As the NFL draft draws closer and closer here are some questions that are circulating that pertain to prospects and their draft stock as well as their potential and projected impacts at the next level.
Who are the sleepers to watch for that could get taken earlier than their initial grades indicated?
Each year there are prospects who get selected higher than pundits originally had them graded and while some say that their teams reached for them, there is no telling if another team had the same grade on a certain player that they were afraid wouldn’t still be on the board by the time they were going to be on the clock again. Here are some prospects that are being slept on but could come off the board a lot earlier than most experts predicted:
• DT Trysten Hill, UCF:
The former Knight has been shooting up the draft boards of many teams with the draft less than a week away. At 6-1, he’s not a towering presence in the middle of the defense but his 330 pounds is distributed proportionately on his massive frame. His get off is lighting fat off the snap which allows him to bust through vacated gaps or forge his own path into the backfield to apply pressure on the quarterback or disrupt the play before it even gets started.
• WR Mike Boykin, Notre Dame:
The former Golden Domer is could very well sneak his way into the bottom of the second or early part of the third round on day two of next weeks draft. His stock has been on the steady rise lately because of the ways he can be utilized in a team’s offense. Boykin is a big bodied receiver with strong hands that can run routes all over the field and excels at high pointing the ball, gaining separation at the top of his routes and adjusts to fades as well as back shoulder passes like a pro.
• S Mike Edwards, Kentucky:
He was a three-year starter for the Wildcats and one of the best safeties in the SEC which is widely viewed as the best conference in all of college football. Edwards can cover a lot of ground in just about a blink of an eye and possess good ball skills as his 10 career interceptions suggest. He also diagnosis and disrupts screens as well as run plays extremely well too and can play either safety positions.
• WR Gary Jennings, West Virginia:
He’s one of the most underrated receivers in this draft that will make 31 other teams pay for passing on him. It’s rare to find receivers who excel at making plays down the field that aren’t afraid and in fact come up with tough catches across the middle. Jennings runs crisp routes, tracks the ball well when it is in the air, possesses the breakaway speed to split the safeties down the middle as well as beat his man on shallow and deep crossers. He uses his consistent hands coupled with his great body control to haul in passes outside the numbers while keeping his feet in bounds.
• S Marquise Blair, Utah:
He is one of the hardest hitting safeties in this year’s class and will make pas catchers think twice or at least have their heads on a swivel whenever they run routes across the middle because he patrols the shallow and intermediate middle of the defense and delivers bone-crushing hits. Blair could work on his tackling a bit since he tends to dive at legs of his targets and because he leads with his shoulder when he makes contact, he tends to not wrap up.