Every year there are a handful of late-round or free-agent prospects from the NFL draft that emerge from under the radar to become contributors early in their careers.
This year's defensive back class could have several such players. The safety and cornerback positions are arguably two of the deepest in this year's class. It is a strong pool that has a lot of variety to fit various schemes, and there should be runs on both positions over the first two days of the draft.
However, teams that dig deeper could find great value on Day 3 with players similar to Cortland Finnegan (seventh round, 2006, Tennessee) and Corey Graham (fifth round, 2007, Chicago). Neither entered the league with a high profile, but each has turned into a valuable piece on the back end. The players listed below have the skills to join them as late-round sleepers who bring value.
Sam Houston State CB Daxton Swanson: A transfer from Toledo, Swanson (5-foot-10, 186 pounds) is a quick-twitched and explosive athlete on tape. He shows quick feet and balance, with excellent short-area burst and the ability to plant and drive on balls in front of him. He ran the 40-yard dash in just 4.56 seconds at the combine, but Swanson's route recognition and anticipation skills allow him to play faster than his timed speed.
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