Sep 28, 2013; Fort Collins, CO, USA; Colorado State Rams linebacker Shaquil Barrett (56) reacts after causing a fumble for a safety late in the third quarter against the UTEP Miners at Hughes Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft Sleeper: Colorado State LB Shaquil Barrett

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Every year, players emerge out of nowhere and surprise NFL scouts with their ability to make plays. A lot of those guys are younger players, maybe sophomores or juniors who have a chance to cement their status later in their careers. For Colorado State linebacker Shaquil Barrett, it’s now or never.

Barrett has been sidelined for the time being with an ankle injury, and at this point it remains unknown how long he will be out. However, playing in coach Jim McElwain’s defense, Barrett has been wildly productive in his senior season for the Rams.

He is among the leaders in the nation with 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks through his team’s first six games, and he’s also already racked up 42 tackles, two forced fumbles, and has two blocked kicks.

The 6’2″ 250 pound former Nebraska-Omaha transfer is making his mark this season, and getting the attention of NFL scouts. Even if he is raw, there is still a chance this guy could sneak in the mid-late rounds with some serious pass rush upside.

This is a player to keep an eye on as a potential rush linebacker in the NFL with the ability to also put his hand in the dirt and come off the edge if a defensive coordinator would ask him to. I’m intrigued by his upside and I’m excited to see how he finishes the year, hopefully with a clean bill of health.

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