2012 NFL Draft Predictions: Late-Round Sleepers

Ethan GrantAnalyst IApril 18, 2012

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 24:  Wide receiver Ryan Broyles #85, tosses the football after a touchdown in the second half against the Missouri Tigers on September 24, 2011 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.  Oklahoma defeated Missouri 38-28.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

In the NFL, you can find value in nearly every round of the draft. Guys like Tom Brady and Wes Welker are living proof that sometimes you don't hit your stride until you're doing it every day with the big boys.

The 2012 edition of the NFL draft is no exception. Whether these guys are hearing their name called from Radio City Music Hall or from a couch, they can make an impact on the NFL team that selects them anywhere from April 26-28.

Much will be made from the first 30 picks in the draft, but the last 200 are the ones that shape a team the most. As a tribute to those 200 guys that won't get much press until their name is called, here's three guys that could have big NFL careers despite not going in the first round.

Doug Martin, Boise State

Martin had success on the blue turf, running for over 3400 yards, 43 touchdowns and even chipping in four receiving scores during his four years with Chris Petersen and the Broncos.

His height (5'9") is certainly an issue for teams looking for a starting running back, but his frame (215 lbs, 28 bench press reps at the combine) and shiftiness (top competitor at both three cone drill and 60-yard shuttle) point to a Ray Rice-like ability to find holes and make plays.

Projected as a steal in the second round or later, Martin could immediately come in and challenge for time in the right kind of offense.

Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma

The four-year star and all-time FBS receptions leader ended his senior year early, and it probably cost OU in losses to Baylor and Oklahoma State. Broyles and QB Landry Jones always had the kind of connection that made both fun to watch, and it was a shame to watch him go down with an ACL injury.

Doug Martin draws comparisons to Ray Rice, and may even slip down draft boards like him
Doug Martin draws comparisons to Ray Rice, and may even slip down draft boards like himEthan Miller/Getty Images

But now, Broyles is back, and he's got to be considered one of the greatest value pickups this draft has to offer. Although he ran a 4.57 40-yard dash in front of scouts, he should surpass that when his knee is fully recovered, and his possession ball skills are second to none from this year's receiver class.

Can you imagine if a team like the New England Patriots picked up the speedy slot man to pair with Brady? Or if the New Orleans Saints kept him in the South? He's certainly one to keep an eye on as the draft moves along, because he has first-round talent. 

Andrew Datko, Florida State

Health is always a major concern for teams looking to draft players that can contribute for a long time. Datko draws a red flag on that account, missing time in both his junior and senior season at Florida State with a shoulder injury.

He's gone all the way from being one of the top tackles in the class on paper to one that likely will dip down into the late fifth and sixth round. Teams need their offensive tackles to be healthy and on the field, and it might be hard to convince every team that he's ready to go for good.

However, the size he possesses at 6'6", 315 lbs is hard to ignore. He also put together two solid seasons of college work as a freshman and sophomore, so aside from the injury, you can't say Datko wouldn't be a solid pick-up for any NFL squad.

Datko could come in and compete right away if he remains healthy. It's a big if, but he has the tools to be a top-tier guy in the NFL.