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5 Small School 2014 NFL Draft Prospects Who Could Make It in the NFL

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5 Small School Players Who Could Make It In the NFL

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With the exception of the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos who are playing in Super Bowl XLVIII, every team in the NFL has shifted their focus from the on-field side of football to the business side of the game. As the season comes to a close, it's time for teams to start looking ahead at the NFL offseason, most notably, the 2014 NFL Draft.

This year's draft has plenty of big name talent at the top of the board. With guys like Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney and Johnny Manziel, the 2014 draft isn't lacking in well-known players from big schools. However, it's the guys from the small schools who have a chance to make the biggest impact in the NFL.

We see it all the time. Guys like Jahri Evans and Alfred Morris are both players who have seen great success at their respective positions in the NFL despite not playing at some of the bigger schools in the nation. It's guys like Marques Colston that sometimes make the bigger impact in the NFL; it's not always the first-round picks and big-name players.

Luckily for general managers all around the NFL, this year's draft has a nice balance between the big-name guys and the smaller school, lesser-known players. This is an NFL Draft that could very easily produce more than five eventually starters. It wasn't easy to narrow this list down to just five players, especially considering the amount of small-school talent in this draft; however, ladies and gentlemen, here are five small school players that could make it in the NFL.

Chris Ross is an NFL Draft writer for, you can follow him on Twitter @prosport_news, "like" him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Jimmy Garoppolo

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Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is very quickly making people notice his exceptional play. Garroppolo is wowing scouts with a quick release, accuracy and exceptional poise. He might not have the absolute strongest arm in the draft, but Garoppolo puts more than enough velocity on his passes. If everything goes right for him, it's not a stretch for Garoppolo to become a starter at some point in the NFL.

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4. Jordan Tripp

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Jordan Tripp, a linebacker out of Montana University, has an opportunity to really show scouts what he is capable of doing in the next few months. Tripp has decent size, coming in at just over 6-foot-3 and 237-pounds. Combine that with his quickness and explosive first step, and Tripp has the makings of a starter in the NFL; he just needs an opportunity.

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3. Pierre Desir

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Pierre Desir is a perfect example of just how much the Senior Bowl can help a prospect's draft stock. Going into the game, few had ever even heard of Desir. Now, however, the corner out of Lindenwood looks like a first-round pick to some. Desir has some Richard Sherman-like qualities to his game, and that bodes extremely well for his status in the NFL.

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2. Terrance West

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Terrance West, a running back out of Towson College, made waves this season by rushing for just over 2,500 yards, and it's safe to say scouts are intrigued by West's running ability. While West isn't blazing fast, he has the field vision and power of someone like Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris. At the very least, it appears West is destined to become a great part of a running back rotation somewhere in the NFL.

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1. Jeff Mathews

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Coming out of Cornell, Jeff Mathews isn't necessarily the most hyped prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft. However, Mathews has become a very good young player over his time in the college ranks, and he has a very legitimate shot to be a spot starter in the NFL. He might not be a consistent starter at the next level, but Mathews' blend of toughness, smarts and a decent arm make him a very nice backup plan for any team.