Which Sleeper Players Are Worth Watching at the 2015 Combine?
|Date & Time||Friday February 20, 2015, 12:00 PM (EST)|
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By now, you all should know that I love sleeper players. There’s nothing more fun than seeing a relative nobody have a breakout season in the NFL. Since we’re getting into the thick of things at the Combine today, I thought we’d wind down the week by taking a look at the top ten sleepers you should be keeping your eye on (a couple of these guys have already been featured on lists this week and last, but I think they’ve got enough potential to showcase them again).
1. Southeastern Louisiana QB Bryan Bennett might be part of the thinnest QB class in years, but that might be just what he needs to prove that he’s got what it takes. Bennett will never be the next Peyton Manning, but he definitely has the size and athleticism to become an NFL starter. If Bennett can prove himself during the passing drills at the combine, we might just see him go in an early round.
2. Penn State TE Jesse James (yes, that’s his real name) opted to enter the draft after his junior season this year, but he hasn’t drawn a lot of hype. James is 6’7 and strong; plus, the boy has been clocked running the 40 at 4.6 seconds. If James can put up good numbers in Indy, we could see his draft stock rise. Can you say Gronk, Jr.?
3. University of Alabama Birmingham WR J.J. Nelson is the last possible NFL prospect to come out the school, as they announced they’re shuttering their football program. Nelson averaged 20 yards per catch at UAB and also had success on special teams. At 5’11, Nelson is small, but this guy can run, people. Look for him to be in the mix to have the fastest 40 time at the Combine.
4. Florida OL D.J. Humphries is one of my favorite under-the-radar guys this year (I already mentioned him in my list of the top O-line prospects). Humphries needs to put up a solid number on his 20-yard short shuttle in order to seriously improve his draft stock; this will prove just how quick his feel really are. Word to the wise: they’re among the quickest in this year’s class.
5. Oregon State's Obum Gwacham played DE during his college years, but entered the draft as a LB. Gwachum is an insane athlete; in fact, he was among California’s best long jumpers and high jumpers in high school. Gwachum is scheduled to do the high jump in Indy on February 22. His freshman year of college, he leapt over 7 feet while on the track team. How high can he go on Monday?
6. Oklahoma TE Blake Bell is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2015 draft class. Bell played QB in high school, then switched positions twice more to become an absolutely brutal TE entering the Combine. Bell has the mind of a fullback, the arm of a quarterback, and plays physical, tough football. He would be a great fit in an unconventional offense that would use him creatively. This kind of pure athletic talent doesn’t come around too often.
7. Central Florida DB Jacoby Glenn wasn’t necessarily expected to enter the draft this year, but opted too after just two seasons on the gridiron in college. As such, Glenn doesn’t have a lot of tape to back-up his talent, but he had seven interceptions and 11 pass break-ups in 2014 alone. Look for Glenn’s draft stock to rise following his Combine performance.
8. Rice DL Christian Covington missed the final five games of the 2014 college season following surgery to repair a dislocated kneecap. Ouch. The odds are good that Covington won’t workout this week, but if his medical evaluation is positive, he might hold an individual workout prior to the draft. Covington was once considered a top defensive prospect, so the outcome of his medical session is absolutely critical.
9. North Dakota State RB John Crockett has been flying under the radar due to this year’s deep RB class (also, Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon exist). At 6’0, 202 pounds, Crockett, however, has the size and the agility to become a successful pro player. Following the Combine, Crockett will probably be on the minds of NFL scouts for multiple teams.
10. William & Mary WR Tre McBride had a great showing at the Shrine Bowl this year and could continue to improve his draft stock by putting up strong number during his Combine workout. McBride is 6’2, 205 pounds and has excellent vertical skills. No QB would complain about having McBride downfield.