Each year there are players that fly under the radar during the draft process, many names come to mind, famously Tom Brady back in 1999 (6th round), Antonio Brown in 2010 (6th round), Tony Romo in 2003 (Undrafted), Kam Chancellor in 2010 (5th round) I could name a dozen more but I think my point is clear. There are so many players that fly under the radar during the draft process that they slip through the cracks and aren’t scooped up until much later. I am going to give my top sleeper prospect for every position for the 2019 NFL Draft.
This list is in no way saying these prospects are sure things, but they are overlooked prospects in my opinion at their respective positions, here we go.
Quarterback: Trace McSorely, Penn State
During his time in Happy Valley McSorely won 34 games to only 12 losses, when I watch him play he reminds me of Russell Wilson, he has a good arm and is mobile enough to escape pressure and gain first downs, though he does sometimes struggle with pinpoint accuracy that is a skill that can be fixed by the right coaches.
Ceiling: Russell Wilson Floor: Seneca Wallace
Running Back: Ty Johnson, Maryland
Back at Maryland Ty Johnson never carried the ball more than 137 times in a season, totaling 348 carries, but he averaged 7.6 yards per carry, yes he had a lot of big performances against bad defenses, but the guy has skill, he would be a valuable asset to a team especially late in the draft or as a priority UDFA.
Ceiling: Maurice Jones-Drew Floor: Kenjon Barner
Wide Receiver: Preston Williams, Colorado State
Williams has some red flags for character and a torn ACL in college. But he has a very high ceiling, he has the playmaking ability of a day one or day two receiver but is knocked because of red flags and college production. He has stuff to work through, but the talent is definitely there.
Ceiling: Alshon Jeffery Floor: Justin Blackmon
Tight End: Zach Gentry, Michigan
Gentry went to Michigan as a Quarterback and left a tight end, he has only played the position for three years and he has the smarts to find holes in defense as a former QB. He is 6’8 and plays faster than his 4.9 40 yard dash indicates, blocking hasn’t fully developed yet but he is a huge body who can learn. He runs smooth routes for a man his size and has a lot of room to improve.
Ceiling: Kyle Rudolph Floor: Blake Bell
Offensive Tackle: Trey Pipkins, Sioux Falls
Trey Pipkins is a very big guy, he moves quickly and has strong hands which is a good trait for an NFL Tackle, he will take some time to develop, he is inconsistent and hasn’t played against true NFL talent, but if he has a good O-line coach who can teach him and if he sits behind the right player, he could become a very good left or right tackle in the NFL.
Ceiling: Dion Dawkins Floor: Ereck Flowers
Interior Offensive Lineman: Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas
Froholdt had one of the best PFF grades out of this year’s draft class and he played in the SEC, he played against the likes of Alabama and Mississippi State, who feature dominant defensive lines, and managed to help the terrible Arkansas Razorbacks to 172 yards rushing against the Tide. He was a bright spot on a team that had few.
Ceiling: Justin Pugh Floor: Joe Dahl
Edge Rusher: Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois
Sutton Smith is overlooked because of his size as a pass rusher, but he was highly productive in college and knows how to get in the backfield. He doesn’t let his size impede the way he plays, he has a non-stop motor and put up ungodly numbers at Northern Illinois, an NFL team would be wise to take a waiver on his upside.
Ceiling: Dee Ford Floor: Frank Zombo
Defensive Tackle: Albert Huggins, Clemson
This year, Clemson’s defensive line is giving the NFL 3 potential first round picks from their defensive line, while we all forget about another player who plays well, tested well at the combnine, he was just overshadowed at Clemson, but he played a decent role on the defense that won the National Championship, he is a big space eater and very powerful. He reminds me of the Alabama D-lineman who always get overshadowed but perform in the NFL.
Ceiling :D.J. Reader Floor: Sedrick Ellis
Linebacker: Joe Giles-Harris, Duke
Giles-Harris is not the fastest or most athletic linebacker in this draft class by any means, but he does have very good instincts and had very good production. He is a linebacker who needs to get in the right conditioning program to work on his sideline to sideline speed, but other than that his fundamentals are very good, but he will drop in the draft because he isn’t the hybrid linebacker everybody is looking for now-a-days.
Ceiling: Thomas Davis Floor: Dan Skuta
Cornerback: Derrick Baity, Kentucky
Lonnie Johnson and Josh Allen getting all the love from scouts that watch Kentucky’s defense, not realizing, there’s another side of the field from Johnson, Baity has been very good in his collegiate career, he may not have eye popping stats, but he has ball skills, speed and length, isn’t that what coaches look for in CB prospects.
Ceiling: Jimmy SmithFloor: Cary Williams
Safety: Zedrick Woods, Mississippi
I saw this kid at the combine blow people away with a blazing 4.29 40 yard dash, and I told myself to watch some tape and was not disappointed. Woods not only has great speed but he is a good tackler and not afraid of bigger players, he needs to work on his deep coverage to be a great safety in the NFL but he has all the tools and just needs to put them together.
Ceiling: Byron Jones Floor: Tyvon Branch