Guest Post: 5 Sleepers To Watch This Draft Season

FB-PicMatt Phillips is the UK’s premier voice on the the NFL Draft. As the founder of 40 Yards Scouting, and, the 4th edition of Europe’s only scouting guide to the 2017 NFL Draft was published earlier this month. Every eligible draft prospect has been individually scouted, and all proceeds go to Muscular Dystrophy UK.

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Zach Johnson/Guard, North Dakota State

Yet another well coached and technically sound offensive line talent to have graduated from Fargo, North Dakota whose high level of play yet again this season saw him rightly named to the FCS AllAmerican team by his opposing coaches. A tough, physically strong lineman who will shift inside from his college tackle spot, who will excel in the ‘phone booth’, best suited for a power-based scheme at the next level. While his lack of quickness and ability to move freely up and down the offensive line mean that he cannot remain on the exterior, the former Bison plays with an outstandingly strong anchor and wide base and a nasty, ‘thou shall not pass’ approach that has prevented the cream of defensive line talent in the FCS in being able to move him off his spot. Be sure to see him slot into an NFL offensive line right away and be an important cog on Sundays.

Matt Dayes/Running Back, North Dakota State

Few in what is an outstandingly deep and talented class at the position, can match the former Wolfpack rusher’s ability to create his own yardage after contact. In fact, Dayes gained an outstanding 47% of his career total after initial contact, one of the most reliable traits in projecting next level traits and future success at the position. The ACC standout runs with impressive leverage, staying close to the ground, keeping his pads low and the strength that belies his smaller stature, with a refusal to go to the ground, needing to be gang tackles to be brought to a halt. He has already proven his durability to carry a heavy load and plays the position with excellent vision and awareness. Continually impressive whenever watching NC State yet again this season who receives very little attention in draft media circles.

Austin Carr/Wide Receiver, Northwestern

The former Wildcat has simply been the finest wide receiver in the Big-Ten this season, a reliable, consistent presence for quarterback Clayton Thorston. Technically impressive, Carr stands out with his innate ability to feel where his passer needs him most and consistently makes himself available. A crisp route runner, the senior exploits soft areas of coverage and gets himself open, breaking off his route and sitting down on a consistent basis. Carr will certainly find a role at the next level and be a trusted presence to keep the chains moving, aided by his glue-like sticky hands.

Caleb Brantley/Defensive Tackle, Florida

Despite being a consistently disruptive thorn in the side of SEC offences once again this season, it is with much surprise that the former Gator is largely being overlooked. It is his explosive burst off the snap and his on-field awareness that continually catch the eye and affected the course of a number of contests thanks to his highly active style of play and relentless competitiveness. Brantley’s burst and explosion off the snap, aligned with his impressive leverage and power allow him to get the edge on his opposite number and when double teamed he simply uses his intelligent hand use to swipe away blocker and spilt them to knife his way into the backfield with impressive quickness. Tough to move from his spot at the point of attack, Brantley is also a reliable force against the run and projects perfectly to playing the 3-technique role inside in a 4-3 front at the next level.

Cameron Sutton/Cornerback, Tennessee

Without his injury struggles during his career, Sutton would be receiving much greater attention in the lead up to the NFL Draft. A hugely competitive, pumped up corner with the swagger that I like to see at such a tough position to succeed, is rarely beaten in both man and zone coverage, deep down the sideline or inside. Limited to just 3 appearances this past season, the former Volunteer bounced back with an impressive week of practice at the Senior Bowl that highlighted his versatility. Additionally, Sutton is a dangerous kick and punt returner, his special teams nous will be hugely attractive as will his versatility that makes him a fit for all thirty two teams at the next level and the size to go with it. The corner is going to fall far below his worth and represents a steal later this month.

40-yards-bannerIf you enjoyed this article, you can find scouting reports on all of the draft-eligible prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft Scouting Guide, which is just £5 with all proceeds donated to charity.

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