On Tuesday, we discussed the prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft that just didn’t seem worth the hype. There are plenty of players that have a ton of fanfare right now, but in three or four years we will be wondering to ourselves, “What were we thinking?”
But today, let’s not be so negative. Let’s celebrate the players we really like in this draft. In fact, let’s discuss the players that you really like that no one else seems to understand like you do.
Everyone likes to pick out sleepers in the NFL Draft, because if you hit on one, suddenly you’re the smartest person in the room. If you miss, then you can’t be faulted. You were betting on a player with long odds; of course you ended up being wrong. These are the kind of predictions I like: The ones that leave me with absolutely no risk of embarrassment.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is your favorite sleeper in the 2017 NFL Draft?
My answer: Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. It’s admittedly strange to list a defensive player on Alabama as a sleeper, but I think Tomlinson qualifies because he’s the long forgotten prospect on that incredibly talented Crimson Tide defense.
Tomlinson suffered a torn ACL on both legs prior to his junior year at Alabama (on separate occasions). Despite that, he went on to become an essential part to a scary Bama defense over the past two years. In his senior year, Tomlinson picked up 62 tackles, 5.5 TFLs and four passes defended... from the defensive tackle position. Though you constantly have to keep in mind that Tomlinson likely benefited from the supreme talent alongside him, he still managed to stick out at times.
But if there’s one thing that I personally look for in a late-round prospect that gives me hope they could grow into something special, it’s character. For players picked in the fifth round and beyond, it’s going to take an incredible amount of work just to make their way onto the final roster, let alone see the field for anything other than special teams. A lot of players aren’t used to overcoming such odds or battling through adversity. Tomlinson is not one of those players.
As I mentioned on our draft preview PODcast, Tomlinson’s character is unmatched. He turned down an academic scholarship to Harvard. He overcame not only the two ACL tears, but the loss of both his parents early in life. He plays the trumpet, draws anime and was a three-time high school state wrestling champion. The guy has every kind of intelligence you could hope for, not only in a football player, but in a human being. Wherever he ends up, I’ll be rooting for him.