These are some of the under the radar, “sleeper” prospects who scouts are talking about as the draft approaches.
Matt Brown, Illinois State QB. He has been a productive player for four years against a lower level of competition, so NFL teams are taking a closer look at Brown as the draft approaches.
Jasper Collins, Mount Union WR. He played Division III football, but if he makes it in the NFL he won’t be the first receiver from Mount Union to do so. Collins would follow in the footsteps of Pierre Garcon and Cecil Shorts. Collins showed he could play against better competition at the East-West Shrine game, and NFL teams are looking at him as a good candidate to play the slot.
Garrett Gilkey, Chadron State G. He was a very good left tackle at his level, but likely will be a guard in the pros. He is an adequate enough athlete for guard, and scouts say enough teams like his character makeup enough that someone will take a chance on him late.
MarQueise Gray, Minnesota TE. He played quarterback at Minnesota, and also dabbled at wide receiver. He also worked out as a quarterback at the combine. But some NFL teams surveyed by NFP said they are most interested in him as a tight end because of his athleticism.
Charles Johnson, Grand Valley State WR. He wasn’t invited to the combine, but he got the scouting community buzzing when he ran a 4.38 and vertical jumped 39 ½ at his pro day. It helps that he was highly productive and is 6-2, 225. Some team almost certainly will take a late round chance on him.
Terron Jones, Alabama State OT. At 6-8, 341, Jones has some things that can’t be coached. He showed decent athleticism in his pro day workout, and he has a chance of being drafted.
Kyle Jusczczyk, Harvard FB. He did pretty well at the Senior Bowl but still was snubbed by the combine. Front office men say he has a decent combination of soft hands and blocking ability. Some question his athleticism.
Terrell Sinkfield, Northern Iowa WR. He did not get a combine invite, but at the pro day at the University of Minnesota he worked out better than the majority of the receivers at the combine. He ran a 4.33 40 and vertical jumped 40 ½ inches.
J.C. Tretter, Cornell G. He is a former quarterback, tight end and left tackle who NFL teams like as a guard. "He has the quick feet for a guard and upside to improve", according to one front office executive.
Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern DT. Scouts say he is a bit on the raw side, but they are intrigued by his "big, thick frame and ability to generate power." He looks like a third round pick.
Dan Pompei covers pro football for the Chicago Tribune at chicagotribune.com