There are around 250 players who can possibly be drafted every year in the NFL draft, but most of the talk is those who will be drafted in the first round. Out of these 250 players, there are players that we haven’t talked about that could come in and contribute to a team and be a steal in the draft. Every year there are players taken between rounds 2 through 7 who end up playing better than those drafted ahead of them in the first round.
Some examples are Jimmy Graham drafted 30th overall in the 3rd round in 2010, Ahmad Bradshaw drafted in the 7th round in 2007, and Asante Samuel drafted in the 4th round in 2003. Overall, you never know what you’re getting when you call a person’s name; you could be getting a potential starter in the later rounds or somebody fighting to keep their job in the first round.
Heading into the 2014 NFL draft I will be talking about a few players this year that I believe can be possible steals.
Devonta Freeman, running back from Florida State is projected to go between the 3rd or 4th round in the draft. That’s a good spot for him, he’s very quick when he has the ball and agile enough to make the first defender miss and good at catching the ball out of the backfield. Freeman though is very small, being only 5-foot-8. He won’t be able to carry the load due to his small stature, but can come in and be a change of pace back. Due to his frame he gives good effort and fights for as many yards as possible when he has the ball.
While at Florida State Freeman was in a deep backfield with two other quality backs but was still able to rush for 1,016 yards on 173 attempts. Due to the way the NFL is becoming more of a passing game and teams needing only decent enough backs to contribute I can see him slipping possibly into the 5th round.
Another steal could be Dominique Easley, defensive tackle from Florida. Coming into the season Easley was considered one of the top defensive tackles going into the draft until he suffered a torn ACL and meniscus injury ending his 2013-14 season early. This was his second knee injury during his time at Florida.
He was a force on the Florida defense and was truly missed this past season. The Gators run defense fell short this year with the loss to Easley who racked up 26 tackles 8.5 for loss and recording 4 sacks in 2012. Whoever takes the chance on Easley will be getting a top notch defensive tackle if they can keep him healthy. Knee injuries are hard to come back from especially if you had it more than once, so I can see him being picked up late 2nd/ early 3rd.
A lot of teams in the top part of the draft are looking for quarterbacks. I believe all the top quarterbacks will be taken by the end of the first and second round, but Aaron Murray, quarterback from Georgia, would be a solid pickup for any team in the top part of the draft who missed out on a quarterback.
Murray was a four-year starter at Georgia who was able to put up great numbers in arguably the best football conference in the SEC, passing for 3,075 yards with 26 touchdowns on 9 interceptions and a 64% completion rating. He has a great arm and can throw the ball accurately on all parts of the field and can avoid defenders with his feet if he has to.
The only concern is his size being measured at 6-foot-1 and weighing about 207 pounds and also his knee injury he suffered in his last season at Georgia. If Murray was 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds instead, he probably would be in the conversation as being one of the best quarterbacks in the draft. Though he is small Murray has the experience, coaching, and potential to be a starting quarterback in the league. I see him going in the 3rd round.
These are my three sleepers in the draft but with all the talent at every position, I really believe that at least every team will possibly end up getting one quality player in the later rounds that can come in and help their team.