Late Round Sleepers The Colts Should Target

Every year when the NFL draft approaches there are lists made up of sleepers that teams should target in the later rounds. The Colts have a history in drafting players in the later rounds that turn out to be star players for the team. Robert Mathis and Antoine Bethea come to mind right away. The scouts for each team have to dig really deep on these kinds of players and when the GM makes that phone call on draft day they have to hope they have found a diamond in the rough.

This year is no different. The Colts have been using free agents to fill needs so far in the Ryan Grigson era but they also need to be finding this diamonds in the rough to help build a homegrown unit in Indy once again. Many of us may not have liked the way Bill Polian refused to use free agents as building blocks and use the draft to build but we have to all agree at this point, it worked out well. So here is my list of possible sleepers the Colts should target in the later rounds of the draft.

1. Davis Tull, OLB (UT-Chattanooga)

Tull has been on the last two Colts mock drafts. He is a sleeper for sure. Teams know who he is but since he couldn’t compete at the combine all he has is possible pro days to show the scouts and teams what he can do. If you watch his film his first step is awesome. He has a plethora of pass rushing moves to use and does them all fairly well. He may be a little short but, like Freeney, he uses his whole body very well to get to the quarterback. Tull may need a little time to transition from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker but the great thing about the Colts is they have time to mold him.

Projected Round(s): 5-6

2. Tye Smith- CB, Towson

Another guy that has been on the mock drafts lately but for good reason. Towson has a good football program and Smith is a standout for sure. He is a ball-hawking corner who doesn’t shy away from contact either. Like Vontae he plays very well when he is on an island in man to man coverage. Smith can play the zone as well but does better when he has one job. Smith also has great speed and could possibly be a weapon in the return game.

Projected Round(s): 6-7

3. Devin Gardner- WR, Michigan

If you’re a fan of Big Ten football you know who Gardner is and what he can do. Gardner is making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver which is the smart move. Gardner has a good arm but his accuracy is terrible. So what does Gardner possess that would make him a good NFL wide receiver? Size and speed. Gardner is very quick and agile. He made many plays with his feet for the Wolverines and doesn’t mind a little contact either. Standing at 6’4 and 210 lbs. he could be a great weapon if given the chance to really make the position transition.

Projected Round(s): 6-7

4. Rob Crisp- OT, North Carolina State

Crisp didn’t wow many people with his combine numbers but he didn’t have to either. Crisp is a big specimen for an offensive lineman. He is a left tackle and should be that in the NFL as well. Great footwork and plays through the whistle. He isn’t as powerful as he should be though which is why he will fall into the later rounds. He could fill in if needed for sure but would need time to acclimate himself with the NFL and work with the teams strength coach to get stronger. Could be a star in the making.

Projected Round(s): 5-7

5. Davaris Daniels- WR, Notre Dame

Daniels hasn’t played football for almost an entire year. He was suspended for academic dishonesty at Notre Dame. His 2013 season was outstanding but that is all he has to show right now. Daniels can be a huge weapon for teams if given the chance. He can return kicks and punts very well and has pretty good vision with the ball in his hands. Doesn’t have blazing speed but enough to get the job done.

6. Jake Ryan- ILB, Michigan

Another Big Ten prospect. Ryan was a leader on the Michigan defense in his time there and possibly could be the same in the NFL. Ryan was known for studying offenses and is a great sideline to sideline guy. He is also a thumper. He tackles through the ball carrier and doesn’t let go until they are down. Ryan has to learn to avoid being blocked though. It sounds silly to say that an inside linebacker needs to learn how to avoid blockers but it’s true.  That is why he will slide in the draft.

Projected Round(s): 5-7

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