The college football season is right around the corner which means like every year there will be sleepers who emerge from the fog of the season. Whether it be a team or players, fans and media will be shocked at some point. That is a guarantee, what isn’t guarantee is that the top pick in the draft will be coming out of the Pac-12 if a certain ACC quarterback has anything to say about it.
While it may seem uncommon, sleepers will emerge from the ACC just as they do everywhere else.
The ACC has proven to be one of the more reliable conferences in producing NFL talent in recent years. Not just at the top of the draft but throughout the draft in all three days.
No matter the situation or team, players break out, players make the most of their chances, and here are five of them to monitor.
After a 2022 season that went the complete opposite of how he ever thought it would go, Tyler Van Dyke is primed to prove something this Fall. He entered the transfer portal for a time but came back to Miami (FL) and has a chance to earn major props in the draft community. He has the physical traits and mechanics to make progress as a starting quarterback but what is between the ears is what needs to improve. Develop short memory, make smart decisions, and then he can take the next step as a prospect.
The unfortunate ineligibility of Tez Walker leaves an opening in the Tar Heels offense for a top target for Drake Maye. Bryson Nesbit has every right and chance to fill in that role and in the process have a chance to be the TE2 in this thin tight end group in the 2024 NFL Draft. When it comes to NFL draft sleepers in this article, Nesbit has the best chance to rise to the top of his position group.
With the build of a linebacker and the play style of a safety, James Williams is a rarity for the college safety position. It is very possible he will get moved to a hybrid linebacker position at the next level but for now, he remains in these NFL draft sleepers. Williams makes tons of play in run support on film and does a decent job of tracking the ball in pass coverage. He will have a role in an NFL defense it is just a matter of where.
A tight end that may not have even been discussed but serves as a major projection is Gavin Bartholomew. He had only 21 catches in 2022 but he played in 13 games for Pittsburgh during a shaky 2022 season. In the Tennessee game, he showed that his physical traits paired with athleticism could be a lethal combination against defenses. Tight ends take time to develop, I have no problem thinking Bartholomew can emerge from these NFL draft sleepers.
Offensive linemen are always picked by pundits as NFL draft sleepers, Chrisitan Mahogany fits the bill and does so in an impressive manner. Mahogany handles good ACC interior defensive linemen very well, some of his best film is against Clemson specifically. Boston College is facing a tough year in 2024 but the physical style paired with consistency should make Mahogany a surefire thing come April in the draft.