The NFL Draft is fast approaching, and as always, the Internet is dripping with mock drafts from anyone and everyone. Just like every year, not a single one of the mock drafts will be right, mostly because the people actually drafting the players keep their scouting information and opinions close to the vest, leaving the "experts" to make their best assumptions as to what they think each team will do.
Part of what throws most mocks out the window once the action gets started are those players that end up being drafted earlier than most people though they would be. I don't call these guys "sleepers," because if anything, there is now more pressure on them, which increases their chances of becoming busts. Instead, I call them "draft crashers" — players who arrive to the party earlier or sometimes unexpectedly altogether.
5 Draft Crashers to Watch
Jake Brendel, C, UCLA
Brendel performed well during all four years as the starting center for the Bruins. He's a big, strong and athletic center who played in a system that translates well to the NFL. Additionally, he played for a coach who knows what it takes to succeed on Sundays. Teams looking for a future starter at the center position might roll the dice on him early as a safe choice, thanks to the competition he faced and the environment he played in.
Best Fit: Los Angeles Rams
Temarrick Hemingway, TE, South Carolina State
Hemingway was a late bloomer, which was largely the reason he ended up playing college ball where he did. He is a pass-catching tight end first, which might scare some teams. Personally, I believe his size (6-5, 244) and speed (4.71 40-yard dash at Scouting Combine) will be enough to make a couple of teams think about grabbing him earlier than most expect as more of a wide receiver than a tight end. He's going to be a very difficult player to defend in the red zone. He's faster than most linebackers and will easily out-jump most defensive backs.
Best Fit: Atlanta Falcons
Roger Lewis, WR, Bowling Green
Lewis shredded the MAC this past season, and that shouldn't have been a surprise to many who have followed his career. He was one of the most heavily recruited receivers in his class coming out of high school, even earning an offer from Ohio State. Ultimately, off-field issues caused some big-time programs to pass on him and he ended up at Bowling Green. He has stayed out of trouble for a couple of years. If you are drafting on talent alone, Lewis is one of the 10 best receivers in the class.
Best Fit: New England Patriots
Jayron Kearse, SS, Clemson
Kearse is a giant defensive back, using his 6-foot-4 inch frame to his full advantage at all times. He can cover tight ends and big receivers with relative ease while also being a force against the run — almost like an extra linebacker. His technique and pursuit angles are his biggest question marks, but there is no questioning his NFL pedigree. He is the nephew of former NFL players Jevon Kearse and the cousin of Phillip Buchanon.
Best Fit: Seattle Seahawks
Jeff Driskel, QB, Louisiana Tech
Sadly, Driskel is mostly known for failing to meet expectations early on at Florida after being considered the top quarterback in his recruiting class by most publications. Driskel transferred to Louisiana Tech where, by all accounts, he resurrected his college career and became a viable NFL prospect. In addition to his skills, he also is a natural leader who has the ability to command an NFL huddle early in his career should he be asked to do so. With the question marks surrounding this year's quarterback class, Driskel could realistically end up having the best career of any signal-caller drafted in 2016.
Best Fit: Dallas Cowboys
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the owner of KnowItAllFootball.com and host of "Raising the Bar" on RadiOmaha.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.