2013 NFL Draft Sleepers: Unheralded Players Guaranteed to Star in Pros

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IApril 25, 2013

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 29:  Quarterback Matt Scott #10 of the Arizona Wildcats throws a pass during the college football game against the Oregon State Beavers at Arizona Stadium on September 29, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. The Beavers defeated the Wildcats 38-35.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

By now, you're all familiar with the big names and talent levels of this year's likely first-round picks in the 2013 NFL draft, but what you don't know is the type of talent that's hiding in the later rounds—the draft sleepers. 

Just because a player doesn't go in the first three rounds of the draft doesn't mean they don't have NFL talent—just ask Tom Brady, Terrell Davis and Roger Staubach.

It's time to take a look at three players you should keep your eyes on after Thursday's first round.


Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati

Aside from an unknown character issue that saw him miss the entire 2010 season, Cincinnati tight end Travis Kelce has all of the tools to be a complete tight end in the NFL.

As one of the likely steals of the draft, Kelce is one of the most complete tight ends in this year's class. Not only can he block defenders, but the 6'5" tight end can be a force on offense as well.

Kelce finished the 2012 season with 45 receptions, 722 yards and eight touchdowns and owns big-play ability at the tight end position. Look no further than his performance in the Belk Bowl against Duke—when he went for five receptions, 123 yards and a score—as evidence of his worth.

If teams can put that 2010 issue in the past and move on from it (as long as Kelce can, too), one NFL franchise is going to get one of the best sleepers in the 2013 NFL draft in Travis Kelce.


Quanterus Smith, DE, Western Kentucky

This year's draft class is full of playmaking defensive ends, including Ezekiel Ansah, Bjoern Werner, Damontre Moore and Datone Jones, but some are disregarding the talent of Western Kentucky's Quanterus Smith.

A torn ACL saw Smith miss the end of the 2012 season (via WKU Sports), but his production prior to the injury was off the charts. The 6'5" defensive end racked up 12.5 sacks in just nine games last season, highlighted by three against Alabama's staunch offensive line.

The 2012 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year has excellent pass-rushing moves to get around the edge and could be a steal in the 2013 draft as long as he checks out medically.

Smith's initial burst off the line and his length make him an ideal pass-rusher in the NFL, perhaps for a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who recorded the least amount of sacks on defense last season.


Matt Scott, QB, Arizona

In a draft that's pegged to be pretty shallow at the quarterback position, Matt Scott is easily the most underrated and slept-on QB of his class.

Scott took over at Arizona after Nick Foles left for the NFL, throwing for more than 3,600 yards to go with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2012. The athletic quarterback posted a 60 percent completion percentage and also added 506 yards and six scores on the ground.

Scott's dynamic quarterback play fits the mold of what some NFL teams are looking for these days, with the likes of Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick emerging as a new wave of quarterback in the league.

A monster game against USC on Oct. 27—in which Scott threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 100 yards and a score—is just a small sample size of the NFL-like talent he possesses as one of the biggest sleepers in the 2013 NFL draft.


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