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10 under-the-radar prospects to watch in the 2024 NFL Draft

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Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua is an excellent example of a late-round selection who can change the course of a franchise.

Here are 10 under-the-radar prospects who could outperform their 2024 draft projections and become high-impact pros:

Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon

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Franklin is getting second-round love from some analysts, but he's become a forgotten name in a loaded wide receiver class. His 5.1 yards per route run (minimum 90 targets) in 2023 against single coverage ranks fourth in college football over the last five years, only behind DeVonta Smith, Ja'Marr Chase, and Tee Higgins, according to Jonathan Macri of PFF.

Franklin is lethal down the field, as he recorded a 30-plus-yard touchdown reception in 12 of 13 contests last season. He posted a 4.41 40-yard dash at the combine and performs much quicker on tape. The 21-year-old consistently runs past defenders and has tremendous production to back it up. Over the last two campaigns, he had 2,274 yards for a Pac-12-leading 23 touchdowns. Franklin also broke Oregon's receiving yard record in 2023. A wide receiver with this profile and production rarely makes it out of the second round.

T.J. Tampa, CB, Iowa State

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Tampa is one of the most physical cornerbacks in this class, and his tape is littered with impressive pass breakups in traffic and big hits that make you jump out of your seat. The 22-year-old was initially recruited to play wide receiver at Iowa State but switched to defense and became one of the country's best cornerbacks. Tampa had a 20.7 forced incompletion percentage in 2022, ranking in the 98th percentile, per Trevor Sikkema of PFF.

He had a solid 2023 campaign, racking up nine passes defended and two interceptions while only allowing a 54.8 passer rating when targeted. Tampa is listed at 6-feet, 194 pounds with a 75 5/8 wingspan, one of the longest in this cornerback class. His 4.58 40-yard dash dropped him down boards, but he's a player every general manager should want on their team.

Isaiah Adams, OL, Illinois

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Adams is an offensive line coach's dream, as he can play multiple positions across the line. He started 12 games at left guard and one at left tackle in 2022, securing an 81.1 run block grade from PFF, one of the highest out of any offensive lineman that season.

In 2023, he started 10 games for the Fighting Illini at right tackle. The 6-foot-4, 315-pounder has a ferocity to his game, which you love seeing from a young lineman. His long arms help him get on defenders fast and get set in pass protection quickly. Adams started his college career in Canada before transferring to Garden City Community College. His journey to the NFL displays toughness, and he started all 25 games he was eligible for at Illinois.

Cedric Gray, LB, North Carolina

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I'm baffled that Gray isn't getting more attention. The Charlotte native has been a full-time starter for North Carolina since 2021, totaling 366 tackles in 37 starts over the last three seasons. He exploded in his junior year, racking up 145 tackles (leading the ACC), 12 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles. Gray followed that up with five sacks and 121 tackles in his senior year.

Gray is also one of the better coverage linebackers in this class, having defended 18 passes and intercepted five in college. Playing linebacker in the NFL requires tremendous instincts, and Gray flashes that ability on tape. His frame isn't ideal at 6-foot-1 and 234 pounds, but he plays bigger than his size and has all the tools to be a long-term starting linebacker in the NFL.

Audric Estime, RB, Notre Dame

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If you like big, thumping running backs, let me introduce you to Estime. He's one of the youngest players in this draft class, as he won't be 21 until September. Estime sat behind Kyren Williams in his freshman year but took off in 2022. As a 19-year-old sophomore, Estime ran for 920 yards (team lead) and 11 touchdowns. He excelled in his junior campaign, exploding for 1,341 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

The Notre Dame product is 5-foot-11, 233 pounds, and built like a middle linebacker. His size and athleticism helped him rank third in the FBS in 2023 with 14 carries of 20-plus yards. He ran a 4.71 40-yard dash at the combine but improved that time with a 4.61 run at his pro day. Estime will become a fan favorite wherever he lands.

Kamren Kinchens, S, Miami

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Kinchens is getting crushed for his combine performance, but scouts and analysts shouldn't overlook his tremendous college career. As a freshman, the 21-year-old started the final five games for the Hurricanes at safety. As a sophomore, Kinchens became one of the best safeties in the country, totaling 59 tackles and an ACC-leading six interceptions in 12 starts.

The 21-year-old is the only player in college football with double-digit combined picks over the last two years. He tracks the ball well, knows when to break on receivers, and is a polished tackler, which will translate to the next level. He's been the vocal leader of Miami's defense and didn't commit a penalty over his last 21 games. Kinchens is still very young, but he has excellent instincts that should make him a starting safety in the NFL.

Malik Washington, WR, Virginia

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Washington transferred to Virginia in his final year of college and took the ACC by storm. He racked up 1,426 yards (fourth in FBS) on 110 receptions (led the FBS) with nine touchdowns in 2023. The 5-foot-8, 191-pounder plays way bigger than his size. Washington isn't afraid of going over the middle and consistently runs over defenders, finishing first in forced missed tackles (35) out of any wideout in the FBS.

The 23-year-old's long speed could be better, but his 4.47 40-yard dash suggests he can beat defenders deep in the NFL. Washington's 1,426 receiving yards in 2023 accounted for 47% of the Cavaliers' total receiving output. He single-handedly carried Virginia's offense, and only Rome Odunze and Malik Nabers had more 20-plus-yard receptions last campaign.

Jalyx Hunt, Edge, Houston Christian

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Hunt is one of the most fascinating prospects in this class. He played safety at Cornell while listed at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. After three years with the Big Red, he transferred to Houston Christian and played outside linebacker. Hunt excelled at his new position, racking up a combined 20.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks over the last two seasons.

The 23-year-old won the SLC Defensive Player of the Year Award in his senior year and has elite burst off the line that you can't teach. He's now 6-foot-3, 252 pounds with an 82 3/4 wingspan, and he can still add more weight to his frame. His testing numbers make him an intriguing NFL prospect, as he ran a 4.64 40-yard dash and tied for the best broad jump of any edge rusher in the class.

Jordan Magee, LB, Temple

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A former high school quarterback, Magee has the combination of athleticism, starting experience, and production you want from a potential Day 3 linebacker. Magee started 32 games for Temple and earned second-team all-AAC honors in 2023. He led the team in tackles (80), tackles for loss (14), and produced 3.5 sacks. He had the third-fastest 10-yard split among linebackers at the combine, and the quick speed flashes on tape.

The 23-year-old doesn't have excellent ball production, but he looks comfortable in coverage and has the athleticism to move smoothly in the back end of the defense. He earned team captain honors in back-to-back seasons while leading the Owls' defense. Magee has impressive tape, and if it weren't for the biceps injury he suffered in mid-November, he might be higher on many teams' boards.

Tanor Bortolini, OL, Wisconsin

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Bortolini had a historic NFL combine, posting the third-fastest three-cone drill time of any offensive lineman in history. After recording the second-fastest 40-yard dash and 10-yard split times in 2023, it's safe to say Bortolini is a rare interior lineman prospect. The 21-year-old has started 28 games for the Badgers over the last four seasons and has played every offensive line position aside from left tackle during that stretch.

Bortolini allowed only one sack and two quarterback hits last season as a center on 497 pass-block snaps, per PFF, and has only surrendered two sacks in his entire college career. The Wisconsin product will have to put on some weight at the next level as he struggles with bigger interior defensive linemen, but he has rare athletic ability.

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