We’re now in the thick of the college football season, and more 2023 NFL Draft sleepers reveal themselves with each passing week. Looking back at Week 4, who are some underrated 2023 NFL Draft prospects who might deserve a second look?
2023 NFL Draft sleepers to watch in Week 5
Kendre Miller, RB, TCU
When Zach Evans left TCU for Ole Miss, a lot of people turned their eyes away from the Horned Frogs’ running game. That move may have been premature, as there’s now another prospect worth watching in TCU’s backfield. Kendre Miller had a breakout game in Week 4, with 17 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown. Miller has great size and frame density at 6’0″ and 220 pounds, but other valuable traits were on display in TCU’s win over SMU. Miller has good burst and vision picking out initial lanes, and he can also churn his legs through contact at the second level.
Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida
As Anthony Richardson continues to develop and grow, a prime beneficiary might be Arizona State transfer wide receiver Ricky Pearsall. We saw a mini-breakout for Pearsall in Week 4, who logged five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Tennessee. Pearsall undoubtedly brings a speed element at 6’1″ and 200 pounds — something Richardson can maximize with his rocket arm. But also impressive was Pearsall’s tempo manipulation and stem work on Saturday. He can make defenders bite on sluggo routes and has the smooth athleticism to quickly stack breaks and explode upfield.
Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan
“Steady” was the word that always came to mind with Olusegun Oluwatimi while he was at Virginia. And that word comes to mind again after reviewing his early 2022 tape with the Michigan Wolverines. In a deep center class, Oluwatimi sometimes goes overlooked, but his trademark stability at the position can’t be ignored. At Michigan, the 6’3″, 307-pound blocker has been incredibly reliable and assignment-sound. He’s a naturally-leveraged blocker with good strength at the point, and he’s also shown he can get out in space and pave open holes as a lead blocker.
Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State
There’s a near three-way tie for the leading receiver spot in Penn State’s offense. Parker Washington is in first with 212 yards. Mitchell Tinsley comes close behind him with 209. But sandwiched between the two with 211 yards is tight end Brenton Strange. Strange, who stands at 6’3″, 246 pounds, has already tied his career high in receiving touchdowns with three and is already nearing a career-best campaign in terms of yardage. Strange is a solid athlete for his size with notable RAC ability, and he also provides tenacity and reliability as a blocker.
Travion Brown, LB, Washington State
Washington State has a legitimately exciting linebacker group. Not long ago, it was Daiyan Henley getting the hype with a dominant outing. This week, it’s time to give some love to Travion Brown, who had seven tackles and a tackle for loss in the team’s close loss against Oregon. At 6’3″, 230 pounds, Brown has great size, and he flashes nice twitch and lateral agility with that size when traversing gaps. He’s shown he can read blocking angles and flow to the ball, then stonewall runners at gaps.
Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati
Tyler Scott earned a spot on the PFN Week 4 Team of the Week with his 10-reception, 185-yard, three-touchdown outing against Indiana. But more than that, he also might’ve earned an extra look or two from scouts, who watched him eviscerate an Indiana secondary with multiple prospects. Scott is a bit undersized at 5’11”, 171 pounds, but the explosive gear he provides in the deep third is second to very few. His explosiveness and speed allowed him to easily get behind the defense last Saturday, but he also showcased the ability to send defenders veering with smooth, brutal double-moves in open space.
Jeremiah Martin, EDGE, Washington
It feels like we write up a Washington prospect every week in this series. I promise I’m not a closet Huskies fan. Washington simply has a talent-dense roster, and under the oversight of Kalen DeBoer, players are in a better position to show off their talent. Bralen Trice is Washington’s biggest riser on the edge so far, but Texas A&M transfer Jeremiah Martin is also on the radar after a quick start. The 6’3″, 270-pound defender has two sacks through four games — already a career-high — and he has 2.5 TFLs on top of that. Martin has a very intriguing size profile and has also shown he can quickly beat tackles with lateral moves and spins.
Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
Stanford’s offense is flush with potential NFL talent. Some of the bigger names are Tanner McKee, Elijah Higgins, Benjamin Yurosek, and Walter Rouse. But don’t sleep on wide receiver Michael Wilson. The 6’2″, 209-pound pass catcher has had a tremendous start to the year, with 13 catches for 288 yards and four touchdowns in three games. He was essentially his team’s whole offense last week against Washington, with 176 yards and two scores. Wilson shows off great burst in space for his size and used impressive zone awareness and tackle-breaking ability to rack up yardage against the Huskies’ defense.
Myles Cole, DL, Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson is Texas Tech’s best 2023 NFL Draft prospect, hands down. But the Red Raiders have another prospect who’ll draw eyes with his physical measurements in defensive lineman Myles Cole. Cole, a transfer from UL Monroe, has a dominating frame with elite length. He’s listed at 6’6″, 285 pounds, but still flashes the explosiveness to channel momentum into contact and drive blockers back. He used those exact traits to notch a half-tackle for loss in Texas Tech’s upset win over Texas. Keep an eye on Cole — he could be on the way up.
Leon Jones, CB, Arkansas State
There are a few small-school cornerbacks to keep tabs on in the 2023 NFL Draft class, one of whom is Arkansas State’s Leon Jones. Jones had a pick and eight deflections last season, and the junior is back to his productive ways in 2022, with four picks and a tackle for loss in four games. Jones has great length at 6’1″, 192 pounds, and brings impressive body control and ball tracking ability at the catch point. He’s also shown he can pry around blocks on the boundary and explode downhill in run support. Ali Jennings got the best of him a couple of times in Week 4, but Jones has visible talent.
2023 NFL Draft sleepers at the FCS level
Devonnsha Maxwell, DT, Chattanooga
You might remember Devonnsha Maxwell’s name from last year. He was named as an FCS sleeper in this article series in October of 2021. But after his two-sack performance against Illinois, it feels appropriate to bring him up again. Maxwell has 23 sacks, and 35.5 TFLs in 34 career games played at Chattanooga. He’s a production machine who played very well against Power Five competition. At 6’3″ and 296 pounds, Maxwell has an appealing combination of natural leverage and proportional length, and he also has the twitch to stress blockers laterally and capitalize in real-time.
Devin Harrell, EDGE, North Carolina A&T
For his two-sack performance in Week 4, North Carolina A&T edge rusher Devin Harrell was given recognition as the Shrine Bowl HBCU Defensive Player of the Week. It was an eye-opening showing for Harrell, who is on track to have his most productive season yet with the Aggies. Though he’s not the largest edge defender at 6’3″, 235 pounds, he has the get-off to stress tackles at the apex, and he also has the torso flexibility to pinch the corner while levying strong rip moves. Harrell is on the Shrine Bowl’s radar, and he should be on yours, too.