We continue our sleeper series looking at the players that are looking for their stock to rise in next month’s NFL Draft. Each year, there a crop of prospects that rise quickly, or even slowly up the ladder after the combine and their pro days. It is one of the most special times of the year as young men across the nation give their best to see if they have what it takes to be called a pro at the highest level of football.
Let’s take a look at our next three sleepers and how they stack up.
Desmond Harris West Georgia OT 6-6 288lbs
Here is a kid that has taken the long road to be considered for the draft next month. He has moved around and has gone from JUCO All-American to not playing football for two years. He ended up at West Georgia and garnered first-team All-Gulf South and first-team AFCA All-American honors in 2017. Shows enough athleticism and uses his long arms to his advantage. Pretty sharp on pull blocks and screens and can adjust in open space. Has good flexibility and can finish his blocks well.
His past may come back to haunt him and that is the one thing he could be worried about. Still, an extremely raw talent that still needs plenty of work. Must prove he can play against better competition and improve on getting out of his stance. Must learn the intricacies of his bend and has to get bigger and stronger. Still struggling with his balance and hand placement.
Michael Joseph Dubuque CB 6-1 181lbs
This kid is a great story as he was one of those high school players that could not get his head into the game. But, once he got to Dubuque, the lights in his head just came on. He was the Iowa conference Defensive player of the year as well as a three-time first-team all-conference player. Very good in coverage and has nice technique. Good acceleration and ball instincts in coverage. Love the way he sees the field and is willing to take chances away from his man. Can close in on the ball and has soft hands to boot.
Like the rest, he played against lower level competition. Technique in press coverage will have to improve though and he must become a full-time hitter at the next level. Too tight in open space and that hurts his change of direction. Gets played on fakes too much and gives up too much separation.
Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State 6-4 260 LBS
While Goedert may not be considered a true “sleeper” with the publicity he’s garnered throughout the draft process. One might be able to come back to the 2018 draft review and say that the position’s best prospect was from a FCS school. A hometown boy that put in the work to get noticed by the scouts. A Walter Payton Award finalist with several All-America and All-Conference awards. He has the size, speed, and agility at his position to thrive in the pros. Has a pair of hands that you can count on for a tight end and has good bend. A physical receiver that can get over linebackers. Has good ball skills and body control and can make the eye-catching grabs. Good pad level and hand placement and pretty good balance. Can get that separation and runs a decent route.
Still needs to improve on that route running and leans into his break too often. Must find other ways to create separation and realize that catching the ball with two hands is normal. Will need more work on his hips and as a blocker. Need to see if he can block bigger guys and become a more explosive player.
With Pro Days continuing to be the forefront of the discussion in the current stage of this year’s draft process, the opportunity those any of these three to hear their name called next month could become a brighter reality.