2023 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Offense | 2023 NFL Draft Potential Busts: Defense
2023 NFL Draft Day 3 Sleepers
Published April 21, 2023.
By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell
In the recent weeks, there have been a lot of questions about who are my value picks in the 2023 NFL Draft class. A value or sleeper prospect is basically a player who gets drafted after the first round and proves to be a steal. The second day of the draft is where the men are separated from the boys among NFL general managers. All the players have strengths and flaws, but the top evaluators find future starters and team building blocks on Day 2.
Every year, I pick my favorite second-day values. In case the player I picked goes in the first round, I started picking two players in case one is a surprise first-round pick. If a player goes in the first round, I should not get credit for calling them a second-day value pick if they pan out. Here is my track record starting in 2008, going back to my time with Pewter Report.
2008: Brandon Flowers, CB, Virginia Tech
2009: Mike Wallace, WR, Ole Miss
2010: Brian Price, DT, UCLA and Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida
2011: Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
2012: Derek Wolfe, DL, Cincinnati
2013: Larry Warford, G, Kentucky
2014: Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
2015: Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M and Ronald Darby, CB, Florida State
2016: Jaylon Smith, LB, Notre Dame and Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame
2017: Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama and Akhello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
2018: Terrell Edmunds, S, Virginia Tech and Arden Key, DE, LSU
2019: Darnell Savage, S, Maryland and Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
2020: Cam Akers, RB, Florida State and Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech
2021: Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson; Aaron Robinson, CB, Central Florida; and Dayo Odeyingbo, DE, Vanderbilt
2022: Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State and Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
2023: Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa; Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa; and Calijah Kancey, DT, Pittsburgh
My top candidates this year are Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta, Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell, and Pittsburgh defensive tackle Calijah Kancey. It would not be a shock if some of them snuck into the end of the first round. Hence, I put down a trio, and whoever makes it to the second night will be my top values of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Overall, this list is very strong, with a few exceptions like the pairs in 2015 and 2016. I definitely hit on Brandon Flowers, Mike Wallace, Justin Houston, Derek Wolfe, Larry Warford, Jaylon Smith, Ronald Darby and Deebo Samuel. Here is a breakdown of a top second-day value prospects at each position for the 2023 NFL Draft class. All the players will be prospects who are likely going on the second day of the 2023 NFL Draft. If a player is a possible late first-round pick, I generally don’t include them as an option.
I do not see a value pick for Day 2 at the quarterback position this year. I think some third-day prospects like Louisville’s Malik Cunningham and UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson could be nice backups in the mold of Tyler Huntley, but the 2023 NFL Draft is not strong with second-day quarterback options.
2022: Sam Howell
2021: Kyle Trask
2019: Clayton Thorson
2018: Luke Falk
2017: Pat Mahomes
2016: Christian Hackenberg
2015: Garrett Grayson
2014: Teddy Bridgewater
Kendre Miller, RB, TCU
There is a lot to like about Miller (5-11, 215) for the NFL as he looks like a future three-down starter who can serve as the bell cow of a rushing offense. Miller demonstrates very good running fundamentals, and his natural running instincts are phenomenal. Miller has patience in spades to let holes develop. On top of being willing to wait, Miller has the vision to see lanes about to come open, and good body lean to run behind his pads. In the open field, Miller has a second gear to break off long runs, and once he decides to go downhill, he possesses a burst to hit the hole quickly before it closes up.
Miller tends to run North-South, and he is not an elusive runner who will juke defenders. With power and body lean, Miller goes through contact, keeping his legs going and finishing runs well. In the NFL, Miller should be a solid back to pick up yards after contact thanks to having good overall balance, strength, knee bend, and the ability to run behind his pads. In short-yardage and goal-line situations, Miller is a touchdown machine with a real nose for the end zone.
In the 2023 NFL Draft, Miller could be a second- or third-round pick. Team sources think Miller has the potential to be a three-down starter. He is a tough runner with tremendous instincts and has the capacity to be a very good starter with Pro Bowl potential.
Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
Achane is a dangerously fast back and could be a second-round steal. As a runner, Achane is a speed back who presents a real threat to rip off a big gain anytime he touches the ball. He has a first-step burst and accelerates through the hole with a second gear to explode downfield for long gains. With his explosion, it looks like Achane gets a step headstart over everybody else on the field. In the open field, Achane is not just fast, but he has moves to dodge tacklers and serious change-of-direction skills. The fast back is a threat to take any carry to the end zone. Immediately, he will bring a big-play danger for his offense and also can contribute as a returner on special teams.
On top of being an explosive runner, Achane can be a weapon as a receiver. With soft hands, Achane does a natural job of catching the ball. He is elusive in the open field and can rip off yards in chunks. Achane is too fast and shifty for linebackers or safeties to cover, in man so he provides an excellent mismatch and will be a third-down receiving problem in the NFL. Like all college backs, Achane will need some tutoring in pass protection.
2022: Dameon Pierce
2021: Travis Etienne
2020: Cam Akers
2019: Damien Harris
2018: Ronald Jones
2017: Alvin Kamara
2016: C.J. Prosise
2015: T.J. Yeldon
2014: Jeremy Hill
Sam LaPorta, TE, Iowa
In the passing-driven NFL, teams are looking for tight ends who possess dangerous receiving ability, and LaPorta illustrated such talent last season. LaPorta is a real weapon in the passing game. He runs excellent routes and has the quickness to get downfield quickly. LaPorta shows reliable hands and is excellent at securing the football. He does a very good job of making leaping contested catches and hanging onto the football while getting hit in the air. LaPorta (6-3, 245) can use his size, hands, and leaping ability to make receptions over safeties. He is just too big for them to cover him.
Even though LaPorta isn’t ultra-fast or uber-athletic, he still shows some run-after-the-catch skills. LaPorta has deceptive speed and can really hurt defenses going down the middle seam. He is also adept at finding the soft spots in zone and getting open for his quarterback.
As a run blocker, LaPorta gets in good position and engages his defenders. He could use more strength to sustain his blocks longer because defenders get off his blocks quickly. At the point of attack, LaPorta doesn’t really pack a punch. He does a nice job, however, of contributing to double teams on edge rushers. There are also times when he does a nice job of using his athleticism to get position to stop speed rushers off the edge.
2022: Isaiah Likely
2021: Tre’ McKitty
2020: Adam Trautman
2019: Irv Smith Jr.
2018: Ian Thomas
2017: Gerald Everett
2016: Austin Hooper
2015: Clive Walford
2014: Austin Seferian-Jenkins
Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
Mingo (6-2, 225) could be a solid No. 2 receiver to a modern passing attack in a possessional role. Mingo shows quality route-running technique, and he is a competitive contributor who fights for the football. Mingo tracks the ball well, has late hands, and is adept at making catches over defensive backs. He has good size and is able to use his build to shield defenders from the football. After the catch, Mingo is a good runner and is able to add yardage while showing some strength to break tackles. He shows some good body control along the sideline to stay in bounds while reeling in passes with close coverage. Mingo is a gritty and competitive wideout who has a nose for the end zone.
Mingo is more of a secondary receiver for the NFL because he lacks the speed to create a mismatch against NFL corners. To go along with not being very fast, Mingo is not a twitchy or explosive athlete, so he could have separation issues against pro cornerbacks. The speed and twitch limitations are what make Mingo more of a solid No. 2 receiver foor the next level rather than being a featured No. 1.
2022: Alec Pierce
2021: Terrace Marshall Jr.
2020: Jalen Reagor
2019: Deebo Samuel
2018: Equanimeous St. Brown
2017: JuJu Smith-Schuster
2016: Tyler Boyd
2015: Justin Hardy
2014: Jared Abbrederis
Tyler Steen, OT/G, Alabama
Steen (6-5, 315) was a 3-year starter at Vanderbilt before transferring to Alabama for his final season, so he enters the next level with a ton of experience. He is smart, has the versatility to play guard or tackle, and could see the field quickly in the NFL.
In pass protection, Steen is a polished blocker who bends at the knee and shows good development in his set up. He slides his feet well to cut off the edge and does not bend at the waist to lunge after defenders. With a thick and strong build, Steen anchors well against bull rushes, holding his ground and not getting driven into the quarterback. Steen’s strength in combinations with his solid hands gives him a nice ability to sustain blocks.
In the ground game, Steen is able to tie up and manipulate defenders. He can push defenders back and keep them from getting to his runner. While Steen is not an overpowering force, he is a quality run blocker who is reliable.
Steen could turn out to be a long-term starter at guard or tackle in the NFL and a superb value from the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Matthew Bergeron, OT/G, Syracuse
Bergeron (6-5, 318) may not stay at tackle in the NFL Draft, but he could be a superb right guard who acts as the engine of a ground offense. Bergeron is a big, strong, nasty bully on the field.
Bergeron needs work as a pass protector for the NFL. He has problems with speed rushers due to inconsistent feet, plus he plays on his heels too much in protection. The technique issues extend to problems with bull rushes thanks to Bergeron too often exposing his chest and letting his hands get too wide. He also has short arms for a starting tackle in the NFL. Bergeron can executes well at times, but he is simply not consistent as a pass protector. With his inconsistencies, he might be better off moving inside to guard.
Bergeron was very impressive as a run blocker for Syracuse, which had a lot of success running behind him. He is powerful at the point of attack, possessing strong hands to rock defenders backward. With his thick build and upper body, Bergeron can drive block and create a push. He fires out quickly to the second level and shows a real burst to hit blocks in space. Bergeron possesses a nasty demeanor, and he will bully defenders and put them into the turf with violence. He has a real mean streak as a run blocker and keeps it up through the whistle.
Early in his NFL career, Bergeron could find his best fit as a starting right guard. That would help him in pass protection, and once he improved his technique for handling bull rushes, he could be a good starter. Bergeron should be a real asset and a force as a run blocker. He could play in a zone scheme and is well-suited for a man scheme. In the 2023 NFL Draft, Bergeron looks like a second-day prospect who could go as high as the second round and won’t slip out of Round 3. I think he could be an awesome right guard in the NFL once he develops his pass-protection skills and grows more consistent.
2022: Luke Goedeke
2021: Liam Eichenberg
2020: Solomon Kindley
2019: Elgton Jenkins
2018: Braden Smith and Martinas Rankin
2017: Dan Feeney
2016: Nick Martin and Le’Raven Clark
2015: Cedric Ogbuehi
2014: Antonio Richardson
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