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2015 NFL Draft: 8 sleepers ready to contribute immediately

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There are different types of sleepers to be found in the draft, but none is more important than those who can contribute early in the NFL.

Finding a sleeper isn't totally about finding some obscure player. After all, no one should be a hipster football fan. Instead, it's more finding an under-appreciated player in the middle and later rounds of the draft and having them produce beyond their draft slot.

Most identify sleepers as players from FCS schools, but there are legitimate sleepers from the power five conferences as well. Those are typically players that just get overlooked. Maybe it's because of injury, or that they're not the best players at their position at their school.

A sleeper also doesn't have to be a complete superstar. Jerick McKinnon in last year's draft is a good example of a sleeper. A third-round pick out of Georgia Southern, McKinnon had 113 yards for 538 yards and 27 receptions for 135 yards. By no means is that a Pro Bowl year, but he was good. The Cleveland Browns got a couple of good sleepers last year in wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (621 yards) and running back Isaiah Crowell (607 yards), and they weren't even drafted. The Oakland Raiders found a sleeper in seventh round cornerback T.J. Carrie. He played almost 600 snaps on defense last season, starting four games and being a key special teams piece.

This isn't a feature on those deep sleepers you've never heard of that will need time to develop. Here are some of the sleepers in the 2015 NFL Draft, who should be able to come in and make a nice contribution, if not more.

Tye Smith, 6'0 1/8, 191 pounds, CB, Towson

Some cooled on Smith after he ran a 4.6 40-yard dash, but don’t let that number fool you. As a late-round prospect, teams will like his length (32-inch arms) and how he played against West Virginia’s Kevin White. White may have had 10 catches and 101 yards that game, but Smith kept him from catching any deep passes over the top. Smith is a master in the short area where he can rely on his quickness and strength. Smith might not be suited for a press man scheme, but he should excel on a team that uses a lot of zone.

"He’s long with good hands, runs well," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said about Smith. "Good change of direction, good hips, all the things you look for in a corner.

Dezmin Lewis, 6'3 1/2, 215 pounds, WR, Central Arkansas

After a season of 64 receptions for 945 yards and nine touchdowns at Central Arkansas, Lewis received a Senior Bowl invitation and fared well for himself. Lewis is a bigger wide out, who has the speed to get vertical and beat defensive backs over the top. Lewis is a little bit limited in what he can do. He’s raw as a route runner and needs to get more aggressive going up after the ball. But Lewis looks the ball in nicely, has legit 4.4 speed and comes back to the ball when plays break down.

Norkeithus Otis, 6'1, 235 pounds, OLB, North Carolina

If he didn't play through a hamstring injury in 2014, chances are a lot more people would know about Otis. In 2013, he registered 49 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Otis played the hybrid "bandit" position for North Carolina. Basically, it’s a mix of being a traditional end and stand-up rush linebacker. When he’s healthy, Otis displays a good burst and has range in space. In the right situation, Otis could have a nice role as a pass rush specialist in the NFL.

David Johnson, 6’0 3/4, 224 pounds, RB, Northern Iowa

If you're looking for this year's version of McKinnon -- a running back who will factor into the pass game -- it could be Johnson. At Senior Bowl practices this year, Johnson could have been mistaken for a tight end because of his big frame and easy movement on routes. For Northern Iowa, he caught an incredible 141 passes for 1,734 yards in four seasons. Not bad when you consider that he ran for another 4,687 yards and 49 touchdowns. When Johnson ran a 4.5 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, teams really took notice. The combination of that speed, his natural size to break tackles and the hands in the passing offense and you have a good utility player.

Rannell Hall, 6'0 3/8, 193 pounds, WR, Central Florida

Central Florida teammate Breshad Perriman gets all the attention and hype, but Hall is a pretty decent player himself. While Perriman made a name for himself making big plays over the top, it was Hall who worked the underneath game. He's a strong runner after the catch and can be elusive. With his ability and willingness as a blocker, Hall is going to be a late-round pick at wide receiver who sticks on the field.

JaCorey Shepherd, 5’11, 199 pounds, CB, Kansas

Shepherd isn't the biggest cornerback, nor is he the fastest. His instincts, however, are off the charts. Shepherd knows how to time his jumps properly and will get his hand on the ball to break up a pass. In the last two seasons, he's had 32 pass breakups and gave up very few touchdowns. He may be susceptible to deep passes, but he's impressive covering short and intermediate passes.

Gabe Martin, 6'2, 236 pounds, OLB, Bowling Green

Playing in the Mid-American Conference, it was easy to overlook Martin. But with a career of 246 tackles, 31 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, he's on the radar as a late-round prospect. He has solid instincts and good range to make plays sideline-to-sideline. At the least, Martin should be able to start his career making a contribution on special teams player and could slide into a starting weak-side position.

Kyle Emanuel, 6'4 1/2, 254 pounds, OLB, North Dakota State

For teams searching for a pass rusher deep in the draft, Emanuel is an attractive choice. Last season he had an unbelievable 32.5 tackles for loss, 19.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. More importantly, he has the skills to back up those numbers. Emanuel hustles to the ball on every play and plays aggressively. He'll likely move from end to linebacker in the NFL to take advantage of his motor and agility.