Schultz: 15 NFL draft sleepers on offense who caught the eye of scouts
The NFL draft is an imperfect science, with many productive players found in later rounds. For this exercise, I spoke with one personnel executive and two veteran scouts to highlight 15 of the best sleepers at the offensive skill positions. We have each player's top attributes, what they need to work on, and a reasonable NFL player comparison - either current or retired.
Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
Size: 6-foot-1 3/4, 220 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Big-bodied specimen who can run and is excellent after the catch (16.9 yards per catch). Could end up being one of the best offensive players in the draft; he's that talented.
Something to work on: Would like to see him use that 4.46 speed and 39.5-inch vertical jump more on deep balls.
Player comp: A.J. Brown
Tyjae Spears, RB, Tulane
Size: 5-foot-10, 201 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Fluid runner with great vision and strength. Also possesses plenty of juice, making guys miss in the open field.
Something to work on: Get pad level down in between the tackles to break off even more big runs.
Player comp: Tony Pollard
Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
Size: 5-foot-8 1/2, 188 pounds
What the scouts are saying: "Lightning in a bottle" who jumps off the screen with his speed and agility. Blazing 4.32 40 and felt like he could have run even faster. A "weapon" that you "want in your offense" with soft hands and dynamic cutting ability.
Something to work on: Durability is the only concern here, as size isn't in his favor. Pass protection isn't ideal as a result.
Player comp: Reggie Bush
Tyler Scott, WR, Cincinnati
Size: 5-foot-10, 177 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Game-breaking speed that you simply can't game plan for. Has a gear that you rarely see, even at this level.
Something to work on: Put on some weight to hold up against press coverage.
Player comp: Darius Slayton
Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State
Size: 5-foot-11, 187 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Plays much bigger than he is. Physical receiver who finishes routes with precision. Hand-catcher who loves contact. Classic Michigan State player who'll block as well.
Something to work on: Clean up drops on balls he should be catching.
Player comp: Robert Woods
DeWayne McBride, RB, UAB
Size: 5-foot-10 1/4, 209 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Truly special talent as a feature back with juice, both running and catching the football.
Something to work on: Clean up fumbles to remain on the field more often.
Player comp: Michael Carter
Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota St.
Size: 6-foot-5, 254 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Prototypical size and athleticism for a modern-day tight end. Will beat linebackers up the seam with his speed and will bother safeties and nickels with his size. Tremendous athlete who plays with a mean streak.
Something to work on: More concentration on the easier balls he should catch. Just a mental thing, but all the tools are there for Kraft.
Player comp: Dallas Goedert
Andrei Iosivas, WR, Princeton
Size: 6-foot-3, 205 pounds
What the scouts are saying: His 4.43-second 40-yard dash and 39-inch vertical check every box. He understands the position at a high level and can beat press coverage with high-level releases and strong hands.
Something to work on: Would like to see him add another 7-to-8 pounds to match up against the more physical defensive backs.
Player comp: Isaiah Hodgins
Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion
Size: 6-foot-7, 255 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Size-matchup nightmare who can be deployed all over the field. With his size and strength, he can become a great blocker as well once he learns the techniques. Long strider who ran a surprisingly quick 4.55 40 while jumping a freakish 40 inches.
Something to work on: Doesn't have much post-catch wiggle and is still developing as a route-runner.
Player comp: Colby Parkinson
Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford
Size: 6-foot-2, 213 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Polished route-runner with enticing twitchiness and wiggle.
Something to work on: Just needs to stay on the field, as injuries plagued him throughout his collegiate career.
Player comp: Romeo Doubs
Payne Durham, TE, Purdue
Size: 6-foot-5 5/8, 253 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Smart, durable, and surprisingly athletic. Nimble after the catch, capable of being a 10-year pro.
Something to work on: Blocking is the next level of development, especially considering his size and frame. Given his natural strength, an NFL program should help his technique, which will also help him set the edge in the run game.
Player comp: Jack Doyle
Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, UCLA
Size: 6-foot-2, 203 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Excellent mover with an accurate arm. Understands how to manipulate the pocket and move the chains with his legs while avoiding big hits. More than capable arm; can make all the throws. Hyper-competitive and smart as well.
Something to work on: Tighten up his release to get the ball out quicker, as he tends to elongate release from the pocket.
Player comp: Taylor Heinicke
Tank Dell, WR, Houston
Size: 5-foot-8, 165 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Wonderful feel for the position, knows how to beat press, knows where and when to sit in a zone, and plays much bigger than he is.
Something to work on: Continue developing in the slot, where he could eventually become a true weapon with his route-running and overall feel.
Player comp: Greg Dortch
Eric Gray, RB, Oklahoma
Size: 5-foot-9 1/2, 207 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Natural hand-catcher out of the backfield. Guys bounce off him once he gets a head of steam. Good acceleration as well, with the potential to become a feature back.
Something to work on: Doesn't have true breakaway speed and sometimes goes east-west unnecessarily.
Player comp: Khalil Herbert
Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
Size: 6-feet, 214 pounds
What the scouts are saying: Love his game. Does everything well with no real weaknesses for a guy with ideal size. Has real power, decisiveness, and can flat-out catch the football. Good in pass protection as well.
Something to work on: Won't scare you with speed (4.53), which sometimes affects his ability as an inside runner.
Player comp: Miles Sanders
Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State
Size: 6-foot-4, 253 pounds
What the scouts are saying: High-level athlete with tons of juice post-catch. Good and willing blocker.
Something to work on: Add more production to a toolbox that's fairly full, and you're looking at a potential starter.
Player comp: Chris Cooley