Skip to main content

Next Gen Stats

Presented By

2024 NFL Draft sleepers: Day 2 standouts and Day 3 hidden gems to target

The 2024 NFL Draft will mark the fifth year we've used the Next Gen Stats Draft Model to identify the Day 2 standouts and Day 3 hidden gems using data and machine-learning modeling. By training a series of position-specific models on every draft class since 2003, we can leverage available data to identify prospects with traits and characteristics that translate to the next level.

Reflecting on last year’s draft, eight of the nine players we flagged as Day 2 standouts started at least seven games as NFL rookies during the 2023 regular season: Giants WR Jalin Hyatt (seven starts), Bengals CB DJ Turner II (12), Colts WR Josh Downs (nine), Steelers TE Darnell Washington (seven), Jets C Joe Tippmann (14), Packers TE Luke Musgrave (nine), Giants C John Michael Schmitz (13) and Buccaneers OG Cody Mauch (17). Only Dolphins CB Cam Smith (zero starts), who was mentioned as a Day 2 name to consider, fell short.

Over the years, this annual breakdown has included Day 2 standouts like Jonathan Taylor, Jaquan Brisker, Trey McBride, Christian Barmore, Nico Collins and Logan Wilson, to name a few.

Players in our analysis are organized according to Daniel Jeremiah's ranking of the top 150 prospects. Those ranked between No. 33 and No. 100 are potential Day 2 standouts, while those ranked No. 101 or beyond are considered Day 3 hidden gems. It's worth noting that shifts between projected rounds are possible, as evidenced last year by Super Bowl champion Rashee Rice, who was drafted at No. 55 overall (Round 2) despite a No. 123 ranking from DJ. This year, we could see our top hidden gem hear his name called Friday night yet again.

Who made this year's list of Day 2 standouts and Day 3 hidden gems?


Jackson Powers-Johnson
Oregon · C · 21 years old
  • DJ’s Big Board Ranking: No. 34
  • Production Score: 79
  • Athleticism Score: 79

At just 21 years old, Powers-Johnson stands out as one of the youngest offensive linemen in this year’s draft class. Despite starting just 17 career games over three seasons at Oregon, Powers-Johnson has demonstrated enough skill and consistency on tape to merit early-round consideration.

In his first and only season as a full-time starter this past fall, Powers-Johnson won the prestigious Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation's top center. His standout campaign is underscored by PFF metrics, which show that he allowed a mere one pressure and zero sacks in 2023. Powers-Johnson also finished with the highest PFF grades in pass blocking (91.3), run blocking (83.1) and overall (83.2) among FBS centers, highlighting his dominance in both facets of O-line play.

Currently ranked as the No. 2 interior offensive line prospect by Next Gen Stats with an overall score of 85 -- trailing only behind Duke’s Graham Barton (90) -- Powers-Johnson is well-positioned to be selected perhaps as early as the end of Day 1. If not, he won't last long on Day 2.

Troy Franklin
Oregon · WR · 21 years old
  • DJ’s Big Board Ranking: No. 76
  • Production Score: 88
  • Athleticism Score: 79

In a deep wide receiver class, Franklin emerges as a Day 2 prospect to keep an eye on thanks to a strong analytics profile. As a two-year starter in Oregon's prolific offense, Franklin has developed the athletic prowess and dynamic playmaking ability NFL teams highly value.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Franklin ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, leapt 39 inches in the vertical jump, had a 10-foot-4 broad jump and completed the three-cone drill in 6.90 seconds at nearly 6-foot-2 and 176 pounds (he weighed 183 pounds at his pro day). Notably, his top-end speed was 21.82 mph on a go route during on-field receiver drills in Indianapolis, a speed surpassed only by LSU's Brian Thomas Jr., who clocked 22.91 mph.

Franklin led the Pac-12 in receiving touchdowns in each of the last two seasons with nine in 2022 and 14 in 2023. Last season alone, Franklin set Oregon single-season records in receptions (81), receiving yards (1,383), receiving touchdowns (14) and 100-yard receiving games (eight). His NGS production score of 88 ranks fourth in the 2024 wide receiver class, trailing only projected top-10 picks Malik Nabers, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Rome Odunze.

Braden Fiske
Florida State · DT · 24 years old
  • DJ’s Big Board Ranking: No. 38
  • Production Score: 77
  • Athleticism Score: 87

No player may have capitalized on the offseason process more effectively than Fiske. Originally a standout at Western Michigan, the defensive tackle was highly sought after in the transfer portal just over a year ago. In his sole season at Florida State as a sixth-year senior, he earned second-team All-ACC honors, amassing 43 tackles, nine tackles for loss and six sacks as a 3-technique along FSU’s four-man front. The 24-year-old prospect wrapped his college career with an impressive 43 starts in 58 games.

Fiske’s momentum continued at the Senior Bowl, where he was named the top defensive lineman on the American roster by his peers, following a strong week of practices. His performance at the combine further distinguished his ascension. Fiske became the first defensive tackle since Tank Johnson in 2004 to lead his position group in the 40-yard dash (4.78 seconds), vertical jump (33.5 inches), and broad jump (9-foot-9). Fiske also recorded the fastest speeds in the pass-rush drill (16.71 mph), hoop drill (15.07 mph), front-start wave drill (16.29 mph) and body-control drill (17.76 mph). Notably, his 21.11 mph top speed in the 40 made him the only defensive tackle to surpass the 21 mph threshold in the past two years.

While his age might be seen as a drawback, Fiske's proven performance and maturity present a valuable opportunity for NFL teams. For franchises seeking a reliable and immediate contributor along the defensive line on Day 2, Braden Fiske stands out as an ideal candidate.

Payton Wilson
N.C. State · LB · 24 years old
  • DJ’s Big Board Ranking: No. 41
  • Production Score: 83
  • Athleticism Score: 86

Wilson's draft profile is undeniably compelling, highlighted by an exceptional combination of physical traits, on-field accolades and noteworthy leadership qualities. As the recipient of the 2023 Bednarik and Butkus Awards -- honors bestowed upon the nation’s top defensive player and linebacker, respectively -- Wilson demonstrated at the combine why he is more than just a decorated collegiate athlete. At just under 6-4 and 233 pounds, Wilson ran an impressive 4.43-second 40 time, the fastest among the 2024 linebacker class.

His athleticism was further showcased at his pro day, where Wilson excelled in agility drills, recording elite times in the short shuttle (4.20 seconds) and three-cone drill (6.85 seconds). These workouts earned him an athleticism score of 86, the second-highest among linebackers in the 2024 class (behind only Temple linebacker Jordan Magee, whom we’ll get to in a minute).

Despite his impressive athletic credentials, Wilson’s path to the NFL will be challenged by an extensive injury history, including multiple surgeries on his right knee and both shoulders since high school. For NFL teams willing to look past his health history, Wilson presents the upside of a versatile, three-down linebacker who could also serve as a team leader and potential green-dot signal-caller. His proficiency on special teams only adds to his overall value.

MORE NAMES TO KNOW IN THE DAY 2 RANGE: Ja’Lynn Polk, WR, Washington; Ja’Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas; Ben Sinnott, TE, Kansas State; Cooper Beebe, OG, Kansas State; Trey Benson, RB, Florida State; Devontez Walker, WR, North Carolina.


Brandon Coleman
TCU · OG · 23 years old
  • DJ’s Big Board Ranking: No. 99
  • Production Score: 64
  • Athleticism Score: 97

Coleman has a reasonable chance to hear his name called toward the end of Day 2, as the No. 99-ranked prospect on Jeremiah’s list. Nevertheless, in this exercise, Coleman is our top Day 3 sleeper after posting the highest NGS athleticism score (97) among offensive guards at the combine.

A former JUCO transfer, Coleman gained experience at both tackle and guard over 34 career starts at TCU. At 6-4 1/2, 313 pounds with 34 5/8-inch arms and an 84-inch wingspan, Coleman possesses the size and length expected of an NFL offensive lineman, offering invaluable positional flexibility at four of the five spots along the front.

At the combine, it was his 40 speed (4.99 seconds), 34-inch vertical leap and 9-foot-6 broad jump that helped Coleman earn a blue-chip athleticism score from the NGS model. Coleman reached a top speed of 20.35 mph during his 40, the second-fastest top speed among interior offensive linemen, slower than only the next player on our list …

Tanor Bortolini
Wisconsin · IOL · 21 years old
  • DJ’s Big Board Ranking: No. 139
  • Production Score: 62
  • Athleticism Score: 99

When it comes to athletic testing, Bortolini proved he is an outlier relative to his peers. According to player tracking data collected at the combine, Bortolini recorded the fastest speeds among interior offensive linemen in several crucial drills. He reached a top speed of 20.45 mph in the 40 (including 13.74 mph within the first 5 yards), 12.38 mph in the short shuttle, 15.12 mph in the three-cone drill and an outstanding 15.85 mph in the pass-protection mirror drill. Bortolini ranked among the leaders in pull and fold blocking drills, while also breaking Jason Kelce’s IOL-record three-cone official time with a run of 7.16 seconds.

Bortolini’s elite combine workout helped the Wisconsin native earn a max 99 athleticism score, according to the NGS Draft Model, one of only two 2024 combine invitees to earn such a label. (The other, running back Isaac Guerendo, is another player on this list).

Beyond his athletic metrics, Bortolini's versatility across the offensive line adds to his appeal. With 28 starts in 35 games under his belt, he has taken significant snaps at every position except left tackle. Originally a guard in 2022, Bortolini transitioned to center in 2023, where his size (6-4 1/4, 303 pounds) and arm length (31.5 inches) indicate that he has found his ideal position -- poised to maximize his impact in the NFL.

Jordan Magee
Temple · LB · 23 years old
  • DJ’s Big Board Ranking: No. 145
  • Production Score: 73
  • Athleticism Score: 87

The No. 1 athlete in the 2024 linebacker class according to the NGS athleticism score, Magee posted elite numbers across the board in every workout he participated in. At 6-1 3/8, 228 pounds, Magee ran a 4.55-second 40, while also posting a 35 1/2-inch vertical leap and 10-foot-4 broad jump on his way to a stellar combine performance. Magee added a blazing 4.16-second short shuttle and 6.9-second three-cone drill at his pro day, cementing his status as a blue-chip athlete.

A three-year starter at Temple, where he accumulated 33 starts across 44 career games, Magee was named a team captain as a redshirt junior and senior. Back-to-back seasons of 80-plus tackles coupled with extensive special teams experience puts Magee squarely on the board as an intriguing early Day 3 selection.

Magee's potential draft position might have been even higher if not for a bicep injury that prematurely ended his redshirt senior season. Despite this setback, his proven performance and athletic prowess make him a compelling prospect with the underlying potential to be a Day 2 standout.

Isaac Guerendo
Louisville · RB · 23 years old
  • DJ’s Big Board Ranking: No. 122
  • Production Score: 64
  • Athleticism Score: 99

Day 3 of the NFL draft is often where strategic gambles on high-potential athletes can result in significant payoffs. Guerendo is a prime example of such an opportunity. Despite a modest college production score of 64 across 41 career games (one start) at Wisconsin and Louisville, Guerendo’s exceptional physical traits position him as one of the most intriguing later-round prospects in this year’s draft class.

Guerendo recorded the fastest 40 speed (4.33) and the highest top speed (24.08 mph, per NGS combine tracking data) among participating RBs at the combine. To contextualize Guerendo’s impressive speed relative to his weight of 221 pounds, consider that Miami Dolphins running back De'Von Achane reached 24.42 mph at 188 pounds during his run at last year’s combine.

Guerendo's athletic prowess is not limited to his speed. His 41.5-inch vertical leap, 10-foot-9 broad jump and 4.15-second short shuttle are testaments to his athletic ability, all of which contributed to him earning a perfect 99 athleticism score. Historically, running backs with a 99 athleticism rating have shown a strong correlation with success -- three of the four backs became NFL starters, including Saquon Barkley, Elijah Mitchell, and Chris Johnson.

Guerendo’s skills as a kick returner add another layer to his draft appeal. With rule changes expected to increase the number of kick returns, his skills in that area only increase his potential value.

MORE NAMES TO KNOW IN THE DAY 3 RANGE: Mason McCormick, OG, South Dakota State; Tip Reiman, TE, Illinois; Luke McCaffrey, WR, Rice; Jermaine Burton, WR, Alabama; Christian Mahogany, OG, Boston College; Jacob Cowing, WR, Arizona.