With the divsional playoffs wrapping up, the NFL draft is looming. With only a few teams in contention for the Super Bowl, many teams are prepping their war rooms for May's draft. Obviously, teams try to fill their biggest needs by selecting studs in the first two days of the draft. But, the third day is the day where many teams can win the draft. Tom Brady, Shannon Sharpe, and Donald Driver have all had excellent NFL careers, despite being chosen in the later rounds. Sometimes, the best NFL players are picked on day three. Without further ado, lets take a look at some late-round NFL prospects who will be studs at the next level.
Charles Sims, Running Back, West Virginia
Many may not know of the 6-0, 213 pound running back. Sims has enjoyed a successful college football career during his time at Houston & West Virginia. After three years of football at the University of Houston, Sims transferred to West Virginia to play in a bigger spotlight in the Big 12.
In one year at West Virginia, Sims totaled just under 1,500 yards on offense. He ran the ball for around 1,100 yards at a 5.3 yards per carry clip. The senior back also scored 11 rushing touchdowns. Sims has enjoyed a nice career in the college ranks. But, Sims' best asset for the future is his hands.
Sims caught 70 passes in his redshirt freshman year at Houston. At Houston, he caught over 150 passes for over 1,700 yards and eight touchdowns. During his single year at West Virginia, Sims caught 45 receptions for about 400 yards and three touchdowns. Sims could make a living at the next level in a role similar to Danny Woodhead's in San Diego. Woodhead is a valuable playmaker out of the backfield for Philip Rivers. But if he asked to run the ball, he could do that as well. Sims will be a good fit in the later rounds for a team in need of a back with excellent hands and good vision.
Andrew Jackson, Linebacker, Western Kentucky
Jackson may be one of the least known players in the NFL Draft. At 6'1", 265 pounds, Jackson is extremely big for a middle linebacker. Jackson's best skill is his ability to read the run. The middle linebacker position is extremely thin this year.
Because of this, Jackson may rise up draft boards with a good combine performance. Despite excelling against the run, Jackson has a tendency to look lost in pass coverage.
In a league where most teams throw the football, Jackson will need to improve against the pass to be successful in the NFL. Jackson will fit best as a MLB in a 3-4 with an NFL team. A team like the Cleveland Browns may take a chance on Jackson for their linebacker of the future.
Alex Neutz, Wide Receiver, Buffalo
Alex Neutz is a little-known secret out of the Mid-American Conference. Obviously, the best player on Buffalo is Khalil Mack. Mack will most likely be a top-15 pick in the upcoming draft. Neutz is a tall and physical receiver for the Bulls. At 6'3", 200 pounds, Neutz has the size quarterbacks love in redzone. To go along with his 6'3" size, Neutz also runs a 4.5 40-yard dash. The senior holds Buffalo's career touchdown record with 30 touchdowns. He also was a member of the 2013 all-MAC first team. With good hands and good size, Neutz will find a role on a team that is in need of a wide receiver. Neutz is similar to Kenbrell Thompkins on the Patriots.
Billy Turner, Offensive Tackle, North Dakota State
Many fans will see where Billy Turner played college football and be immediately against drafting him. But, North Dakota State has been a mainstay at the top of the FCS for years.
Throughout all of the players in the FCS, Turner may very well be the best player in Divsion I-AA. It would have been interesting to see if Turner could produce at an FBS school.
Regardless, Turner is going to be a good player in the NFL. At 6'5", 310 pounds, Turner has the size for a blindside tackle.
By the time the draft rolls around, Turner may very well be a day two pick. But for now, Turner is one of the most ignored players in the draft. Turner could very well play at the next level as a left tackle.
Kenny Guiton, Quarterback, Ohio State
I save one of my favorite players in all of the draft for last. Guiton has all of the tools to be a good NFL quarterback. Behind Braxton Miller, Guiton never received the playing time he could have gotten at other Division I programs. When Miller went down with an injury in the middle of the college football season, Guiton threw for around 700 yards and 14 touchdowns in just three games.
He also ran the ball for 330 yards and 5 touchdowns. At 6'3", Guiton has the size to be an ample quarterback in the NFL. Guiton will take the Matt Cassel-route to the NFL. Cassel did not play much college football behind starter Matt Leinart at USC. If Guiton decides to join the senior bowl, he will have a ton of eyes on him. A team like the Dallas Cowboys may select Guiton in hopes of finding a late-round gem.
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