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A look back at some 2020 Draft sleepers a year on...


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I am off work this week because I had so much time off owing to me and given we are in a pretty strict lockdown here in London at the moment I have made a start on some draft prep for this April. However, I thought it might also be a chance to check in on some of the lesser lights from the 2020 draft and look at where my sleepers and the guys I liked as UDFAs are a year on. Hope some of you at least find it interesting.

 

So let's start with the guys I had a draftable grade on (out of the 145 players I graded) who ended up going undrafted and signing as UDFAs. 

 

There were eight players left on my board at the point Mr Irrelevant was selected back in April 2020. 

 

Darryl Williams - C/G Mississippi State 

My grade: 2nd/3rd round borderline

Signed with Kansas City as an UDFA (on one of the bigger UDFA contracts given out last year). Has spent the entire 2020 season on the Chiefs' Practice Squad. 

 

Hunter Bryant - TE Washington

My grade: 3rd round

Signed with the Detroit Lions as an UDFA. Made the 53 man roster, but then spent a fair chunk of the season on IR. Ended the season back on the 53, had 1 catch for 44 yards as a rookie.

 

Bryce Huff - DE Memphis

My grade: 3rd round

Signed with the New York Jets as an UDFA. Made the 53 man roster, appeared in 14 games and recorded 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss as a rotational edge player and special teamer. 

 

Yasir Durant - OT Missouri

My grade: 3rd/4th round borderline

Signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an UDFA. Made the 53 man roster, appeared in 11 games, starting in week 17 when Kansas City sat guys. 

 

Lamar Jackson, CB Nebraska

My grade: 4th round

Signed with the New York Jets as an UDFA. Started the season on the Jets' practice squad, was out of free elevations by week 5 and so was signed permanently to the active roster. Appeared in 13 games with 6 starts and 2 passes defensed. 

 

Raequan William, DT Michigan State

My grade: 4th round

Signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an UDFA. Started the season on the Eagles' practice squad and was promoted to the active roster in December after using his two free elevations. Appeared in 6 games lodging both a sack and a tackle for loss in week 17. 

 

Trey Adams, OT Washington

My grade: 4th/5th round

Signed with the Buffalo Bills as an UDFA. Has spent the entire season on the Bills' practice squad. 

 

Shyheim Carter, S Alabama

My grade: 5th round (he was my 145th and last player)

Signed with the New York Jets as an UDFA. Was waived by the Jets at cutdowns and not re-signed to the practice squad. Did spend time on the practice squad of the Falcons but is currently a free agent. 

 

There were also two guys from my 2020 Draft Sleepers thread who I hadn't seen enough of to put on the board (for anyone new my normal rule is unless I have seen three full games of you then you can't go on my draft board) but who looked draftable to me:

 

Adrian Killins, RB UCF

My grade: 5th/6th rounder

Signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an UDFA. Initially made the practice squad and then has bounced between the practice squad, the active roster and free agency ever since. Played in one game in week 4 and had one rush for -12 yards on a failed end around. Currently on the covid list. 

 

Juwan Johnson, WR Oregon

My grade: 6th/7th rounder

Signed with the New Orleans Saints as an UDFA. Started the season on the practice squad but was elevated numerous times before eventually being signed to the active roster. Has appeared in 10 games, including 4 starts. Only has 4 catches, but 3 of those were for first downs. 

 

 

So in summary of those ten guys 3 made their team's initial 53 man roster, 3 started out on the practice squad and are now on the active roster, 2 have been on the practice squad all season, 1 has bounced between practice squad and roster and is now back on the practice squad and 1 is out of football. Having gone through that there are a couple of instant reflections.

 

Firstly, I really hope the 2 free practice squad elevations per player rule stays. It has really provided an opportunity for guys who for one reason or another slipped through the cracks at the draft - some for behavioural reasons, some because of injuries, others because they were buried behind good players in college or played in smaller conferences. I wouldn't be in favour of it being extended too much, I think 2 is about right and then if the guy is that good you want to elevate him again you have to make a roster spot or else it starts to disadvantage the practice squad guys rather than help them. But it has been a good addition to the roster rules IMO. 

 

Secondly, I am especially pleased for Bryce Huff (even though he is a Jet!) I really liked this kid the first time I watched him but everywhere I looked nobody else seemed to even have him on the radar. Eventually I asked @Blokestradamus to watch some of him and give me his thoughts to check I wasn't going mad. Blokes probably wasn't as high on him as me but did say he thought he was draftable and belonged at least in the conversation with the other mid round edge guys. 

 

Thirdly, for anyone who is interested in trying to uncover some of the sleepers in this year's draft the all-star games over the next few weeks - the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game on 23 Jan and then the Senior Bowl on 30 Jan - are essential viewing. It is very often a guy who flashes there that I then go and search for more video on becomes a favourite of mine in the run up to April. 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

I am off work this week because I had so much time off owing to me and given we are in a pretty strict lockdown here in London at the moment I have made a start on some draft prep for this April. However, I thought it might also be a chance to check in on some of the lesser lights from the 2020 draft and look at where my sleepers and the guys I liked as UDFAs are a year on. Hope some of you at least find it interesting.

 

So let's start with the guys I had a draftable grade on (out of the 145 players I graded) who ended up going undrafted and signing as UDFAs. 

 

There were eight players left on my board at the point Mr Irrelevant was selected back in April 2020. 

 

Darryl Williams - C/G Mississippi State 

My grade: 2nd/3rd round borderline

Signed with Kansas City as an UDFA (on one of the bigger UDFA contracts given out last year). Has spent the entire 2020 season on the Chiefs' Practice Squad. 

 

Hunter Bryant - TE Washington

My grade: 3rd round

Signed with the Detroit Lions as an UDFA. Made the 53 man roster, but then spent a fair chunk of the season on IR. Ended the season back on the 53, had 1 catch for 44 yards as a rookie.

 

Bryce Huff - DE Memphis

My grade: 3rd round

Signed with the New York Jets as an UDFA. Made the 53 man roster, appeared in 14 games and recorded 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss as a rotational edge player and special teamer. 

 

Yasir Durant - OT Missouri

My grade: 3rd/4th round borderline

Signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an UDFA. Made the 53 man roster, appeared in 11 games, starting in week 17 when Kansas City sat guys. 

 

Lamar Jackson, CB Nebraska

My grade: 4th round

Signed with the New York Jets as an UDFA. Started the season on the Jets' practice squad, was out of free elevations by week 5 and so was signed permanently to the active roster. Appeared in 13 games with 6 starts and 2 passes defensed. 

 

Raequan William, DT Michigan State

My grade: 4th round

Signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an UDFA. Started the season on the Eagles' practice squad and was promoted to the active roster in December after using his two free elevations. Appeared in 6 games lodging both a sack and a tackle for loss in week 17. 

 

Trey Adams, OT Washington

My grade: 4th/5th round

Signed with the Buffalo Bills as an UDFA. Has spent the entire season on the Bills' practice squad. 

 

Shyheim Carter, S Alabama

My grade: 5th round (he was my 145th and last player)

Signed with the New York Jets as an UDFA. Was waived by the Jets at cutdowns and not re-signed to the practice squad. Did spend time on the practice squad of the Falcons but is currently a free agent. 

 

There were also two guys from my 2020 Draft Sleepers thread who I hadn't seen enough of to put on the board (for anyone new my normal rule is unless I have seen three full games of you then you can't go on my draft board) but who looked draftable to me:

 

Adrian Killins, RB UCF

My grade: 5th/6th rounder

Signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an UDFA. Initially made the practice squad and then has bounced between the practice squad, the active roster and free agency ever since. Played in one game in week 4 and had one rush for -12 yards on a failed end around. Currently on the covid list. 

 

Juwan Johnson, WR Oregon

My grade: 6th/7th rounder

Signed with the New Orleans Saints as an UDFA. Started the season on the practice squad but was elevated numerous times before eventually being signed to the active roster. Has appeared in 10 games, including 4 starts. Only has 4 catches, but 3 of those were for first downs. 

 

 

So in summary of those ten guys 3 made their team's initial 53 man roster, 3 started out on the practice squad and are now on the active roster, 2 have been on the practice squad all season, 1 has bounced between practice squad and roster and is now back on the practice squad and 1 is out of football. Having gone through that there are a couple of instant reflections.

 

Firstly, I really hope the 2 free practice squad elevations per player rule stays. It has really provided an opportunity for guys who for one reason or another slipped through the cracks at the draft - some for behavioural reasons, some because of injuries, others because they were buried behind good players in college or played in smaller conferences. I wouldn't be in favour of it being extended too much, I think 2 is about right and then if the guy is that good you want to elevate him again you have to make a roster spot or else it starts to disadvantage the practice squad guys rather than help them. But it has been a good addition to the roster rules IMO. 

 

Secondly, I am especially pleased for Bryce Huff (even though he is a Jet!) I really liked this kid the first time I watched him but everywhere I looked nobody else seemed to even have him on the radar. Eventually I asked @Blokestradamus to watch some of him and give me his thoughts to check I wasn't going mad. Blokes probably wasn't as high on him as me but did say he thought he was draftable and belonged at least in the conversation with the other mid round edge guys. 

 

Thirdly, for anyone who is interested in trying to uncover some of the sleepers in this year's draft the all-star games over the next few weeks - the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game on 23 Jan and then the Senior Bowl on 30 Jan - are essential viewing. It is very often a guy who flashes there that I then go and search for more video on becomes a favourite of mine in the run up to April. 

 

 

 

Good read.  Also nice to see buffalo snagged one of them!  

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Found my reply in your thread...not too exciting. As I mention in the reply, most of the guys that I felt were sleepers that would have met the "Day 3 pick that you have a Day 1/2 grade on" criteria ended up rising up draft boards by the end of it.

 

Also, not a "sleeper" take, but I mentioned in the post below about how I had Eason ahead of Herbert...I think there's a chance I may have been too low on Herbert lol.

  

On 4/6/2020 at 5:07 PM, DCOrange said:

Weirdly enough, pretty much all of the guys I'd normally peg as a sleeper per Gunner's criteria seem to have risen up draft boards to roughly where they should be now anyways. Maybe the one guy that still counts as a sleeper in my eyes is Darius Anderson, who I like in the 4th or 5th round but seems to have nearly no draft buzz. His 40 was disappointing, but on film, he looks like he accelerates very well (and I believe his 10 yard split at the combine was very good), and he's simply very difficult to tackle. He slips out of a lot of tackles. His receiving numbers are also pretty good, though not a very large sample size.

 

Some other guys I like that don't technically qualify per Gunner's criteria:

  • Michael Pittman Jr. - USC WR - I think he's a fringe 1st - early 2nd round prospect. For awhile he was looked at as a 3rd-4th rounder but seems like he's starting to settle in the 2nd round picture.
  • Bryan Edwards - SC WR - He's a 2nd round talent but injuries and bad QB play will likely push him to at least the 3rd round if not Day 3.
  • Amik Robertson - Louisiana Tech CB - Almost certainly will exclusively play in the slot, and there's some questions about if he can survive with his relatively small size and non-elite athleticism, but man, he was super impressive in college. I thought he was a sleeper candidate for sure but it seems like he's recently risen up into the 2nd-3rd round picture and that's where he should be taken IMO.
  • Jacob Eason - UW QB - Seems like he's started to slide to the 2nd-3rd round picture, but for me, he's ever so slightly my #4 QB ahead of Justin Herbert. I have Eason, Herbert, Fromm, and Hurts all very close to one another. With Eason, you're going to need a strong O-Line in front of him, but give him protection and he has the arm talent to pick defenses apart. I think he'd be an ideal fit in Dallas, Pittsburgh, or Tampa, though none of them technically need a QB (at least not right away though that's probably for the best in Eason's case).
  • Shea Patterson - UM QB - He might actually qualify for Gunner's criteria, but I don't feel super strong about him. He seems destined to go undrafted at this point and he's admittedly a very flawed prospect in probably serious enough ways that he's at the absolute best a decent backup QB in the NFL, but I think he has enough playmaking ability out of structure to potentially help a team as a backup QB. I still wouldn't take him before the 5th round, but I think he has more potential than most people give him credit for.

 

Darius Anderson - went undrafted, initially signed with Dallas as an UDFA but ultimately ended up in Indy. Was elevated to the active roster for the game this past weekend but didn't get on the field as far as I know.

 

Michael Pittman - Ended up going #34 in the draft to the Colts and obviously we all got a taste of how good he can be this past weekend as he led the team in receiving. All together, he finished the year with over 500 receiving yards and appears to be a starter.

 

Bryan Edwards - Went to the Raiders in the 3rd round. Was a day 1 starter for them but the injury bug continued to bite him and he was no longer starting by the time he returned from injury.

 

Amik Robertson - Went to the Raiders in the 4th round. Appeared in half their games this year and didn't really do much statistically at least. Looks like he was mostly used on special teams.

 

Jacob Eason - Went to the Colts in the 4th round and made no appearance as Rivers and Brissett stayed healthy all year.

 

Shea Patterson - Not even on a practice squad as far as I know.

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4 minutes ago, dneveu said:

 

Good read.  Also nice to see buffalo snagged one of them!  

 

Tyrel Dodson was one of my favourite 2019 sleepers too. My services are available when Brandon calls..... I'll just leave Quarterback to him.... 😁

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Just now, GunnerBill said:

 

Tyrel Dodson was one of my favourite 2019 sleepers too. My services are available when Brandon calls..... I'll just leave Quarterback to him.... 😁

 

My buddy always mentions that i was legit his only friend who wanted allen.  And the reasoning was that there was the potential there to be a star, and i didn't see that with rosen.  Felt like his ceiling was cutler.  Why are you making all these moves (trading glenn, tyrod etc) to try and get the next cutler?  

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2 minutes ago, dneveu said:

 

My buddy always mentions that i was legit his only friend who wanted allen.  And the reasoning was that there was the potential there to be a star, and i didn't see that with rosen.  Felt like his ceiling was cutler.  Why are you making all these moves (trading glenn, tyrod etc) to try and get the next cutler?  

 

I'd have traded Tyrod for the chance to get kicked in the balls by the end of that 2017 season. I was so over him. Haha. 

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1 minute ago, GunnerBill said:

 

I'd have traded Tyrod for the chance to get kicked in the balls by the end of that 2017 season. I was so over him. Haha. 

 

But trading him, glenn, 1st rounder for the next cutler? gross.

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2 minutes ago, Solomon Grundy said:

Hey @GunnerBill, @Blokestradamus, if you guys can I’d like your input on some DTs in the upcoming draft to put next to Ed Oliver. My list includes Daviyon Nixon, Marvin Wilson, Jordan Davis and Lorenzo Neal Jr. Also, what position would you like to see the Bills target in the 1st rd

 

Haven't got to the DTs yet, only started my work in earnest this week and I probably watched less college ball than other years so am starting a bit behind. If the Bills are after a young 1 tech to plug in next to Ed, or likely to backup Star as a rookie and then plug in as a sophomore you are probably looking late day 2 / early day 3. In terms of first round picks I still think the Bills biggest "need" is an edge rusher but a bit like last year I am not sold that this is the greatest class of pass rushers in terms of guys who can come in and make an impact day 1. Where the Bills likely pick (I think 27th is the earliest the Bills could possibly be picking without a trade at this point) I think corner makes some sense. It is likely to be value for the 2nd tier of corners after Surtain and Farley and the Bills would guarantee themselves 5 years of a cost controlled guy across from Tre White's big contract and avoid having to make more expensive stop gap Josh Norman type signings. I am however going to say something very unlike me.... I'd actually consider a tight end if Kyle Pitts falls that far. I would normally never go tight end in the first round but this kid is special. I doubt he makes it out of the top 15 picks but if he does wow he would be amazing in this offense. 

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3 minutes ago, Solomon Grundy said:

@GunnerBillWhats your thoughts on Zaven Collins? Would pairing him with Edmunds help our run defense?

 

So I saw him early on against Oklahoma State and he looked like a beast as a blitzer. I did wonder that day whether I might pick him and try and make him a full time edge rusher, but I really need to get deeper into him before I have a proper view. Is he expected to go in the first round? I've not really looked at any mocks yet. 

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17 minutes ago, GunnerBill said:

 

So I saw him early on against Oklahoma State and he looked like a beast as a blitzer. I did wonder that day whether I might pick him and try and make him a full time edge rusher, but I really need to get deeper into him before I have a proper view. Is he expected to go in the first round? I've not really looked at any mocks yet. 

A couple of mocks have the Bills taking him, there are others that has him going early. Thanks for you input. Look forward to more during draft combine

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1 hour ago, GunnerBill said:

 

Haven't got to the DTs yet, only started my work in earnest this week and I probably watched less college ball than other years so am starting a bit behind. If the Bills are after a young 1 tech to plug in next to Ed, or likely to backup Star as a rookie and then plug in as a sophomore you are probably looking late day 2 / early day 3. In terms of first round picks I still think the Bills biggest "need" is an edge rusher but a bit like last year I am not sold that this is the greatest class of pass rushers in terms of guys who can come in and make an impact day 1. Where the Bills likely pick (I think 27th is the earliest the Bills could possibly be picking without a trade at this point) I think corner makes some sense. It is likely to be value for the 2nd tier of corners after Surtain and Farley and the Bills would guarantee themselves 5 years of a cost controlled guy across from Tre White's big contract and avoid having to make more expensive stop gap Josh Norman type signings. I am however going to say something very unlike me.... I'd actually consider a tight end if Kyle Pitts falls that far. I would normally never go tight end in the first round but this kid is special. I doubt he makes it out of the top 15 picks but if he does wow he would be amazing in this offense. 

I have been really apathetic towards college football this year, and it’s going to be interesting going back and watching games. One thing I’m certainly going to dive into is those early Seminole’s games to look at Marvin Wilson. With the leg injury I think there’s a pretty solid chance he drops to the end of the first, and maybe later if he can’t go for the combine. 

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3 hours ago, GunnerBill said:

Thirdly, for anyone who is interested in trying to uncover some of the sleepers in this year's draft the all-star games over the next few weeks - the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game on 23 Jan and then the Senior Bowl on 30 Jan - are essential viewing. It is very often a guy who flashes there that I then go and search for more video on becomes a favourite of mine in the run up to April. 

 

 

As a draftnik, I must say, Bravo Gunner!

 

I do my best to keep up to date with the college players, besides the superstars, but I'm not as deeply invested as I used to be.

 

My question to you is, are the All-Star games back on? I thought they cancelled the Shrine Game & Senior Bowl because of Covid.

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30 minutes ago, Mark Vader said:

As a draftnik, I must say, Bravo Gunner!

 

I do my best to keep up to date with the college players, besides the superstars, but I'm not as deeply invested as I used to be.

 

My question to you is, are the All-Star games back on? I thought they cancelled the Shrine Game & Senior Bowl because of Covid.

Good to know Vader. I'll add you and @DCOrange to my go to list

@Damond Talbot, I'll be looking for your input as well. Your draft diamonds site is awesome

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2 hours ago, Solomon Grundy said:

Hey @GunnerBill, @Blokestradamus, if you guys can I’d like your input on some DTs in the upcoming draft to put next to Ed Oliver. My list includes Daviyon Nixon, Marvin Wilson, Jordan Davis and Lorenzo Neal Jr. Also, what position would you like to see the Bills target in the 1st rd

 

I'm literally just setting up my draft to-do list for this year.

 

Given my typical amount of procrastination, ask me again in April :D

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1 hour ago, Mark Vader said:

As a draftnik, I must say, Bravo Gunner!

 

I do my best to keep up to date with the college players, besides the superstars, but I'm not as deeply invested as I used to be.

 

My question to you is, are the All-Star games back on? I thought they cancelled the Shrine Game & Senior Bowl because of Covid.

 

They are both on as I understand. 

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4 hours ago, IgotBILLStopay said:

Can we still sign Darryl Williams off the Chiefs PS and release someone like Winters?

We would have to release Daryl Williams the starting RT so as to not get confused.

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