2020 NFL Draft sleepers who are obscured by stars on their own team

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Taking a look at 2020 NFL Draft sleepers who are being overlooked because of big-named players on their own teams.

As the 2019 college football season starts to wind down, we here at NFL Mocks are digging deep on the 2020 NFL Draft. We are starting to get a better understanding of how college players have developed over the past year. Every year in November, college football players put on tape what amounts to be their résumé for NFL scouts to evaluate. Teams and the media begin to start ranking the best players in the NCAA, to start the evaluation that precedes the 2020 NFL draft.

Every year, talented players fall in the draft for a variety of reasons. This article is not meant as a rebuttal to the players that have reached frontrunner status as likely first-round draft picks in the 2020 NFL draft. Their merit and skills are above reproach and many of them will go on to have incredible careers in the NFL.

Rather, this article means to shine a light on a few names that may not make it on to any mock draft boards this year. I decided to go through and look at the most talked-about athletes projected to be selected in the first round and take a look at their peers; teammates who played a position similar to them on the same team. I decided to do this for a few reasons.

  1. We often look back a few years after a draft and find that the first-round picks we thought were home runs turned out to be duds. And the guys who weren’t on anyone’s radar, guys selected in the later rounds are elevating their team to heights no one could have imagined.
  2. Do you know how it’s often said that “football is the ultimate team sport”? Well, the ultimate part might be hyperbolic, but its sentiment is accurate. Which is that every player rises or falls because of the players around him. Pass rush affects coverage, play-action opens up better throw lanes, a good offensive line can help an average quarterback look above average with a few extra seconds of safety. What I mean is that one player does not elevate a team enough to make them win consistently. It’s a TEAM SPORT.
  3. While these players are perhaps not as talented as their more famous teammates today, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t make a meaningful impact on a team and be valuable in the draft. Every player I found while doing this has an incredible amount of talent all on their own, and I believe that, given the right circumstances, they could become talented players in the NFL all on their own.
  4. These players will probably not cost a team a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and could become meaningful contributors for their team. This is certainly nothing to scoff at.

At the very least, the players I have highlighted are talented and worth keeping an eye on as the second half of the college season unfolds. Using Pro Football Focus’s most recent 2020 Mock Draft, let’s take a look at the frontrunners.

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