Draft Countdown will move into 2023 NFL Draft mode in late August, but there is always some initial preparation happening. Not only do we look to identify the top talents, but finding potential sleepers for the class can also be important. The players below may fizzle out or not even be a part of the 2023 class when all is said and done, but these are some good names to look at. Here are some sleepers to keep an eye on when the college season kicks off.
Cameron Ward, QB, Washington State
Transferring to Washington State from Incarnate Word, Ward is a new name in the college football scene. His former head coach is now the offensive coordinator for the Cougars and will implement the same offense Ward has mastered. His Ward has been a name getting hype in some fantasy devy circles, but there has been some skepticism from the NFL Draft community.
With good size and athleticism, Ward mimics the modern NFL QB with his skillset. He has nice touch on his passes and excels outside of structure. With numerous QBs on the watch list to be potential first round picks, Ward might just be the sleeper name to watch out for.
Isaiah Davis, RB, South Dakota State
What if Pierre Strong wasn’t the best RB at South Dakota State last year? This is the belief in some circles as Davis brings 220 pounds of between the tackles running ability and is an NFL prospect in his own right. Though he won’t have the 4.3 speed, Davis quickness in space and ability to break through arm tackles is excellent. Look for him to emerge as a small school favorite this season.
Antwane Wells, WR, South Carolina
Wells was an insanely productive WR for James Madison University and transferred up to the SEC to join Spencer Rattler and crew this season. He appears to be the top WR on the team and has legit NFL speed and quickness. With an improved route tree this year, Wells could rise up into being a Top 100 prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State
This was a tough decision between the Dakotas as I’m also a big fan of NDSU’s Noah Gindorff, but Kraft flashed his pass catching in the red zone last season as well as being a great blocker. He is an athlete with good size and foot speed in a run first offense. Though his receiving statistics won’t be eye popping, Kraft is a sleeper as a future starting NFL TE.
Carter Warren, OT, Pittsburgh
Warren was the blindside blocker for Kenny Pickett last season and helped the Panthers win the ACC with their offensive production. A consistent pass protector with a nasty streak, Warren flashed NFL ability. He manhandled Clemson’s pass rushers last year and showed why he is a deserving NFL prospect.
O’Cyrus Torrence, G, Florida
Torrence followed Billy Napier from Louisiana and will be a starter for the Gators this year. He already showed NFL ability last season as a pulling guard who gets good leverage and a pop off the snap. He is a big mover and has starting NFL upside.
Jacob Gall, C, Baylor
A Buffalo transfer last season, Gall slide into an unfamiliar position at Center and played extremely well. He helped pave the way for a great Bears running game and was instrumental against Oklahoma. Though he is an older prospect, Gall’s run blocking should allow him to find his way into the NFL.
Grayson Murphy, EDGE, North Texas
Murphy was highly productive for the Mean Green last season living in the backfield and racking up sack after sack. He ran down Malik Willis multiple times and showed NFL closing skill. Though he may end up being in the 2024 draft when all is said and done, Murphy is a legit explosive talent off the line.
Justin Rogers, DL, Kentucky
The DL feels like the position where sleepers will emerge during the season, but Rogers does not get nearly enough love. A big time recruit, Rogers held the point of attack for the rest of the Front 7 for Kentucky and started to show penetration ability late in the season. If he takes a big step in the SEC, the first round is a real possibility for Rogers.
Isaiah Land, LB, Florida A&M
One of the best small school defensive players in the country, Land flirted with transferring up but is staying with the Rattlers. Land is used as a pass rusher at times and has had some downright dominant performances while his size gives him versatility to be a thumping tackler or used in pass coverage. Keep a close eye on Land to vault up draft boards!
Garrett Williams, CB, Syracuse
Syracuse doesn’t get a lot of love, but they have two great CBs, and Williams is one of them. Though he won’t make big interceptions, he is a lock down corner with great fundamentals and positioning. There may be some athleticism questions, but Williams should find his way into a role at the next level.
Nick Andersen, S, Wake Forest
Andersen is a former walk-on who has really emerged as a tenacious playmaker. He is a solid wrap tackler who plays well in the box and isn’t phased by big time athletes. Andersen’s coverage improved last year and another step in that direction could pay NFL dividends.
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