2012 NFL Draft: 5 Sleepers Your Favorite Team Should Draft

Dan O'BrienContributor IIIMarch 28, 2012

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 02: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans releases a pass against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Outback Bowl January 2, 2012 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

In the 2012 NFL Draft, many impact players will be drafted during the first round. However, not all of the impact players are drafted in the first round, and teams will be able to find sleepers later in the draft who will be able to contribute immediately for their franchise. Tom Brady and Joe Montana headline the biggest "diamond in the rough" draft picks, and many experts speculate as to who is a steal in the 2012 NFL Draft. In the 2012 NFL Draft, I feel there are five prospects that will be drafted outside of the first round who will make lasting impacts in the NFL.


Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State

Kirk Cousins is a projected second or third-round pick who has the potential to become an elite NFL quarterback. Cousins was a captain at Michigan State, proving he has the leadership qualities necessary to lead an NFL team. In addition to his intangibles, Cousins has physical attributes that should translate to success in the NFL. He has a very quick release and has excellent accuracy from the pocket. With both his physical and intangible qualities, Kirk Cousins should be able to develop into an elite NFL quarterback and prove to be one of the biggest steals in the 2012 NFL Draft.


Joe Adams, WR/KR, Arkansas

Adams is a dynamic product of Arkansas' high-powered offense who is projected to be picked in the two-to-four-round range in the 2012 NFL Draft. The first thing to know about Adams is that he is an explosive athlete. His burst and speed will be able to affect games in many ways, as he was a weapon in the kick return game in college. Adams will be able to come into the NFL and play a Darren Sproles- type role due to the fact that he is a versatile threat that can change a game in one play. 


Trumaine Johnson, DB, Montana

Johnson is not known to the average college football fan due to the fact that he played at Montana–an FCS school. However, Johnson undeniably is an extremely talented defensive back and is projected to be a second or third-round pick. Johnson is very tall–listed at 6' 2", which allows him to have a large range in the defensive backfield, and he also has excellent leaping ability.

Johnson breaks on the ball very well allowing him to jump routes and defend many passes. Although there is little doubt that Johnson can perform at corner in the NFL, he may be the ideal "center-fielding free safety" due to his range and athletic ability. The unique skill set of Trumaine Johnson makes him a great sleeper in the 2012 NFL Draft.


Mike Martin, DT, Michigan

Projected as a third or fourth-round pick, one may think that Mike Martin isn't one of the better defensive tackles in the 2012 NFL Draft. However, the former state wrestling champion has the potential to be a steal on day three. Martin plays with incredible leverage and has an unbelievably high motor. The 307-pound defensive tackle was a play-making run-stopper and a team captain at Michigan. Martin is extremely difficult to push off of the line of scrimmage let alone put on the ground, making him on of the biggest sleepers in the 2012 NFL Draft.


Kashif Moore, WR, Connecticut

Kashif Moore is easily the deepest sleeper on this list, as he is projected a late third day pick. Despite his low ranking, Moore is a high-impact player who had an exceptional combine. The son of a father who was in the Air Force is a high character player and an extremely hard worker.

Moore ran an official 4.41 forty yard dash, had the highest vertical jump at the combine at 43.5" and was a top five performer in the three cone and short shuttle drills. Moore had nearly half of Connecticut's receiving touchdowns, and his top flight speed gives him big play ability. Moore is a player to watch for and will be the biggest steal of the 2012 NFL Draft.