish plays and get to the quarterback. What he lacks in athleticism, Barrett makes up for with a high motor and clutch playmaking ability. Could be a nice pickup for a team looking for a backup outside linebacker and special teams contributor. This past season, he ranked No. 5 in the nation (FBS) in tackles for loss with a Mountain West record 20.5 and No. 5 FBS in sacks with 12.0 along with recording three blocked field goals.
Draft Projection: 6th-7th Round
Possible Landing Spots: Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys
Collegian Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.