Every year a handful of players are overlooked or seemingly slip through the cracks and turn out to be studs. You’re not always going to be picking at the top of the draft, so evaluating players at different stages of the draft is crucial to creating a consistent flow of talent onto your roster throughout the draft year by year.

All of the most successful teams are able to find capable starters or better late in the 1st round or outside of the first round altogether. The Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers seem to do very well at this more often than most.

Take T.J. Watt for example, drafted 30th overall by Pittsburgh in 2017 and all he’s done is rack up nearly 80 sacks over the past 6 seasons while making 5 Pro Bowls, 3 All-Pro teams and a Defensive Player of the Year award. There’s no doubt he’d go much higher if there was a “Re-Draft”, but there’s no re-do’s in the NFL Draft or in life for that matter. 

You’ve got to have an eye for talent superior to your counterparts.

The Draft is far from an exact science, but here are a few ‘less hyped’ players to keep tabs on as we approach the 2023 NFL Draft.

Adetomiwa Adebawore DL Northwestern
Adebawore is an athletic freak & supreme athlete. He is very strong & long with quick feet. He is a disruptive penetrator that is an asset against the run & rushing the passer. He has a solid framework in terms of leverage & technique that should develop beautifully at the next level. Adebawore is an explosive player with loads of potential just waiting to be unlocked.
Top 15 talent – he’ll go late 1st/early 2nd

Sam LaPorta TE Iowa
LaPorta is one of my absolute favorite players and steals of this draft. He’s got great natural hands, good speed, an excellent route runner and a fierce/fiery competitor. LaPorta blocks like a TE, runs routes & catches like a WR and runs in the open field like a RB. He is dynamic after the catch, as he has terrific balance, body control & playmaking ability.
Top 20 talent – he’ll go late 1st/early 2nd

Olusegun Oluwatimi C Michigan
Oluwatimi is a highly intelligent & reliable lineman. He is NFL strong & as polished a prospect as they come. He won the Outland Award this past year, given to college football’s best interior lineman (both offense & defense included). He has one of the higher floors in the entire draft, plays with superb technique & great leverage. He will anchor an o-line for a decade for the team that drafts him.
1st round talent – he’ll go in the 2nd or 3rd round

Nathaniel Dell WR Houston
Now you see him; now you don’t. Tank Dell is without a doubt the most explosive player in the draft. His rare combination of elite speed, “ufo-like” start/stop ability and out of this world agility, will make dell a gamebreaker in the NFL. Despite his small stature, Tank possesses sure hands and excellent ball skills. A potential rookie of the year candidate and steal in the draft.
1st round talent – he’ll go in the 2nd or 3rd round

Cam Smith CB South Carolina
Cam is a supreme athlete & an ultra-instinctive corner with great speed & burst. He’s a dynamic football player with good size, physical in coverage and an aggressive tackler. Smith is a super versatile cornerback that can thrive in any scheme and can play any position in the secondary. Highly intelligent, student of the game with fantastic ball skills. He’s without a doubt, the best CB in the draft and that is saying a lot.
Top 10 talent – he’ll go mid-late 1st

Tuli Tuipulotu DL USC
Tuipulotu has a rare combination of size, strength & quickness. He’s a versatile lineman positionally & schematically. Tuli has a serious trove of pass rush moves including violent swim moves & hand fighting technique. He’s a D-Line coach’s dream, a pure football player and student of the game.
1st round talent – he’ll go in the 2nd round

Jordan Battle S Alabama
Battle is a versatile safety and one of the more well-rounded DB’s in this draft. He has good size and good closing speed. He has great instincts, a good overall feel for the game and has terrific ball skills. Battle can lay a big hit and has ball hawking ability on the back end. Good football player.
1st round talent – he’ll go in the 2nd or 3rd round

Sydney Brown S Illinois
Brown is a very instinctive and opportunistic defensive back. He has good speed & quickness and a terrific understanding & feel for the game. He displays excellent pursuit, electric closing speed & is a strong tackler despite his size. He has good ball skills and is a natural playmaker.
1st round talent – he’ll go in the 2nd or 3rd round

Steve Avila G/C TCU
Avila checks off all the boxes as an NFL caliber interior lineman. He has great size, good strength and is a good athlete. A versatile player that can line up anywhere on the interior line. He has good quickness, lateral movement, agility & is scheme-proof as well.
1st round talent – he’ll be a late 1st or early 2nd round pick

Alex Forsyth C Oregon
I’ve seen Forsyth all over the place on rankings, but I have no doubt he can be an eventual starting center in the NFL. He has big league strength, quickness & lateral movement. He’s a versatile lineman that can also play either guard position, but I think he’s best suited in the middle. He’s equally good in both pass & runblocking.
2nd round talent – he’ll go on day 3

Drew Sanders LB Arkansas
Sanders is one of the more underrated prospects in this draft and one of my favorite players to scout. A converted DE & transfer from Alabama, Sanders was exceptional in his lone season at Arkansas. He’s an intelligent player with terrific play recognition, pursuit & good speed. He’s a superb pass rusher, can cover, textbook tackler and a big hitter. This kid is the real deal.
Top 15 talent – he’ll be a late 1st/early 2nd round pick

Parker Washington WR Penn State
Washington possesses an elite set of hands that separates him from the pass catchers in this draft. Despite his smaller size, he has a huge catch radius and makes adjustments on the ball that allows him to make circus catches routinely. Plays much bigger than he is, has good speed and is like a running back in the open field. Supreme compete level & has arguably the best hands in the draft.
2nd round grade – he’ll be a 3rd or 4th round pick

Sean Tucker RB Syracuse
Tucker has one of the more well rounded toolboxes for running back prospects in this draft. He has good feet and quickness in his cuts, good vision and has some explosiveness. He doesn’t have world class speed, but he does possess adequate speed, is a versatile runner and has very natural receiving ability.
2nd round talent – he’ll go in the 3rd or 4th round

B.J. Ojulari EDGE LSU
Ojulari is a terrific athlete and an even better technician as a pass rusher. Ojulari is a student of the game and a perfectionist. BJ has arguably the most refined repertoire of pass rush moves, including a swim move that he’s mastered and made it look so effortless. He has a relentlessness about his game like that of a caged beast. He’ll be a steal for someone in the 2nd round (if he’s still there). Also, he is a much better player than his brother- no offense, Azeez.
Top 15 talent – he’ll be a late 1st/early 2nd rounder

Ji’Ayir Brown S Penn State
Brown is a true free safety with adequate tackling ability and good coverage skills. He’s an elite ball hawk with elite quickness & agility. Ji’Ayir is a smart & instinctive player and student of the game.
2nd round talent – he’ll go around the 3rd round

Calijah Kancey DL PITT
Kancey is a fast & explosive penetrator. He’s an elite athlete that gets into the backfield with lightning quickness. He has terrific feel for the game, high football IQ & a meanstreak. His hands & feet are in tune and equally quick & powerful. He uses his leverage very well with very good technique & improvisation when getting off blocks and rushing the passer.
Top 15 talent – he’ll go mid/late 1st

Wanya Morris OL Oklahoma
Morris is a very smart offensive lineman with terrific technique. A true student of the game – Morris is versatile positionally and schematically. He has good strength and uses leverage well. Morris is arguably the most underrated prospect in this draft. He could start for an NFL team, day one.
2nd round talent – he’ll be a 3rd round pick

Terell Smith CB Minnesota
Terell Smith is a coach’s dream. He has superb fundamentals and is a true student of the game. He’s a smart & deceptively good cornerback that slows the game down and surprises his opponents with his speed & terrific burst. He plays the game the right way and flashes his athleticism strategically. Good ball skills. Quietly one of the better corners in the class.
2nd round grade – he’ll go around the 4th round

Julius Brents CB Kansas State
It’s easy to become enamored with the sheer size & physicality Brents brings to the table. There just aren’t many 6’3” cornerbacks in the NFL & Brents is a supremely gifted athlete. He is a decently instinctive cornerback who is versatile and plays a physical brand of football. He’s an aggressive tackler and has good ball skills.
2nd round talent – he’ll go late 2nd

Riley Moss CB Iowa
Make no mistake about it; Riley Moss is a legitimate NFL cornerback. A good athlete with good hips & speed. Moss is a reliable & versatile corner with good play recognition, good burst & recovery speed.
2nd round grade – he’ll go in the 3rd or 4th round

Daiyan Henley LB Washington State
Henley is a supreme athlete with some of the best agility & pursuit of any player in this draft. He is a highly intelligent and instinctive player with a knack for the ball, whether it’s causing turnovers or just being around when they happen. He’s terrific in coverage, has very good play recognition and is a purposeful, calculated tackler. Special player.
1st round talent – he’ll be a 2nd round pick

Jonathan Mingo WR Ole Miss
Mingo’s got great size and uses his body/frame very well. Terrific body control and ball skills allow him to make circus catches with ease. He has good route running ability and has the potential to be a monster in the red zone, on jump balls and fades. He’s drawn a lot of comparisons to fellow Ole Miss alumni, A.J. Brown & D.K. Metcalf, and rightfully so.  He’ll go in the 2nd round, as they did.
2nd round grade – he’ll be a late 2nd/early 3rd rounder

Keeanu Benton DL Wisconsin
Benton is a violent penetrator with quick feet & packs a powerful punch. He’s very strong at the point of attack and has some aggressive hand moves. He’s a smart player and uses his leverage well. He does a great job eating up blockers and doesn’t shy away from the challenge of a double team. Really good player.
2nd round talent – he’ll be a late 2nd/early 3rd round pick

Chase Brown RB Illinois
Brown is a very smart and shifty back that keeps his legs churning and plays a physical game.  One of the better rushers in between the tackles, he seems to find the creases and runs through contact.  He has good lateral movement, agility, good vision and takes terrific angles as a runner.
2nd round talent – he’ll be 4th round pick

Kendre Miller RB TCU
A somewhat overlooked prospect, Miller has a good combination of running & receiving ability that will afford him a decent NFL career. He’s got quick feet and has some burst as a runner.  He exhibits good vision and balance as a runner and does not shy away from contact.
2nd round grade – he’ll be a 3rd/4th round pick

Don’t Stop Here

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