NFL Draft 2013: Under-the-Radar Prospects Sure to Be Steals

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 24:  Jawan Jamison #23 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights is tackled in the back field by Aaron Donald #97 of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game on November 24, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Panther defeated the Scarlet Knights 27-6.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The first round of the NFL draft may get all the attention, but nailing the picks in the middle rounds is just as important for teams looking to build a long-term winner. 

Finding starters and role players can be a difficult task in the middle rounds, but it has the ability to build contenders when done right. The draft is all about finding the best value with each pick. 

Looking at this year's draft class, there are some players flying under the radar that will make their new team look very smart for snagging them in the later rounds. Here's a look at three players that will make an impact in the league despite their less-than-marquee draft status. 


Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M

Swope made a name for himself when his Aggies upset eventual national champion Alabama this season, but his stock has been a bit stagnant since.

The Tide had the top-ranked defense in the nation and Swope absolutely smoked them for 111 yards on 11 catches and a touchdown. That's clutch. 

CBS Sports currently has him listed as a third-round selection. If he winds up falling that far, he'll be an incredible value. 

At 6' and 204 pounds, Swope has the sturdy build required of anyone that wants to make a living going across the middle of NFL secondaries. Throw in the 4.3 speed that he showed off at the combine and you have all the makings of a quality slot receiver. 

Comparisons to Wes Welker have become the cliche for any slot receiver, but they just may be legitimate in this case. 


Corey Lemonier, DE/OLB, Auburn

With all of the emphasis placed on edge rushers come draft time, it's difficult to be an underrated pass-rusher, but that's exactly what Lemonier is. 

He left after a mediocre junior season at Auburn, which is why his stock is probably projected around the fourth round by CBS Sports at this point, but he's going to make some team very happy if he lasts that long. 

At 6'3" and 255 pounds, Lemonier has the prototypical size that you'd love to see in a 3-4 outside linebacker and enough bulk to play 4-3 defensive end. He only had 5.5 sacks with Auburn last season, but it's important to remember just how inept the Tigers were as a team last season. 

He posted 9.5 sacks in his sophomore season. One has to wonder where his stock would be in next year's draft had he stayed at Auburn one more year and posted those numbers again. 


Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers

Jamison is another player that probably should have stayed in college another year. He left Rutgers as a redshirt sophomore on the heels of a 1,075 yard season. 

It's easy to see why Jamison is considered a fourth-fifth round selection (h/t CBS Sports). He is on the diminutive side at 5'7", 203 pounds and he didn't exactly blow up the combine with his 4.68 40 time. 

However, the comparisons to former 5'8" Rutgers running back Ray Rice aren't a complete stretch. Jamison runs with a great amount of wiggle and utilizes his low center of gravity to get leverage on potential tacklers. 

Jamison doesn't have the pure athleticism that Rice has, but what he lacks in top-end speed he makes up for with a tough running style and the elusiveness to make defenders miss in the open field. He could wind up being a great change of pace back and a steal in the fourth or fifth round.