Everybody loves a sleeper

Forget about all of the big names like JaMarcus Russell, Calvin Johnson and Brady Quinn.

Forget about all of the big names like JaMarcus Russell, Calvin Johnson and Brady Quinn. Just close your eyes and think about these names for a second–Tom Brady, Terrell Davis, Marques Colston, Steve Smith, Donald Driver, Trent Green, Matt Hasselbeck, Zach Thomas. No, this isn’t a Pro Bowl roster. It’s a list of underestimated, overlooked players revered as some of the best sleepers of all time.

A sleeper is usually a guy selected in the late rounds who isn’t expected to have a Pro Bowler career, but bursts on the scene on Sundays and blows everyone away. Every draft has a couple, some more than others, and this year’s draft will surely have a few.

Let’s take a look at a couple players sure to make some NFL general managers look really, really smart this season.

Trent Edwards–QB, Stanford

Everyone is drooling over Russell and continues to ponder Quinn’s future as a professional, but nobody is considering any other quarterbacks. This is where Edwards steps into the picture. Although he is coming off a pedestrian season behind center for the Cardinal, he certainly has the physical tools at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, and a GM only needs to look as far as his nearly 2,000 yards, 17 touchdowns and 62.7 percent completion percentage as a junior to realize he is a gifted athlete. This four-year starter will be a definite steal for any team after the mid-second round.

Michael Allen–TE, Whitworth

The biggest knock against him is that he played at a Division III school. Otherwise he is a complete and utter stud on the gridiron. His measurables are a GM’s dream, standing 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds with an impressive 4.71-second 40-yard dash time. Allen is certainly a pass-catching tight end, snagging 53 balls last season and averaging almost 21 yards per reception. In his junior year, the Pirate pulled in 15 touchdowns and finished his collegiate career with 29 trips to the end zone. He is the second best at his position in the draft, behind Miami’s Greg Olsen, but not highly regarded because of his Division III experience, meaning he will probably slip to the late third or early fourth round.

Courtney Brown–CB, Cal Poly

Most NFL draft nuts probably recall a player named “Courtney Brown” being selected No. 1 overall by the Browns a few years ago. Well, there are a few differences between him and this year’s version of Mr. Brown. First, the Browns’ Brown, a little confusing but stick with me, was a well-known prospect out of a big-name school in Penn State. Cal Poly’s Brown is flying under the radar, and last I checked, the mighty Mustangs aren’t exactly a powerhouse. Second, let’s face it, the Brown selected with the first pick was a complete bust. This year’s version will be nothing of the sort. He is just over 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, giving him a favorable mixture of size and strength. Also, his leaping ability and ball skills are top-notch, as the Mustang cornerback intercepted seven passes his junior season. And he is blazing fast, clocking in at 4.34 in the 40-yard dash.