It seems like it's taken forever for this year's NFL Draft to finally pop its head around the corner. However, here we are less than a week from Thursday eagerly awaiting what promises to be one of the most exciting and interesting NFL Draft's in the history of the NFL.
For the most part, everyone has their mock drafts pretty much finished. Analysts have selected whom they think will be going where, and NFL fans alike are agreeing with what experts such as Mel Kiper and Todd McShay are proposing.
Although the so called "experts" normally do a fairly decent job in terms of their predictions, this years NFL Draft puts forward a different argument. In 2009 we saw a frenzy of underrated talent in the College Football season, and funnily enough that underrated talent has spilled over into the NFL draft, where the exact same players are still failing to receive the credit they truly deserve.
So who are the sleeper picks to look out for in this years Draft? And more importantly, which players should your favorite teams owners be well aware of when it comes time to deciding just who to take with those second or third round picks? Hopefully the list below helps out a little.
10. WR Jordan Shipley—Texas
The speculation toward Jordan Shipley hasn't been at all what I expected. Due to Golden Tate and Dez Bryant capturing the majority of the wide receiver headlines, Jordan Shipley has taken a backseat to the more "cream of the crop" type guys in the Draft.
During his time with the Texas Longhorns, Jordan Shipley was Colt McCoy's go to guy in dire strait situations. Unfortunately, Jordan Shipley is a little undersized compared to the athletic and highly talented Golden Tate, and that is one of the key factors that people hold against him.
The positive for Jordan Shipley is that his guaranteed catching ability and speed on routes leaves him as a potential draft pick for any team that is need for a wide receiver. Shipley may not go very high, but he is a guy to watch out for.
9. RB Montario Hardesty—Tennessee
Montario Hardesty experienced a roller coaster of emotions in his time with Tennessee. In 2008, Hardesty posted his worst ever statistical season, rushing for only 271 yards and six touchdowns.
Fortunately for Montario he turned his luck around in 2009, and went to being one of the most questionable running backs in College Football, to the second best in the SEC behind Mark Ingram.
There is nothing special to what Montario Hardesty does on the field, as his usual game plan consists of using every pound of his 225-pound body, and barrelling defenders over on his way to the end zone.
Montatio Hardesty is also one of the rare running backs that is highly skilled, and excels in all areas of the game. Rushing, blocking or catching, Hardesty may not be taken high, but he is likely to fit in well with any NFL team.
8. OL John Jerry—Mississippi
Some people may not have heard of John Jerry, and for that I can't blame you. However draft experts have labelled Jerry as one of the better offensive lineman in this years draft, and he has also drawn intriguing comparisons to Leonard Davis of the Dallas Cowboys.
Like most lineman in the modern era, John Jerry is big and strong, and is an almost immovable object once he engages in contact. Teams such as Green Bay and possibly Atlanta come to mind when considering who may draft John Jerry, but it isn't likely that he will be drafted before bigger and more promising prospects such as Anthony Davis.
With this said, Jerry is still a shining light. He may not go any higher than the third or possibly the second round, but he has the potential to be a great tackle for any team. If your owner is considering a tackle as a "Plan B" type of option, John Jerry is a favorable candidate.
7. LB Dekoda Watson—Florida State
Dekoda Watson wasn't exactly a force for Florida State last season, but his athleticism and effort on the field gives him a promising future in the NFL. Like John Jerry, Dekoda Watson is considered as one of the top linebacker prospects in the NFL draft, but still fails to maintain credibility.
At the moment, Dekoda Watson's name has barely been mentioned, making him an obvious sleeper pick. His projected draft ranking is possibly late second to early third, although it is any ones guess as to which teams are truly considering taking Watson.
As I mentioned, his athleticism is well documented, and his tackling ability also earns him a high distinction. Teams have a list of other linebacker prospects to consider, but Dekoda Watson could surprise a few people in a week's time.
6. S Darrell Stuckey—Kansas
As far as safeties go in this years NFL Draft, the list isn't very long. Therefore Darrell Stuckey is in prime territory to make a few upsets and leapfrog a few players on his way.
In 2009, Stuckey was named among 12 finalists for the Jim Thorpe award, which has earned him a respectable title heading toward April 22. His quickness and ability to more or less stick to wide receivers makes him a threat when he enters the NFL, and teams such as Minnesota who lack defensive backs could be wise to at least consider Stuckey.
5. LB Jamar Chaney—Mississippi State
If there is one word to describe Jamar Chaney, it would have to be experience. At the NFL Combine, Jamar Chaney ran a 4.54 on the 40-yard dash and is also expected to fit in with any team that uses the 3-4 defensive scheme.
Rated by many as the most underrated player in the SEC last season, Jamar Chaney has a chip on his shoulder as he tries to make a statement for himself not only in the Draft, but in the NFL.
His ball swatting skills and pure muscle are Jamar's strong points, but his ability to bounce back from a broken leg in 2008 also shows that he is a strong competitor.
4. QB Tony Pike—Cincinnati
Some may argue with this pick, but to me Tony Pike has been severely underrated. During his time with Cincinnati, Pike clawed his way to the top of the roster and became a well-rounded and complete quarterback in the span of two years.
His size can play against him at times, but he does noticeably well when pressure is applied, and manages to make quick and accurate throws when given time in the pocket.
Tony isn't likely to overshadow the Sam Bradford's and Jimmy Clausen's of this year's draft, but he has the ability to develop quietly with a team such as Minnesota who need a young quarterback.
3. CB Javier Arenas—Alabama
Five-nine and 195 pounds, Javier Arenas is a combination of skill, strength and charisma. In his time with Alabama, Javier Arenas managed to play the cornerback position exceptionally well, but the bigger story that comes with drafting Arenas is that he is also a highly talented punt returner.
Most teams nowadays in the NFL are in search for an athlete that can do more than one job. A Devin Hester type athlete if you will, Javier Arenas provides teams that are looking to draft him a convincing argument as to why he may flourish in the NFL.
It's a shame he isn't likely to be taken highly in the Draft, but it shouldn't affect his time in the NFL. A guy like Javier comes around once in a blue moon, so this may be a case of whichever team is lucky enough to draft him, benefits in the long run.
2. QB Dan LeFevour—Central Michigan
Like Tony Pike, Dan LeFevour fails to maintain the respect he deserves. In 2009 Dan threw for 3,438 yards and became a favorite amongst fans as he captured the 2010 Senior Bowl North Most Outstanding Player Award.
With this said, Dan LeFevour's arm has been questioned recently, and sometimes his strength and ability are put to the test. These are issues Dan will have to work on if he has any plan on succeeding in the NFL, but one thing that Dan packs a lot of is work ethic, and that will carry Dan a long way in the future.
1. CB Kyle Wilson—Boise State
Kyle Wilson is considered one of the best corner backs in the NFL Draft, but for some odd reason hasn't received much speculation as to where he may land.
Kyle Wilson is fast, talented and seems to be able to follow quick cutting wide receivers quite well. He also has the natural ability to just draw attention, as I personally found myself glued to his play when watching on TV last season.
I wouldn't exactly call Kyle an all rounded athlete, but with talented corner backs popping up like wildflowers in the NFL, it will be interesting to see how he matches Darrelle Revis and Charles Woodson's stats next season.
Kyle Wilson may be a sleeper, but I assure you most owners are well aware of his onfield brilliance. Green Bay is rumored to be interested in Kyle Wilson, but it is still a guess as to whether or not Ted Thompson truly goes after him.
It will be interesting to see where Kyle Wilson ends up, and whether or not his cornerback brilliance is on display come September.
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