One Late Round Sleeper at Each Position

One Late Round Sleeper at Each Position

2021

One Late Round Sleeper at Each Position

By

The 2021 NFL Draft is a little over 2 months away and it’s time to start looking at prospects. Everyone raves about the top prospects but most don’t talk about the small school or late round guys that are flying under the radar. Each draft has steals and each draft has busts. Today, we’ll look at 13 players from the 2021 NFL Draft Class that could be a late round steal. 

DISCLAIMER: Late Round is defined by a player that is currently projected to go in the 5th round – UDFA range. Any player prior to this won’t be considered. 

  • QB Davis Mills, Stanford: 
    • Currently projected as a mid 5th round pick, Mills has all the potential and the talent to run an NFL offense effectively. Mills shows high instincts inside and outside the pocket to go along with his competitive nature and cannon of an arm. Mills needs to work on improving his accuracy, especially in the red zone and on deep touch passes but he has shown progression over his 10 starts at Stanford. He has glimpses of showing why he was a five star recruit, but he also has moments where you ask yourself why he attempted that throw. Mills could benefit extremely well sitting behind a team with a veteran QB in a fast paced offense such as the Bucs, Seahawks, and Steelers where he can learn and be groomed over two to three years. Mills has all the potential in the world, but he just needs to put it together and if he does then something special can come out of it. 
  • HB Chris Evans, Michigan: 
    • Evans has not had the best path to the draft. He was issued an academic suspension in 2019 and was hardly used by Michigan in 2020. He hasn’t had much tape for two years but while watching what tape he does have, I couldn’t stop thinking how special he will be in the NFL. Evans runs like there’s nothing in his way and if there is something, it won’t be for long. He provides an excellent blend of big play ability tied in with short yardage power. Don’t get concerned that he is only a rushing threat as he has very raw skills when it comes to receiving the ball out of the backfield. Evans has shown constantly that he can overcome challenges off the field, and on the field he has every trait you would want in a running back. Evans is currently projected to go in the mid – late 5th round and with his intangibles and raw skill he could turn into something special. A team looking for a supplementary back-up HB is the best fit for Evans. Someone like the Raiders, Giants or Chargers who already have a good system in place and can give Evans playing time will work out best not only for him but also for the team in the future. 
  • WR Shi Smith, South Carolina: 
    • When Smith entered South Carolina as a Freshman he was the WR 8 stuck behind guys such as Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards. However, it didn’t take long for Smith to climb the ranks and become the starting slot WR as a sophomore. Like most SCAR WRs he suffered from poor and inconsistent QB play but it didn’t matter for Smith as he excelled in almost every game. He provides an incredible ability to make something out of nothing after the catch and a great release out of the top of his route. He is very raw and needs to work on his route running and ability to win in a contested area but with time he will. Smith is only 5’11” and likely will fit best in the slot for an NFL team, but he has the potential to develop into a solid slot WR for a team that gives him the opportunity. The Cardinals, Rams, and 49ers all make sense for Smith. A team will spend a 6th round pick on Smith and could get return value of a 2nd or 3rd round pick out of him,
  • TE Luke Farrell, Ohio State:
    • Farrell may not even get drafted this year, but he should. Currently projected as a mid 7th round pick, Farrell deserves a lot more attention. He has all the physical skills of a blocker with very raw attributes in the pass game. He does the dirty work and loves doing it which is huge for a player fighting for a roster spot. When it comes to blocking, there’s not many who can get by his physical play style. While there isn’t much tape on him, Farrell will give a team a very high return on investment value. He shows elite blocking ability and developmental traits in the pass game. The Dolphins, Raiders, and Bucs all make a lot of sense for Farrell. A team that already has their solidified top two Tight Ends but is looking for that nasty blocking TE to develop will fall in love with him.
  • T Cordell Volson, North Dakota State: 
    • Currently a projected late 5th to early 6th round pick, Volson has a sky high ceiling but that comes with a very low floor. Volson shows all the physical traits you want in a development T but doesn’t show the consistent usage of these skills. He is a nasty, physical, and almost dirty blocker in the run game and in the pass game he has excellent strength and length to set the edge in the run and hold off power rushers. He struggles using his athletic frame when blocking and is easily beat by fast, twitchy pass rushers. Volson has an extremely high work ethic and going somewhere like the Packers, Saints or Chiefs makes a lot of sense. A team that has already solidified their starting Left and Right Tackle but will be looking for a replacement in the next two years fits him well. Volson needs time to become consistent and grow into his frame but once he does, the sky’s the limit for him. 
  • G Jack Anderson, Texas Tech: 
    • I love Jack Anderson. He’s a player that plays rough and nasty in both the run and pass game and while he’s shown the ability to start right away he’s also shown the ability to develop into something special. Currently sitting as an early 6th round projection, he can play either T spot at a good level or as a strong developmental G prospect. Anderson is an amazing pass blocker who uses all of his 6-5 frame to his advantage. He’s a tone setter in the trenches and an absolute mauler. Despite this, he isn’t amazing in the run game and doesn’t win often when it comes to leverage due to a weak lower half. The Colts, Cowboys, and Bills could all benefit from his services. Going somewhere where he can learn to be a better run blocker while sitting for a year to gain weight and muscle will turn out amazing for that team. Anderson has a very high ceiling but like most people on this list so far, a low floor as well.
  • C Jimmy Morrissey, Pitt: 
    • Morrissey has a love for football and has the mindset to overcome anything thrown into his path. He’s a four year starter at Pitt but that didn’t come easy, as he was originally a zero star recruit out of LaSalle College Prep in Pennsylvania. Morrissey has quickly gone from walk-on to one of the better C in the ACC earning a two time team captain and three time All-ACC selection. Morrissey is currently projected as a mid 6th rounder. He shows off excellent technique with great awareness in the pass game but in the run game he lacks the nasty edge you want from your starting center. He doesn’t pop off the screen by making crushing blocks but he gets the job done. He hasn’t shown much progression at Pitt but sitting behind a veteran center could really help propel his game into something special. The Raiders, Eagles, and Patriots all make perfect sense for Morrissey. He has shown he has the work ethic and that goes a long way for a late round pick in the NFL. 
  • EDGE Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina:
    • Effort, Effort, Effort. That’s the biggest thing you see when you turn on the tape for the Chanticleers standout pass rusher. He’s an athletic freak that gets out of his stance quickly and when he gets beat at the point of attack he just keeps fighting. He already shows that he has great usage of his hands and while he lacks a strong counter move, a team can teach him. In the run game, he sets the edge and won’t be moved, which allows for other players to come in and make the play. Jackson is the guy who pops off the screen on one play and then does the dirty work for someone else on the next play. He needs to add a few pounds to his frame and learn some more pass rush moves but if he does that he will be special. The Cardinals, Chargers, and Steelers can all benefit greatly from using their 5th round pick on him. Somewhere that can teach the athletic freak a few pass rush moves and allow him to grow his frame will allow Jackson the chance to become a dangerou s threat off the EDGE in the NFL. 
  • IDL Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech: 
    • He’s a small school guy with something to prove and that works in the NFL. Williams debatably had the best tape out of most DT in the 2020 season. He is projected as a late 7th round pick, and while it’s justified it’s also got the making of steal written all over it. At 278 pounds, Williams will need to add weight when making the jump to the NFL or a team could slide him over to DE, especially in a 3-4. He shows off great technique and power to combine with high instincts in the run game. Where he struggles is showing these skills with consistency and showing the ability to win with more than sheer power. You can justify any team using their 7th round pick on him and letting him sit for two years while he adds muscle, weight and develops. A team will be very lucky to grab Williams as he clearly has something to prove and has a lot of untapped potential to show off. 
  • OLB Grant Stuard, Houston:
    • Stuard’s biggest knock is his size, as he’s 5’11” and only 230 pounds. He’s easily going to be the smallest LB in the NFL but don’t let that turn you away. He doesn’t play like he’s that small. Stuard flys off the EDGE and is an absolute human hit stick. In coverage he has great instincts in both shallow and deep drops while also being able to work between and outside the tackles in the run game. Stuard shows that he will keep fighting as his motor is insanely high and he has a vision for the ball and will track anyone down. He does struggle with his limited frame and may simply be used in goal line packages along with playing a lot of Special Teams. Stuard is projected as a UDFA but any team would take him for his upside off the EDGE and ability to fly around on Special Teams. With his high upside and ability to play in multiple fronts, Stuard has a bright NFL future. 
  • ILB Monty Rice, Georgia: 
    • Rice is very athletic for his size (6’1″ | 240) and it shows when you turn on the tape. Rice is the definition of a sideline to sideline LB with a quick mind and fast feet. He finds a way to be around the football wherever it is and isn’t afraid to beat multiple blockers if he has to. He is a scrappy, physical LB that is very effective in the run game. In coverage, he lacks the length you’d like to see and doesn’t show that he has the awareness to start full time in a heavy coverage scheme. He uses his speed and power to his advantage, especially when blitzing and that will be coveted in the NFL. Currently projected as a mid 5th round pick, it makes sense for a team in need of a back-up linebacker, like the Bears, Colts, and Bucs, to select the Georgia product. A team would be smart to let Rice rotate in and grow his ability to cover but once he does he could be a top MLB 2 and an above average starting ILB for a club. 
  • CB Bryan Mills, North Carolina Central:
    • Mills biggest concern was the lack of competition he faced at NCCU but that narrative was instantly shot down when he performed out of his mind at the Senior Bowl earlier this month. Likely to hear his name called in the mid 5th, Mills plays with great awareness in zone coverage and has the ability to play outside or slide inside and play the nickel. Where he fits best is in press-man where he can use his physical nature mixed with strong athletic ability to become a lockdown player. Mills shows that he can make big plays when asked to (two game winning picks) and has shown that he has the drive and work ethic to be a top CB in the FCS. He struggles in the run game and can sometimes miss the chance to make a big tackle in the open field. While he’s strong in press man he can get a bit too handsy and have penalties stack up and get beat often in short routes. There is going to be a big learning curve going from FCS to the NFL but if things click, Mills can turn into a very good CB with a good chance to start. The Patriots, Chiefs, and Washington all make great landing spots for Mills as he’ll have time to develop, while also seeing the field in limited action.
  • S Damar Hamlin, Pitt: 
    • Hamlin is a very talented and experienced S. Playing opposite of Paris Ford at Pitt, Hamlin was absolutely lockdown when it came to zone coverage. Hamlin can play single high, free, and in the nickel which is becoming more valued in the NFL. He has high instincts and great awareness in coverage. He is a very balanced S with a high floor but an unknown ceiling. In the run game, he’s average. Hamlin makes plays but also has times where he takes horrible pursuit angles. Teams that are looking for an instant plug and play S that has upside will be well spent using their 6th round pick on Hamlin. Teams that run heavy Cover 3 such as the Raiders, Seahawks, and Rams could benefit from Hamlin’s ability to play in multiple packages. Hamlin will be a good NFL player from the start and has potential to grow into something special.

Latest

More The Wright Way Network