Every NFL team hopes to find a diamond in the rough come draft weekend in April. In this feature Pewter Report's Eric Dellaratta lists a few players that while not highly ranked, could become productive NFL players, possibly in Tampa Bay.
Every year there are players that are selected on day three, rounds four through seven, of the NFL draft that surprise and contribute early on in their careers. Some players that fit in this category from 2012’s draft are Washington running back Alfred Morris, New England cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, Indianapolis running back Vick Ballard, Minnesota kicker Blair Walsh, and Philadelphia running back Bryce Brown. This article will cover three players that I believe could be late-round picks that contribute early on in their NFL careers.
We’ve already discussed the following buried treasures in previous “Draft Discussion” articles.
Arkansas RB Dennis Johnson
Georgia WR Tavarres King
Vanderbilt RB Zac Stacy
Tennessee WR Zach Rogers
Florida International S Johnathan Cyprien
Western Kentucky TE Jack DoyleNORTHERN ILLINOIS DE/LB SEAN PROGAR
Finding pass-rushers late in the draft is a tough task for NFL franchises. It’s even tougher to find them once the draft concludes in undrafted free agency. One player who could fall that has a chance to stick in the NFL is Northern Illinois defensive end Sean Progar.
Progar was tested against highly touted Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Waston in the Orange Bowl. While Watson performed relatively well against the pass-rusher, Progar did beat him with speed rushes and was strong at the point of attack on running plays.
It is evident that Progar is working hard in the weight room. On tape, he displays excellent strength and good leg drive. If the pass-rusher was able to get his hands inside, offensive tackles had a hard time keeping Progar in check.
Progar doesn’t have great short area quickness or change of direction skills, which leads me to believe that he is best fit as a 4-3 defensive end. His lack of size (6-2, 254) is another reason his draft stock will be limited. Progar has a change to be draft in the later rounds but he will likely be an undrafted free agent. If the senior lands in the right situation and can get some good coaching, he could make a 53-man roster somewhere in the NFL.
GEORGIA TECH CB ROD SWEETING
NFL teams are always looking to add talented defensive backs, and a team looking for one in the later rounds could take a shot on Georgia Tech cornerback Rod Sweeting.
Sweeting suffered through a somewhat disappointing senior season, but he did have an outstanding game against quarterback Logan Thomas and the Virginia Tech Hokies. Sweeting laid some big hits and broke up two passes. The senior defensive back got the opportunity to play in the East-West Shrine game, where he went on to perform well during practices.
The Georgia Tech product’s best attribute is his physicality. He’s a gamer that likes to get in people’s faces. Sweeting has strong hands which allow him to redirect receivers at the line of scrimmage in press coverage.
While many are down on Sweeting, he’s definitely worth a late round selection. If he can be coached up, the former Yellow Jacket should have a good chance to make a roster because his physical play will be valuable on special teams. OREGON SAFETY JOHN BOYETT
John Boyett, a senior safety from Oregon, could be an interesting option for a team later in the draft. Whatever team brings him will have to do some extensive research into his injury history. Boyett had surgery to repair partially torn patellar tendons in both knees after the team’s first game against Arkansas State.
Boyett (5-10, 205) was extremely productive prior to injuring his knees. In 2011, the Oregon senior racked an astounding 108 tackles from his safety position. Boyett finished his career with 278 tackles, 10 interceptions, 20 pass breakups, and two blocked kicks in 40 games.
On tape, Boyett flies around the football field. He’s unbelievably instinctive and has good enough athleticism to make plays against opposing passing attacks. Boyett is a hard-hitter that seems to play the game faster than everyone else. He’s a true football player that an NFL team should fall in love with.
If Boyett checks out medically, he should at worst be a very good special teams player and a backup safety. Right now, he’s projected to go undrafted by most draft analysts. PewterReport.com believes that if he were one-hundred percent healthy he would be a mid-round pick in the 2013 draft. If a team snatches him up in the sixth or seventh-round, they could be getting a potential steal.
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