The top prospects in the draft get all the attention. We have heard about Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow, Chase Young, and others about a million times as we head towards April 23rd. However, there are a lot of players that do not get the attention they deserve. Their stock puts them firmly in third day consideration, and they might have been skipped over by the NFL Combine as well. Those guys are considered sleepers to the draft media and NFL fans. The NFL will find those gems, as they do each year. But, who are those under the radar prospects? Here are five deep sleepers to watch for in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Pete Guerriero, RB, Monmouth
Guerriero is a legitimate track star. At Monmouth, he was the MAAC Conference Champion with a 10.65 100-meter dash as a sophomore. His tremendous speed dominated the likes of his FCS competition. His footwork is incredibly fun to watch. He is so light on his feet and looks like a dancer in the backfield. The key for Guerriero was that he had to combine that speed with vision. Thus far, he has done that, especially outside of the tackles. He is built to play in an outside zone scheme with his burst, contact balance, and speed.
Guerriero will have to work on pass protection and receiving the ability to become a complete back despite the great traits and speed he has, but there is a lot of to like about the FCS’s leading rusher from the 2019 season. When Guerriero goes to the next level, the question for him is going to be vision between the tackles and if he can become a fully well-rounded running back.
Best fits: Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers
Josh Love, QB, San Jose State
Love lacks the physical tools that make the NFL drool over a quarterback prospect, and that is likely a big part of the reason he has no hype. The guy just has incredible poise in the pocket when under duress. That is not a common trait you see, but Love feels the pressure and sticks it in there and fires accurate balls.
Love is going to have to learn a few things. For one, his mental processing does need to improve. He goes through progressions a bit too slowly and can miss some rotations from pre-snap to post-snap. However, he has pretty good mechanics, a smooth release, and great touch on the ball.
Love is one of the more underrated throwers in this class when it comes to ball placement. Still, though, his mental game is going to be the crux of his issues, and he will have to fix that. In addition, he does lack mobility, and I wish he could do more outside of the pocket to make plays out of structure. Love will be the best fit in a vertical passing game that eases his transition.
Best fits: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cale Garrett, ILB, Missouri
Garrett is a real throwback and leader. His tape shows a bruiser that will lay the wood and play with a physicality that sets the tone for the defense. He has excellent instincts and flows to the football, avoiding traffic with ease and deconstructing blocks with polished hand usage.
The thing with Garrett is he did not test well in a straight line, but he does have some quickness and juice on tape. He is not a liability because there is some athletic ability there for Garrett. Even in zone coverage, his instincts show up, and he is disruptive. Now, he does have some limitations, especially in man coverage. He is tight-hipped and has to clean up his angles since he does get juked out of tackles at times. However, Garrett brings special teams value and can be a MIKE linebacker in the NFL.
Best fits: Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots
Joe Gaziano, EDGE, Northwestern
Gaziano is the all-time sack leader at Northwestern and for good reason. He has a very hot motor and a polished pass-rush plan. Gaziano is more powerful than anything and plays with good pad level and heavy hands. He is a stout run defender who sets a hard edge and holds the gap well.
There are, however, some issues with Gaziano. He lacks the bend and explosiveness that is desirable in pass rushers and is likely stuck as a base defensive end in a 4-3 and in a 3-4 is more than likely to play 5-technique than be a stand-up rusher due to stiffness in his hips. There Gaziano will offer a run stopper and adequate depth for a team. The pass-rushing upside will all depend on how he continues to develop his hand usage, but it is capped due to limited athletic ability.
Best fits: New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans
Darnell Mooney, WR, Tulane
Mooney is the one guy that I do not understand why he has not taken off in the media. There is very little buzz around a guy who ran a 4.38 40-yard dash and had a 37-inch vertical at the NFL Combine. Even in a deep class, Mooney’s talent on tape sticks out.
In the open field, Mooney is electric and can be a legitimate deep threat. After the catch, Mooney is sudden and has good contact balance to extend the play. He has a good array of releases to eat corners in off-man coverage up for lunch. Honestly, he could project into the slot best, but Mooney can also shift outside with that vertical speed and ability to win at all three levels of the field.
He should get a lot more buzz than he is getting. There are some disappointing drops, and I would like to see his route get more detailed, but I am a fan of Mooney’s, and he should go earlier than being projected right now. The guy can play. I think he best fits in a scheme that will allow him more free releases away from contact at this point.
Best fits: San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts