We all know that the NFL Draft is more of an art than a science, no matter how teams try to make it a science, so who are the biggest NFL Draft sleepers in 2023?
We know that every year there are underrated NFL Draft prospects who perhaps weren’t among the best players in college football but will end up becoming one of the best draft picks of all time. The question is who those players will be this year.
NFL Draft sleepers 2023
Naturally, we have our own thoughts when it comes to the top NFL Draft sleepers in 2023. We’ve scoured the draft class like everybody else and come up with some of the most underrated NFL Draft prospects.
We’re not claiming that all of these players will go down in history. But we do think they will be far better than their pre-draft analyses indicates. Whether you agree or disagree, here are our 10 favorite NFL Draft sleepers in 2023.
Brodric Martin, Defensive Tackle (Western Kentucky)
Teams looking for a big defensive lineman don’t need to look any further than Brodric Martin. Despite being from Tuscaloosa, Martin played at Western Kentucky, so he didn’t get the attention he should have.
We’re talking about a guy who’s 6’5’’ and 330 pounds, not to mention a seven-foot wingspan. Those numbers are far more important than the four sacks he collected over the past two seasons. Martin won’t post eye-popping numbers, but he’ll make an impact by taking up a ton of space and is one of the largest individuals in this year’s class.
DeWayne McBride, Running Back (UAB)
In recent years, UAB has had one of the most consistent yet overlooked rushing attacks in the country. Over the last two seasons, DeWayne McBride has been one of the biggest contributors to that, making him one of the best players in college football that most people don’t know about.
In 2021, he rushed for over 1,300 yards while gaining 6.7 yards per carry. He was even better this past season, gaining over 1,700 yards in one fewer game while scoring 19 touchdowns and averaging 7.4 yards per carry.
Granted, he played in a mid-major conference. But McBride didn’t dominate because he was bigger, stronger, and faster than everyone else. Rather, he has a knack for finding holes and avoiding tacklers. Physically, he’s not necessarily going to stand out amongst the other running backs available. But when you give him the ball, he finds a way to make something happen.
Zack Kuntz, Tight End (Old Dominion)
Coming out of the NFL Combine, Zack Kuntz has seen his stock rise, although the Old Dominion product can still be considered a sleeper because he’s not exactly a first-rounder. That being said, he’s a mountain of a human being at 6’8’’ and 250 pounds.
Coming out of high school, all of the heavyweights wanted him, as Kuntz ultimately picked Penn State over Michigan, Ohio State, and Alabama. But after not playing much for the Nittany Lions, he transferred to Old Dominion and had a breakout season in 2021, hauling in 73 catches for nearly 700 yards and five touchdowns.
Unfortunately, an injury last year kept him off the NFL’s radar to some extent. There are also some concerns about his durability. However, Kuntz was a track star in high school and has incredible speed for a 6’8’’ tight end, making him one of the most unique players in this draft class.
Nick Herbig, Linebacker (Wisconsin)
Born and raised in Hawaii, Nick Herbig has been an impact player on an outstanding Wisconsin defense over the last few seasons. He was a First-Team All-Big-Ten performer this past season, separating himself from the pack in a conference that’s loaded with quality linebackers.
Herbig could be considered a little undersized at 6’2’’ and 227 pounds. But he covers plenty of ground and can change directions as well as any linebacker in this class. Herbig is also an intelligent player, which should make him ready to contribute to an NFL team in some capacity as a rookie.
Isaiah McGuire, Defensive End (Missouri)
It won’t be hard to find edge rushers in this draft, which is why Isaiah McGuire is easy to get lost in the shuffle. However, McGuire was good enough in 2022 to earn First-Team All-SEC honors.
Over the past two seasons, he faced SEC-caliber tackles week after week and still managed to amass 14.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss.
The athleticism and length to make an impact in the NFL are surely there within his 6’4’’ frame. While McGuire should fit in any scheme, if he finds a team with a 4-3 scheme that will play him at defensive end, he’ll be in a position to succeed in the pros right away.
Tyler Scott, Wide Receiver (Cincinnati)
During his time at Cincinnati, Tyler Scott made big strides each year. He played sparingly as a freshman, became a starter as a sophomore, and then emerged as a star during his junior season in 2022.
Scott’s numbers this past season aren’t eye-popping because he didn’t play for a team with a high-powered passing game. But his athleticism is off the charts, including a 4.3-second time in the 40-yard dash. He has big-play ability that’s on par with some of the best receivers in this class but isn’t getting the same pre-draft recognition.
Sydney Brown, Safety (Illinois)
The Senior Bowl was kind to Sydney Brown, who started moving up draft boards but is still a little overlooked. Thanks to the shortened 2020 season and players getting an extra year, Brown was essentially a five-year starter at Illinois.
The Ontario native isn’t lacking experience and was a First-Team All-Big-Ten selection this past year. The Senior Bowl was when he started to prove that he could play in coverage. He still has some work in that area but there is no doubt that Brown is a physical safety who can play close to the line of scrimmage, making him a useful piece of an NFL defense, even if it’s in a complementary role early in his career.
Marvin Mims, Wide Receiver (Oklahoma)
With Oklahoma experiencing a down season in 2022, Marvin Mims didn’t get a chance to stand out on a big stage like some of the other wide receivers who played for the Sooners. Rest assured, he’s not far in ability from predecessors like Marquise Brown or Sterling Shepard.
He’s not the biggest receiver, but he has the afterburners to stretch the field and serve as a legitimate deep threat in the NFL. Surprisingly, Mims is good at catching balls in traffic, even if he’s best when allowed to run after the catch, potentially making him a dangerous slot receiver in the NFL.
Brandon Hill, Safety (Pitt)
With Brandon Hill, there aren’t a lot of impressive numbers to tell the tale. But the Pitt Panthers have sent defensive backs like Damarri Mathis, Dane Jackson, Jordan Whitehead, Avonte Maddox, and Damar Hamlin to the NFL in recent years, so Hill is part of a growing lineage.
His biggest strength is his versatility. It’s debatable what position is Hill’s best because he’s a slot corner who can also play both safety spots. He also has NFL-caliber athleticism and strong instincts, making him a valuable player at the next level and a potential steal on Day 3 of the draft.
Darius Rush, Cornerback (South Carolina)
Cam Smith, who was Darius Rush’s teammate at South Carolina could be a first-round pick. But as the other cornerback who helped the Gamecocks win eight games in 2022 is not to be overlooked.
Sam is viewed as a bonafide no. 1 corner in the NFL, but Rush is actually bigger, longer, and even a little faster. He’s a physical corner who has underrated ball skills, which should make him a quality player to pick up during the latter stages of the 2023 NFL Draft.