2014 Sleeper DT: Caraun Reid
There are a handful of defensive tackles who could be selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. College football's defensive Player of the Year, Pitt's Aaron Donald, is the best of the bunch, followed by Notre Dame's Louis Nix III and Florida State's Timmy Jernigan. Guys like Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman and Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt are likely to also go in the first, rounding out the top five of a strong defensive tackle class. These interior linemen are built well for the position and they are also freakishly quick. You can plug any of them into an NFL defense this coming season and they are going to be productive.
There's also a guy from Princeton named Caraun Reid, who looked good at the Combine. Though he's still not regarded as highly as these top five defensive tackles, Reid isn't far behind them.
In 2009, Reid played at Princeton as a 17-year-old freshman and recorded 34 tackles, 4.5 which were for loss. He also added 4 PBU and a sack in limited time at both tackle and defensive end. Reid played one game in 2010 before injuring a pectoral muscle which required surgery. He returned in 2011 with a massive season. Reid earned first-team All-Ivy League honors for a season in which he compiled 8 sacks, 16 TFL, 3 PBU and 3 blocked kicks. Reid was named first-team All-Ivy League in 2012 and 2013 as well. Reid also became Princeton's first two-time first-team All-America honoree.
The 6-foot-2, 302-pound tackle is strikingly athletic for his size. He has 7 career blocked kicks as well as 10 career PBU. Reid even picked off a pass this season to add to his illustrious resume. Not only is Reid quick off the snap, he actually has decent speed for a defensive tackle. He ran a 4.91 40 officially at the NFL Combine, which is a good number for him. Reid always keeps his feet moving and is an extra-effort type of player. He's put together impressive numbers for an interior defensive lineman: 20.5 sacks, 41 TFL and 168 total tackles in his four-year Princeton career.
Reid has flown under the radar because he played Ivy League football, but he is more than an Ivy League player. He's built well, though he may be overmatched at times. He is going to face some big blockers on the other side of the trenches and he may get thrown around a bit. But Reid shows fight in his game and I'm not concerned about his size. His quickness makes up for his size as he will be more than capable of shooting gaps and making moves around offensive linemen.
With the combination of his size, quickness and athleticism, Reid can do a lot of things from the defensive tackle position. He is an every-down tackle who stops plays before they get past the line of scrimmage. Reid also has a good football IQ and he's experienced, playing in parts of five seasons, if you include the year he was injured. Reid should go somewhere around the fourth round and I wouldn't be surprised if he goes late third round. He is a complete player and is only a sleeper because of the school he played at.
Don't underestimate Reid as a player. He deserves to be mentioned in the same class as the top five defensive tackles in this year's draft.