There are usually hidden gems to be found in the late rounds of the NFL draft by scouts and front office personnel.
In the 2012 draft, the Washington Redskins selected running back Alfred Morris out of Florida Atlantic in the sixth round with the 173rd pick in the draft; Morris had a breakout season as a rookie, rushing for an all-time franchise record 1,613 yards and set the record for most touchdowns by a rookie running back with 13.
Other great talent selected in the late-round includes Tom Brady, who went on to win three Super Bowl championships with the New England Patriots.
Here are two potential gems teams should keep their eyes on.
Manase Foketi, OT
As the league continues to shift towards mobile quarterbacks, having a great offensive line is important; just look at Colin Kaepernick. Lack of good linemen can hinder your chances to make the playoffs and can be potentially career threatening; ask Michael Vick.
Manase Foketi started his college football career at offensive tackle for Mt. San Antonio College, where he was an all-conference tackle before transferring to play for the Kansas State Wildcats. After suffering a torn Achilles tendon in 2011, Foketi transferred to West Texas A&M after the Wildcats wouldn’t allow him to transfer to another FBS program.
Currently ranked 18th out 201 at the position, the burly 6’5”, 333-pound offensive tackle has long arms with a 34 and a fourth inch arm length.
He was named one of three finalists for the Gene Washington Division II Offensive Lineman of the Year Award, and he caught the attention of the East-West Shrine Game talent scouts, according to CBS Sports.
NFL teams could use a big body who can dominate the trenches like Foketi.
Dennis Johnson, RB
The 5’8” Razorbacks running back isn’t receiving as much hype as Felix Jones and Darren McFadden did when they entered the draft, but he has the potential to be a hidden gem.
In 41 games for the Razorbacks, Johnson rushed 224 times for 1,380 yards and six touchdowns, mostly as a backup. Coming out of the backfield, he caught 38 receptions for 350 yards and two touchdowns. Most of his contributions on the field came in the form of kick returns. Johnson returned 110 kicks for 2,633 yards and three touchdowns.
During the 2011-12 season, Johnson rushed 106 times for 670 yards and three touchdowns. His 6.32 yard-per-carry average was the highest in the SEC among backs with at least 100 attempts, according to CBS Sports.
Teams looking for a short, do-it-all, Darren Sproles-type should have Johnson on their draft board.