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2014 NFL Draft: Detailing Position Changing Prospects With Unique Upside

Devin GardnerYear in, year out, NFL players switch positions whether it's due to schematic changes or development into a different role. Mike Neal, for example, has been losing weight and is moving into more of an 3-4 outside linebacker role for the Packers at around 280, after playing his first three seasons in the mid-290's as a 3-4 defensive end. In college, though, most of the position transitions locked onto by the media's eyes, and fans' eyes, are quarterbacks moving to receiver, such as Hines Ward, Anquan Boldin, and Peter Warrick.


There are four 2014 NFL Draft prospects who went through significant positions changes while in college, and the spotlight needs to be shined on them. Only one of the four went from quarterback to receiver, but he didn't stay there for long.


Bryce Quigley, LT, San Diego State

Coming out of high school, Bryce Quigley was a pass catching tight-end, and he even lead his junior squad in receptions, yards, and touchdowns. His first year at San Diego State, Quigley, then a tight-end, was the only true freshman to record a start with the Aztecs, with two. Quigley's sophomore year, he started ten games out of a thirteen game season at tight-end.


Unlike high school, Quigley was being used more as a blocking tight-end than a pass-catcher. To put in in perspective, Quigley started more games than Gavin Escobar (2013 second round pick), who broke his hand mid-way through 2011, at tight-end, but Quigley only caught 9 passes, while Escobar caught 51. With Escobar emerging as a pass-catching threat, Quigley moved to left-tackle, earning honorable mention all-Mountain West his first year on the offensive line. At 6'5” 295, Quigley has the body to make it to the NFL-level.


A tight-end to tackle move can result in a professional career: Reid Fragel, a former Ohio State tight-end, played his senior year on the offensive-line before being taken by the Bengals in the 2013 NFL Draft.



Marquis Flowers, Sam LB, Arizona

Unlike Quigley, Flowers stepped onto a college campus as a former highly touted recruit. Marquis Flowers was named to several All-American teams before landing in Tuscon, Arizona. His first two years with the team, Flowers was a defensive-back, participating in 24 games over that period and starting nine games his sophomore year.


When Arizona's new coaching staff showed up to town, he moved to Sam and started 13 games. His 13 tackles for loss lead the team, and his 3 interceptions were more than he had starting as a defensive-back.


At 6'3” 229, his body isn't much different than Alec Ogletree's (30th overall pick in 2013), who played strong-safety, before also moving to outside-linebacker.



Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan

Devin Gardner is looked as the current version of Ryan Tannehill, and for good reason. Like Tannehill, Gardner was trying to crack the lineup as a quarterback to start his college career. After seeing little playing time there, he switched to wide-receiver, again, like Tannehill, before moving back to quarterback.


The 6'4” 210, mobile quarterback still needs time to grow into his potential, but is one of the top junior quarterbacks in the game, and many expect him to be the second junior quarterback to come off the board, behind Teddy Bridgewater, if he chooses to declare.



Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Anthony Barr, one of the biggest defensive names in the country, was playing running-back up until 2012. Although very raw, Barr's been able to flash a lot of potential as a pass-rusher, many ranking him behind only South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney as far as pass-rushers eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft.


Like Julius Peppers, Barr was a two-way star in high school, but took a little longer than Peppers to decide he was going to be a college pass-rusher, instead of a running-back. At 6'4” 245, Barr is much smaller than Peppers's 6'7” 283 combine measurements, but will likely be a high draft pick, as well.


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