The 2019 NFL Draft is littered with talent at just about every skill position. Who are some of the top sleepers to keep an eye on?
Throughout the 2019 NFL Draft process, we’ve become very well versed in the top prospects such as Ohio State edge Nick Bosa, Alabama’s star defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, among others. So much so, that many players seemingly fly under the radar throughout the long process from all star games, to the combine and now into pro day workouts.
Thus, let’s take a further look into some of the top skill position sleepers for the 2019 NFL Draft. Every year we see players drafted late or not even at all play major roles for teams across the NFL landscape. The 2019 NFL Draft class will be no different.
Starting with quarterbacks, let’s take a look at the next wave of under-appreciated NFL stars.
Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham has had an interesting journey to get to draft season. Once a meteoric high school quarterback coming from the Lone Star State, Stidham chose to stay home and play football for Baylor University. After some incredible flashes as a true freshman, the Baylor program took an epic dive after a sexual assault scandal/dismissal of head coach Art Briles.
Stidham’s next landing spot was of course with the Auburn Tigers, which, in retrospect, was a questionable landing spot in terms of development at the quarterback position. There is nothing harder as a draft evaluator than projecting quarterbacks whose main roles were to throw screen passes and run RPO concepts, showing little in route progression.
Aside from the inefficiencies of the offense for evaluators, Stidham has also shown some terrible habits when facing pressure. There are some instances of tunnel vision and inability to navigate the pocket at a efficient level.
Stidham is far from a sure thing, but in a quarterback class marred with more questions than answers, there is plenty of talent to work with. He might have the cleanest release in the entire class, demonstrating consistently superb flight in the air. More tools than finished product at the moment, Stidham may be the top developmental quarterback in this class worth taking a chance on.
Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
I was pretty familiar with Kyle Shurmur early on in his career at Vanderbilt, mostly due to his father’s coaching career (current New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur). Needless to say, the term “coaches son” is going to be thrown around a ton when discusses Shurmur’s style of play. True to form, he does the little things at the quarterback position that would comfort a coach’s eye.
Shurmur is a battle-tested SEC quarterback who seems to always maintain a proper platform in the pocket, never seeming to compromise technique. He shows adequate foot quickness through both his three-step and five-step drops. That foot speed pretty much stops right there, however.
He is a traditional pocket quarterback who makes his living being on time and within structure. You will never mistake Shurmur for a supremely talented athlete, and that is okay. What you are going to get is a technically sound quarterback who has every box checked, to at worst be looked upon in a backup quarterback role. As he clings on for roster life, it will only take one coach/opportunity for Kyle Shurmur to eventually emerge as a spot starter/stop gap option at the position.