2009 NFL Draft Sleepers: Update No. 1
This year there are several positions with considerable depth. Linebacker, wide receiver, running back, and defensive lineman are plentiful. Offensive lineman and secondary players usually can be found on day two as well.
The players mentioned here are players that are likely to be drafted in the third round or later. In my opinion, all of them are potential NFL starters within the next two years.
The Sleepers Are:
1. Rashad Jennings RB Liberty
Jennings has great size and strength. He may need to be removed from this list with a good combine performance. His Senior Bowl practices have received a lot of attention and he is a lock on day one.
2. Kevin Ellison SS USC
Ellison is one of the many talented defensive players from USC. He was overshadowed by his teammate Taylor Mays. He has great size at 6'1" and 225 lbs. to play strong safety at the NFL level. I think he will provide great value in the third through fifth rounds.
3. Jason Phillips ILB TCU
Phillips is an undersized ILB prospect weighing in the mid-230's. He plays with a great motor and aggression. He seems to hold his ground well and was an important part in TCU's dominant defense this season. He needs to add between five and ten pounds to be an every down player in the NFL and should be able to do it.
4. Jarron Gilbert DT San Jose St.
Gilbert is projected as a defensive end in a 3-4 or an under tackle in a 4-3. Currently, weighing around 280 lbs. he has a knack for getting in the backfield. He is one of the more productive defensive tackles in the draft and should be available late in round three or into round four.
5. Jarrett Dillard WR Rice
Dillard made a name for himself by scoring touchdowns. His size and speed are not that impressive but he is the kind of wideout that knows how to read his defender and get open. He also shows good hands. He should be a solid slot receiver.
6. Dominique Johnson CB Jackson State
Johnson reminds me of Dominique Rogers-Cromartie. If he runs a fast 40 time, like expected, he should come off the board in the third round. With a 4.4 second or slower time I think he may fall a bit. He has the size and speed to play corner back at the NFL level and should provide great value in round four.
7. Lawrence Sidbury DE Richmond
Sidbury is starting to make a name for himself with good workouts at the Senior bowl. He is slightly short, but has the weight to play defensive end or outside line backer. He projects as an OLB as it stands. He has the athleticism to be a contributor early in his career.
8. Ramses Barden WR Cal Poly
Barden is one of those freak wideouts that come along every year or two. He is massive at 6'6" and 228 lbs. He appears to have the skills to go along with his size. He has all the tools to be a No. 1 receiver in the league. If he slips into the third round or later he may be the steal of the draft.
9. Brandon Tate WR UNC
Tate has been hampered due to injuries, but when healthy he is a dynamic player. He will contribute in the return game as well as be a playmaker as a No. 2 receiver or in the slot.
10. Daniel Holtzclaw ILB Eastern Michigan
Holtzclaw has been a consistent contributor at Eastern and has the size to play in the NFL. He strikes me as a backup that, if given the chance, will develop into a solid MLB.
11. Mitch King DT/DE Iowa
King has been a productive college player and I believe he has the size and strength needed to be a No. 2 defensive end. He is good against the run and needs to develop more of a pass rush. He will be a DE in the NFL.
12. Sammie Lee Hill NT/DT/DE/TE/FB/ST Stillman (Did I get them all?)
Sammie Hill is someone that was on my radar but not someone that i've been able to watch play the game. I am basing this selection on what I do know. He has the size, no question, at 6'4" and 325 lbs. He has shown that he is coachable at the Shrine game. Everything I have read impresses me with his character. It is tough to tell what is hype and what isn't, but if he is even half as good an athlete as most people would have you believe and he runs the supposed 5 second flat 40, then he seems to be a solid pickup in the third round or later.
13. Note - I removed Jordan Shipley. I though for sure he was coming out but he's not. He'll be on here in 2010 again I'm sure.
Please feel free to add your selections in the comments below. I will be adding to this list right up to the draft.
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