During camp, there is more at stake than the starting 11’s on offense and defense. Every year, undrafted players, late round picks and guys who have bounced from team to team, flip the switch and become contributors. Examples of this switch are all around the league; Michael Bennett, Vontaze Burfict, Malcolm Butler, and our own Cameron Wake, just to name a few. Often times when we hear of training camp standouts, it’s players who are fighting to make the 53 man roster or a guy who is simply looking to make the practice squad to continue his NFL Dream.
Here are a few sleepers that will be on our radar come training camp.
- AKIL BLOUNT OLB- Former high school basketball standout and son of Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer Mel Blount, Akil is a LB for this new era of NFL. Akil Blount worked out for teams at both outside linebacker and cornerback. He plays faster than his 4.6-second 40 would suggest and he’s a hard hitter who has shown good coverage traits. He led Florida A&M in tackles both his Junior and Senior campaigns and added 14.5 tackles for loss last season. With outside linebacker being a very shallow position on this team, an undrafted rookie like Blount will be given an opportunity to make some noise during camp.
- IFO EKPRE OLOMU CB – Before the knee injury in the college football playoffs, Olomu was a lock to be a 1st round cornerback. He plays bigger than he is and is known for toughness and elite ball skills. Receiving a clean bill of health this offseason, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is anxious to regain his form as an All American corner. Under the new coaching staff an emphasis on technique could elevate Ifo’s game even further. If he can overcome the mental hurdles that come with a major knee injury, he could become a contributor, as the nickel corner isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
- CLEYON LAING DL – (insert Cameron Wake comparison here) Coming off of a 9 sack, 41 tackle standout season for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL. Cleyon Laing made the jump to the NFL choosing the Dolphins over five other offers. Citing Cameron Wake’s experience as one of the factors in his signing. Laing doesn’t have the explosive traits of Wake but he does have the skills needed to play any position along the line. With Adam Gase emphasizing versatility, a player like Laing could become a coaching staff favorite.