NFL training camps are right around the corner and it’s time for those undervalued players to show what they’re worth.
For every Todd Gurley who is drafted in the top 10, there is an Alvin Kamara taken in the third round who becomes a star.
Every guy falls for a reason, with some more obvious than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re not talented players.
Here’s a list of players who might be flying under the radar but could make an impact next season.
Five under-the-radar rookies to watch in 2019
Miles Sanders, running back, Eagles
Sanders won’t be under the radar to anyone who watched college football last year. Sanders rushed for 1,274 yards and nine touchdowns for Penn State but could not crack the first round despite running a 4.49 40-yard dash and recording other impressive measurables.
It looks like Sanders could be the Eagles’ second back this year behind Jordan Howard, who the team acquired in a trade with the Bears, but he could very well have the better season of the two running backs for Philadelphia.
Andy Isabella, wide receiver, Cardinals
While everyone who watched college football knows about Sanders, only the diehards know Isabella, who played for Massachusetts and rarely got the national spotlight. But, Isabella is an absolute beast who caught 102 passes for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. While it’s easy to say that might just be because he was playing against lesser competition and might not actually be all that skilled or talented, his 4.31 40-yard dash completely gets rid of that notion.
Isabella should fit perfectly in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, where he could very well be used like Antonio Brown in the slot. Kyler Murray should be thrilled to have the 5-foot-9 wide receiver on his team.
Chase Winovich, defensive end, Patriots
It feels like the Patriots always get players who live in the backfield and disrupt passes at the line of scrimmage. Winovich might have been the best player on a defense at Michigan which featured first-round picks in Rashan Gary and Devin Bush.
Now, the reason he probably slipped to the third round was because of questions about his health, which was shrouded in doubt around the draft. It seems like it was an ankle injury, but it’s not exactly definitive what it was. But the fact is, if Winovich is who he was in college, the Patriots got a very good player and got him way later than they should have.
Jaquan Johnson, safety, Bills
This one is more for us than you, honestly. It’s fun to watch Johnson play. He always seems to be around the ball and makes plays all over the field, tallying eight interceptions in his career at Miami to go with 2 1/2 sacks. The issue for Johnson is he ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at the combine and didn’t test very well in anything else. His final season at Miami wasn’t all that great, either, which cost him.
But again, he’s a talented player who just knows how to play football. He’ll be behind a Pro Bowl safety in Micah Hyde and looks to be down the depth chart this season after being taken in the sixth round. But an injury here or there could get him into the lineup. If he gets in there on a good defense in Buffalo, he could be a very good player.
Trayveon Williams, running back, Bengals
Williams will be behind Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard in Cincinnati but Bernard is hurt a lot and Mixon has had injury problems of his own. If he winds up in the lineup he could be great. The running back out of Texas A&M has speed to burn and fits very well into the modern day NFL offense. He should be a perfect fit for Zac Taylor.
And if he doesn’t crack the backfield, he is a very talented return man, as well, so he will make some kind of an impact next year. We’ll just see if it’s on special teams or the offensive end.