Top 5 2013 NFL Draft Sleepers: Offense
2013 NFL Draft Sleepers-Offense
The NFL draft is the ultimate talent competition in all of professional sports. These athletes spend their college careers in essence auditioning for the annual April event. And while many players leave college football only hoping to be selected somewhere, for others it's about being selected early in the draft that becomes their priority.
And while it's clear that if you look at the rosters of Pro Bowl players and All-Pros, it's without question that most of those players are drafted in the first two rounds of the draft. However, if you look across all 32 NFL rosters, the bulk of teams are built on mid to late round players. There is an old saying that says you can't have an All-Pro at every position. And because that is true, the job of an NFL scouting department and personnel staff has to not only decide which players best fit their teams for the early selections, but the middle of the draft, when it gets much harder to identify the real gems is how they make their money.
So, let's take a look at five guys on offense who almost certainly will not be selected in the top two rounds of the 2013 NFL draft, but have all the makings of future NFL stars. These players will slip in April for a variety of reasons, whether it's level of competition in college, lack of quality film, injury concerns, or simply being a good player on a very bad team.
So let's break down the top five sleepers on offense for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Brad Sorensen, QB Southern Utah
Brad Sorensen, quarterback
Height 6-5 Weight 230lbs
If Sorensen played for a major BCS program, he'd be discussed among the very top quarterbacks in this class. But because he has played for the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah, he has gotten a little caught up in the mix. However, in a quarterback draft class where every quarterback has some concerns, Sorensen is pretty darn clean. He's got ideal size, a tremendous arm and plays with a ton of confidence. One thing he has shown that impresses me is his ability to work through his progressions and see the entire field. It's not a case of one read and force the throw if it's not there. He can look off a safety and sling it down field.
In terms of a grade, I have Sorensen as a 4th round prospect. I think that would be a really nice value, especially for a team that has a starter in place and can allow him to develop and pick up the speed of the game initially as a backup.
Dennis Johnson, RB Arkansas
Dennis Johnson, running back
Height 5-9 Weight 214lbs
Johnson is one of those players who takes a big hit in draft status, like his teammate quarterback Tyler Wilson, because of all the problems the Arkansas football program had to deal with last season. Johnson was probably the team's most consistent offensive weapon for the Razorbacks all season. He's got an ideal physical body for the NFL with great power and quickness and a low center of gravity. He runs with great pad level and nice quickness. If you compare his best runs with the best runs of the top running backs in this draft, there's very little difference in skills.
The one negative to Johnson's game is that he does lack elite sprinter speed that so many teams covet. He's not going to break off a lot of 70 yard runs, but he grinds and gets yards after contact, and will keep moving the chains as a rusher and receiver. Running back is normally pretty undervalued so don't be surprised if he slides to the 5th or 6th round but outplays backs taken ahead of him.
Omarius Hines, WR Florida
Omarius Hines, wide receiver
University of Florida
Height 6-2 Weight 220lbs
Hines is one of those players who just was never able to get his game on track this past season for the Gators. Florida used a run heavy offense and the passing skills of the Gators quarterbacks were questionable so his stats have never supported his talent. Hines has great size with a strong build and his game can be described the same way. He's a very physical matchup for defenses and his build lets him line up in multiple spots in the offense.
Hines isn't an ideal body type for an outside wide receiver and so that will push him down late in the draft. He also isn't going to wow teams with elite speed and acceleration. But his potential is much higher than most give him credit for. He's got great hands and runs very nice routes. He has the look of a great red zone target as a slot WR/H-back type of prospect in the 5th or 6th round.
Chris Faulk, OT LSU
Chris Faulk, offensive tackle
Height 6-6 Weight 330lbs
Faulk entered the 2012 season as a potential first round pick, but one game into the season he was lost for the year with a knee injury. A lot of players would have returned to school, but Faulk was concerned about another injury, so he went ahead and declared as a junior. Going back to the 2011 film on Faulk you see what a mauling run blocker he is, but his draft status will slide because teams aren't sure if he'll be ready to play in 2013, whether it's health or level of fitness. But assuming he can get well and be ready to play in either 2013 or 2014 his ability to run block is as good as any in this draft. His future in the NFL might be at guard where he can operate in a small area, but there's almost no risk to a 6th or 7th round pick on a player with this much potential and film to match.
Vance McDonald, TE Rice
Vance McDonald, tight end
Height 6-4 Weight 260lbs
McDonald is starting to get people talking, so I won't be shocked if he's not a 3rd round pick by April. He's a huge target and a very good blocker in space, but his effort in the passing game is what teams like. He uses his body well, and pushes defenders around, fighting to get open and making the challenged catch.
McDonald is the Owls offense spend the majority of his time split out wide, which NFL teams will like as a receiver, but he's pretty untested lining up in a 3 point stance next to a tackle and blocking a defensive end. Most of his blocking came against safeties and cornerbacks, so his strength at the point of attack against big boys will be a real challenge. But he's a solid receiver split out wide and get good yards after the catch. He's not a deep threat but has the look of a good red zone target and the kind of tight end who would be clutch on 3rd downs.