2018 NFL Draft: Top 10 Offensive Sleepers
By Michael Stewart @golferbad
Introduction: Every year many college prospects hope to hear their name called to the podium on draft day. Day one usually gets the most attention, however; history has shown us that even with the advance technology to determine and evaluating a player’s skill set at the NFL combine; there are still a few that slip through the cracks and either become day 3 selections or UDFA (undrafted free agents).
History has also shown that some of these prospects becoming very productive players in the NFL, even having Hall of Fame careers (Warren Moon, John Randle, Kurt Warner, Larry Little and Antonio Gates). Here’s a look at my offensive sleepers in the 2018 draft.
- Kyle Lauletta (QB) 6’2/217 Richmond: Played with four different offensive coordinators in college, so has a wider breadth of scheme knowledge than most quarterback prospects coming into the draft. Has shown accuracy at all three levels, but lacks elite arm strength. Has good pocket awareness, and can make plays running the ball as well. A sleeper QB prospect in the upcoming draft.
- Daurice Fountain (WR) 6’2/210 Northern Iowa: An extremely athletic, shifty wide receiver / return man that is going to shine all through the draft process. Excellent agility combined with elite top end speed and body control will get the attention of scouts all the way up until the draft. Moves naturally out of breaks and just bursts after making cuts with his routes. Focuses well on catching the ball either at its highest point or in stride to quickly turn a catch into yards after catch. Small school prospect that is going to shoot up draft boards.
- Martez Carter (RB) Grambling State: This year’s running back class is loaded yet again, but if you’re looking for a diamond in the rough, Carter is your man. An explosive playmaker who can score every time he touches the ball, Carter’s combination of quickness, patience, vision and physicality make him a frustrating assignment for would-be tacklers. The 5-9, 205-pounder may appear undersized on paper, but he’s got the skill set to be an every-down weapon in the NFL, and he can make an instant impact as a return man, as well.
- Chase Litton (QB) Marshall: A somewhat surprising addition to this year’s deep quarterback class, Litton declared early for the 2018 draft after setting career marks in passing yards and touchdowns as a junior. While his film is inconsistent at times, there’s no denying Litton has the physical tools to be an NFL quarterback. If 6-6, 232-pounder can improve his decision-making and consistency at the next level, he could develop from late-round pick into starting material in the right situation.
- Brandon Parker (OT) North Carolina A&T: Another small-school blocker who showed some flashes during Senior Bowl week, Parker is one of the most intriguing prospects in a deep offensive line class. At 6-7, 323 pounds, and with 35-inch arms, Parker has all the physical tools and athleticism NFL teams are looking for in a starting tackle. He’s still fairly raw, but with patience and quality coaching, Parker could quickly develop into a valuable starter at a vital position.
- Cam Serigne (TE) Wake Forest: This year’s tight end class isn’t as top-heavy as last year’s group, but there’s still a strong top-tier that should scatter throughout the early rounds. That could leave teams digging for value on Day 3, and they’ll find plenty of it with Serigne, who was a go-to target for the Demon Deacons. After snatching a career-high eight touchdown receptions as a senior, the 6-3, 240-pounder should quickly become a favorite of whichever NFL quarterback gets the pleasure of adding him to his huddle in 2018.
- Alex Cappa (OL) Humboldt State: Cappa was a popular name during Senior Bowl week, but with this year’s offensive line class much improved over last year’s offering, don’t be surprised if the small-school stud gets passed over for more established players from bigger programs. A versatile player who can line up at either tackle or guard, Cappa proved in Mobile he can hang with top competition. While he may need time to smooth out the rough edges in his game, the team that takes a chance on Cappa’s upside could be handsomely rewarded a few years down the road.
- Richie James (WR) Middle Tennessee State: Injuries cost James a solid chunk of the 2017 season, and delivered a frustrating blow to his budding draft stock. An undersized but explosive weapon, James has the versatility to line up all over the field and make big plays, regardless of how he gets the ball. While some were surprised to see James declare early for the draft after an injury-shortened campaign, he could end up rewarding a team for taking a chance on him in the later rounds.
- John Kelly (RB) Tennessee: A shifty, short, but not small running back that was underutilized during his time at Tennessee. The Vols primary offensive weapon, Kelly is small enough to get lost by defensive linemen, allowing him to use his vision to find a hole and quickly hit high gear and get to the next level
- Timon Parris (OT) Stony Brook: Paris is strong in the running game, and logged a lot of games on both sides of the line. Small school prospect are difficult to evaluate and draft process will clarify his draft stock. Probably will be best suited to play inside, as it doesn’t appear Paris has the footwork or the balance to hold down the edge at the next level.
Final Thoughts: Each year, players are taken on days 2 and/or 3 with little or no expectations on whether they will contribute to an NFL roster. Most times many fail to fulfill their dreams of being an NFL football player, however; there are cases when a few unknown draft picks emerge and become not only contributors, but stars in the NFL. Could the 2018 draft produce such players that will raise from obscurity and into the spotlight to become household names.