Connor Neal | April 20th, 2020
Just as in any draft class, some prospects get slept on and aren’t chosen as early as they should be. Which is why sports websites love to do “re-drafts.” Prospects that have been slept on in recent history include Tyreek Hill, Yannick Ngakoue, Dak Prescott, and George Kittle.
Top Sleepers From Previous Classes
2017 – Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
I was spot on until he got suspended from the league and released by the Chiefs. We will have to see how his career develops this upcoming season on the Browns when he plays a full 16 game slate.
2018 – Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
Although not given much of an opportunity thus far in his career, Thomas is the Panthers starting tight end after the recent release of Greg Olsen. The 2020 season will be big for Thomas and draft analysis who loved him coming out of Indiana.
2019 – Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
Although not much of a sleeper pick, I believed he should have been a first-round pick. He went much earlier than I expected, at the beginning of the second. I believed Samuel would wind up getting drafted in the third round especially after D.K. Metcalf fell out of the first round. After a good rookie season, Samuel is currently in line to be the 49ers’ top wide receiver this season.
Biggest Sleeper for 2020
1) Alex Highsmith, EDGE, Charlotte
Highsmith is going to go far too late in this draft. He has all the traits you would want in an edge prospect aside from strength. However, the strength doesn’t affect his play style. Highsmith wins with his amazing burst, block shedding, gap penetration, pursuit, pass rushing skill, and coverage ability. I recently interviewed Highsmith and wrote a scouting report on him.
2) James Proche, WR, SMU
As stated by NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, Proche has the best hands in this class. Despite Proche’s smaller frame, he wins a majority of jump balls with his hands and physicality. Although he’s not super athletic, his hands and contested catch ability far makes up for his lack of speed. Due to his hands, he makes for a pretty good red zone threat. Proche is my WR10 and I dive a bit deeper into him in my scouting report.
3) Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
Johnson has had his draft stock divebomb since the beginning. After not accepting his invitation to the East-West Shrine, not participating in the combine, and risking all his marbles on his pro day; it got canceled. Not to mention conflicting character concerns that never fully came to the public. However, despite all that, his tape is impressive. Johnson is a very skilled receiver who can play slot or outside. He possesses good size, hands, route running, and yards after the catch. However, his speed is concerning but not a deal-breaker. His offseason shouldn’t have hurt his draft stock as much as it did.
4) Reginald Robinson III, CB, Tulsa
Oddly, Robinson hasn’t been talked about much throughout this draft process. Robinson has very impressive ball skills along with being good at press-man coverage and displayed natural instincts. Robinson needs to work on his play in zone coverage and tackling. However, Robinson has the size to play on the outside and can develop into a very solid starter.
5) Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
For a running back built as thick as Benjamin, he has very impressive fluid hips. Benjamin also has a very good burst through the line of scrimmage and can shrug off most tackles while continuing to churn his way for more yards. It’s almost like contact doesn’t phase him, he doesn’t stumble when hit. On top of all that, it is very rare for a back on his stature to be able to be used in the passing game as well, but he can be. He can run routes and catch balls pretty well. For more on Benjamin check out his scouting report.
Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
Robertson is a top of the list of honorable mentions, for obvious reasons. He is a very feisty little man who is good in all forms of coverage. He will be the best nickel cornerback to come out of this class. However, I excluded him from my main list due to the hype he has been getting lately; he isn’t exactly a sleeper anymore.
Matt Peart, OT, UConn
Peart is a well rounded offensive lineman who has a good first step, leverage, balance, and footwork. He doesn’t get to the second level very quickly but he has sufficient enough tools to grow into a good lineman if given a chance to grow and not expected to make an immediate impact.
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