The 2010 NFL Draft's 10 Biggest Sleepers
A look at 10 players who could come in and make an impact on their NFL team despite being overlooked by other players at their same position.
I will take two players from rounds one through five (according to where they are now projected) and will put them in order of where they are projected to be selected, because the deeper you go in a draft the bigger a sleeper you can consider a player.
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10. Devin McCourty CB (Rutgers)
McCourty may not be as high profile as a Joe Haden of Florida or even Kyle Wilson of Boise State, but his ability to block kicks on special teams and return kicks means that he will be able to contribute immediately to an NFL team.
Draft projection: Mid to late first round
9. Ryan Mathews RB (Fresno State)
Most of the draft coverage for running backs has been directed to CJ Spiller because of his home run potential.
But Mathews is the best pure running back in the draft.
His 6.6 YPC and 19 touchdowns last year at Fresno State have teams hopeful that he can be a featured back that you can build a team around. He will have to work on catching the football out of the backfield but has shown adequate hands.
Draft Projection: Late first-Early second
8. Colt McCoy QB (Texas)
McCoy does not have the biggest arm and lacks prototypical NFL QB size, but he is talented enough to make the Rams at least consider passing on Sam Bradford and taking him in the second round.
What he lacks in arm strength he makes up for with accuracy, completing just over 70 percent of his career passes.
Draft projection: Early second round
7. Terrence Cody DT (Alabama)
Cody's stock has fallen due to weight problems but he is one of only a few players in the draft who can play as a true NT in a 3-4. This, and his ability to play on special teams and as a FB in goal-line situations, could make him a steal in the second round.
Draft Projection: Mid second round
6. Greg Hardy DE (Ole Miss)
Hardy has battled injuries throughout his career but at 6'4," 281 pounds, and 4.8 40 speed he could be a sleeper as an elite pass rusher in the third round.
Draft Projection: Third round
5. Dennis Pitta TE (BYU)
Pitta does not have great speed but at 6'5" he will be a definite red zone threat for whichever NFL team picks him in the third round.
He has good hands but his release and blocking have been questioned, inevitably dropping him to the third round.
Draft Projection: Late third round
4. Myron Lewis CB/S (Vanderbilt)
One of my favorite prospects in the draft.
He has good size at 6'2" and speed at 4.42 at the 40. Some scouts question his ability to stay at CB in the NFL but as either CB or safety he could be a good value in the fourth round.
Draft Projection: Third-fourth round
3. Joe McKnight RB (USC)
Once considered the heir-apparent to Reggie Bush, McKnight never quite lived up to potential.
He had a better year in 2008, gaining over 1,000 yards. This, combined with the questions about him driving an SUV given to his girlfriend, prompted him to leave school early.
There are question marks about McKnight: does he have the same home-run ability as a CJ Spiller or Jahvid Best?
But at a discounted price, he might be worth a shot.
Draft Projection: Fourth round
2. Ciron Black OT/OG (LSU)
Once considered a top offensive line prospect, Black has fallen from a sure second round pick if he had come out after the 2008 season to a fourth or fifth round pick.
Most scouts have Black moving inside to guard but I believe that his sub-par senior season was due to the talent surrounding him and not reflective of his ability. I see him as a RT.
Draft Projection: Late fourth-fifth round
1. Jevan Snead QB (Ole Miss)
Snead has all of the skills needed to be a good NFL QB but has some flaws in his mechanics and his heart has been questioned at times.
He left Texas upon losing his job to Colt McCoy and made an odd decision to leave school early despite having a bad year. If a team can make him realize his potential he could be the best find in the later rounds.
Draft Projection: Fifth-sixth round