NFL Draft Sleepers 2018

By Jake Schwanitz
Jake Schwanitz

Everyone loves to talk sleepers. Here’s a double dose for you. Sleepers in April’s NFL Draft that could become sleepers for the 2018 fantasy football season.

John Kelly, RB, TennesseeAlvin Kamara burst into the spotlight last season proving that he was criminally underutilized in Butch Jones’ mess of an offense. John Kelly is ready to show that he can make a similar impact in the NFL after leaving the Volunteers early and declaring for the NFL Draft this April. The Kamara/Kelly comparison doesn’t stop there. The two backs are the exact same size at 5-feet-10-inches, 215 pounds and have very similar traits. Kelly showed that while he is a tad undersized, he is a very strong and tough runner that displays burst and balance through contact. While his opportunities in college were limited, he did show natural hands and the ability to make an impact in the passing game as well. Again, like Kamara, the team that drafts him will dictate his success in the NFL. He would be best used in a rotation where he can still get about 15-20 touches a game. Teams that I believe could get the most out of Kelly include the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. Kelly could go as high as round 3, but with this loaded running back class he could end up being a huge value pick for someone on day 3 of the draft.

Sony Michel, RB, Georgia – Football fans everywhere were introduced to Sony Michel last season as he constantly made huge plays in the College Football Playoff. Displaying toughness, burst, hands and at times a running style and moves reminiscent of Le’Veon Bell. Michel is capable of making an impact similar to 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara. Michel ran a 4.54 at the combine which is nothing to scoff at, but when you watch this kid play he turns into the fastest player on the field with the ball in his hands. He should have plenty of tread on his tires since Georgia used a heavy rotation at running back while he was in school. Teams that could use the services of Michel include the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos and the Washington Redskins. Michel is ready to make an impact on day 1 in the NFL and should be expected to go no later than the second round this April.

DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Penn State – The NFL Draft over the past few years has been strange when it comes to receivers. Many guys taken in the first round like John Ross, Laquon Treadwell and Breshad Perriman haven’t shown first round status in the league while players like Juju Smith-Schuster, Michael Thomas and Stefon Diggs have outplayed their draft status. DaeSean Hamilton could be the next late round wide receiver to make a huge impact. Hamilton shows great hands while running precise routes with very good quickness. He didn’t run at the combine and isn’t known as a burner, but Hamilton appears to be a polished receiver that beats defensive backs with technique. Hamilton’s college career was up and down with his career high in receptions (82) and yards (899) coming in his freshman season. It’s tough to see Hamilton as a premier, true number one receiver in the NFL but he could become a real good number two if paired with a high level quarterback and a true number one receiver lined up opposite of him. Hamilton could shine for teams like the New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks. Expect DaeSean to go late day 2 with a possible slip into day 3.

Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State – Similar to DaeSean Hamilton, Michael Gallup is a solid combination of size, speed and athleticism but he has the stats to back him up and a bit more polish to go with that. While playing in the Mountain West is a step down from Power 5 competition, Gallup occasionally dominated his opponents running all over the field making catch after catch. Gallup had four games with 10 catches or more including a spectacular performance against Nevada where he put up a stat line of 13 catches, 263 yards and three touchdowns. However, when Gallup went up against tough competition in Colorado’s Isaiah Oliver he was shut down for the most part until a few late game catches saved his stat line giving him 5 receptions for 67 yards. Expect Gallup to be able to make an impact if paired with a true number one wide receiver. Chances are that Gallup will be available on Day 3 of the Draft. The Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons would be a nice fit for Gallup.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn StateSaquon Barkley is this year’s draft darling and may be the best overall player in the draft, but Barkley’s teammate Mike Gesicki also put on a show for the ages and was the talk of the tight end class. It almost feels wrong calling Gesicki a tight end since he won’t make much of an impact as a blocker but he is a matchup nightmare when split out wide. At 6-foot-5-inches and 247 pounds, Gesicki ran a 4.54, put up 22 reps on the bench press and jumped 41.5 inches in the vertical. While his stats at Penn State weren’t very impressive, Gesicki will be able to get on the field immediately in the NFL due to his measurables. Gesicki could make an immediate impact as a huge red zone target willing to snatch jump balls out of mid-air. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, Indianapolis Colts, Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions would be great landing spots for Gesicki. Expect Gesicki to be picked on day 2 of the NFL Draft.