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NFL Draft: Top Ten NFL Late Round Prospects

Learn Which NFL Prospects Are the Best Options in Late Rounds

2014 NFL Off-Season

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I’m fond of saying that Tom Brady gives hope to seventh round picks everywhere. Few, if any, fans and analysts anticipated that the young QB out of Michigan would become one of the best the league has ever seen. Though not every late rounder has the potential to go onto have a Hall of Fame career (and many might spend more time on the bench than on the gridiron), there are some sleepers in this year’s draft who are worth keeping an eye on. Below, we break down the guys teams ought to be considering in the fifth through seventh rounds. 


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NFL Draft: Top Ten NFL Late Round Prospects

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1. Shaquil Barrett (DE-Colorado State) - Barrett was the Mountain West’s defensive player of the year, yet he has yet to generate even a modicum of buzz in the media as we head towards the draft. Barrett’s strong suit is rushing the passer, which is a skill that will serve him well in the NFL. Barrett could stand to improve his conditioning regimen, but would, overall, be a great fit in many 3-4 schemes. Barrett, like many late round sleepers, simply needs to go to a club where his unrefined talent can be properly honed. 


2. John Urschel (G-Penn State) - Urschel, at 6’3, 202 pounds, has the right size for the NFL and has experience playing in a pro-style offense under Bill O’Brien. Urschel is also incredibly smart; he was the recipient of the William V. Campbell trophy. Urschel’s intelligence (which will help him quickly grasp the intricacies of a pro playbook), combined with his toughness on the field, makes him one of my favorite sleepers in the 2014 draft. 


3. Phillip Gaines (CB-Rice) - At the combine, Gaines’s 4.38 40 time and 36.5 inch vertical jump rivaled Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert’s numbers. Gilbert is considered by many to be the top CB in this year’s draft class. Clearly, Gaines has the potential to become a force to be reckoned with in the pros if he is merely given the opportunity. 


4. Brock Vereen (S-Minnesota) - Vereen has an NFL bloodline (his brother is Patriots RB Shane Vereen) and is a natural athlete. Vereen’s 4.47 40 was the fastest among safeties at the combine and his 6’0, 199 pound frame makes it possible for him to play CB or S in the pros. This will be appealing to scouts and front offices.


5. L’Damian Washington (WR-Missouri) - At Mizzou in 2013, Washington led the team with 893 receiving yards, even though he was coping with turf toe for nearly the entire season. His 6’4 frame and speed (Washington’s 40 time at the combine was 4.46) are suited to the NFL. Furthermore, Washington is a motivated worker both on and off the field; when he receives his degree, he will become the first in his family to complete a college education.


6. Kevin Pierre-Louis (OLB-Boston College) - Pierre-Louis wasn’t really on anyone’s radar before the combine, but his numbers quickly made scouts, fans, and analysts sit-up and take notice. At 4.51 seconds, Pierre-Louis’s 40 was the fastest among all linebackers and he was among the top three performers in vertical jump, bench press, broad jump, and 20 yard shuttle. 


7. Ricardo Allen (DB-Purdue) - Allen, an under-the-radar defensive guy who got a raw deal by playing on some horrid Purdue teams, could turn into a solid NFL starter given the chance. Allen had 250 tackles and 13 interceptions (for 4 TDs) during his college career, so he’s not afraid to go after big plays. 


8. Crockett Gillmore (TE-Colorado State) - Gillmore had a solid Senior Bowl performance and, while he’s no Jimmy Graham, he’s a serviceable TE who will fit into a traditional offense well. Gillmore’s combine performance was impressive; he posted top numbers for his position in both the vertical jump and the broad jump.


9. John Brown (WR-Pittsburg State) - Brown, a 5’11, 170 pound wideout, isn’t ideally sized for the NFL, but he has some skills that simply can’t be coached. Brown’s ability to create separation between himself and defenders is almost unrivaled in this year’s draft. If Brown goes to a team that understands how to properly utilize him, he could turn into a legitimate playmaker in the pros


10. Caraun Reid (DT-Princeton) - The Ivy League isn’t exactly famed for it’s prowess in football, but Reid enjoyed an impressive showing in the Senior Bowl. Reid stayed composed and looked solid against players from much more football oriented conferences. Reid was a co-captain at Princeton and is respected by his fellow players. Additionally, Reid entered college at 17, so he’s even younger than many other prospects, which may make him more attractive to some NFL clubs.

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