Each year in the NFL draft, there’s a handful of players drafted in the later rounds that shine in the league. With countless hours spent evaluating players along with a little luck, all thirty-two NFL teams will try to find the next hidden gem that could possibly become their next franchise player. Here’s a look at some sleeper prospects at every offensive position in this year’s draft.
Brad Kaaya – Miami – Projected Round: 5th: In 2016, Kaaya completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,532 yards and 27 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions. He has a strong arm and shows some poise in the pocket. Has his moments with accuracy issues. Kaaya could be the hidden gem that many teams are trying to find.
Jerod Evans – Virginia Tech – Projected Round: 6th: Evans had impressive numbers in 2016 completing 64 percent of his passes for 3.546 yards and 29 touchdowns and throwing only 8 interceptions. He also had 846 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. He has great mobility and can accurately throw the long ball. Can take some punishment. His mechanics need polishing and lack of experience shows his inability to make proper reads on the defense at time. With some work, Evans could turn into a solid Quarterback.
Jamaal Williams – BYU- Projected Round: 5th: Williams started all four years while playing for the Cougars. He ran for 1,375 yards last season with 12 rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He’s the right size for the NFL and has great field vision along with being an excellent power runner. He lacks the speed to turn the corner and gets clumsy at times in running lanes. Could be a great third down back option right away.
Matt Dayes – NC State – Projected Round: 6th: Dayes can do just about anything on the football field. He finished last season with 1,166 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Excellent at making cuts and times them precisely. Has total control over his footwork and can stop on a dime. His size could be an issue and has trouble breaking tackles. Between rushing, receiving, and returning, Dayes will give a team great value in the later rounds of the draft.
Robert Davis – Georgia State – Projected Round: 6th: Davis has a big frame and isn’t afraid to get physical with defenders. He also has great speed for his size. He was stuck in a run dominated offense, but still had 67 receptions for 968 yards last season. He needs to work on running crisper routes and his breakaway speed after the catch. He could be a solid number 2 or 3 receiver in the NFL.
Ryan Switzer – North Carolina – Projected Round: 6th: Switzer caught 96 passes (school record) for 1,112 yards last season with the Tar Heels. Scored 7 touchdowns on punt returns in his college career. He has the speed to burn defenders in tight coverage and has excellent hands. He’s a little undersized and needs to work on getting open more against zone coverage. Switzer has a lot of potential and could become a Julian Edelman type player.
Blake Jarwin – Oklahoma State – Projected Round: 7th: Jarwin was very versatile with the Cowboys. He played on the line, in the back field, and also at wide out catching 19 passes for 309 yards. Has good run blocking skills and utilizes his size very well on jump balls. He lacks speed and needs to work on his pass protection. Overall, Jarwin could evolve into a starting Tight End for a team one day.
Adam Shaheen – Ashland – Projected Round: 5th- 7th: Shaheen scored 16 touchdowns on 57 receptions and had 867 yards last season. He is a huge Tight End listed at 6’6″ and 278 lbs. Has great speed for his size. He has exceptional hands and reads defenses very well. He’s a great presence in the red zone. Struggled against pressing defenders and block skills are very raw. Regardless, Shaheen has the skill set to be a dominant Tight End in the NFL.
Dan Skipper (OT) – Arkansas – Projected Round: 7th: Skipper started every game for the Razorbacks since 2014. He used his height to his advantage blocking three field goals in his career. He has good awareness on the field and times his blocks very well. His size can become a disadvantage against low hitting defenders. Skipper could land a starting role if he uses his size properly in the NFL.
Sean Harlow (OG) – Oregon State – Projected Round: 6th: His dad Pat, was and All-American at USC and First Round pick for the New England Patriots. Harlow has played every position on the offensive line with the Beavers in his college career. He has great upper body strength and does well against double teams. He can be sluggish at times and will struggle against fast defensive lineman. Overall, Harlow is a hard worker and will prove to be beneficial to any team that drafts him.
Tyler Orlosky (C) – West Virginia – Projected Round: 5th – 6th: Orlosky started three seasons for the Mountaineers and never missed a single snap on offense. Has a quick step out of the stance and creates big running lanes for the rushing game. He needs to improve on pass protection and lacks the quickness needed to be a dominant Center. A below average performance at the combine hurt his stock some, but he still is more than capable of being a starting Center in the NFL early on in his career.