We all know about the big names each year — guys who everyone expects to enter the combine and prove to be freaks, displaying good fundamentals.
This bunch includes players like Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett, Florida State RB Dalvin Cook and Michigan S Jabrill Peppers among many more. These players are fully expected to show well in both workouts and on-field drills.
But as is always the case, there will be a handful of players who stand out that no one is talking about. Guys who, in a way, come out of nowhere. Often times, these players come to the combine as projected fourth-round picks or even lower. Some even project to be undrafted players. But after strong showings in Indianapolis, they have been known to make leaps as big as three rounds in their projections.
This year, I'm looking at ten players — players who are likely to not only shine in the 40 or broad jump, but during on-field drills as well. All ten players are likely to push themselves up draft boards, and all ten could become fan-favorites by this time next week.
Here are my top 10 sleepers for the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine:
WR Victor Bolden, Oregon State
Bolden should prove to be one of the fastest guys at the combine this year. And don’t be surprised if his COD skills are off the charts in the shuttle and L drill.
WR Jehu Chesson, Michigan
Chesson is explosive with size at 6’3”, 203 lbs. Guys who can move fast and jump high with size usually earn themselves some extra money during the combine.
TE Adam Shaheen, Ashland
Shaheen is the biggest TE at this years combine at 6’6”, 278 lbs., but his movement skills are going to shock a lot of people. He’s an underclassman that entered early. This isn’t unheard of by any stretch of the imagination, but to come from a school as small as Ashland, it’s only happened a handful of times over the last 25 years. He has minimal football experience but I fully expect him to perform well in workouts and on field drills as one of my top sleepers in this year’s draft.
RB Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
Kamara become a favorite of mine in 2015. He really just jumped off of the screen when watching him. He’s one of those players who with a strong combine could very well push himself into the first round. He’s very explosive and catches the ball extremely well. His footwork comes natural as an RB.
RB Marlon Mack, South Florida
Mack is an explosive back in the mold of Atlanta Falcons RB Tevin Coleman. Mack will likely both run fast, and have some of the most impressive cuts on the field for the RB group.
OT Garett Bolles, Utah
Bolles might be the most athletic linemen in this years draft. I fully expect him to move as well as anyone, and to look as good in shorts as any lineman has looked in recent years. He’ll be moving all over the field with ease.
OT Julie’n Davenport, Bucknell
One of the biggest linemen available this year at 6’7”, 318 lbs, Davenport is a good athlete on film. He is one of those guys that coming into the week is likely a 4th-5th round pick, but when the week is over could very well cement himself as a solid 2nd round pick. Showing sunk hips on kick back blocks and staying low on mirror drills, as well as a good L-Drill will really thrust him up draft boards.
OLB T.J. Watt, Wisconsin
It’s probably a foregone conclusion that well know this name. Another Watt. While I don’t expect him to have the same sort of combine that his brother had in 2011, I do expect him to run better than many think, as well as show phenomenal hand usage in drills. He could lock up a first round grade this week.
OLB Carroll Phillips, Illinois
One of the most underrated defenders in this years draft, Phillips is a pure athlete on tape. It will be interesting to see how well he moves with the lights on him this week. As of right now he’s viewed as a fourth-round pick in many scouting circles, but he could push his way into the late second early third discussion with a solid day.
FS Lorenzo Jerome, St. Francis
My favorite under-the-radar player in this year’s draft, he also should prove to be a solid athlete. I think his workouts will go very well, and he will jump better than some expect. However, it’s his on-field drills that he will shine brightest. Deion Sanders is going to love watching him backpedal and break on the ball. His ball skills are some of the best this year.