NFL Draft 2013: Underrated Players Who Will Pay Big Dividends

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2013

Ace Sanders can be a spark plug in Jacksonville.
Ace Sanders can be a spark plug in Jacksonville.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

This year's draft was full of players taken in the later rounds who can make a huge difference to their new teams. 

Many times, players taken in the later rounds simply go unnoticed. The names generally aren't as notable to the public, and therefore a player's perceived value is lesser than that of someone who is simply more noticeable in a crowd. 

However, this draft has plenty of guys who went unnoticed until the late rounds but who have a chance to make an impact on Sundays. 


Ryan Swope, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Drafted in the sixth round by the Cardinals, Swope is a receiver who can play a big role in fixing the team's passing woes. 

At Texas A&M, Swope was the top target for two well-known quarterbacks. As a sophomore and junior, Swope was favorited by Ryan Tannehill, the starter for the Miami Dolphins. In those two seasons, Swope hauled in 161 passes for 2,032 yards. 

Then as a senior, he made 72 grabs for 913 yards with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel throwing the ball. Swope also dealt with a regime change his last season as an Aggie when Mike Sherman was fired as the head coach after the 2011 season and replaced by Kevin Sumlin in 2012. 

It's clear that not only is Swope consistent as a receiver, but he can be productive under different systems with different quarterbacks. 

That's exactly what the Cardinals are dealing with right now as new head coach Bruce Arians installs his system with new quarterback Carson Palmer. 

Issues regarding a concussion hurt Swope's draft stock, according to Sean Lester of the Dallas Morning News.  Nevertheless, Swope is a tremendous prospect who can make an immediate impact at the NFL level. 


Braden Wilson, Fullback, Kansas City Chiefs

Another sixth-round pick, this time for the Chiefs, Wilson is a quality fullback that has excellent blocking skills. 

Last year at Kansas State, he was the lead blocker for Bill Snyder's run-heavy offense that included Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein and running back John Hubert. 

It was Wilson leading the way for those guys, and more times than not it was him that sprung either Klein or Hubert for a big run. 

Wilson has great size at 6'3" and 251 pounds. He's a strong fullback who can be a great lead blocker for Jamaal Charles, one of the best running backs in the league. 

The Chiefs don't have a good back for short-yardage situations. Charles is great, but he's considered more of a burner than a bruiser. 

Wilson could end up being the guy in Kansas City that either gets the short yards himself on carries or protects Charles up the middle. 


Ace Sanders, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Selected in the fourth round by the Jaguars, Sanders could be the spark that Jacksonville is looking for. 

Last year's co-SEC Special Teams Player of the Year out of South Carolina, Sanders can make an immediate impact in the return game. 

In 2012, he returned two punts for touchdowns and averaged just over 15 yards per return. 

Despite being relatively short at 5'7", Sanders still was a quality receiver in the SEC, a league filled with defenses loaded with NFL talent. 

Sanders had nine receiving touchdowns last year and 531 yards receiving. In the Outback Bowl, Sanders had arguably his best collegiate game. He was named the game's MVP after returning a punt for a touchdown as well as hauling in nine catches for 92 yards and two scores. 

The Jaguars are a team that is in desperate need of a spark. Sanders was referred to by ESPN's Matt Williamson as "Tavon Austin Lite," according to an ESPN blog post by Paul Kuharsky.

So Sanders may very well be that spark that the Jaguars are in search of.