Ok. I admit it. My favorite part of draft season is trying to predict the hidden gems, the under the radar guys who may skyrocket if given a chance in the spotlight, who may surprise at the combine. Or alternatively, who will be arrested for something stupid and disappear entirely forever. Or who will not be drafted and vanish into stories of couldashouldawoulda to their grandkids. Personally I'd much rather get one of these late rounders than an earlier round RB. RB sleepers after the jumpMarc Tyler - 5'10" 230lbs - USC - Considered the #2 RB in the country out of HS in 2007. A 5 star recruit by both Rivals and Scout. Son of an NFL RB. His strengths were power running but he's not a blocker. Nor is he explosive. He can catch though. In college he had a number of minor injuries and they were frequent enough to raise questions. Had a solid year in 2010 as a junior (920 yds, 9 TDs on 170 carries). Has a 10 cent head. Likely to --- be arrested for something stupid after he is drafted in the late rounds.
Bryce Brown - 6'0" 220 lbs - Kansas State - Considered the tied for #1 RB in his HS class (2009 - same as Trent Richardson). 5 star recruit by Rivals and Scout. Had everything - size, speed, power, explosiveness, can catch. The top home run threat. The top inside runner. Committed to Tennessee and had a solid freshmen year in 2009 (460 yds, 3TDs on 100 carries). Then for reasons unknown (family reasons were cited) left Tenn and transferred to Kansas State (he's from Wichita). Had to sit out 2010 because that's the NCAA rule to punish transfers. Played in the 1st game of 2011 - and then, for again unknown reasons, left K State. I don't think he has character issues but there's something weird here. He could completely explode at the combine, rise up the draft boards, and become a superstar. Or he could become a gas station attendant.
Darrell Scott - 6'1" 240 lbs - South Florida - Considered the #1 RB in his 2008 HS class. 5 star recruit by both Rivals and Scout. As above, had everything especially power. Went to Colorado. Had good stats there for a freshman/sophomore. Transferred to South Florida (reason was probably playing time) and sat out a year per NCAA rules. Was South Florida's top back this year but so what. He could explode - or not even be invited to the combine.
Lennon Creer - 6'0" 215 lbs - Louisiana Tech - A top 10 RB in his 2007 HS class. 4 star recruit by both Rivals and Scout. Power, size, elusiveness, breaks tackles. Recruited to Tennessee and like Bryce Brown a couple years later found out what a one-per-year RB football factory is all about. In Creer's case, he was competing for playing time with Arian Foster (2 years older) and Montario Hardesty (1 year older). Creer outrushed both of them but was stuck for playing time except on special teams. When Arian Foster went undrafted (in part IMO because Creer stole just enough playing time to hurt Foster), Creer bolted. Transferred to Louisiana Tech (sitting out a year) where he's had two solid years. But he is now off the radar as a redshirt senior and a 23 year old antique.
Edwin Baker - 5'9" 210 lbs - Michigan State - Another top 10 RB in his HS class (2009). 4 star recruit by both. A low center of gravity weeble with cutback and speed. Went to Michigan St and had a good 3 yr career there. No transfer issues or anything. Just another top RB who might not even get drafted becasue there are so many RB's out there.
Foswhitt "Fozzy" Whittaker - 5'10" 202 lbs - Texas - Another top 10 RB from his HS class (2007). 4 star recruit. Speedy, elusive, etc. Went to Texas and made the mistake of staying in school. Has been injury prone. Now a redshirt senior and therefore invisible and soon to appear on Antiques Roadshow. My favorite move of any in this post is the one at 4:00 in the following video. He's invisible and then pops out the other side of a bunch of trash.
There are a couple of others - Michael Shaw of Michigan, Robert Elliott of Mississippi St - who will not be drafted and are probably only bench/situational upside.
At core however, all of these guys have better upside than most of the RB's who are higher ranked and who will be drafted. They were better RB's out of HS and the only reason they are lower now is because other (lesser) RB's got more mileage in college. and NFL teams generally like to pay for high mileage RB's. I don't understand it. But that's the way it is.
On edit: My "tier" rankings of these sleepers relative to the top RB's.
Tier One - Trent Richardson
Tier Two - Miller, Wilson, Polk, Gray, all of these sleepers except the last three (Whittaker, Shaw, Elliot)
Tier Three - LaMichael James, most of the RB's in the draft, the last three sleepers