As human beings, we all love to be first to like something that becomes popular, from new bands and songs to gadgets. NFL scouts are no different when it comes to discovering prospects.
I'll never forget an area scout for an NFL team calling in 2016 to tell me about a quarterback at Wyoming "no one knows about yet." That quarterback was Josh Allen, and the scout was right. People weren't talking about Allen as a potential top-10 pick early in the 2016 season, but they would be soon enough, as the Bills picked him No. 7 overall in the 2018 draft and he has developed into a superstar.
There is a race in NFL circles to be first on a prospect as much as there is a determination to be right about each of them. And as we get ready for the college football and 2023 NFL draft seasons, it's time to plant flags and claim players as early under-the-radar prospects.
In our lead-up to the season, we polled multiple NFL scouts, scouting directors and general managers to give us their sleeper picks for next year's draft. These are a few players who aren't as well-known -- yet -- but could vault into first-round consideration, along with a few who already are popping up in mock drafts -- including mine -- and could become the top prospects at their positions.
Let's start with the guys outside the first round, and we'll finish with four potential top-10 picks: