Germaine Pratt is this year’s biggest draft sleeper
Every single year there are a certain amount of players who get overlooked in the draft. Sometimes it’s due to the fact that whichever position that particular player is playing, is loaded with talent at his position. Sometimes players get overlooked because of the size of school in which they attended and sometimes it’s simply due to the fact that these scout’s overthink or nit-pick these players way too much. This year’s draft happens to be loaded with defensive talent so it will be likely that more players get over looked on that particular side of the ball this season. None the less every year I call my shot for who I think is the biggest sleeper and who I think is the biggest bust. Although I have been wrong a few times on my ‘bust’ predictions I am more often right about my sleeper predictions. Last year my ‘sleeper’ prediction was Leighton Vander Esch from Boise State. Now he was a first round pick however there seemed to be almost no hype behind him. In fact most Cowboy fans seemed fairly upset with this pick. Well I hate to say I told you so but I was right about that one. This year is so stacked with defensive talent that Vander Ecsh might have even slide into the round if he had been in the draft this season. However in regards to this season I have a shot to call as well. My pick this year is Germaine Pratt!
Germaine Pratt stands at 6’3” 240 pounds out of N.C. State. Pratt came to N.C. State as a safety so that speaks to his speed and athleticism. As he began to grow and put on much more muscle mass then coaches has expected the transition to linebacker seemed like a rather obvious choice. His ability to deliver thunderous blows makes the transition seem as though it was meant to be. The fact that he was a former safety makes him a fit at either the middle linebacker or weak side linebacker. I would also feel more than comfortable allowing him to cover tight ends. His speed along with physicality makes it seem as though he can slow tight ends down off of the line of scrimmage and manage to shadow them all the way down field. In the Chargers system he could play as all three linebacker positions and he has shown plenty of ability to blitz while he was at N.C. State, making him a fit as the strong side “otto” as well. However the team did in fact draft Uchenna Nwosu in the second round to fill that role yet Pratt could easily fill in there if an emergency injury situation occurred, which seems to be nearly every year with the Chargers. If Kyzir White, who was also drafted last year, proves to be injury prone like his brother the team should feel confident in Pratt’s ability to fill that role which requires more drop back’s in coverage. It is yet to be seen on whether the team is going to bring back Denzel Perryman or not even though early indications suggest they do have interest in retaining him. Regardless of the decision on Perryman, Pratt brings size and physicality to fill the “mike” position as well. Perryman who has his own injury history makes it seem more of a necessity to have a competent back up at the middle linebacker position.
I would say that is safe to say that Germaine Pratt would bring not only the Chargers a player that could give you options and flexibility at the linebacker position, but he would do so on any team. It’s not as common as one would think to have a linebacker who brings the capability to fill all three positions and do so at a high level. I am very high on Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson, and hope he is the choice for the Bolt’s at the 28th pick if indeed he falls that far. One can never know what situations the draft might present, however Pratt is such a similar player to Mack Wilson that I would not mind the team addressing other positions in the first if they indeed select a linebacker of Pratt’s caliber in the second. Even if the team has to trade up in the second to do so, which they are notorious for, then I would be more than satisfied and confident in the fact that the needs and hole on the roster have been addressed properly.