The NFL draft is right around the corner and all you’ve hard about these last several months are who is going in the first round and if Kyler Murray will be selected as the first overall pick. While it’s sexy discussions, it’s often the mid round selections that end up having the most productive careers in this league.
Here are 10 sleepers in the 2019 NFL draft you should know about.
Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State - Easton Stick has a high football IQ, is a proven winner and leader, and his underrated mobility that makes him a nice project quarterback. Stick didn’t miss a beat when replacing Carson Wentz and is actually the winningest quarterback in FCS history. Stick doesn’t have the arm strength to be an early selection, but he could carve out a career as a reliable backup at the next level, which is key in this league.
Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic - Devin Singletary is a shifty running back with make you miss quickness in the open field and is a willing blocker. Singletary has a nose for the end zone and can be used a pass catcher out of the backfield. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Singletary has the best career of all of the running backs in this class.
Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri - Emanuel Hall is one of the fastest receivers in this class and has no problem creating separation due to his raw speed. Many will say Hall is more athlete than receiver at this point, but there’s always a need in this league for guys who can take the top off a defense and create that big play. Few can keep up with Hall in a foot race and that’s intriguing enough to select him in the mid rounds.
Max Scharping, OT, Northern Illinois - Max Scharping can play either tackle spot and could probably lineup at guard if needed. Scharping is a massive build at 6’6”, nearly 300 pounds, and his strong upper body allows him to still be effective even if he gets beat. Scharping could still be sharper in run blocks, but there’s a lot to like with the former redshirt senior and he’s surety be a steal once the bigger names are off the board.
Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon - Jalen Jelks has a lot of raw tools with his combination of athleticism and size. If Jelks can fill out that 6’5” frame and add a little more strength, he’s going to be a productive passrusher in this league for a long time. As of right now, Jelks is probably an outside linebacker who can cover sideline to sideline, while pressuring the quarterback in a backup role.
Lonnie Johnson Jr., CB, Kentucky - The hype around Lonnie Johnson has been building these couple of months to the point a defensive back coach said he’s the best cover corner in this draft. Johnson still isn’t expected to be a first round pick and could still be drafted in the third round, so he’s still a sleeper. Johnson has a big frame at 6’2” and is very effortless in his backpedal and turning his hips. Effective in run support as well, Johnson has the ability to be one of the better cornerbacks in this league in a few years.
Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami - Jaquan Johnson is a physical safety who doesn’t mind laying the wood and making what some would consider questionable tackles. Johnson covers a lot of ground and has proven he’s comfortable at the line of scrimmage. Johnson is also a leader on and off the field and holds his teammates accountable. Some question his size and ball skills, but Johnson could play on my team anyway of the week, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State - Josh Oliver put up impressive numbers at San Jose State despite defenses often putting most of the attention his way. Oliver has the size to be a red zone threat at 6’5” and is so comfortable as a receiver that he could lineup on the outside at times. Oliver still needs improvement as a blocker to be an every down tight end, but there’s true potential here given his size and sure hands.
Deshaun Davis, LB, Auburn - Deshaun Davis probably doesn’t have the lateral quickness or the instincts to be an every down linebacker and play the passing game, but his physicality and explosiveness to shoot the gap make him an effective run defender. Davis is an old school football player who lives for contact and is at his best playing downhill. He’d be great in run situations and could also have a long career as a key special teams player.
Daylon Mack, NT, Texas A&M - Daylon Mack is coming off his best collegiate season, and even with the lack of production overall, we’re talking about somebody who is 6’1”, 336 pounds. Mack has the frame most coaches dream of when building the inside of a defensive line. When Mack gets that mean streak going, he’s capable of rally taking over a game and demanding double teams constantly. Mack is one of those players who will be much more productive as a pro than he was in college.