The NFL draft is now less than a week away, but we aren’t going to slow things down quite yet. We have plenty of content we intend to shove down your throat (respectfully) before the big event. Here are 15 sleeper prospects that you need to know once the draft starts.
Kyle Sloter, QB, Northern Colorado
I just talked to this kid and let me tell you something. He is going to go far. Kyle Sloter is a talent that was dealt some unforeseen circumstances that involved him losing his chance to play QB at Southern Miss in which he decided to switch to WR and after all of that transfer to Northern Colorado and start at QB there. Sloter believe it or not is the real deal. I ended up grading him as my fifth overall QB in this class and when you watch his film it’s hard to justify why not? Sloter is a dual-threat QB that actually happens to be a really good pocket passer. He ran a 4.79 forty yard dash at his pro day and he told me he threw close to the maximum velocity which is set at 60 miles per hour.
Sloter is slowly rising up draft boards and while the Rams don’t truly need to draft a quarterback, they may want to take a look at this player. Sloter has great size at 6-foot-5 and 211 pounds, he makes adjustments at the line of scrimmage pre-snap like Jimmy Garappolo, he shows off his mobility like Carson Wentz, he has the arm talent of Derek Carr and the gunslinger mentality of Tony Romo. If you are looking for a mid-to-late round pick that can help your team in the future at the signal caller position you may have your guy in Sloter.
Javancy Jones, EDGE, Jackson State
What is there left to say about this man that we haven’t already? Javancy Jones is a player we have had our eye on since the beginning of February and now he’s starting to rise up draft boards. We had the pleasure of interviewing Jones, which you will be able to check out soon before the draft…He is an extremely humble and down to earth type of person, but on the field? He is the definition of reckless abandon, and it shows on film. Jones when we asked him who he compared his game to, he said James Harrison, and you can see the comparison when you watch Jones fly at his assignment like a dart.
He may not be the flashy first round type of pick, but he could be a job saving pick if a GM scoops him up in the draft. This is the type of player you want on your team, with only one missed game to speak of, zero off-the-field issues, zero failed drug tests and a high character guy it becomes obvious this is a player to target in the middle of the draft. Keep a close eye on Javancy Jones in day two and day three and remember who told you to…Jones would be a great fit in Wade Phillips defense.
Trey Hendrickson, DE, FAU
You may have already heard of this guy due to the fact: A. We wrote about him. or B. He tore up the East-West Shrine game. Trey Hendrickson is a damn good football player and likely earned himself a pay grade just off the disruption he showed he could cause in the Shrine game. When I wrote my profile on Hendrickson, I compared his game to none other than a player that made a name for himself off the Shrine game – Dallas Cowboy Tyrone Crawford.
Hendrickson does not have an elite skillset, but it’s the way he is always keeping his motor running that will get him into the NFL and keep him there. Expect Hendrickson to sneak into the day two of the draft. He would fit into the linebacker rotation for Phillips defense.
David Jones, FS, Richmond
Another player I had the privilege of interviewing was David Jones. He recently met with the Rams in one of their premium 30 player pre-draft private visits. Jones is a player to keep an eye on, at Richmond he was an explosive play-maker and at his pro day he certainly proved why. Jones has ideal size for the position at 6-foot-1 and over 200 pounds, he also was able to run a 4.43 showing off unique and rare size and speed combination. Now, just pair those with his hands like glue and his complete ball skills and you are looking at a player that should be developed into a role that allows him to see the field often.
Jones is a day three prospect to watch out for especially being one that has met with the Rams during the pre-drat process.
DaQuan Holmes, CB, American International College
Here is a player that we will be interviewing soon before the draft. We also wrote a profile on DaQuan Holmes. The kid is a dynamic division two talent. How dynamic you ask? He won the MVP award in the FCS Bowl which is an all-star game for the smaller school talents out there. Holmes went to the Harvard pro day and put up great numbers including a 4.44 forty yard dash and a 36.5 inch vertical jump. I compared Holmes to former division two stud Malcolm Butler, Holmes has that background, the explosiveness and the anticipation that turned Butler from division two to Super Bowl savior in a short amount of time.
Holmes’ stock is hard to predict, I believe the most realistic is day three. Still nonetheless, this is a huge sleeper prospect that could turn heads in preseason.
David Washington, QB, Old Dominion
I’m really high on this kid, he’s a former wide receiver that converted to quarterback after NFL backup Taylor Heinicke left the scene. Washington has some serious tools to be considered a future starter at the next level. He may never reach that point, but he is one of the top developmental quarterbacks in this draft. I compare his game to that of Minnesota Vikings signal caller Teddy Bridgewater as does Emory Hunt of Pro Football Gameplan. Washington has mobility to extend plays with his feet and has the touch and arm strength to be a nightmare for defenses if not game-planned for.
I believe Washington could use some polish to his game by coming into the NFL as an understudy for someone. He could fit in well behind Jared Goff as insurance for the future (Ex: Kirk Cousins with Robert Griffin III). Washington is slated to go towards the end of day three or even undrafted, so the Rams would be receiving some nice value if they chose to go quarterback with him.
Glen Antoine, NT, Idaho
Glen Antoine is another case of great person off the field and a total menace on the field. That’s a good thing though. We had a pleasure of talking to Glen Antoine and he could not stress enough how humbled he was. That was the first thing, the second thing? He wanted to sell himself to an NFL GM and he feels as though his ability and the way he embraces taking on double teams and even triple teams as a nose tackle to open up plays for his teammates will help sell his game to others.
Antoine has spoke with representatives of the Rams in some capacity and with the switch to the 3-4 scheme he would now fit right in if the Rams wanted a nose tackle to give them flexibility. Antoine compares to two players in my mind Andrew Billings from Cincinnati and Linval Joseph from Minnesota. Keep your eye on Antoine on day two or day three, he is another high character and high value pick in the middle of the draft.
Tarik Cohen, RB, NC A&T
The Human Joystick is what they call him, but Tarik Cohen is more than that. He does things that Madden animations do not let you do in the game. Cohen is the closest thing I have seen to Darren Sproles and it seems like every year someone wants to find the next Darren Sproles. Make no mistake Cohen is a player to watch, while everyone is spouting off the all-time college football rushing leader Donnel Pumphrey, Cohen is quietly behind the scenes looking like a better prospect.
Cohen will likely be a day three gem and the Rams would have to consider just based off what he brings to the table. I like Lance Dunbar and all, but let’s not shake off the idea of grabbing a dynamic weapon because the “We have Lance Dunbar” narrative. Don’t kid yourself, it’s not a wasted pick if Tarik Cohen is a Ram via a seventh round pick.
Fish Smithson, FS, Kansas
Fish Smithson is just one of those culture altering players that teams will fall in love with if they haven’t already. Smithson led the country in solo tackles and was a sound leader for the Kansas Jayhawks. While things weren’t always great for Kansas, Smithson’s play never wavered. I had the pleasure of talking to Fish, he is a guy that is ready to come in and work his tail of to make it in the NFL. He doesn’t have the crazy size and speed combination like others, but where you find that in a freak physical specimen you may not find the skills and overall technical ability Smithson possesses.
The Rams are definitely going to pick a safety in this draft and with the connections to Wade Phillips through the likes of former KU alumni cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris…there is a chance Smithson dons ram horns next season. High value pick that compares to former Ram Rodney McLeod.
Speedy Noil, WR, Texas A&M
Yes, you may have already heard of this guy years ago. He was rated the number one athlete high prospect when he committed to Texas A&M. He was a big disappointment at A&M due to some problems off-the-field, but to be completely honest they phased him out of the offense and this is a player that has total game-breaking ability.
Noil blew his combine and pro day up at 5-foot-11 and 199 pounds he ran a 4.45 forty yard dash, benched a whopping 18 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, jumped an incredible 133 inch broad jump and an insane vertical leap of 43 and a half inches. Noil is likely looking at a late day three pick, but if the Rams aren’t opposed to picking a 5-foot-11 receiver they may have to look at Noil.
Michael Clark, WR, Marshall
We previously wrote about Clark in his draft profile. Clark is an absolute physical freak who can be and should be compared to former Ram WR Danario Alexander. The Rams are lacking size at the receiver position and Clark has plenty of it with his 6-foot-6 frame. He ran in the 4.5’s at his pro day and while he may have come out too early there is a chance he could be a solid day three pick.
Some huge upside in Clark and the Rams may have to bite. Keep your on this one who is leaving the school that put Randy Moss and Aaron Dobson into the league.
Dylan Cole, LB, Missouri State
This is a player that is not under the radar for draft nerds like myself, but for the casual fan that isn’t in the Missouri area it’s quite likely you may never even have heard of Dylan Cole. He ‘murdered’ his pro day according to Draft Diamonds and that is about as perfect as you could put it. His numbers? At 6-feet and 239 pounds he ran a 4.54 forty yard dash, benched 32 reps of 225 pound bench press, vertically jumped 39 inches and broad jumped 125 inches.
This is one of those low profile freaks that will get picked higher than anyone expects. Don’t be that person, just keep in mind Cole is a player to look out for. He could fall into the second day. Cole would be a nice fit for the Rams too as an inside linebacker in the new 3-4 scheme.
Derrick Griffin, WR, Texas Southern
As you can see this dude is a physical freak. Derrick Griffin is a player I remember stuffing the likes of a top NBA prospect Jonathan Motley of Baylor and NBA player Michael Gbinije when he was at Syracuse. Griffin stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs 248 pounds, he may be more of a TE or a flex between the two positions but regardless he’s a player that showed up on tape and gave me enough of a reason to put him on this list.
Last year, I was high on Baylor basketball star Rico Gathers and he ended up being drafted, Griffin is the same type of prospect, but with actual collegiate experience with football. He’s an interesting prospect and project for the Rams in the later rounds.
What are your thoughts Rams fans? Have anyone else we missed? Let us know!