2024 NFL Draft: Five Sleeper Prospects Who Could Be Steals

This year’s quarterback class is getting all the attention, but there are other Day 2 and Day 3 players who could have immediate impacts for the teams selecting them.
Pearsall tore up Senior Bowl practices with terrific route-running and smooth hands, something he showed at Florida
Pearsall tore up Senior Bowl practices with terrific route-running and smooth hands, something he showed at Florida / Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun / USA

There are going to be some questionable first-round picks during Thursday night’s first round of the 2024 NFL draft. 

There will also be some phenomenal second- and third-round choices Friday evening and late-round selections Saturday afternoon, only to be revealed in the years ahead.

But which players have the best chance to emerge as steals of the draft? Who is being underrated at the moment?

Here’s a look at five players who should be getting more shine, including an SEC receiver, a Big Ten edge rusher and a quarterback who can throw the ball over the mountains.

5. Adisa Isaac, Edge, Penn State

Isaac spent five years with the Nittany Lions, but really came into his own in 2022, finishing his college career with 27 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks. At 6' 3" and 248 pounds, he now projects as a second-round pick and has room to grow into his frame, while hopefully maintaining his athleticism.

He’s not on the same level as Laiatu Latu, Jared Verse or Dallas Turner, but Isaac is firmly in that second wave. And considering how vital a good pass rush is for a contender, Isaac should be seen as a priority once Day 2 gets going.

4. Joe Milton III, QB, Tennessee

Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton III (7) throws the ball.
Milton threw for 2,813 yards and 20 touchdowns across 12 games with the Volunteers. / Angelina Alcantar/News Sentinel / USA

Everyone knows about the top six quarterbacks in this class. The first round will be littered with them including Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix. After that group, Spencer Rattler has many intrigued. 

But Milton should get more love. Between Michigan and Tennessee, he only threw 296 passes across five years. But last season, he threw for 2,813 yards and 20 touchdowns across 12 games with the Volunteers. Milton’s physical talent is off the charts. If he gets the right coach, he could develop into a starter.

3. Ricky Pearsall, WR, Florida

Everyone knows this is one of the deepest receiver classes in some time. There’s a good chance we will see a half-dozen wideouts come off the board in the first round, and perhaps 10 in the top two rounds. 

Pearsall is a second-round talent who should be getting more attention. He tore up Senior Bowl practices with terrific route-running and smooth hands, something he showed at Florida. He also has 4.3 speed in the 40-yard dash. Don’t sleep on Pearsall as an immediate contributor in 2024. 

2. Cam Hart, CB, Notre Dame

In a class that isn’t heavy on top-tier corner prospects but loaded with intriguing players between picks 15 and 75, Hart fits the bill. He was a three-year starter and has elite size at 6' 3" and 202 pounds. 

Hart will fit perfectly into a defense prioritizing physicality, especially in aggressive man coverage. If the former Golden Domer is available come the late second or early third round, he’s a steal. 

1. Jonathon Brooks, RB, Texas

Texas Longhorns running back Jonathon Brooks (24) jumps over an Oklahoma Sooners defensive back.
Brooks ran for 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2023. / Ricardo Brazziell / USA TODAY NETWORK

Brooks is probably the top running back in this class, and yet many believe he’ll last into the second round. While positional value doesn’t help Brooks, he could be an immediate impact player for the team who picks him.

At Texas, he ran for 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2023, while also catching 25 passes across 11 games. While he was short on production in his first two seasons with the Longhorns, Brooks emerged as a well-rounded threat in his third campaign.


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Zach Koons

ZACH KOONS

Zach Koons is a programming editor at Sports Illustrated who also specializes in Formula One news and analysis. He started as a breaking news writer at SI before joining the programming team in 2023. Also a contributor to NBA and college sports coverage, Zach previously wrote for The Spun and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and currently hosts the Bleav in Northwestern podcast. Zach is a 2022 graduate of Northwestern University and lives in New York City.