clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Offensive Draft Sleepers

New, comments

Jamie and Garrett from the Lightning Round Podcast share some late round sleepers.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The first part of this series we each shared our favorite Defensive sleepers in this years draft and now we focus on Offense. Obviously we've discounted team needs and just listed a player from every position group. Here are some players we like in Rounds 4-7:

Quarterback:

Garrett:

Brandon Doughty - Western Kentucky

Doughty was super-productive, throwing for over 5,000 yards in his college career. Even with all the throws he was very accurate in a pass-happy Spread Offense (had over 70% completion percentage over his career). He does push the ball at times but a Day 3 guy with lots of upside, if you give him time to grow. Rivers would be a perfect player for Doughty to emulate in terms of reading a defense and understanding what's happening in front of you.

Jamie:

Jake Coker - Alabama

Coker is a prototypical NFL pocket passer with a big frame and a live arm. Teams will be intrigued by his big, loose arm and the impressive growth and leadership he showed during Bama's playoff run. He's a good athlete who is surprisingly light on his feet, showed maturity in how he dealt with getting benched early in the year and the leadership in earning the job back. He also saved his best football for his biggest games. Coker is still fairly raw and will require some patience; he will also have to show he can read defenses and make quick decisions.

Fullback:

Garrett:

Dakota Gordon - San Diego State

Take out the fact that he's a hometown kid, Gordon is easily one of the best blocking Fullbacks of the class; he is a one man battering ram. He wrestled for 12 years and accredits that to being able to lock-up with defenders using his loose hips and drive them back. He excels in the run game in short yardage and goal-to-go situations and didn't get a lot of opportunity in the passing game but did show the ability. Good chance Dakota Gordon could be had after the draft concludes as an Undrafted Free Agent.

Jamie:

Dan Vitale - Northwestern

My favorite fullback in this class both because of his skill sets and because of how I think he fits with the Chargers. Vitale is extremely athletic, has soft hands, quick feet and simply does everything well. He attacks his assignments as a blocker, blows people up by taking out their legs and never seems to miss an assignment. He is a Mike Alstott clone with the ability to be a weapon as a blocker, runner and receiver and would add a whole new dimension to the offense. Vitale will probably be drafted in the sixth or seventh round.

Running Back:

Garrett:

Daniel Lasco - California

Lasco was plagued by injuries most of 2015 but was one of the highlights of the East-West Shrine Game and got my attention at the Combine. At 6'0/209 Lasco ran a 4.46 40 time and jumped a crazy vertical at 41.5 inches. When healthy he can do it all out of the backfield, finishing with 1,115 yards on the ground scoring 12 touchdowns while also catching 33 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns in 2014. Lasco is an added asset on special teams as a return man and will be a RB2 in 2016 in the NFL with starters potential down the road.

Jamie:

Jordan Howard - Indiana

Howard has an NFL frame at 6'0/230 and uses every inch of it to his advantage. Exhibits good vision, locates and attacks running lanes, explodes through holes and has surprising breakaway speed. Howard shows good illusiveness and quick feet in the open field and runs with good pad level. He wasn't asked to catch the ball much but showed soft hands when he was targeted. The biggest knocks on him are a spotty injury history and his blocking ability. Capable of contributing as a two-down back right away, could be a good red zone weapon.

Tight End:

Garrett:

David Morgan - Texas San Antonio

Morgan is 6'4/260 and is a monster as a blocker, showing extremely good pad level. He is almost always open on the shallow cross and earns his paycheck in the middle of the field. At the line of scrimmage he's too strong to jam, so he routinely wins off the line when pressed. Morgan won't open up the field for you but the Chargers need a Tight End who can block and not only can he do that with ease he can also sit down in the middle of the field and move the chains.

Jamie:

Jake McGee - Florida

McGee is a long, lean, big-framed Tight End with a ton of upside. He's an advanced blocker compared to most college Tight Ends and has the chops to develop into a devastating blocker at the next level. Jake also has the speed to split the seams and understands how to use his frame to shield defenders from the ball in the red zone. He will be a chain mover in the middle of the field and should create mismatches in the red zone.

Wide Receiver:

Garrett:

Rashard Higgins - Colorado State

Now there is a chance Higgins could find his name called late Day 2 of the draft but he's projected to go somewhere between Rounds 4-6. Higgins ran and has grasped the full route tree while running the spread attack. He has a matured sense of understanding routes too by throwing in nuisances like head fakes and setting up double moves. He's a skinny 6'2/190 that'll need to add weight to his frame but once he does he can be a high-end WR2, who can gain separation with his footwork.

Jamie:

Devon Cajuste - Stanford

It's hard to watch Cajuste and not think he fills a void in the Chargers offense following the retirement of Malcom Floyd. Like Floyd, he uses his massive frame, strong hands and leaping ability to stretch the field in the absence of breakaway speed. Unlike Floyd, he also happens to be a polished route runner who uses subtle nuances and firm breaks in his routes to gain separation. He was a Tight End recruit out of high school who averaged 17+ yards per catch and developed into a dangerous red zone threat. Cajuste could be a steal midway through Day 3.

Offensive Tackle:

Garrett:

Joe Haeg - North Dakota State

That's two years in a row now I've given the Bison some love, last year was Kyle Emanuel, this year it's Offensive Tackle Joe Haeg. This is another guy who could go before the 4th round but is still ranked too low. Made a name for himself by being one of the only linemen to stop Jihad Ward at the Senior Bowl practices. Haeg is very good at mirroring pass rushers and also has the anchor to stop power rushers like Ward. He isn't much a finisher, more a catch guy than a mauler but is versatile enough to play both Tackle or Guard.

Jamie:

Willie Beavers - Western Michigan

A four-year starter at Left Tackle with 40 consecutive starts under his belt at Western Michigan, Beavers has it all - long arms, quick feet, aggressive nature and a solid work ethic. While Willie is raw from a technical standpoint, he is intensely competitive and shows a strong knack for recovering when initially beaten off the snap. He can play Guard or Tackle but has the chops to be a starting left tackle for years to come with proper physical and technical development.

Offensive Guard:

Garrett:

Joe Thuney - NC State

Joe Thuney can play every spot on the line and is a very good athlete for an Offensive Lineman; he is nasty when he's the pulling Guard. He doesn't have the best balance, especially on an island at Tackle but does possess the quickness to hang with speed rushers. Thuney is better with his upper half than his lower half and his best spot is in the interior of the Offensive Line where he can win tight space with his hands.

Jamie:

Connor McGovern - Missouri

I have just two words for you - road grader. A college left tackle, McGovern lacks the athleticism and flexibility to play tackle in the NFL, but has the power and nasty temperament to be an amazing interior lineman. Conner set the school record at Missouri by squatting 690 pounds six times and played through a torn pectoral after benching 515 pounds. He's ideally suited to coming forward off the line as a Guard where he can overpower interior Defensive Linemen and spring running plays.

Center:

Garrett:

Matt Skura - Duke

Skura played both Guard and Center at Duke. He has good awareness on both pre and post snap. He wins with his combo of good hands and long arms to latch onto defenders. Also, savvy at using his angles and is great at the second level. Skura dominates on technique because his power and athleticism is average. A dependable prospect with a high football acumen.

Jamie:

Austin Blythe - Iowa

Blythe is a smart, technically sound Center who is extremely aware and is always looking for someone to hit. Uses good angles and does a good job of helping his fellow linemen when he finishes his assignment. Blythe isn't someone who will overwhelm opponents with incredible size or athleticism but he rarely blows an assignment and was the glue of a very good Iowa Offensive Line. He is a nice Day 3 prospect with the ability to step in and contribute right away.