Quick. In which round was the NFL's leading receiver drafted? Here's a clue; it wasn't the first round. Brandon Lloyd led the NFL in receiving yardage with 1448 yards. He was a fourth round pick back in 2003.
It is worth noting that six receivers went over the 1,000 yard receiving mark and were not first rounders. The moral of the story is that wideouts can be found in the later rounds of the draft. Furthermore, having an elite wide receiver will not win a team a championship. Just ask Andre Johnson and the Houston Texans.
Here at Mockingthedraft.com we are going to put together a team of underrated prospects that have a chance to outperform their draft position. In order to be considered a sleeper, a player cannot be a consensus first round prospect, and must not be considered one of the top three to five players at his position.
Today we analyze the pass catchers.
Wide Receiver - Cecil Shorts III, WR, Mount Union
Cecil Shorts III is a prime example of why teams should hold off on drafting wide receivers until the later rounds. This kid has amazing speed and soft hands along with outstanding playmaking skills. He is so talented after the catch that he could potentially play running back at the next level.
You find football players where you find football players, and this kid can play. Shorts III compiled 22 total touchdowns this season despite missing three games with an ankle injury.
Cecil Shorts III may not have blazing speed or the ideal physical makeup, but we have seen wide receivers succeed without the elite tools or pedigree. He has an innate ability to elude defenders and attacks the football at its apex. He'll settle in nicely at the NFL level.
Wide Receiver - Greg Little, WR, UNC
Greg Little is a monster of a receiving prospect. At 6'3'' and 230 pounds Little runs a 4.5 forty yard dash and plays faster than that on tape. He is every bit the prospect Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks were coming out of North Carolina.
The issue? Greg Little has character concerns. Normally, this would be a huge red flag. However, if there is one position at which a player can have character issues and still be successful, it is wide receiver. As a matter of fact, it is almost a pre requisite these days.
Little has too much talent to be drafted later than the third round.
Tight End - Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic
Rob Housler is a talented tight end prospect who has really shined throughout the pre-draft process. At the scouting combine Housler ran a 4.51 40 yard dash and notched a 37 inch vertical leap. He also looked impressive in all of the positional drills.
Housler is not the best blocker in the world, but will improve in this area as long as he continues to add weight to his 6'5'' frame. He will make some team very happy in the middle rounds.
Who are your biggest pass catching sleeper prospects?