Underrated: Aaron’s Top 5 Sleepers of the 2018 NFL Draft

Every draft is filled with under the radar prospects, “sleeper picks” is the term most people use. Leading up to NFL draft TheCover3 will each give their top five over-rated, under-rated, and best prospects. These are my top five under-rated players of the 2018 NFL draft.

5.

Richie James, WR ( MTSU)

RichieJames

Overview: Coming from a small school like Middle Tennessee State University it’s hard enough to get your name on the radar as a top player, but being plagued by injuries the year you enter the draft? It’s nearly impossible. At 5’9, 176lbs James lacks the size of many highly-sought after receivers, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in heart, grit, and determination. When most people think of small receivers they think, oh okay a speed demon type of player. However this is not the case with James, while he is fast that’s not what makes him stand out on the gridiron. His ability to go up and get it and willingness to snag the balls most receivers his size would think twice about is what really separates him from others. While I don’t think he’s a day one pick, I do believe whoever takes a chance on him could strike gold and get a stud.

Comparison:  Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos. 

Career Stats: 

Receptions Yards Touchdowns
243 3249 23

4. Josh Sweat, DE ( Florida State)

jsweat.jpg

Overview: Coming off an ACL injury his senior year in high school, Sweat is another guy who has battled injuries throughout most of his collegiate career. With a quick first step he makes it tough for tackles to get a hand on him, and if they do he uses his hands well enough to swim right past them. When healthy Sweat could make a case as a top end in the draft. With the combination of speed and strength he possesses, he can be an absolute star if he can stay on the field.

Comparison: Danielle Hunter, DE, Vikings.

Career Stats: 

Tackles TFL (Tackles For Loss) Sacks
138 29.0 14.5

3.

Duke Dawson, CB ( Florida)

NCAA Football: Eastern Michigan at Florida

Overview: Dawson lived in the shadow of highly touted corners like Vernon Hargreaves, Quincy Tabor, and Jalen Tabor for much of his collegiate career and he has a chance to better than all of them. While Dawson does lack the size and speed of the prototypical corner, he does not lack the heart and willpower. Dawson brings it on every play, he’s just a good ball player. Dawson makes up for what he lacks physically with his football IQ, he does a great job at diagnosing plays and breaking up passes before a receiver even has a chance to make a play on the ball. He is a guy who I think can be a solid nickel corner for a very long time.

Comparison:  Kendall Fuller, CB, Chiefs

Career Stats: 

Tackles Interceptions PD (Passes Defended)
56 6 17

2. Royce Freeman, RB (Oregon)

Roycefreeman.jpg

Overview: With all the running back talk being centered around Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice, the all-time PAC-12 touchdown leader seems to be a forgotten man. At 5’11, 238lbs Freeman is a big back but not the bruiser you would expect. He is very agile for his size, though he is not necessarily a violent runner he still excels at running between the tackles. At 238, you wouldn’t think he is a shifty back but he is very good at making defenders miss in open space. If he gets drafted to the right system, Freeman could make a impact in the run game right away.

Comparison:  Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles

Career Stats: 

Attempts Yards Touchdowns
947 5621 60

1. Riley Ferguson, QB (Memphis)

RileyFerguson

Overview: Ferguson started his college career at the University of Tennessee, after not receiving much playing time in his freshman campaign he decided to transfer out. After going JUCO for a year Riley Ferguson ended up at Memphis and became an American Conference star. Ferguson has a gun-slinger mentality and the confidence you would want in your franchise quarterback. He believes he can make any throw and has the arm strength to back it up. For the most part he makes good decisions and has the athleticism to scramble outside the pocket if necessary. He is a guy who I believe can make a franchise very happy and be a quality starter in the NFL.

Comparison: Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins (?)

Career Stats: 

Yards Touchdowns Interceptions
7955 70 19
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