2010 NFL Draft: 20 Late Round Sleepers
Following each NFL Draft, scouts make their predictions and pick their favorite prospects for the next year.
Since the 2009 NFL Draft, many players have stayed on top of draft boards, while others have taken dramatic falls.
Every draft has late round steals—here are a few guys who could be this year's late round gems.
1) Brandon Spikes
After a solid senior season and being in the first round of mock drafts throughout the year, Spikes ran a 5.0 40-yard dash at the University of Florida's pro day. That is offensive lineman speed.
From game tape people would conclude that he could start right away at inside linebacker for a 3-4 defense, but scouts and NFL teams are going to put too much stock in his slow 40-yard dash.
Now scouts are saying he will not be drafted before the third round.
2) Ciron Black
Black's stock fell due to a mediocre senior season.
Last April he was a consistent top 10 pick in mock drafts and competing to be the top offensive tackle taken. He started all four years at LSU and is now a third to fifth round prospect.
He would add depth to any offensive line, and if he works hard enough, he could start at some point in 2010. He has the potential to be a perennial starter in the NFL.
3) Sam Young
Notre Dame's 6'8", 320-lb. left tackle started all four years at Notre Dame and would have been a borderline first round pick if he had entered the 2009 NFL Draft.
He played in a pro-style offense and protected for Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen in his four years for the Fighting Irish.
A terrible performance in the USC game in October really hurt his draft stock and put him in a similar position to Ciron Black; it appears he will also now be picked in the third to fifth round range.
4) George Selvie
Following the 2008-2009 season, George Selvie was higher on draft boards then Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul overtook Selvie with a tremendous 2009-2010 campaign, and Selvie fell into oblivion.
A sure first round talent a year ago, Selvie struggled in 2009-2010 and became somewhat forgotten. He is now probably going to be picked in the fourth round, and he probably won't be able to start in his first season.
He definitely has the potential to put up 10 sacks from an outside linebacker position in a 3-4 defense.
5) Colt McCoy
His toughness was really questioned when he did not return in the National Championship game, and he arguably could have been a first round pick in 2009.
At this point he is hoping to be picked in the second round of 2010, but it appears it is more likely he will be picked in the third round.
While he will not start right away, he would be a great backup/project for a team with a proven quarterback.
6) Myron Rolle
If Myron Rolle had decided to enter the 2009 draft, he probably would have been the first safety taken. Instead he chose to accept the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University in England.
He started for the only three years he played as Florida State, and despite his slow 40-yard dash (4.68), he will be a solid strong safety in the NFL for the next decade.
Rolle is an extremely smart, dedicated, and hard-working person, and those attributes will help him in the NFL. However, a year away from football is the reason that Rolle is unlikely to be picked early.
Expect him to go somewhere between the third and fifth rounds.
7) Greg Hardy
At 6'4", 280 lbs., he has shown that he has the size, speed, and strength to be a defensive end in the NFL.
However, his inconsistency at Ole Miss has been his big weakness. While sometimes he shows he is the next Julius Peppers, other times he looks like an average NFL backup.
He definitely has the most potential out of anyone on this list but could also be a complete bust. Expect him to be selected in the third or fourth round.
8) Jason Fox
At 6'7" and 310 lbs., Jason Fox has the ideal build of an NFL left tackle. However, he was limited by leg injuries in both his junior and senior seasons. His durability is the biggest question mark about him.
He is big, long, and has quick feet, which is everything an NFL team wants in an offensive tackle.
However, due to the fact that teams probably will not be able to look past two consecutive seasons limited by injury, expected him to be drafted somewhere between the third and fifth rounds.
9) Trevard Lindley
A borderline first round prospect competing with Vontae Davis last season, Lindley's stock dropped dramatically.
Now looked at as a fourth to sixth round draft pick, Lindley had a poor senior season. At the Senior Bowl he got beat consistently by Mardy Gilyard.
Cornerback is one of the toughest positions in the NFL, but the 5'11" Lindley could be a nice late round pick up if he can get back to the type of player he was during his junior season.
10) LeGarrette Blount
One right hook cost LeGarrette Blount hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Before the 2009-2010 season Blount was being mentioned as a first round running back and Heisman candidate. However, after being suspended for the majority of the season, Blount is now being looked at as a third to fifth round prospect.
Blount could be another Brandon Jacobs and is definitely worth taking a risk on in the later rounds. He will be a short yardage power back for the team that drafts him.
11) Eric Norwood
A three-year starter at South Carolina, Eric Norwood expected to improve his draft stock as a senior. He didn't help it, but he did not hurt it too much either.
He posted seven sacks in his final year and is viewed as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
He could definitely achieve double-digit sacks a couple seasons in his career if he is put in the right situation. Expect him to come off the board between the third and fifth rounds.
12) Eric Decker
In three years starting at Minnesota, Eric Decker showed that he can catch the football. As a sophomore, he led the Golden Gophers with 67 receptions for 909 yards and nine touchdowns.
In his junior year, he improved those numbers to 84 receptions for 1,074 yards and seven touchdowns (despite missing two games due to injury), and with a senior season limited to six games due to a foot injury Decker had 50 receptions for 758 yards and five touchdowns.
Decker is still not fully recovered from the injury that he suffered in his sixth game his senior season, but he is a big guy (6'3", 215 lbs.) that could be a No. 2 receiver for the majority of teams in the league.
However, due to injury concerns and not being able to work out for teams, do not expect Decker to be off the board until the fourth round at the very earliest.
13) Adam Ulatoski
Another offensive tackle who protected for a great college quarterback and would've been better suited to come out a year ago.
Coming out a year ago would have probably made him a second round talent, but his senior year at Texas hurt him badly.
He made the Big 12 first team as a junior and Big 12 second team as a senior. However, with a good number of solid offensive tackles ahead of him on draft boards, he probably won't be picked before the fifth round.
He could be versatile enough to play tackle and guard at the next level, and despite being a late round pick, expect him to be a definite lock to make a roster.
14) Micah Johnson
Micah Johnson is facing many of the same problems as Brandon Spikes.
Like Spikes, he is a tremendous on the field talent. He posted 105 tackles from the inside linebacker position for Kentucky's defense this past season and 93 as a junior. However, like Spikes, Johnson's 40-yard dash time is going to hurt him.
Following the 2009 draft he was being rated as an early second round talent, but now he could fall all the way to the fifth or sixth round. Due to his slow 40 times, expect only 3-4 defenses to take a chance on him.
15) Brandon Lang
Since Brandon Lang plays at Troy, scouts are considering 8.5 sacks a down season. A 4-3 defensive end, Lang's stock fell after posting 11.5 sacks as a junior.
He could have gone a couple rounds higher if he left Troy as a junior, but now he is being looked at as a fourth or fifth round prospect.
16) Jordan Shipley
After six years at Texas, Jordan Shipley is finally entering the draft.
Shipley needed to have a good showing at the 2010 Combine to solidify his stock as a starting-caliber receiver, but his showing was very mediocre.
Unless a team is absolutely in love with him, he will not go before round four, but he won't be on the board long after the fourth round. He will probably be used as a slot receiver on whatever team drafts him, and that role will fit his skill set perfectly.
17) Donovan Warren
Following his excellent junior season, Donovan Warren declared for the 2010 NFL Draft. His season was superb, and just a couple of months ago he was fighting to be the second cornerback taken in the draft (behind Joe Haden).
His stock fell after bad showings at the Scouting Combine, benching 225 lbs. only 12 times and running a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash. He dropped even more after he ran the 40-yard dash at his pro day (running a 4.62).
He could be switched to safety at the pro level, but either way he will definitely be a steal. It appears he won't be picked before the third round.
18) C.J. Wilson
At 6'3" and 290 lbs., C.J. Wilson is a guy that could play defensive tackle or defensive end. As a junior he posted 10.5 sacks for the ECU Pirates and looks to be an ideal fit for a 3-4 defensive end.
He was pretty impressive at the 2010 Scouting Combine, bench-pressing 225 lbs. 32 times and running the 40-yard dash in 4.75 seconds.
His 5.5-sack senior season is going to hurt his draft stock, and he probably won't get picked until the fourth round, although the third round is not a stretch for him.
19) Sergio Render
Sergio Render is a massive guard who started all four seasons at Virginia Tech. He is an excellent run blocker and could have been the first guard taken if he declared for the 2009 draft.
Render had a mediocre senior season and is now not even considered a top five offensive guard on most draft boards.
Due to the fact that guards are not usually picked very high, expect him to be drafted somewhere between the fourth and sixth rounds.
20) DeMarcus Granger
At one point DeMarcus Granger was viewed as a first-round talent. But after injuries, off the field issues, and weight issues, he probably won't get drafted.
Weighing 330 lbs., he could be a good pickup as an undrafted free agent for a team searching for a nose tackle for a 3-4 defense.
He is as strong as a bull, and if he gets his act together, he could eventually move into a starting role given a couple years of development.