Many of the names you will hear during the weekend of the 2013 NFL draft are players who you have watched play for major college football programs and heard of for months. On the contrary, there are always some surprise draft selections that leave even avid followers of the draft scrambling for information.
When those players develop into NFL standouts, they are often referred to as “hidden gems.” They can include players from major college football programs who simply didn’t receive much playing time or attention, but they most often consist of small-school products who successfully accomplish the tough jump from lower-level collegiate play to NFL success.
In this slideshow, we take a look at 10 such hidden gems. All of these prospects played their college football outside of the Football Bowl Subdivision, and if you are not an avid draft follower or a fan of small-school college football, chances are good that you have not heard of many of these players.
While hidden gems can certainly consist of players from much larger programs as well, this slideshow focuses on small-school players. It does not, however, include small-school products who are typically projected within the first three rounds, such as Arkansas-Pine Bluff offensive tackle Terron Armstead, William and Mary cornerback B.W. Webb, Missouri Southern State defensive tackle Brandon Williams and Southeastern Louisiana cornerback Robert Alford.
This list is not intended to be all-inclusive. Let us know what other players you think belong here in the comments section!
All measurables courtesy of NFL.com unless otherwise credited.