24 Sleepers in the 2020 NFL Draft
Anthony McFarland is one of Bobby’s favorite running backs
With the NFL Draft now just a week away, I’d like to go a little deeper today. Let’s skip beyond the top 80 picks and touch on some names you might not be all that familiar with. When Friday and Saturday roll around, keep an eye out for these two dozen players, because if your team picks them, you should be doing cartwheels. This list is compromised of four player types:
- The elite high school recruit who hasn’t quite realized his potential yet (Betiku, McFarland, Divinity, Taylor, Thomas, Ahmed)
- Savages with a motor and a chip on their shoulder (Lawrence, Biadasz, Gay, Brooks, Robertson)
- Players who were once much more highly regarded and still possess that upside (Johnson, Okwuegbunam, Kindley, Adams)
- Those who just flat out produced (Hall, Edwards, Bryant, Lemieux)
- The ones who jumped off game film as hidden gems (Victor, Morgan, Evans, Hamilton)
Tyler Johnson (WR – Minnesota)
Five months ago during the NCAA Football season, many in the scouting industry were raving about Johnson and suggesting he may have climbed into the first round. He was much more highly regarded than Denzel Mims or Brandon Aiyuk, for instance, who now appear likely to go in the first round. Johnson is still a bit raw because he is new to the position, but he has flashed the makings of a dynamic slot receiver, winning contested catches with the best of them and getting open with top-notch route-running chops. He may not be the best athlete in the class, but this should be a long-time starting receiver in the NFL.
Tyler Biadasz (iOL – Wisconsin)
If not for off-season hip surgery, we’d legitimately be talking about Biadasz as the top offensive guard in the class with a chance to sneak into the back end of the first round. With the lockdown, teams won’t be able to do a medical evaluation in person so he could drop to the fourth round. Yes, there is some risk, but if my team has a chance at a Pro-Bowl interior lineman late into the draft, you’d better believe I’m hoping with everything in me they take that chance. Biadasz is a certified mean dude in the trenches, plays with a ridiculous motor, doesn’t miss games and is oozing with all the intangibles NFL coaches would love to have.
Anthony McFarland (RB – Maryland)
Let’s just get this out of the way; he’s never going to be a three-down bell-cow like the David Johnson, Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott type. You won’t find that in the fourth round. But he could be Ray Rice. Ok, now I’ve got your attention. He didn’t rack up the yards because Maryland barely gave him the ball, but when they did, it was awe-inspiring. This little back was the top recruit at his position out of high school for a reason. He is that unbelievably elusive back with ankle-breaking moves. McFarland is a threat to take any play to the house and he bursts into holes with better acceleration that quite literally anyone in the class.
Albert Okwuegbunam (TE – Missouri)
This time last year, I saw Okwuegbunam on tape while watching someone else from Missouri and found myself drooling. He was every bit as impressive as T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant. That’s not hyperbole; this was a legitimate mid-1st round talent. You may have first noticed his upside at the combine when he proved to be one of the most athletic tight ends with elite size in combine history. Then this season happened and he just didn’t play hard. Whether it was from the injuries that caused him to miss some time or Missouri losing their playoff eligibility, he just disappeared. Even still, this is a potential superstar if he gets it together.
James Morgan (QB – Florida International)
We are hearing all kinds of rumblings from those close to NFL GMs that the public mock drafts this season are laughable more so than ever and that NFL teams have certain players much higher or much lower than analysts realize. Watching Morgan’s tape has me wondering if he is one of those players. His mechanics are a little funky as he’s made some compromises because his offensive line was so abysmal, but we’ve got a live arm, great build, sufficient mobility and plenty of accuracy. Morgan makes as many big-time throws as any non-Burrow QB I’ve seen this year. Frankly, I don’t see a big difference between him and Justin Herbert besides the Oregon jersey.
Solomon Kindley (iOL – Georgia)
I can’t wrap my mind around the idea that this young man is expected to be available on Day Three of the NFL Draft. I make no apologies for ranking him as my number two interior offensive lineman in the class. Biadasz is my #1 so that means I’ve got Kindley over Cesar Ruiz, who some say could go in the first round. This monster of a man has been a mauler in the running game for Georgia. He is quick considering his size and most importantly, he is an absolute warrior no matter which NFL 1st round interior defensive lineman you line him up against. Kindley will have a long career bullying quality NFL defensive tackles.
Binjimen Victor (WR – Ohio St)
When I was watching Ohio State’s tape, this tall lanky kid kept making ridiculous catches. I wasn’t trying to pay attention to Victor but he just kept demanding my eyeballs. Eventually, it transitioned over to an all-Binjimen film session and I found myself literally laughing out loud. Why the heck didn’t the Buckeyes just throw this dude the ball every single play? His catch radius should be illegal. Victor hauls in passes that no one should have any business even trying to catch. He is brave in traffic, eludes tackles when the ball is in his hands and still has upside to grow into. I’m fine with my team passing on wideouts in the 1st and 2nd rounds if we can just end up with Binjimen on Day Three.
Harrison Bryant (TE – Florida Atlantic)
If you ask five different analysts who their top tight end is in this year’s draft, one would say Cole Kmet, another Adam Trautman, the other three would say Thaddeus Moss, Hunter Bryant and either Brycen Hopkins or Okwuegbunam. You’d get five different answers. Well, I’d say Harrison Bryant. Does he have upside? Not much, but he is the most polished tight end in the class and I’d wager he starts as a move tight end by season’s end. He didn’t go off for 1,000+ yards by accident. The kid finds his way into seams, creates separation and has the best hands among every tight end in the class.
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Bobby Sylvester is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Bobby, check out his archive and follow him @BobbyFantasyPro.