2011 NFL Draft Sleepers
Below is a list of players who are being ranked lower than they should be ranked. I’m using the term “sleepers” loosely, these are players who will be drafted in the three round and later in most cases. Some of the players are from big programs and are well known but nonetheless they will be passed on during the draft days. Most of the players haven’t been mentioned on the site so far and I felt the need to at least give them their due here.
Ricky Stanzi (QB-Iowa): NFL size and coming from a pro offense. Good demeanor and excellent in the play-action game. I question performance in clutch, but there is little depth to this QB class outside the top and he might be the best of the rest. Upside: Cosell compared him to Matt Schaub.
Tyrod Taylor (QB-VTech): Unfortunately reminds me and a lot of others of Troy Smith. Amazing running Quarterback who maintained an impressive TD to INT ratio. On the short side, but worth a late round pick as he seems to be a well-rounded individual.
Taylor Potts (QB-Texas Tech): Another big TT QB with the NFL arm. Worth a shot at the end of Draft, although others haven’t had success.
Bilal Powell (RB-Louisville): Big and quick, he ran past everyone’s expectations last season. Power runner who runs with forward leans. Nice catch and turn ability out of the backfield, adequate hands. Pulled his hamstring during the combine and pro day which should make him fall farther. Projected to be drafted in the fourth or fifth round.
Graig Cooper (RB-Miami): Good pass catcher and hard runner. Coming back from an horrible knee injury from the 2009 bowl game slowed him down last season. Has great vision and re-gained some of that great speed & cutting ability. Can tell he loves the game. Will fall to far.
Da’Rel Scott (RB-Maryland): Great speed and very impressive week during the Senior Bowl.
Mario Fannin (RB-Auburn): Fannin got lost in the shuffle his Senior year with Heismann winner Cam Newton, freshman stud Michael Dyer, and speed demon Onterrio McCaleb stealing the spotlight. He could find a role in the NFL as a third down back.
Stanley Havili (FB-USC): Versatile back who can contribute receiving, rushing, and blocking. Disappointed he couldn’t make the Senior Bowl or NFL Combine. The best offensive fullback in the Draft in recent memory.
Vincent Brown (WR-San Diego St.): Possession receiver with size, project to West Coach offense. One of the more polished receivers in the draft that has potential to grow. Weakness is speed but his savvy and toughness allow him to consistently get open.
Greg Salas (WR-Hawaii): Complete player as a slot receiver, although tall and built. Immediate contributor. Ridiculous hands. Doesn’t have a great initial burst but shows a second-gear after the catch.
Denarius Moore (WR-Tennessee): Was the clear star for the Vols this past season. Really good speed and soft hands. More physical WR than Meachem, but not the big play threat he was. While his speed and size aren’t elite, his route running combined with his skills make him a well-rounded prospect.
Terrence Tolliver (WR-LSU): Big WR who can get up to make plays. Quick hands and deceptive speed. His film versus Florida, available online, is terrific.
Weslye Saunders (TE-South Carolina): Huge TE who is a matchup nightmare. Caught 60 passes two seasons ago. To read more about him: TE Preview
Lee Smith (TE-Marshall): Impressed me watching Thursday night game. Big possession TE.
James Brewer (OT-Indiana): Huge 6’6 frame and potential are this former HS basketball players best qualities. He doesn’t have much experience and has an injury history. Played well versus Kerrigan at the end of the season but has a lot of work to do.
James Carpenter (OT-Alabama): Progressed during the offseason and at Senior Bowl. Never missed a start. Solid in run and pass game. Feet aren’t quick.
Pernell McPhee (DE-Mississippi St.): Two-time JUCO All-American and first team All-SEC. Doesn’t have the explosive first step, but has size, strength and great hustle. Strength makes him a stout run defender. Potential.
Greg Jones (LB-Michigan St.): Lots of people knocking the All-American. No doubt in my mind he is a FOOTBALL PLAYER. See: LB preview
Nate Irving (LB-North Carolina St.): Big build, plays the run well, and slowly regained explosiveness in 2010. See above.
Mark Herzlich (LB- Boston College): Former top 10 prospect who had to beat cancer to get back on the field. Now plays with a rod in his leg but still has the same fire and intensity. He is projected to go much lower now, but how can you doubt this guy?
Chykie Brown (CB-Texas): Athletic corner with the tools a good coach can develop. Plays a mix of press and off-coverage. Improved his combine numbers in his pro day running 4.40 and 4.37 & jumping 39” in the vertical.
Buster Skrine (CB-Tenn.Chat): Perhaps my favorite small school player, good returner and a burner with upside at CB. Great change of direction and plays low. Read more and about FCS players HERE
Rashard Carmichael (CB-Virginia Tech): Hard not to like a Virginia Tech cornerback, but Carmichael’s stock too a hit when he was expecting to break 4.3 and ran in the 4.4s. Improved each year in college and should do so in the pros. Can play inside and out.
Shileo Keo (S-Idaho): His hustle and determination were apparent at the NFL Combine. Seen as a very instinctual player. Both Mike Mayock and Deion Sanders praised his abilities. One of the few highlights on the internet of him shows him trying to decapitate a QB.
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