Home > News > Sports > NFL > 2016 NFL Draft: Draft Day Sleepers

2016 NFL Draft: Draft Day Sleepers

“Sleeper” is a relative term. Is it someone you’ve never heard of? Or just someone expected to go late


“Sleeper” is a relative term. Is it someone you’ve never heard of? Or just someone expected to go late on? What about players who could develop into elite stars but it will take time? For me a sleeper is someone who, for one reason or another, will be taken lower than his prospects deserve and produce well immediately. So who are my sleepers of this draft? Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama Projected 4th/5th round While Derrick Henry’s Heisman-winning campaign took the headlines, and his odd build has fascinated scouts, fellow Crimson Tide back Kenyan Drake is not someone who should be ignored. Drake’s key selling point is his speed, posting a 4.45 40 yard time at the NFL combine to cement that reputation. His production in Alabama was terrific, but in a small sample. That’s not surprising giving Henry’s presence but it was more than just Henry… During his time at Alabama Drake has had a number of injury issues, including a broken leg and a broken arm, but when healthy he can out-run a defense. A great receiver, he’s shown the ability to line up out wide and run good routes as well, bringing comparisons to Shane Vereen. Except at 6-1, 210 lbs Drake is deal bigger than Vereen, although his style of play is far more fluid and dynamic than bruising. He will be a huge contributor to an inventive offensive coordinator, if he can stay on the field that is. Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State Projected 3rd round Washington is a big man with impressive movement skills. He’s not got some of the finesse of the higher prospects but that is a teachable skill that coaches will back themselves to drill into him. Where Washington does fall down is he can lose sight of the ball at time during the play and isn’t always working hard on the field – with that said he’s still a good prospect who, in your typical draft class, could go early in the second round. So why won’t he this year? Simply because there is a huge amount of quality defensive tackle prospects this year. We have given out 10 first (or first/second) round grades to interior defensive linemen. That is simply ridiculous. With that much quality at the top, the middle tier of prospects are going to get suppressed. While we consider Washington a 3rd rounder he may have to wait until much later to get the phone call. Not all 10 of our first round graded defensive tackles will get taken on Thursday night, meaning there will be great bargains to be had later on at that position. Washington should be one of those cheap players that perform far better than similarly priced draftees could dream of. Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah Projected 3rd round Small school players can get lost in the shuffle of the draft very easily. The lack of top competition and elite coaching can turn NFL scouts off, even if the physical attributes are great. Killebrew is a four year starter for Southern Utah who got some attention at the Senior Bowl this year when he finally got his shot at the big programme players and did well. Killebrew is a big boy, which was fine against run heavy, slower offenses in the FCS but in the NFL he may have to slide down to linebacker. Previously that could have been a problem but with the good performances of Mark Barron and Deone Bucannon as safety/linebacker hybrids it gives Killebrew an extra avenue to produce for teams. He can hit like a steam train, making him a very useful special teamer while he learns and adjusts to the big league game. DeVante Harris, CB, Texas A&M Projected Undrafted Free Agent The NFL’s trend toward tall, physical corners – mostly thanks to the the success of Seattle’s secondary – means Harris’ 5 foot 11 frame is not overly desirable at the moment. But Harris can hold his own against taller receivers quite well and has shown good skills in both man and zone coverage. He can be a little boom or bust, breaking on what he thinks will happen rather than reading what will happen if he sniffs a turnover, but there are enough positives to his game that the right coaching could see Harris improve drastically and become an important piece for a team. Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri Projected 3rd Round Brothers has been a stud for the Mizzou Tigers the last 2 years. He lead the nation in tackles (152) last season, which given the level of competition in the SEC is an impressive feat. He was more than just a tackle machine as he picked up 2 interceptions and found his way into the backfield for 12 tackles for loss as well. The issue for Brothers is that he hasn’t tested well at pro days or the Combine. His 4.84 40 yard time isn’t going to excite anyone, especially when it’s combined with a lack of ideal size and agility. He just doesn’t jump off the film as an exceptional athlete. But at the same time that level of production on the football field, in the most dominant conference in college football, is hard to ignore.

Related Reading


Toby Durant

A passionate and opinionated writer, I am currently the NFL editor for RealSport. However, I also contribute to F1, WWE, Football, and other sections of the site, and I have covered the NFL International Series for RealSport and previously contributed to SB Nation.

 

I also have 10 years playing and coaching experience in American football, starting at the University of Nottingham and including a stint as defensive coordinator at Oxford Brookes University. I may be a Patriots fan but all aspects of the sport interest me, from guard play to special teams.

2016 NFL Draft: Draft Day Sleepers

log in

Don't have an account?
sign up

reset password

Back to
log in

sign up

Back to
log in

Send this to a friend