2013 NFL Draft's All-Sleeper Team
We know all about the top names in the 2013 NFL draft class, but who are the sleepers that will come in and make early impacts to their new teams?
Last year we had Russell Wilson, Alfred Morris, T.Y. Hilton and Mitchell Schwartz all provide major production and impact as draft picks outside the first round. We'll see that again in 2013 as middle- and late-round stars are able to quickly transition to the NFL and leave their mark.
Who will those players be? Here's a position-by-position guide to the 2013 draft's sleeper class.
Matt Scott, Arizona
Arizona quarterback Matt Scott has become a trendy pick as this year's sleeper at quarterback, but that's because he is this year's best sleeper at the position.
A one-year starter at Arizona after replacing Nick Foles, Scott has high-level athletic ability and the raw tools to be developed into a quality starter. Perhaps most enticing is his ability to make plays outside the pocket, drawing some comparisons to a Russell Wilson-style passer.
Scott needs work before he's ready to attack an NFL defense with his passing game, but in a quarterback class that lacks talent at the top or any true No. 1 prospect, Scott is viewed as a nice alternative to the slow-footed Matt Barkley or Mike Glennon.
Miguel Maysonet, Stony Brook
A small-school back from Stony Brook, Maysonet has NFL-level skills as a running back, showing the size and speed to be an impact player.
The biggest key for Maysonet's success will be how quickly he transitions to the NFL level after playing college football at a smaller school. The running back position may be the easiest to make the jump from small school to the NFL, but it's still a major change in terms of game speed and the size of the competitors.
Maysonet has the tools, though, with 4.43 speed and good size, to make the jump.
Kenny Stills, Oklahoma
It might be surprising to see a player from Oklahoma listed as a sleeper prospect, but too many fans and analysts are writing off the former Sooner.
Stills has everything you look for in a solid possession receiver, and if you're a team running a West Coast offense, he's the ideal fit as a No. 2 or No. 3 option there. It's easy to get caught up in numbers, and while Still did produce in college, his last two seasons were spent with a quarterback that greatly struggled under pressure. That didn't allow him to fully break out in a stats game.
Stills has talent, though. Don't be one of the old-timers who look at his funny hair and tattoos and write him off. He's not a character risk and brings immediate impact value to the NFL.
Travis Kelce, Cincinnati
Sometimes a player falls down the board due to red flags. That might be a past injury or something as serious as an arrest. With Travis Kelce, there's a bit more mystery to his suspension that kept him off the field for the entire 2010 season.
There are whispers as to what caused him to miss so much time with the Bearcats, but that was two years ago, and since that time Kelce has developed into the best all-around tight end in this year's class.
If you want a tight end that can block and catch passes upfield, Kelce is your man. In a crop of tight ends dominated by chain-movers that can't help out in the run game, he stands out as a three-down impact player.
The team that overlooks his two-year-old red flags will find a steal.
Jordan Mills, Louisiana Tech
If you were reading this article two months ago, I would have told you all about the athletic ability of Terron Armstead and how the Arkansas-Pine Bluff product was set up to wow scouts. But by now you've heard of him. The next best secret at the tackle position? Jordan Mills.
Mills is one of the stronger players in this year's class, and the Louisiana Tech product looks like a Year 1 starter at right tackle in the NFL. He plays with a powerful, underrated punch that allows him to hold off power rushers, something we saw him do well at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
With under-the-radar athletic ability and promise, Mills is similar in many ways to Mitchell Schwartz last season—a bit underrated and overlooked, but a potential starter from his first practice.
Jeff Baca, UCLA
Jeff Baca may not be on your radar yet, and that's okay, but he should be by the time the 2013 NFL draft begins.
The UCLA product isn't the finished product that other top-tier players at the position can boast to be, but he's a talented, athletic guard with the potential to become a starter in the NFL. Baca flourished in Mora's pro-style system, showing the run-blocking ability to step into a pro offense early in his career.
Baca is a developmental prospect, but if any late-round guard prospect is going to become a long-term starter, I'm putting my money here.
Matt Stankiewitch, Penn State
The 2013 class of centers isn't top heavy, which leaves plenty of room for a late-round player like Matt Stankiewitch to come in and make an impact.
The key for Stankiewitch is to show that he's a better pass-protector than we saw at Penn State. While he has the size, strength and athleticism to play well in run situations, his pass protection needed work. If drafted into the right scheme, he has the talent to play early and play well.
Stankiewitch stands out on film as much as just about any late-round prospect.
Quanterus Smith, Western Kentucky
Were it not for a late-season knee injury, Quanterus Smith would be talked about as a much higher prospect than he is currently. Sometimes an injury can drive a good prospect down into steal territory, and that's the case here.
Smith is a natural pass-rusher when played on the edge. He's quick enough to work in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme and play the part well. Watch him against Alabama's five-star offensive line and you see a player dominate the game with three sacks looping off the edge.
Smith has incredible talent and would be a first-rounder on my board if healthy. If a team can grab him in Round 4, he could be the steal of the draft.
Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern
If you read my work or follow me on Twitter, you know that Brandon Williams is one of my favorite players in this year's class. It's rare that you see a 6'2", 340-pound man move as well as he does, and when lined up in the middle of the defensive line, that's intriguing.
Williams is raw as a technician, but his athletic ability and his coachability make him a nice prospect. We saw it at the Senior Bowl when he came into the week as a green defensive tackle and left Mobile as one of the better defensive linemen in attendance. If he can continue that improvement in an NFL training camp and system, the future is bright for the small-school sleeper.
Keith Pough, Howard
It's rare that Howard puts a player into the NFL, but in this year's class they won't just "put a guy into the NFL," they'll do so with a talented, versatile linebacker that can play both inside and outside positions at a high level.
Keith Pough shines on film with his instincts and aggressive style of play when locking down the run. Albeit at a smaller level, he didn't shy away from contract or look to go around blockers—he went through them.
He may not be able to step right in to the NFL and stack-and-shed blockers like he did at Howard, but his speed, toughness and instincts make him a late-round linebacker you want on your team.
Ty Powell, Harding
Much like our other sleeper linebacker, Ty Powell is a small-school athlete with multiple-position potential.
Powell played safety, defensive end and both linebacker spots at Harding and did so at a high enough level to gain recognition from NFL teams. That versatility is attractive, especially when looking at the value of a late-round prospect compared to other players who may be limited to contributing at one position.
Powell is a raw athlete, and he'll need time to adjust to the speed and strength of the NFL, but he's worth the gamble as a later-round pick based purely on athletic upside and scheme versatility.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, UConn
There was a time when Blidi Wreh-Wilson was considered a second-round prospect. Those days have passed, and with underclassmen entering the draft and flooding the position with more talent, his stock seemed to drop off. Now it looks like Wreh-Wilson will be available in Round 3 or later.
He's a solid press-coverage cornerback with good recovery speed and nice instincts in coverage. What I like most about Wreh-Wilson is that he doesn't hesitate or slow down when he is asked to flip his hips and run with a wide receiver up the field. He can stick in a hip pocket and look over his shoulder without slowing down or losing body control. That's pro-level coverage.
Jakar Hamilton, South Carolina State
The safety position is very loaded in the 2013 draft class, but it's former Georgia safety Jakar Hamilton who has caught my eye as a potential steal late in the draft.
Hamilton is coming off of a knee injury and also the transfer from Georgia, so there are some red flags to clear up, but he's a tremendous athlete with the natural instincts you want to see from a free safety. He plants well with a fluid, clean break toward the run or when coming up to attack underneath routes.
There were reportedly 20 NFL teams on hand to watch his South Carolina State pro day, proving that he's making noise and could be a surprise pick in the 2013 draft.