Sunday, February 14, 2010

5 NFL Draft Sleepers

The NFL draft is always full of guys with lots of potential and physical gifts that need to be coached into being stars at the next level (Mario Williams). They also have players that have maxed out their potential in college and don't have any real way to grow (Jason White). Often times these are the two groups that will fall in the draft, but provide a late round steal if they fit into the right system. In this day of advanced scouting and medical testing, teams are drafting better and late round steals and undrafted free agents aren't setting records. However, there is still a great deal of talent out there, and with the limit of 7 rounds, some guys get passed over or go late that may really be sleepers. Here is a list of guys that probably won't go until at least round 3 that I think could be real NFL stars someday. This list will be updated until the draft as players move up and down boards.

1. Antonio Brown, WR, Central Mich.
Brown is a guy who always seemed to be there in that CMU offense. He had almost 1200 yards this season, and over 3000 for his 3 year career. He had a huge bowl game, 13 catches for 178 and 4 carries for 22 yards and a TD. He can also return punts and kicks, giving him added value at the next level. He may fall into the lower rounds, but any team that gets him will be lucky to have him. He's not a big possession receiver or a blazer, but he plays well and helped his team go 12-2 this season.

2. Myron Rolle, S, Florida St.
Rolle is a sleeper because he spent the last year being a Rhodes Scholar as opposed to playing major college football. He's obviously smart and should be able to pick up any defensive scheme in the NFL. He has good height and weight for a safety, and depending on his speed at the combine could be a man on the rise. He may take some time to get back into football shape depending on what happened in England. He looked good but not great at the Senior Bowl, but good be a steal for a team patient enough with him.

3. Damion Fletcher, RB, Southern Miss.
Another productive college player that will get overlooked by teams because of his size. Fletcher probably doesn't have a very long shelf life in the NFL, but has good enough vision to make an impact for a team for the time he stays there. Running back is one of the few positions where late round vs early round means very little in terms of pro success, and of the later round guys I like Fletcher the best.

4. Joe Webb, WR/QB, UAB
Webb is a tough guy to get a handle on. He's 6'4", fast, and seems to be a playmaker. However, teams are seeing him as a WR after he played QB in college. That transition doesn't always work out well. Matt Jones was a bust, Antwan Randel El has been OK, but not spectacular and Pat White refused to switch and got killed the last game of the season. I doubt Webb gets drafted as high as any of those guys. However, with his size and speed, if he were able to learn the WR position he could turn into a solid pro, so long as he doesn't develop a coke problem.

5. Stevenson Sylvester, OLB, Utah
A guy who created havoc a year ago against Alabama didn't have a chance to show off like he did last year, but had a solid season. He is a little small for an OLB, but with some NFL strength training I think he could be a factor. He doesn't wow people in any physical way, but it seems any Utah game you watch you hear his name being called an awful lot in plays. Give him the chance to roam and play he could develop into a good starter.

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