Interview With A Draftophile: The Art of Uncovering the Small School Sleeper
By Gabe Morris
For those who might be interested in gaining a deeper understanding of what they should be looking for when reviewing candidates for the upcoming draft, what would you recommend?
If you're interested in sleepers and lesser-known prospects, I highly recommend the draft guides put out by Ric Serritella at NFL Draft Bible and by Emory Hunt at Football Gameplan. Also, I just published my 600+ word madness of an article about my favorite small-school and undervalued prospects for 2023, a list I call the B2B Directional State. You can read about and see video of these prospects by going to the article.
I also have two tricks you might try:
1. Start with the highlight reel to see what the payer is capable of AND if their "wins" are hollow. How they win starts to become apparent. This killed Josh Rosen and Jalen Reagor for me, two of the biggest draft disappointments in recent years.
2. if you're going to watch small school players, find a game with one or more prospects on both sides, don't look up any numbers... just see who stands out in the first 5 minutes or so. If they don't jump out in the first two series or so, it's probably a bad sign. I have literally done this and the prospect in question made multiple amazing plays in the first series of the game.
Lastly, don't be afraid to develop opinions that don't match the consensus. Those draft rankings are mostly fiction. Some of them are hype created from when the player was a 4-star high school recruit, not based on their college play. Make lists every year and use them to get better: what positions did I do better/worse at identifying? What did my hits and misses have in common with each other?
Well, there you have it, Broncos Country. Whether you’re a long-time Draftnik like myself or a fan who’s just beginning to dive into all things NFL Draft, Wil has given us plenty of ammunition to take that next step in our addiction journey. You’ve been armed with knowledge and perspective to head into this week’s festivities, so hydrate, stock your pantry with the essentials to keep you from needing to leave the house between Thursday and Saturday, and settle in for an exciting and infinitely more well-informed NFL Draft Experience.
Happy Hunting, Broncos Country!