Senior Bowl history: 3 of top 5 picks in 2013 NFL draft played in the Senior Bowl last year

Derek Carr - Stacy Revere

Many of the top college seniors opt out of the Senior Bowl but some of those who do attend could end up supplanting them as first-round picks.

The Senior Bowl, one of the longest-standing traditions in football at any level, dating back further than even the Super Bowl, kicks off for the 65th time on Saturday. The best seniors in college football who were invited and opted to showcase their skills to fans and scouts alike, finish off practice this week in front of some of the most powerful people in the NFL with the hopes of being drafted.

Many of these college stars will go on to be professional starters with million dollar contracts, and if recent history suggests anything, one of them could even be the first player taken.

Three of the top five picks in the 2013 NFL Draft were Senior Bowl attendees, including first overall pick Eric Fisher from Central Michigan. While Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M or quarterback Geno Smith from West Virginia were long seen as favorites to be taken with the first pick, Fisher saw his stock rise higher and higher during pre-draft activities until finally, the Kansas City Chiefs opted to stay where they were and take the big tackle.

That came a year after a rather unsuccessful first round by Senior Bowl standards, when Quinton Coples was the first Senior Bowl participant to be taken, but not until the 16th pick. That's a big difference compared to E.J. Manuel being 16th overall in 2013, but as the fifth Senior Bowl participant to be drafted last season.

Could anyone this season, such as Fresno State's Derek Carr, go on to the greatness of some former Senior Bowl players like Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino, Walter Payton or LaDainian Tomlinson? Perhaps.

Anything is possible, but for many very good players who are looking for that extra boost before the draft to solidify themselves as a first- or second-round pick, or simply being drafted at all, attendance could prove to be absolutely crucial.

Here is a look at the players who participated in the Senior Bowl over the past five years and went on to be first-round picks:

2013

1. Chiefs - Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
4. Eagles - Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
5. Lions - Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
11. Chargers - D.J. Fluker, Alabama
16. Bills - E.J. Manuel, Florida State
19. Giants - Justin Pugh, Syracuse
20. Bears - Kyle Long, Oregon
22. Falcons - Desmond Trufant, Washington
26. Packers - Datone Jones, UCLA
28. Broncos - Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

2012

16. Jets - Quinton Coples, UNC
18. Chargers - Melvin Ingram, South Carolina
19. Bears - Shea McClellin, Boise State
22. Browns - Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
27. Bengals - Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
29. Vikings - Harrison Smith, Notre Dame
30. 49ers - A.J. Jenkins, Illinois
31. Buccaneers - Doug Martin, Boise State

2011

2. Broncos - Von Miller, Texas A&M
8. Titans - Jake Locker, Washington
12. Vikings - Christian Ponder, Florida State
16. Redskins - Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
17. Patriots - Nate Solder, Colorado
21. Browns - Phil Taylor, Baylor
22. Colts - Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
23. Eagles - Danny Watkins, Baylor
24. Saints - Cameron Jordan, Cal
25. Seahawks - James Carpenter, Alabama
29. Bears - Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
32. Packers - Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State

2010

10. Jaguars - Tyson Alualu, Cal
13. Eagles - Brandon Graham, Michigan
17. 49ers - Mike Iupati, Idaho
19. Falcons - Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
25. Broncos - Tim Tebow, Florida
26. Cardinals - Dan Williams, Tennessee
27. Patriots - Devin McCourty, Rutgers
28. Dolphins - Jared Odrick, Penn State
29. Jets - Kyle Wilson, Boise State
32. Saints - Patrick Robinson, Florida State

2009

9. Packers - B.J. Raji, Boston College
15. Texans - Brian Cushing, USC
16. Chargers - Larry English, Northern Illinois
18. Broncos - Robert Ayers, Tennessee
20. Lions - Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State
21. Browns - Alex Mack, Cal
23. Ravens - Michael Oher, Ole Miss
24. Falcons - Peria Jerry, Ole Miss
26. Packers - Clay Matthews, USC
28. Bills - Eric Wood, Louisville
32. Steelers - Ziggy Hood, Missouri

The Senior Bowl kicks off 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala. It will be broadcast on the NFL Network.

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