2021 NFL Draft: Six sleeper wide receivers to watch

2021 NFL Draft prospect Elijah Cooks (Photo by David Calvert-USA TODAY Sports)
2021 NFL Draft prospect Elijah Cooks (Photo by David Calvert-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Elijah Moore, 2021 NFL Draft
2021 NFL Draft prospect Elijah Cooks #4 of the Nevada Wolf Pack (Photo by Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports) /

A position where you can find some diamonds in the rough on the last day in the draft, or even when it comes to signing an undrafted free agent is wide receiver. In recent memory, we have seen players like Antonio Brown, Tyreek Hill, and Marques Colston drafted in the fifth round or later. Just this past season we saw the Chicago Bears add one of their biggest playmakers in Darnell Mooney in the fifth round, and the New York Giants draft its leading receiver Darius Slayton in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The 2021 NFL Draft class offers plenty of intriguing late-round prospects who could make a contribution in the NFL next year. These players are being overlooked for a variety of reasons including coming off a significant injury, lack of success by his team, making a position switch or even coming from a smaller school.

Elijah Cooks, Nevada

One of my favorite sleepers in the 2021 NFL Draft is Nevada Elijah Cooks. What impresses me so much with Cooks is his outstanding size and athletic ability combination. Coming in at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds he has the size the NFL loves. He also shows impressive athletic ability for someone his size, which is part of the reason he has made some spectacular catches during his career.

One of the reasons he will likely fall to the end of the 2021 NFL Draft is that he missed most of the 2020 season with a shoulder injury. However, if you go back and watch his junior film you see how much of an impact he can make. That year he led Nevada in receptions with 76, receiving yards with 926 yards and also caught eight touchdown passes. One more concern with him is that he lacks elite speed and might have trouble gaining separation.

Overall, I look for Cooks to be drafted in the seventh round or go undrafted. However, I think he will show enough in training camp to make a roster and potentially develop into a solid red-zone target in the NFL.