The word "sleeper" is used every year at draft season as scouting departments around the league try to uncover the little-known prospect who might end up developing into the next franchise player. The National Football Post introduces a new series, "wake up to these sleepers," to help identify which sleeper prospects have the best chance to strike it big.
Dominique Edison, WR, Stephen F. Austin
Edison has been a productive wideout since setting foot on the Stephen F. Austin campus. He averaged just over 500 receiving yards per year during his first three seasons. But as a senior, Edison reeled in 67 catches for 1,016 yards and a staggering 18 touchdowns.
He's a tall (6-foot-2), well-built wideout with impressive straight-line speed (4.42) for his size. Edison is a natural receiver with great hands and does a nice job adjusting his body and plucking the ball away from his frame. Was consistently able to beat jam coverage and showcases the body control to cleanly get in and out of his routes. Exhibits good coordination down the field with the ability to drop his hips and explode out of his breaks. Is a gifted vertical threat who simply was able to overwhelm the competition with his physical skill set. However, Edison needs to prove he can handle the jump to the NFL. He played in a spread offense at Stephen F. Austin, where he was consistently able to line up in space and create plays down the field. He's a long strider but needs to improve his initial release off the line and work on building speed more quickly.
Edison possesses rare speed and body control for a prospect of his size. He's been very productive over the course of his college career and has the athletic ability to be a factor at the next level. However, he needs to prove he can make the transition to the NFL game. There have been plenty of small-school receivers who were overwhelmed by the talent, and Edison needs to prove he can work though the challenges. He was invited to the NFL Combine, and I expect him to take advantage of this opportunity. He could rise up draft boards the same way Richmond WR Arman Shields did a year ago. Right now, Edison looks like a late-round pick with the potential to move into the middle rounds with a strong showing at the Combine.
Lee Robinson, OLB, Alcorn State
Robinson has been one of the Southwestern Athletic Conference's most productive players during his four-year stint at Alcorn State. He finished the 2008 season with 111 tackles, 10½ tackles for loss and three interceptions. He was a real playmaker on defense and has the versatility to be used in a variety of roles in the NFL.
A powerfully built linebacker with good upper body strength, Robinson knows how to create collisions on contact. He loves to attack downhill, does a nice job closing quickly on the ball and makes plays on all areas of the field. Robinson did a much better job in space than scouts anticipated at the Texas vs. the Nation Bowl. He still is a bit stiff when asked to redirect but does a nice job flipping his hips and staying with receivers out of the backfield. He also lined up as a down defensive end at times. Possesses the first-step quickness and natural leverage to bull rush linemen and get after the quarterback.
Robinson possesses an intriguing blend of upper body strength, size and speed, and could be looked at as a strongside linebacker in a 4-3 or a rush linebacker in a 3-4. He closes on the ball quickly and has the ability to rush the passer. He has never received the kind of attention he deserves and should start to create some buzz for himself at the NFL Combine. If he runs as well as many expect (4.65) at around 250 pounds, the hype machine will definitely start picking up and could move him into the mid-round portions of the draft.
Everette Pedescleaux, DE, Northern Iowa
Pedescleaux, a one-time finalist for Minnesota's "Mr. Basketball" award, has certainly found his way on the football field. After three years developing his game as defensive lineman, Pedescleaux finally had his breakout campaign as a senior. He recorded 62 tackles, 11½ TFL (tackles for loss) and 6½ sacks, good enough to earn him AP Football Championship Series third-team All-America honors.
A tall (6-6), long-armed lineman who displays excellent overall athleticism for his size. He's a gifted physical specimen with a quick first step and rare straight-line speed (4.9) at the position. Plays with natural flexibility and has a lot of tools to work with. Works hard in pursuit and has the toughness to line up inside at DT and work against the double-team. Is very competitive and doesn't take plays off. Is still very raw and has a lot of work to do from a technical standpoint. Lacks great overall strength but has the frame and natural skill set to develop.
With more NFL teams searching for potential five-technique defensive linemen, Pedescleaux's name will certainly be a topic of conversation in draft rooms around the NFL. Although he played predominantly as the three-technique at Northern Iowa, his skill set, size and length scream 3-4 DE. He is still raw and will need some time to develop his strength and overall technique. But the guy has one of the most intriguing skill sets of any defensive lineman in the draft, and I can't imagine a team not taking a flier on him in the later rounds. He simply possesses too much upside and potential.
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