NFL Draft 2012: 5 Super Sleeper Studs Your NFL Team Will Want to Draft
We all know the big names of the draft: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and Morris Claiborne.
There is no doubt that the players at the top of mock drafts have the talent to succeed in the NFL, but it's the players taken in the later rounds that make the NFL draft interesting to watch.
Players like Tom Brady, Marques Colston, Donald Driver, Justin Tuck and Asante Samuel have had great success in the league, but were overlooked by many teams in the draft.
This year will be no different as this draft class is loaded with talent. Several players that are taken in the later rounds could contribute significantly in their rookie seasons.
Here are the five sleeper studs that you'll want on your team next season.
WR B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State
B.J. Cunningham was the epitome of consistency during his career at Michigan State.
Cunningham, who amassed 3,086 receiving yards and 25 touchdowns on 218 receptions throughout his career, constantly made big plays for the Spartans and improved his individual statistics every year.
Cunningham had two receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown during the East-West Shrine Game.
Clearly, Cunningham knows what it takes to be productive as a team's No. 1 receiver, and he possesses excellent on-field awareness. What he lacks in speed, he makes up for in good fundamentals.
Cunningham is projected as a middle- to late-round selection, but he'll be a name to watch out for next season.
CB Brandon Boykin, Georgia
When Brandon Boykin is out on the field, all eyes need to be on him.
He is one of the most athletic and versatile players in this year's draft class. He has shown he can make plays as a running back, as a cornerback and on special teams as a returner.
Boykin has the ability to make a big play at any time. In fact, he is the only player in SEC history to have three 100-yard plays of any kind.
He'll be most remembered for his return highlights, but Boykin at 5'10" can make an impact on defense at the NFL level. His speed will be the equalizer for him, and he will take some time to develop as an NFL defensive back, but any team would be lucky to have a player with the return skills he has.
QB Case Keenum, Houston
While Case Keenum may not get selected until the late rounds or even go undrafted, no one can discredit his success at the collegiate level.
He holds the FBS record for career passing yardage (19,271), career completions (1,546) and career passing touchdowns (155). Also, he threw nine touchdowns in one game earlier this season.
Keenum's resume is certainly impressive, but many consider him a system quarterback at the college ranks.
Still, he spent six years at the collegiate level, five as the starter. His experience trumps many of the other quarterbacks in the draft, and he is the most decorated signal-caller of any in the draft class.
Keenum deserves many more looks than he's been given, and if provided the opportunity, he could make some noise as a rookie.
CB Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina
Josh Norman was a name not many had heard of before this past week, but it's a different story now.
After an impressive week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game, Norman is receiving a lot of interest from several NFL scouts.
On Wednesday, Norman grabbed three interceptions during practices and showed off his physicality at the cornerback position throughout the day.
While scouts still need to see more from Norman, he certainly made a lasting impression this past week. If he follows it up with a strong performance at the NFL combine, his draft stock could rise significantly.
WR Jarius Wright, Arkansas
Jarius Wright is coming off the most productive season as wide receiver in the history of Arkansas Razorback football.
Wright had 66 receptions for 1,117 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, which were all single-season school records. He also was able to add a return touchdown during his senior season.
The Razorback wide receiver is a dangerous weapon on the field. He's elusive and quick, but he has excellent route-running ability, too.
His stock has fallen some, but he would be an excellent value pick for any team during the later rounds of the draft. He might have to break into the NFL as a special teams player, but it won't be long before he's seeing reps at wide receiver.