The ability to see past the star athletes in this year’s 2014 NFL draft is what separates the teams that contend and the ones that won’t. These “sleepers” are the players who have impressive talent that’s going unnoticed. The following four diamonds in the rough can be scooped up easily and definitely should be a target for the later rounds of the draft.
First let’s start off with a wide receiver from down south.
Martavis Bryant of the Clemson Tigers is projected to go in either the fourth or fifth round of the draft. He recently worked out for the St. Louis Rams, however I would like to see the Giants gave him a look as well. Bryant is 6-foot-4, 211 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. His height and skill with his footwork are standout strengths for this college junior. If he bulks up, Bryant could be an impending threat to all defenses. What he lacks in unstructured route running he makes up for with unbelievable catches. He has quick hands and could easily be developed with the right coaching staff.
Before doing some research I didn’t know much about defensive end Michael Sam except for the fact that he’s going into the draft openly gay. If and when Sam is drafted he will be the first active NFL player to be homosexual. This is all well and good but the hype is clouding what he actually can do on the field.
The 6-foot-2, 263-pound defensive end will most likely be drafted in the mid to later rounds. With a poor first attempt at pro day, Sam came back with much more acceptable results. He improved with his 40 and added 4.5 inches to his vertical jump. With Sam’s solid size, he sheds blocks with quickness and ease off the line. He has been very intriguing to the scouts because everyone seems to be unsure of what he can do. He is known for his effectiveness when it comes to putting pressure on the quarterback and can be a very good asset. Sam is definitely worth the second look.
Another wide receiver flying under the radar is Texas’ Mike Davis. Coming off of a foot injury, Davis didn’t have the most impressive pro day. Despite his lack of performance Davis has obvious talent he wasn’t showcasing.
Davis is projected to be drafted in the third or fourth round and hopes what he did on the football field in college will shine through. He’s a good-sized athlete with a large catching radius and can follow the deep ball well. Davis has been constantly improving and is full of potential. Sleepers like Davis are the ones who can be molded and enhanced if he wants to be. Being picked up by a NFL team will give him the boost he needs to stay hungry and better him.
Stanley Jean Baptiste is another athlete to potentially be drafted in fourth round. The once wide receiver/safety turned cornerback is clearly versatile in his playing styles and could be a huge asset to the New York Giants. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound Nebraska man had a 10-foot 8-inch broad jump that would woo any scout at the combine.
He plays with great ball handling skill in defiance to his smaller sized hands and could be extremely developed if given the chance. His height will be a hindrance to anyone attempting to throw over him. He has the ability to locate the ball and keep the receiver in front of him. He lacks tackling skills so improvement in the area is crucial unless he can pick off every ball that is thrown.
These four sleepers are untapped resources any NFL team could use. The New York Giants should keep an eye on these men because they can truly be picked up at anytime. They would require the proper training nevertheless they are valuable players who don’t have major publicity like the first rounder’s do. All four can be transformed into star quality players with a little effort.