NFL Draft 2013: 5 Sleepers in the Draft
Every year, there are late-round draft picks that end up making huge contributions to their NFL team.
These players were undervalued by NFL scouts and front office officials because they were undersized, had weak combine results or other negatives that dropped their draft stock.
Quarterback Tom Brady (sixth round) and cornerback Cortland Finnegan (seventh round) were both late-round picks that ended up surprising lots of people around the league.
This past year, running backs Vick Ballard (fifth round) and Alfred Morris (sixth round) were both wild-card picks that ended up being very important to their teams.
On draft day, front office officials around the league try and figure out who those sleepers are.
Here are five sleepers in the upcoming NFL draft:
One of the main reasons why Penn State had a successful season was because of their strong defense. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill was their top defensive lineman.
Hill recorded 64 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks during their 2012 campaign. His ability to attack the quarterback and pressure the opposing teams' line were major positives.
Hill has solid technique, but is a little undersized at 6'1''. He needs to continue to get stronger and try and improve his speed if he's going to be an elite player on the next level.
Hill will most likely be chosen in the fourth or fifth round of the draft because of his size, but his work ethic will make him a successful future NFL player.
Marquess Wilson is another quality player with all of the attributes to excel in the NFL. He is a 6'3'' wide receiver with solid speed (4.51 40-time at the NFL Combine) and a high vertical jump.
He uses his height and athleticism to become a very difficult matchup for cornerbacks. Also, his three-cone drill time at the combine was in the top five for wide receivers.
NFL teams like to see the burst and size from a wide receiver like Wilson.
The main reason why he won't be a high draft pick is because people question his character. Wilson left the program before the end of his junior season because of problems with the coaching staff.
Most likely, Wilson will be selected between the fifth and seventh rounds but should be much higher than that.
Any team that selects Wilson will have a quality receiver on their hands.
Not enough good things can be said about Vanderbilt's Zac Stacy and the impact he can bring to his future NFL team. He is a smaller running back that has power and breakout speed.
Stacy reminds a lot of people of Ray Rice and Doug Martin. Both are smaller power backs that find the gaps and gain positive yards on a consistent basis.
There are many quality running backs in this draft, which could play to a downfall to where Stacy gets drafted. Also, he has had a few bad injuries, which could be another detriment to his draft stock.
However, the smaller power backs in the NFL are becoming more popular in today's running game. Stacy could turn out to be a successful running back in the league.
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins was a stud for the Florida defense last season. He was one of the reasons why the Gators ranked fifth in the nation allowing 14.5 points per game.
Jenkins provided an excellent ability to attack the run and close the gaps using his speed. The Maryland native is very strong and powerful for his size, which gives him major upside in the NFL.
Two problems that have dropped his draft stock are his 6'1'' height, and that he has been injury prone through his collegiate career. Jenkins makes up for his lack of size with his physical play.
According to CBS Sports, Jenkins will be a fourth-round pick, but other sites could see him drop because of his size and stability. If Jenkins can stay healthy on the next level, then he can be a huge asset to any NFL team.
Ryan Otten isn't the most talented tight end in this year’s draft, but he does a lot of positive things on the field. While at San Jose State, Otten showed off his strong hands and very good ability to run routes.
After Otten's catches, he runs very well in the open field. Also, he does an excellent job of blocking on the offensive line.
The main negative is that he needs to bulk up because he will need to block physical NFL players in the future.
Getting stronger shouldn't be a problem for Otten because of his strong work ethic. If Otten continues to improve, then he can turn into a successful tight end on the next level.