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2022 draft – Sleepers and secret stars

Every draft has them

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The NFL is chock full of guys who nobody knew who they were until they became a roster member of a club and then surprised everyone en route to a Pro Bowl.

Not every star player was taken in the first round.

The first three rounds of the draft are critical to the success of any franchise. That is not to say that good - or even great - players cannot be found in the later rounds. This fact is evident on many a current NFL roster such as DE Maxx Crosby, QB Dak Prescott and S Eddie Jackson (Round 4), OG Wyatt Teller, TE George Kittle, CB Richard Sherman, WR Tyreek Hill and K Evan McPherson (5), QB Tom Brady and C Jason Kelce (6) and OT Trent Brown (7), to name a few.

You can go back even further with exceptional such as LB Harry Carson (4), RB Terrell Davis (6), QB Bart Starr (17), C Mike Webster (5), LB Sam Huff (3), DE Deacon Jones (14), TE Shannon Sharpe (7), DE Andy Robustelli (19), and OT Rosie Brown (27).

Perhaps this year’s draft will result in a few distant names that most fans haven’t heard of or even considered. All of these players are hidden gems for the later rounds.

Here at DBN we are using our friends at and their position rankings as a guideline.


EDGE Josh Paschal

Draft Countdown position ranking: 15

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports


College: Kentucky

Height: 6’-3”

Weight: 268 pounds

40-time: 4.77

Career Tackles: 137

Career Forced Fumbles: 3

Career Sacks: 13

Career Tackles for Loss: 35.5

Career starts: 35

Three-year starter in tough conference. Great explosiveness who will chase players down. Good skill set for twists and stunts up front. Excellent with run defense with above-average speed. Very good upper body strength with powerful hands. High-energy. Needs to work on firing his hands faster upon engagement. Above-average pass rusher. 2021 First Team All-SEC and CBS Sports Second Team All-American (2021).

Florida A&M v South Florida Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

S Markquese Bell

Draft Countdown position ranking: 14


College: Florida A&M

Height: 6’-3”

Weight: 205 pounds

40-time: 4.41

Career Tackles: 23

Career Forced Fumbles: 5

Career Sacks: 1

Career Pass Defenses: 2

Career Interceptions: 6

Career Tackles for Loss: 2

Career starts: 21

Bell missed all of 2020 as A&M did not play during the pandemic so his stats are missing one season. He has a long frame with a good mix of speed and range. Good field awareness and ball skills. Strong, aggressive tackler who does not back down with the run. Can get turned around in coverage at times and needs to finish tackles.

Ole Miss v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LB Chance Campbell

Draft Countdown position ranking: 19


College: Ole Miss

Height: 6’-2”

Weight: 233 pounds

40-time: 4.57

Career Tackles: 216

Career Forced Fumbles: 3

Career Sacks: 7.5

Career Tackles for Loss: 22.5

Career starts: 30

Tackling machine with 109 total tackles and six sacks his senior year. Excellent pursuit abilities with clean open-field tackles. Good diagnosis skills and quickly locates the ball. Plays fast with smooth lateral agility and short-area burst. Good instincts as well. Hits a bit too high which will make missed tackles. Lacks the bulk and strength to be an inside thumper.

Wide receivers

UTSA v Memphis Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

WR Calvin Austin III

Draft Countdown position ranking: 16


College: Memphis

Height: 5’-8”

Weight: 170 pounds

40-time: 4.32

Career Receiving Yards: 2,541

Career Touchdowns: 25

Career Receptions: 156

Career Punt Returns: 29

Career Punt Yards: 323

Career Punt Touchdowns: 2

Career starts: 36

Weight is definitely an issue at the next level but speed is off the charts. Able to beat press coverage with quickness and can blow by opponents. Great hands and willing to work the middle. Scrappy as a blocker. Tough competitor and a return man. Has a habit of telegraphing his moves to defenders and can be loose with his routes. Former track star. Two Time First Team All-AAC.

Utah v USC Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

WR Britain Covey

Draft Countdown position ranking: 48


College: Utah

Height: 5’-8”

Weight: 170 pounds

40-time: 4.45

Career Receiving Yards: 2,011

Career Touchdowns: 11

Career Receptions: 184

Career Punt Returns: 92

Career Punt Yards: 1,002

Career Punt Touchdowns: 4

Career Kickoff Returns: 33

Career Kickoff Yards: 828

Career Kickoff Touchdowns: 1

Career starts: 43

Rarely caught from behind but does not have breakaway speed. Very good hands and plays fast and confident. Slippery after the catch. Good initial burst off the snap and in able to get separation. Lacks ideal size and strength. Defenders are able to knock him off his route.

Northern Iowa v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

WR Isaiah Weston

Draft Countdown position ranking: 31


College: Northern Iowa

Height: 6’-4”

Weight: 210 pounds

40-time: 4.42

Career Receiving Yards: 2,088

Career Touchdowns: 2

Career Receptions: 87

Career Fumbles: 0

Career starts: 25

Deceptive jets with large, soft hands. Excellent route runner. Able to come down with bad balls and does a nice job of getting open. Strong runner in the open field and natural pass-catcher. Often used on deep routes and will go across the middle. Willing to lower pads in order to gain extra yardage. Needs to use his hands more rather than securing with chest and does not get to top speed right away. Not very elusive.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Baylor v Ole Miss Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

WR Braylon Sanders

Draft Countdown position ranking: 38


College: Ole Miss

Height: 6’-0”

Weight: 188 pounds

40-time: 4.48

Career Receiving Yards: 1,453

Career Touchdowns: 10

Career Receptions: 269

Career Punt Returns: 3

Career Punt Yards: 33

Career Punt Touchdowns: 0

Career starts: 32

Versatility with strong hands. Onlyaverage height and overall length. Will get separation especially on deep routes. Good ball tracker and brings in passes fluidly without breaking stride. Balance and savvy route runner. Sells his routes. Limited explosiveness and flexibility and will struggle to gain separation on shorter routes.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big 12 Championship Game - Oklahoma State v Baylor Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WR Tyquan Thornton

Draft Countdown position ranking: 24


College: Baylor

Height: 6’-3”

Weight: 182 pounds

40-time: 4.28

Career Receiving Yards: 2,242

Career Touchdowns: 19

Career Receptions: 143

Career Punt Returns: 8

Career Punt Yards: 138

Career Punt Touchdowns: 0

Career starts: 38

Elite speed with smooth acceleration. Just as fast with ball in his hands. Excellent cutting abilities with confidence. Covers a lot of ground in a hurry with an exceptional catch point. Needs more body weight in order not to get knocked off his routes at the next level. Catches passes with chest and pads instead of his hands. 2021 Second Team All-Big 12.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Butler v North Dakota State Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

OT Cordell Volson

Draft Countdown position ranking: 25


College: North Dakota State

Height: 6’-6”

Weight: 315 pounds

40-time: 5.27

Career starts: 15

Solid job on down blocks while securing his man. Stiff, heavy strike and able to pick up stunts. Wide, strong base with good stopping power at the point of attack. Excellent run blocker. He does struggle to recover and needs to be on the go on the snap quicker. 2021 First Team All-MVFC and team captain.