2023 NFL Draft Third-Day Sleepers

2022 NFL Draft Day 2 Values: Offense | 2022 NFL Draft Day 2 Values: Defense
2023 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Offense | 2023 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Defense
2023 NFL Draft Day 3 Sleepers

Published April 15, 2023.
By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Throughout NFL history, there have been steals from the mid- to late rounds of the draft. Some of these players are backups for a few seasons before earning starting roles and excelling. This article picks out some potential sleepers for Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft who could turn out to be steals. Perhaps some of these players will provide similar values this year.

Chris Rodriguez, RB, Kentucky
Rodriguez could slip to the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft, and I think he could be an excellent value pick. Rodriguez is a clone of Jamaal Williams as a downhill physical runner with a burst to hit the hole and second level. Given his power and balance, Rodriguez racks up yards after contact and is very tough to get down. Like Williams, Rodriguez will be an asset in short-yardage and goal-line situations. At Kentucky, Rodriguez was a consistent producer, and he picked up a lot of experience with effective play against top competition. It would not surprise me if Rodriguez ends up being a third-day steal from the 2023 NFL Draft who develops into a potential starter.

Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State
Vaughn probably will slip to the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft, and I think he could be a massive steal there. As a runner, Vaughn is an underrated weapon. He has tremendous instincts and natural feel, almost putting him a step ahead of the defense, plus has great anticipation. Vaughn is a slashing back who is real threat to rip off a big gain any time he touches the ball. Vaughn has a first-step burst and accelerates through the hole with a second gear to explode downfield for long gains. What makes Vaughn deadly is his incredible elusiveness. Vaughn has tremendous juke, stop-start, cut-back skills, aided by natural instincts, to dodge tacklers in the open field. While he is small, that can be an asset when he is running behind the line because the defense can have a hard time spotting him. That camouflage makes him dangerous on cut backs as it can leave defenders late to redirect.

In the passing game, Vaughn is a valuable contributor. That’s part of the reason he notched a total of 91 receptions over the past two seasons for Kansas State. Vaughn is an excellent route-runner out of the backfield, and his shiftiness is very difficult to defend in the open field. In the NFL, I think Vaughn could end up being a similar player to another Kansas State great, Darren Sproles.

Matt Landers, WR, Arkansas
Landers has a good skill set that includes a serious combination of height, weight and speed. However, teams have character concerns with Landers, which will probably push him down to the third day of the 2023 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder ripped off a 4.37-second time in the 40-yard dash, including a fast 10-yard split of 1.51 seconds. Landers lacks polish and had some trouble in college, which hurt his development as a player, but the upside is there. Last year, Landers played well in the SEC and was a dangerous big-play threat with a tremendous 19.2 yards per catch. He totaled 901 yards and eight touchdowns over only 47 receptions in 2022. Landers has a lot of upside and could be a steal if he is focused on being the best player his skill set allows.

Riley Moss, CB, Iowa
Moss is a highly experienced cornerback who was a steady performer for the Hawkeyes since 2018. He had multiple seasons of good ball production, including four interceptions in 2021 and 11 pass breakups last year. Moss has good size at 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, and he showed good speed with a 4.45-second time in the 40-yard dash. Aided by his excellent instincts, Moss could be a good zone corner who develops into being a solid rotational player at the next level and perhaps a starter. Moss is an overachiever and a pure football player. He could end up being a good value pick in the fourth or fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M
Jones has an early-round skill set with size, speed and athleticism, but he was never able to put everything together for the Aggies. In 2022, he missed some action with injuries and had only 19 passes thrown at him, so there wasn’t much of a sample size for evaluation. Jones flashed in 2021 with 35 tackles, two interceptions and six passes broken up. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Jones is a super sleeper who has big upside and potential.

Honorable Mentions
  • Illinois running back Chase Brown
  • Texas running back Roschon Johnson
  • Iowa State wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson
  • Purdue tight end Payne Durham
  • Virginia safety Joey Blount

2022 NFL Draft Day 2 Values: Offense | 2022 NFL Draft Day 2 Values: Defense
2023 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Offense | 2023 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Defense
2023 NFL Draft Day 3 Sleepers

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