2021 draft sleepers

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 that 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 scouts overthink or nit-pick these players way too much. Then you add in all the opt out players who were out of sight out of mind and it doubles down on the fact. This years draft happens to be loaded with positions of need for the Chargers. This season I will be choosing a few more sleepers than I normally do. What I classify as a sleeper isn’t necessarily a late round pick. It could simply be someone who isn’t getting enough hype even though his talent justifies more attention or draft stock. For example if a player is a projected a 4th rounder but I believe he should be a mid to high second rounder I still classify that as a sleeper. I usually wait until after the combine but i will have to do without this year.
Elijah Molden CB Washington:
Some have compared him to a young Tyrann Mathieu because of how physical he is for his size. That, plus the fact he is a slot corner/ safety hybrid. However, I like to think of him more as a stronger Budda Baker who also happens to be a Washington alumni. Molden has been devalued a bit in this deep cornerback class because most his peers happen to be 6 foot and up. Standing at 5’10” 195 pounds, Molden plays like he’s 6’4″ and it shows in his highlights. Not to mention his 36.5 inch vertical off sets his height. Don’t take my word for it though as you can take a look at his 2 time 1st team all Pac-12 honours and it says it all. He is the son of former NFLer Alex Molden and even though Elijah is just 22 being around his dad rubbed off on him because he conducts himself like a pro veteran. If all of that isn’t enough to impress you than let me point out he owns a 90.9 overall coverage grade and has only allowed a 44 passer rating when targeted. I firmly believe he would be a first round pick most other years. This year however he will likely go somewhere in the mid second- mid third. He could bring this team what Desmond King did, plus some.

Nick Bolton LB Missouri:
Bolton had a down year this year compared to what he did in 2019 but you can’t ignore the fact that this guy is a thumper! This is something we will be missing after the departure of fan favourite Denzel Perryman. When you turn on the tape your going to be witness to some ‘WOW’ type of hits. In fact he had the most stops for no gain out of any linebacker in the SEC so that’s a great indication. Like I said previously, he did have a down year this past season as far as his PFF grades go with a 79.0 run defensive grade and a 58.8 coverage grade. He is likely a player who would benefit from having a pro defensive line if front of him. Standing at 5’11” 237 pounds is far from a perfect prospect but it’s hard to not like a hard hitting tone setter like himself. He ran a 4.5 40 yard dash at his Pro day and paired it with a 32 inch vertical inch leap proving that he has the tools to be an impact player at the next level. Bolton probably has the best name possible for someone playing for the Chargers and they could even offer him a chance and time to develop while still rotating in to get some reps with Tranquill and Murray.

Patrick Jones II DE Pittsburgh:
Jones is the less hyped of the Defensive ends coming out of Pitt. Teammate Weaver is more likely to be a 2nd- 3rd rounder while Jones is likely a 3rd-4th rounder but probably isn’t that far off in talent level. At 6’4″ 261 pounds, Jones is a good athlete at the position. He ran a 4.8 yard 40 yard dash at his Pro day but pulled his hamstring in the process so he had to sit out the remainder of the drills. One has to imagine that if not for that he might of been in the 4.6- 4.7 range. Jones was only given a 68.9 pass rushing grade oddly enough because he still managed to rack up 9 sacks, 5 QB hit’s, and 23 QB hurries. His run defensive grade was much kinder however with an 84.2 overall with 17 run stops and 3 passes batted down. Jones also has experience moving from outside edge rusher to the inside and back again. That kind of flexibility will never hurt your stock although he would likely need to put on more weight if he wants to play inside more.

Keith Taylor CB Washington:
Keith Taylor projects as a 5th or 6th round pick. Yet in most other years would probably be a late 3rd or 4th round pick. Taylor has the coveted size at the position standing at 6’3″ 195 pounds. While his coverage grade wasn’t great at 69.1 it’s of note that he allowed 0 touchdowns and was better in man coverage than he was in zone. Taylor could be a late round pick worth taking a flyer on if the team decides to double dip at the position in this years draft. Taylor could use the extra year of development but has the tools to work with. He recorded a 4.41 40 yard dash and 33.5 inch vertical at his Pro day which is impressive when you consider the fact he is 6’3″. I believe that Washington is the west coast DBU and their players are well coached whether they need extra grooming or not. Taylor’s tape and grades might not jump off the charts but his success during the entire Senior Bowl week was impressive enough. As seen below

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