Yes, before you ask, I did photoshop my face onto Roger Goodell at the podium. I just got an app to do so and wanted to have a little fun with the featured image. Now that that aside has been taken care of, onto the blog.
While I’m admittedly more of a basketball fan than a football guy, I still get into the first couple rounds of the NFL Draft (mainly because that’s all you can really gamble on). This year is different, though, because there is absolutely nothing else to keep me occupied in the sports world besides Roger Goodell lapping up the boos from thousands of disgruntled fans on draft night. That’s why I vowed to do a little more research on later round players to keep me interested for all three days of the draft.
These sleeper prospects give me more entertainment than the blue chip guys. Everyone knows Chase Young is gonna be taken ridiculously high, who cares about that? I love the low budget shots of prospects sitting in their parents’ living rooms waiting for the call that will never come. If you invite the whole neighborhood over to your house for a draft party you need to be 100% SURE you’re getting taken. Like I’m talking some team tells you “there’s no way we’re passing up on you if you’re still available at pick X.” There’s no easier way to feel like an ass than having a draft party and winding up an undrafted free agent.
Now that I’ve gotten you roped in, here is a sleeper from every position. I decided to omit kicker/punter, because if you spend a mid round pick on a specialist you have a lower IQ than Dave Gettleman and his low-technology draft war room. If you missed that legendary pic from the walking meme himself, here it is:
I've seen Fantasy GMs with better war rooms than Dave Gettleman pic.twitter.com/GDrWIallOY
— Carlton (@SlopingGiraffe) April 14, 2020
QB: Steven Montez, Colorado
He’s got an ideal frame and cannon of an arm, but absolutely terrible footwork. He started for three years, but went 5-7 each year, so he’s got experience, but not exactly the best experience. He did run a 4.68 at the combine, which is great for a guy as big as him, so he is mobile, and a team is likely to take a chance on him in the late rounds as a complete flier project.
RB: DeeJay Dallas, Miami
Is any position sicker to play but less valued than running back? This is the kind of guy you forget exists and then he pops up late in the season as a back on a playoff team. He rarely gets brought down by the first man and has “good football character” according to an AFC team’s personnel director. He’ll make a team because of his special teams prowess and his hard running style. And when in doubt, I’ll take a Miami guy.
WR: Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin
Some unfortunate off the field allegations (of which he was acquitted) derailed his college career, but this guy has NFL hands and a big body. It’s pretty clear that he didn’t care much for the combine, running an abysmal 4.73. Also, I have no idea why any wide receiver prospect would commit to Wisconsin. Their play style is not conducive to raising a wideout’s draft stock AT ALL. This guy could be a solid possession-type WR3 for a team needing help, so he makes the list.
TE: Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt
This guy just has huge balls at the tight end spot. He’s slower than molasses, but has great hands and size. His combine page kept going back to how tough he is: “worked the seam frequently”, “unafraid to catch into the teeth of safeties”, etc. That’s all I want out of a rotational tight end in the grand scheme of things. Not everyone is gonna be Gronk, just give me a guy who wants to play football.
OL: Alex Taylor, South Carolina State
He’s a 6’ 8”, 308 pound former basketball stud who will fall in the draft because scouts believe he doesn’t “love the game of football”. If it wasn’t for questions about his motor this guy would be an early Day 2 pick. I’m pretty sure that if you tell him he’ll make millions if he gets off his ass and works hard, it will happen. Money talks, after all. He’s also the first guy on this list from a non-power five program, but that trend will continue as we move to the defensive side of the ball.
DT: Teair Tart, Florida International
This quote from the combine website best sums him up: “his upside and brand of nasty could give him a chance to find NFL work at some point.” I want all my lineman on both sides to have a “brand of nasty” to them. I mean some of these quotes about him are gold. “Absolutely creams the quarterback when he gets his shot” is listed as one of his strengths. No numbers behind this selection, besides the fact that 35% of his tackles go for loss, so he has to be doing something right. Don’t be surprised to see this guy picked in round seven and make a team.
EDGE: Tyshun Render, Middle Tennessee State
Bill Belichick stood in the pouring rain to watch this guy work out. That should be all you need to hear to know that this guy is gonna end up being a stud. 6’ 4” with a high motor, this guy is your prototypical pass rusher. He was underrecruited out of high school but put on 40 pounds of straight muscle to get up to a functional 256. I would gamble on these kinds of guys all day long in the later rounds.
LB: Jordan Mack, Virginia
I saw this guy play more than most, being a fellow Hoo. He started for four years, beginning his career at the OLB spot then moving inside, and he has the athleticism you’d expect from someone making that move. He’s a smart guy too; one who would be more than capable running a defense if called upon. He made a million tackles, but other than that his defensive film doesn’t jump out at you. He’s as solid as they come, and I expect him to be taken in the last round.
CB: Zane Lewis, Air Force
I love long corner prospects (he’s 6’ 1”), and you know a guy from a military academy is driven to work hard. Can’t argue with fifteen pass breakups in 2019, either, good for second in the country. If he goes to a team with a good DB’s coach to refine some of his raw ability and athleticism, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn into a solid starter for years.
S: L’Jarius Sneed, Louisiana Tech
Speed. This dude ran a 4.37 at the combine. I don’t care what position you play, they will find a spot for you on a roster when you’re moving like that. Add to that the fact that he played both corner and safety in college and you have a guy who will get onto the field sooner rather than later in his career.
One last thing I’d like to get off my chest is that Draft Day is one of Drake’s best hits. Not that that has anything to do with what I just spent hours writing but it had to be said regardless.
That was fun. Hit me up @jziller17 with some sleepers you wish your team would snag in the late rounds on Saturday.