Every NFL Team's Biggest Sleeper Heading into Training Camps
Don't sleep on (fill in the blank)! You hear it every summer, in every NFL camp. This offseason has been unprecedented, but that doesn't mean there won't be sleepers. They'll emerge everywhere, and we're here to give you some tips.
With training camps supposed to open up in a matter of weeks, we combed through every depth chart to identify players who aren't household names with towering expectations or tremendous accomplishments but might be well positioned to change that in 2020.
Sleepers in this context are 20-something-year-olds who have never been Pro Bowlers or All-Pros and weren't full-season starters last year or aren't expected to be full-season starters this year. They aren't widely considered key players but have a chance to make statements this summer, fall and winter.
Based on factors such as career trajectories, roster competitions and position openings, here's every team's top sleeper heading into camp.
Arizona Cardinals: WR Andy Isabella
The focus surrounding the Arizona Cardinals receiving corps is naturally on incoming three-time All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins, future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald and—to a lesser extent—third-year second-round pick Christian Kirk.
But sophomore Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury enjoys employing four-receiver sets, which should leave room for one of Arizona's three 2019 wide receiver draft choices to emerge. And while Andy Isabella was limited to just nine catches, 189 yards and one touchdown as a rookie, the second-round Massachusetts product was still more productive than fourth-rounder Hakeem Butler and sixth-rounder KeeSean Johnson.
Unlike Kirk, Isabella was drafted in the Kingsbury era. He's a gamer with tremendous speed and agility and could benefit from slipping under the radar in an increasingly stacked offense. He flashed with back-to-back 75-plus-yard games midway through his rookie season, and it wouldn't be surprising if he had a lot more similar performances.
Atlanta Falcons: Edge Charles Harris
Nobody in the NFC recorded fewer sacks last season than the Atlanta Falcons, who in an effort to wake up the pass rush moved on from 2015 first-round pick Vic Beasley Jr. and installed 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler Jr. to work with 2017 first-round pick Takkarist McKinley on the edge.
But don't count out another 2017 first-round pick who is joining the fray up front for Atlanta, because it's possible a change of scenery will be just what the sack doctor ordered for incoming former Miami Dolphins edge-rusher Charles Harris.
The 25-year-old former Missouri star was a bust with just 3.5 sacks in three seasons with the Dolphins, but he should be given an opportunity to excel in Atlanta. It was tough for him to break through and gain consistent action with Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn and Taco Charlton in Miami, but McKinley hasn't lived up to expectations, so Harris might not have to do much to steal starting reps opposite Fowler.
He's got the technique, the repertoire and the talent to salvage his career.
Baltimore Ravens: S Chuck Clark
It's hard to be a sleeper on a 14-win team, but Chuck Clark wasn't a Week 1 starter for the 2019 Baltimore Ravens, and the safety certainly flies under the radar on a star-studded roster.
It says a lot about Clark that the Ravens decided to give him a three-year, $15.3 million contract extension this offseason despite the fact he's started just 14 games in three seasons. Per Pro Football Focus, his 5.9 yards allowed per reception in the box or the slot ranked second among qualified safeties in 2019.
That made veteran Tony Jefferson expendable, and it has paved the way for Clark to start from the get-go for the first time in his career. So while he isn't exactly a deep sleeper, he's not a household name and he's probably only the fifth-most popular member of the secondary, behind Earl Thomas III, Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters and Tavon Young.
Don't be surprised if he emerges this summer and fall as one of the top players on the team.
Buffalo Bills: CB Levi Wallace
Buffalo Bills cornerback Levi Wallace was a 16-game starter last year, but he qualifies for this list because he's not widely expected to keep that job with veteran Josh Norman joining star Tre'Davious White atop the cornerback depth chart.
Norman is obviously much more accomplished than Wallace, but watch for the undrafted 25-year-old to wrestle back his outside starting gig from the 2015 All-Pro. He has just two career interceptions, but in his first full season as a starter, he surrendered just 6.5 yards per target and a passer rating of 85.5. Meanwhile, the 32-year-old Norman gave up 9.7 yards per target and a 129.0 passer rating with Washington last year.
With vet E.J. Gaines also back in the mix, Wallace—who is coming off shoulder surgery—isn't getting a lot of attention. And while he's far from polished and it's concerning that his playing time decreased as the 2019 season wore on, his impressive coverage and those roster dynamics make him a sleeper.
Carolina Panthers: Edge Stephen Weatherly
In four seasons as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, Stephen Weatherly started a grand total of seven games. Now, following a move that slipped under the radar in a busy offseason for the Carolina Panthers, he's likely to earn steady playing time in place of departed veterans Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin.
The focus for a lot of Panthers watchers might still not be on Weatherly on the edge, mainly because there's rightly a lot of hype surrounding recent high draft picks Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos. Ideally, those two will become a superstar duo, but the veteran will likely be asked to carry a lot of the load as that tandem develops.
Despite playing far fewer than 50 percent of Minnesota's defensive snaps over the last two years, Weatherly compiled an impressive six sacks, 17 quarterback hits and 11 tackles for loss. The 2016 seventh-round pick might never be a Pro Bowl-level player, but he could be in for a breakout year in a new setting.
Chicago Bears: WR Riley Ridley
With Taylor Gabriel gone and Ted Ginn Jr. 35 years old, there should be plenty of opportunities for Chicago Bears receivers not named Allen Robinson II or Anthony Miller to make an impact.
Take Riley Ridley, who barely saw the field as a rookie fourth-round pick in 2019 but caught three of the four passes thrown his way for 54 yards in the team's regular-season finale. It was a good sign for the Georgia product that Chicago again didn't spend a high draft pick on a receiver and an even better sign when wide receivers coach Mike Furrey pumped up Ridley's tires last month.
"I think the biggest growth we're going to see with anybody in our room is going to be Riley Ridley," Furrey said in June, per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Ginn and Cordarrelle Patterson are more accomplished, but Ridley's got the route-running ability and the pass-catching skills to beat them out for regular outside reps this summer and fall.
Cincinnati Bengals: OL Hakeem Adeniji
The Cincinnati Bengals will be relying on 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams at left tackle, which is understandable but not ideal considering Williams' lack of experience coming off an injury-derailed season as well as the fact the right side of the line is uninspiring.
Right now, it looks like veterans Bobby Hart and Xavier Su'a-Filo will have chances to start at right tackle and right guard, but neither has been reliable in recent years (or ever, really).
But the Bengals might believe rookie sixth-round pick Hakeem Adeniji has a chance to steal one of those jobs.
"I graded him as a second-round pick," Bengals offensive line coach Jim Turner said on the Bengals Booth Podcast (h/t John Sheeran of Cincy Jungle). "I graded him as a second- or third-round pick, and I really liked him on tape. ... He got drafted way behind when he should've been drafted. I could not believe that nobody else picked him up. We had other needs, so we weren't able to get him the second, third, fourth round. ... When he's still sitting there in the sixth round, like, you got to be kidding me."
In April, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller called Adeniji "a bona fide stud along the Kansas offensive line since arriving on campus as a freshman" and noted he is ready to play at the pro level after 48 consecutive college starts.
Don't overlook him just because he was a sixth-round selection.
Cleveland Browns: CB Kevin Johnson
The Cleveland Browns gave one-year prove-it contracts worth $3.5 million to two veterans in March, neither of whom are widely projected to start from the get-go but both of whom have the talent to become standout performers.
The nod could have gone to defensive tackle Andrew Billings or cornerback Kevin Johnson. The question is, which one has a better chance to pierce through?
Johnson's disadvantage is that he's generally an outside corner, as are recent high draft picks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. Working against Billings is the reality that Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi are holding down their spots as incumbent interior starters.
Johnson, though, did play more slot than usual last season with Buffalo, and with both T.J. Carrie and Eric Murray gone, there could be an opening inside. Oh, and for what it's worth, the 2015 first-round pick actually played pretty well with the Bills. He allowed a sub-60 completion percentage and a sub-80 passer rating.
It's possible he's blooming late, and it's also possible Ward will continue to regress after somewhat of a sophomore slump or Williams will enter a sophomore slump of his own. So despite being a bit of an afterthought signing, there are many avenues Johnson could take to become an impact player.
Dallas Cowboys: S Donovan Wilson
The Dallas Cowboys could end up trading for superstar safety Jamal Adams, but that hasn't happened yet. Veteran Jeff Heath is also gone, and the only three experienced safeties on the roster—Xavier Woods, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Darian Thompson—are all better suited as free safeties.
Those dynamics could end up paving the way for intriguing but overlooked 2019 sixth-round pick Donovan Wilson, who is physical and versatile enough to make a tremendous impact if the stars align for him inside the box.
The Texas A&M product intercepted three passes last preseason before an ankle injury killed that momentum. But he's healthy now and should have an opportunity to flash that presence again. And it also helps that he has lots of history playing nickel cornerback, because Dallas could opt to try Jourdan Lewis outside in the wake of Byron Jones' departure.
Denver Broncos: CB De'Vante Bausby
De'Vante Bausby has started just three games in his career, but the 27-year-old journeyman cornerback could be in the right place at the right time after flashing in a limited sample last year.
The Denver Broncos essentially swapped Chris Harris Jr. for A.J. Bouye at that position, and they'll be getting Bryce Callahan back after an injury-derailed debut season, but Callahan and Duke Dawson Jr. are better suited for the slot. That could leave Bausby to battle 2018 third-round pick Isaac Yiadom, who allowed completions on more than 70 percent of the passes thrown his way in 2019.
Bausby, meanwhile, allowed a passer rating of just 67.4 before his season was thwarted by an October neck injury. He put together impressive tape in the Alliance of American Football and has an enticing combination of size and speed. He looks like he's putting it together. And if he can stay healthy, he might beat out Yiadom and surprise a lot of people.
Detroit Lions: WR Marvin Hall
The Detroit Lions have three popular veteran receivers in Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Danny Amendola, and there's buzz surrounding speedster Jamal Agnew following his move to that position. That combined with the addition of fifth-round pick Quintez Cephus could make it easy to overlook Marvin Hall.
After all, Hall has caught just 19 passes in his career. But what's wild is the lightning-fast Washington product has gained 470 yards. That works out to a ridiculous 24.7 yards per catch for a player who caught three 45-plus-yard passes in a three-game span in October.
At that point, he and quarterback Matthew Stafford were establishing unreal home run chemistry. Then Stafford suffered a season-ending injury, and Hall went down with a foot injury before the home stretch. But if he and Stafford stay healthy, he could easily beat out Agnew and Cephus and challenge Jones and Amendola for attention in the offense.
Green Bay Packers: DT Kingsley Keke
Despite the fact the Green Bay Packers struggled to defend the run in 2019, the interior defensive line looks pretty much identical to the way it did. That likely means the front office is confident Tyler Lancaster, Montravius Adams or Kingsley Keke can take a step forward in support of Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry.
While Lancaster and Adams earned more snaps last season than Keke, and while Adams was the only Day 2 draft pick among that trio, our money's on the lesser-known Keke.
Adams hasn't emerged in three seasons, and the Lancaster experiment didn't exactly pan out, but Keke flashed as a rookie and has the tools to make a sophomore leap with more opportunities.
"He made big strides and did some good things when he got a chance," Clark said of Keke at the end of last season, per Rob Reischel of Forbes. "But I think he's going to come back ready to take on a much bigger role."
Houston Texans: DL Charles Omenihu
With D.J. Reader gone, Angelo Blackson far from an asset and J.J. Watt an injury liability at this point in his career, there could be plenty of opportunities for sleepers to emerge along the Houston Texans defensive line this summer.
A lot of eyes will be on 2017 Oakland Raiders third-round pick Eddie Vanderdoes, veteran Brandon Dunn and second-round pick Ross Blacklock up front, but second-year fifth-round pick Charles Omenihu could quietly push Blackson for more reps opposite Watt and Whitney Mercilus, especially on passing downs.
The Texas product posted three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles despite not starting a game as a rookie. As Matt Miller noted, he possesses tremendous size and length, and it sounds as though he's trying to reinvent himself to make a broader impact.
"Chuck's working hard," Watt said in May, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. "He wants to make a big jump this year. That's his goal. I know he's putting in the work to do that, and I'm looking forward to seeing him progress."
Indianapolis Colts: WR Marcus Johnson
The Indianapolis Colts and their fans are of course hoping recent high draft picks Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. take off in support of veteran T.Y. Hilton at the wide receiver position this fall. And if either fails to deliver, the expectation will be for reigning team receiving yards leader Zach Pascal to step in.
But counting out Marcus Johnson would be a mistake.
The 25-year-old Texas product jumped from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Seattle Seahawks after winning the Super Bowl as a rookie in 2017. He flashed early in 2018 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury, and when he played as a result of attrition at that position down the stretch in 2019, he caught nine passes for 197 yards in a three-game span in December.
Despite a lack of spark in the passing offense, Johnson averaged a fantastic 21.9 yards per catch during that stretch.
He's still unlikely to crack the top four spots on the depth chart, but there are a lot of questions regarding experience or durability among those four players. If quarterback Philip Rivers vibes with Johnson's big-play ability, Johnson could make a much larger impact than expected.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Edge Dawuane Smoot
Calais Campbell is gone, and Yannick Ngakoue could be traded or hold out again. That means the Jacksonville Jaguars could be in need of pass-rushing help for promising sophomore Josh Allen, but there should be plenty of opportunities for reps even if Allen and Ngakoue start the season on the edge.
Jacksonville is lacking in depth. Only one player other than Campbell, Ngakoue and Allen registered more than two sacks last season, and his name is Dawuane Smoot.
The 2017 third-round pick couldn't break through the stacked upper layer of the depth chart in his first couple of seasons, but he quietly made the most of limited opportunities in 2019 and could be ready for a larger role at the age of 25.
He can be extremely disruptive, he has tremendous closing speed as a rusher, and he's a lot more intriguing than alternative options Lerentee McCray and Cassius Marsh.
Kansas City Chiefs: CB Rashad Fenton
When the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs let slot cover man Kendall Fuller escape as a free agent, they must have figured Rashad Fenton had the ability to succeed in that role alongside Tyrann Mathieu. So while the 2019 sixth-round pick remains somewhat of an afterthought compared to fellow defensive backs Charvarius Ward, Bashaud Breeland, Juan Thornhill and Daniel Sorensen, keep an eye on Fenton.
In limited action primarily in the slot, the South Carolina product surrendered a passer rating of just 57.7. He's versatile with the ability to excel outside as well as on special teams. He also forced a fumble on one of only two snaps in a December game against the Raiders, and he recorded a sack in a playoff victory over the Texans.
On the outside, Ward has emerged as a strong but not special corner, while Breeland remains somewhat vulnerable and inconsistent. Fenton has the ability to push for slot snaps, but a big leap ahead of Year 2 could enable him to make a run at a starting job.
Las Vegas Raiders: Edge Carl Nassib
New Las Vegas Raiders edge-rusher Carl Nassib might not be a sleeper in everyone's eyes, but he slipped under the radar on the free-agent market and will still have to fight with highly touted younger pass-rushers Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell and Arden Key for work on the edge.
Nassib is expected to play a significant role for his $8.4 million average annual salary, but don't be shocked if he becomes a star. The 2016 third-round pick quietly put up 12.5 sacks, 25 quarterback hits, 20 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles over the last two seasons as a part-time player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he's got the tools to produce more than that in the right situation.
That might be the case in Las Vegas, where Crosby will have to prove his double-digit-sack rookie season wasn't a fluke and Ferrell will try to bounce back from a poor maiden campaign. The Raiders need a steady presence on the edge, and Nassib might be ready to deliver that in his age-27 season.
Los Angeles Chargers: LB Drue Tranquill
Nothing's guaranteed this year in the Los Angeles Chargers linebacker corps.
Departed veteran Thomas Davis Sr. will almost certainly be replaced by first-round pick Kenneth Murray Jr., which will be exciting but unpredictable. Free-agent addition Nick Vigil is on a prove-it contract, Denzel Perryman has failed to consistently remain on the field, and recent draft picks Kyzir White, Uchenna Nwosu and Drue Tranquill have yet to fully emerge.
Murray notwithstanding, nobody in that group is as enticing as Tranquill, who somehow racked up 75 tackles despite being on the field for fewer than 40 percent of the defensive snaps as a rookie. He's athletic and versatile, and when you watch him on tape, you see someone who could become the heart and soul of a defense.
It's time for Perryman to at least cede passing downs to the Notre Dame product, and it wouldn't be surprising if Tranquill earned a three-down role by the time autumn arrives.
Los Angeles Rams: CB Darious Williams
Jalen Ramsey and Troy Hill are likely locked in as outside starters at cornerback for the Los Angeles Rams, and with Nickell Robey-Coleman, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib all gone, the expectation will be for 2019 third-round pick David Long Jr. to play a major role.
But Long was actually outplayed as a rookie by undrafted 27-year-old Darious Williams, who intercepted two passes and surrendered an opposing passer rating of 77.0 in 20 percent of the defensive snaps.
The UAB product has a nose for the football and the skill set to excel inside or outside, and he should have a leg up on Long, who struggled in limited action last year.
Watch for Williams to emerge in his second full season with the team.
Miami Dolphins: S Steven Parker
The Miami Dolphins underwent an exciting makeover this offseason, but the safety position looks wide-open entering training camp. Veteran Bobby McCain is likely the projected starter at free safety, but 24-year-old Steven Parker might have more upside than McCain or presumed backup Adrian Colbert following a surprisingly strong debut season.
The undrafted Oklahoma product spent his rookie campaign on the Rams' practice squad, but he made four starts for the shorthanded Dolphins in 2019 and intercepted a pair of passes in the second half of the year.
Parker excelled in coverage in limited playing time, and on tape he also stood out when helping against the run. He might not have superstar potential, but his versatility and playmaking ability should give him a chance to push McCain, who is probably better suited as a backup along with Colbert.
Minnesota Vikings: WR Tajae Sharpe
Unlike the Tennessee Titans, we're not ready to give up on Tajae Sharpe.
The four-year veteran is expected to at least grab the No. 3 receiver job as a new member of the Minnesota Vikings with rookie first-round pick Justin Jefferson expected by most to essentially replace the departed Stefon Diggs. But you never know what to expect from a rookie wide receiver, and Sharpe has the ability to deliver as a starter without being the focal point of the balanced offense.
He's never caught 50 passes or scored five touchdowns in a season, but Sharpe is still only 25 and is coming off a quietly strong season. His cumulative numbers weren't big because the Titans have a slew of options on offense, but the UMass product averaged a stellar 9.4 yards per target. He caught more than 71 percent of the passes thrown his way and dropped zero of those 35 throws from Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota.
It wouldn't be surprising if Sharpe took off in a new setting.
New England Patriots: LB Ja'Whaun Bentley
We all know how the New England Patriots feel about the "next man up" mantra. And with veteran linebackers Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins Sr. and Elandon Roberts moving on this offseason, third-year fifth-round pick Ja'Whaun Bentley is pretty clearly the next man up at the inside linebacker position.
The Patriots likely wouldn't have let all three of those players walk if they weren't confident in Bentley, who made strides in a promising but limited sophomore season. Bill Belichick hardly addressed the off-ball linebacker position in free agency or the draft, leaving Bentley with an opportunity to start alongside vet Dont'a Hightower.
That alone is an endorsement without words. Bentley may have to clean up his tackling, but he flashed as a coverage linebacker and pass-rusher in 2019. That's especially promising considering how much Belichick values versatility.
Bentley is far from a household name, but that might change.
New Orleans Saints: LB Alex Anzalone
A year ago, it looked like New Orleans Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone was becoming a strong starter, if not a star. The 2017 third-round pick started just seven games as a sophomore, but he still compiled 59 tackles, six quarterback hits and three forced fumbles.
But then a shoulder injury cost Anzalone all but two games of his 2019 campaign, and he was essentially replaced by Kiko Alonso. But while Alonso is now recovering from a torn ACL, Anzalone is healthy. A lot of the attention in that linebacker corps has shifted with highly touted rookie Zack Baun joining the fray, but he could need some time to adjust to the pro game after a unique offseason. Plus, veteran linebacker A.J. Klein moved on in free agency.
So while it's easy to forget about Anzalone following his derailed season—which might have been overshadowed anyway by Demario Davis' All-Pro showing—the Florida product could wind up playing a massive role.
New York Giants: TE Kaden Smith
When you think of the tight end position for the New York Giants, you think of Evan Engram. But the 2017 first-round pick has been limited to just 14 starts over the last two seasons, and it's fair to wonder about his durability.
New Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett also likes to utilize multiple tight ends when he's got the talent at that position, so there's a good chance we see a lot of Kaden Smith this year regardless of what happens with Engram.
The 2019 sixth-round pick didn't make the cut with the San Francisco 49ers but jumped to New York during his rookie season and showed flashes of brilliance while establishing chemistry with Giants quarterback Daniel Jones down the stretch.
In December, Smith caught 25 of the 35 passes thrown his way for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns. If he can pick up even within range of where he left off, he could become a star.
New York Jets: DB Ashtyn Davis
The fact that star New York Jets safety Jamal Adams wants to be traded makes Ashtyn Davis a sleeper. After all, the third-round pick is pretty much the only option to move into Adams' role next to Marcus Maye in the secondary.
But it's not as simple as that. The Jets got great value when they selected Davis, who should play a lot regardless of Adams' fate. The versatile California product should be ready to make an impact at safety, on special teams and possibly even at cornerback after a strong four-year run in the Pac-12.
Davis is athletic, fast, rangy and ready, and the Jets lack depth in the defensive backfield. His status will be elevated significantly in the event of an Adams trade, but watch for him to earn reps in the secondary and as a return man no matter what.
Philadelphia Eagles: Edge Josh Sweat
The Philadelphia Eagles did not re-sign veteran Vinny Curry this offseason, which could leave space on the edge for somebody to emerge alongside of or in place of Brandon Graham or Derek Barnett.
That somebody could be 2018 fourth-round pick Josh Sweat.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz likes to deploy a deep rotation up front. Last year, Curry and Sweat were on the field for 38.5 percent and 34.5 percent of the defensive snaps. Genard Avery might also see an uptick in action regardless of what happens with Graham and Barnett, but Sweat quietly had 10 quarterback hits and four sacks last year. He's most likely to receive a boost.
Barnett has yet to live up to expectations, and Graham's ceiling is established, but the powerful and athletic Sweat has the potential to become a star pass-rusher. And it might not take much for that opportunity to present itself.
Pittsburgh Steelers: RT Chukwuma Okorafor
The consensus might be that 2017 fourth-round pick Zach Banner has the edge over 2018 third-rounder Chukwuma Okorafor in the battle for the starting right tackle spot with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Banner made it on the field for 216 snaps last season and excelled as a run-blocker in jumbo packages, while Okorafor hardly played as the clear No. 4 tackle on the depth chart.
Banner is also more of a household name inside and outside of Pittsburgh, but that doesn't make him a better player than Okorafor. Banner's size (6'8", 360 lbs) is enticing, but he might lack the quick reaction time you want from a pass protector at either tackle spot. The 6'6", 320-pound Okorafor is more svelte and could be more reliable when it comes to protecting veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
That will take precedence this year for the Steelers, who need to keep Big Ben healthy. Okorafor has had two years to develop and has a higher ceiling than Banner, and he just might steal a starting job from him this summer.
San Francisco 49ers: WR Jalen Hurd
Few members of the San Francisco 49ers are flying under the radar, but Jalen Hurd wasn't on the field during the team's 2019 Super Bowl run and remains part of a deep receiving corps that gained a first-round pick in April.
With most eyes still on Deebo Samuel and said first-rounder, Brandon Aiyuk, and with Kendrick Bourne coming off a solid season in the slot, it might be easy to forget about Hurd. The 2019 third-round pick missed his rookie season with a back injury but is healthy now and working out with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 6'5", 230-pound converted running back has sky-high potential as a "big slot," and it sounds as though he's coming along quickly.
"Jalen is very raw. He's so explosive, so powerful," Garoppolo told The Athletic's Matt Barrows. "There's so many little technique things, I guess you could say, he hasn't even learned yet. But he enjoys learning it. That's one of the main things I like about coming out here—when we get to talk about the stuff, you can see he's eating it up, taking it all in. And then he goes out and does it. When you have a guy like that, it makes quarterbacking very easy."
It's not out of the question that Hurd will emerge as Jimmy G's top target.
Seattle Seahawks: S Marquise Blair
The Seattle Seahawks' first second-round pick in 2019, Marquise Blair made it on to the field for just 230 snaps as a rookie, but the Utah product looked impressive. And yet he's still likely behind both Bradley McDougald and Quandre Diggs on the safety depth chart.
Blair is versatile enough to excel at either safety position, but he's best suited to take over the strong safety role expected to be occupied by McDougald, who turns 30 in November. Blair's ceiling is a lot higher, and he has the tools to evoke Legion of Boom feels in Seattle.
So while he might not be on track to start, watch for the Seahawks to find new ways to get Blair out there.
"He's a guy we're very interested in finding a role for," head coach Pete Carroll said recently, per ESPN.com's Brady Henderson. "We've already mapped that out. He's got some real special talents that we want to find a spot for him ... to go along and complement the safety play that he's going to play. In the nickel package, he is going to get a lot of consideration to contribute in some additional ways because he's unique and got some special stuff."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Scotty Miller
Our pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a toss-up between two wide receivers: 2018 fifth-round pick Justin Watson and 2019 sixth-rounder Scotty Miller. Each should have a chance to replace the departed Breshad Perriman as the third option behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and each has the ability to succeed in that role.
Watson is more physically enticing (6'3", 215 lbs) and is probably more capable of lining up outside, as Perriman often did, but Godwin can play inside or outside, and it's easier to envision Miller (5'11", 174 lbs) becoming quarterback Tom Brady's Tampa Bay version of Julian Edelman.
And while Miller is coming off a rookie season that was interrupted by a hamstring injury, it's worth noting that after a slow start, the Bowling Green product averaged a ridiculous 12.4 yards per target in his final four outings. Plus, he dropped zero of the 26 passes thrown his way on the year.
That gives the 22-year-old a slight edge over his 25-year-old teammate.
Tennessee Titans: RB Darrynton Evans
The Tennessee Titans possess the reigning rushing champion, which means every other running back on the roster is a sleeper. But the team would be smart to limit Derrick Henry's touches, which is probably why it used a third-round pick on the explosive Darrynton Evans.
Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith said he wouldn't rule out a workload decrease for Henry, who led the league with 303 carries in 2019, and Jim Wyatt of the team's official website reported Smith "wants to make sure he has a lot of guys get touches."
Evans isn't getting a lot of pub right now, but he'll almost certainly be one of those guys.
The elusive home run hitter out of Appalachian State is the perfect change-of-pace option behind Henry, and he should be ready to chip in after back-to-back 1,100-plus-yard seasons. With opposing defenses focusing heavily on Henry, Evans could crush expectations.
Washington Redskins: S Troy Apke
While Landon Collins is one of the best strong safeties in the NFL, the starting free safety spot on the Washington Redskins depth chart remains up for grabs. Neither Ha Ha Clinton-Dix nor Montae Nicholson panned out in the last couple years, and now veteran Sean Davis will likely get the first crack at that job despite the fact he was never a high-end starter in Pittsburgh.
Davis is also coming off a shoulder injury that cost him all but one game. Put it all together, and there should be competition for that job again this summer. Our money's on oft-overlooked third-year fourth-round pick Troy Apke.
Apke has been on the field for just 210 snaps in his first two seasons (all last year), but the 25-year-old Penn State product flashed in coverage and occasionally even as a pass-rusher. He's an elite athlete with top-end speed who shined at the 2018 combine and has had the chance to develop.
Keep an eye on him this summer.