NFL Analysis


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2024 NFL Draft: 8 Under-The-Radar Prospects Making Money at Pro Days

South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler
South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) throws for a touchdown against the Vanderbilt Commodores in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. (Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports)

The 2024 NFL Draft cycle's big names are well-known now. Most fans have familiarized themselves with players expected to be taken within the top 40 or so picks. These stars have earned their shine, but the draft is almost always defined by the players unearthed later on Day 2 and 3. 

Pro days are all but wrapped up, so we've identified eight under-the-radar draft prospects who have received little buzz throughout the offseason despite stellar performances. These prospects delivered standout pro day showings, putting the finishing touches on their resumes before the bell tolls. Acing every part of the draft process can vault someone from an undrafted or late-round pick to the top 100.

Which under-the-radar prospects had the best pro-day performances?

2024 NFL Draft Under-The-Radar Prospects

West Virginia Mountaineers cornerback Beanie Bishop Jr. (11) tackles North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Conner Harrell (15) during a game at Bank of America Stadium. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

Beanie Bishop Jr., CB, West Virginia

It is uncommon to see an All-American snubbed from the combine, and Beanie Bishop Jr. should've been included in that opportunity. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound corner led the nation with passes defensed (24), was second in forced incompletions (17) and notched four interceptions. He also looked like he belonged as an NFL slot corner in the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Bishop is well-traveled. He played at Western Kentucky until 2021 before transferring to Minnesota in 2022. Finally, in 2023, he took on a full-time role and took advantage of his final year of eligibility. He totaled 67 tackles, which was impossible to miss while watching any West Virginia game.

A playmaker with a tremendous nose for the ball, Bishop delivered a statement with his pro day showing. He blazed a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, a 4.15 20-yard shuttle and a 7.05 three-cone. His times proved he'd have no issues turning and running with NFL receivers.

There are few impact slot corners in the NFL, so Bishop is an excellent candidate to become a bargain value and immediate starter. He should hear his name called toward the end of Day 2.

South Dakota State running back Isaiah Davis (22) runs with the ball at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings, S.D. (USA TODAY-Sports)

Isaiah Davis, RB, South Dakota State

This year's class of running backs lacks the A-list names who have earned a top-10 investment in the past decade. Instead of workhorse types, this class offers more complementary pieces that can thrive in specific roles. For someone like Isaiah Davis, who is already fighting uphill as a small-school prospect, showing a high floor as a specialist is invaluable.

Davis, 6-foot and 218 pounds, is reminiscent of former Cardinals and Texans running back David Johnson. He's a taller, more upright runner from a small school. With 1,578 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 2023, Davis can produce explosive plays.

Although he only caught 53 passes in four seasons, NFL teams needed to see his comfort level while running routes out of the backfield and locating the ball. According to Tony Pauline of SportsKeeda, he looked "exceptional" in pass-catching drills at his pro day. 

Davis might start off as a second or third back before earning a bigger share of touches. Trust is earned on third downs, so Davis' playmaking as a receiver will be key. He could sneak his way into the early portion of Day 3.

USC Trojans wide receiver Brenden Rice (2) catches a touchdown against the UCLA Bruins at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports)

Brenden Rice, WR, USC

Brenden Rice is one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2024 class. Beyond being the son of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, he looks the part of an obvious NFL starter. He's 6-foot-2, 208 pounds, has 4.51 speed, good leaping ability and can create the occasional chunk play where he physically outmatched his competition.

However, Rice tends to look the part more than perform at a consistently high level. He's a big body with good releases but not crisp routes, and he doesn't come from an offense concerned with developing those aspects of his game. It wasn't a surprise that he performed well at the Senior Bowl drills and combine but disappeared a bit in team activities. 

Still, there's not much more Rice could have done this offseason to make teams believe he'll be a better pro than a college player. He stood out at USC's pro day, catching passes from Caleb Williams and logging a 6.95 three-cone. 

He's an NFL athlete who has to translate those traits into being a reliable player on Sundays. His pro day will help reassure teams that a top-100 pick is a worthwhile investment.

Purdue Boilermakers running back Tyrone Tracy Jr. (3) rushes the ball against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. (Alex Martin/Journal and Courier-USA TODAY-Sports)

Tyrone Tracy Jr., RB, Purdue

Davis has been an offseason winner, but Tyrone Tracy Jr. has helped himself more than any other back just in the pro day circuit. The 5-foot-11, 209-pounder moved from receiver to running back full-time this past season, totaling 716 rushing yards and eight touchdowns while adding 19 receptions for 132 yards. He finished his six-year career between Iowa and Purdue with 2,148 yards and 15 scores.

Tracy is especially intriguing because of his explosiveness. He's not a refined back, but his open-field explosiveness is apparent. His 4.48-second 40, 40-inch vertical, 6.81 three-cone and 4.06 short shuttle made everyone return to the tape to see his athleticism. 

His 174-yard breakout against Minnesota was the best example of someone who has the potential to be a weapon at the next level. Getting him involved on sweeps and screens can provide him with a runway to green space. Spread and motion-based offenses should view Tracy as a DeVon Achane-type platoon piece.

>>READ MORE: Greg Cosell's Scouting Report on Tracy

North Carolina Tar Heels logo Devontez Walker, WR, north Carolina

Given the NFL's need for speed, the lack of buzz around Devontez Walker is surprising. The former Kent State and North Carolina playmaker only participated in eight games in 2023 as the NCAA opted against clearing his eligibility until the first month of action was over. But Walker hit the ground running with Drake Maye, averaging 17 yards a catch and totaling 699 yards and seven scores. 

The 6-foot-1, 193-pounder struggled to deal with physical cornerbacks at the Senior Bowl and produced an alarming number of drops. It was surprising given his big-play nature at North Carolina. Suddenly, it was easier to overlook his 4.36 speed and 40.5-inch vertical and worry about his toughness.

Eric Edholm of noted that Walker had a few drops at his pro day, but it was a strong performance as he dominated on deep passes. The league generally recognizes that drops are acceptable as long as you're creating big plays, and Walker has the chance to be a huge vertical weapon.

On Day 2, the other pure speed options in the class are lacking. Troy Franklin is the most likely downfield speedster to be taken in the second round, and then Walker, Ja'Lynn Polk and Rice appear to be the next best options. Walker might've solidified himself as a top 80 selection and leapfrogged his peers.

>>READ MORE: Greg Cosell's Scouting Report on Walker

Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina

The race for the sixth quarterback drafted appears to be in Spencer Rattler's hands. Is it possible he could even be taken ahead of Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix? While the buzz isn't there for him to go that high, Rattler's film is undoubtedly good, even if he's coming from a difficult situation where playing well was an incredible challenge.

Rattler has always possessed talent, but his shocking fall from grace after a stellar freshman season at Oklahoma gave many pause. His explosive plays disappeared, and Caleb Williams eventually replaced him. Rattler was fine in his first season at South Carolina in 2022 but saw noticeable growth as a pocket passer and playmaker in 2023.

Pauline reported Rattler's pro day went extremely well, as he showed off his precise accuracy and strong arm. Considering the Raiders, Falcons, Giants and Broncos each had scouts present, Rattler might be locked into the second round now. He has the gusto and physical talent to be a starting NFL quarterback, so evaluators have to determine whether the rest of his makeup can make him a steal.

American offensive lineman Travis Glover of Georgia State (71) sets up to block during practice for the Senior Bowl. (Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports)

Georgia State logo Travis Glover, OT, Georgia State

Teams have an unprecedented opportunity to load up on high-end blockers in this draft class. The depth at tackle and the number of impactful interior blockers make this a mouth-watering group for trench lovers. Because there's such a need to protect quarterbacks and the rising cost of interior linemen, expect blockers to fly off the board.

That means typical Day 3 types will be pushed up into late Day 2. The best candidate to be a riser is Georgia State's Travis Glover. The Senior Bowl participant didn't make the combine list, so his pro day was a huge moment in his career.

According to Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, Glover measured in at 6-foot-6 and 317 pounds with almost 35-inch arms. He then ran a 5.27-second 40. Nagy projected Glover to go late in on Day 3, but it's more likely for someone with Glover's profile to be taken much earlier. He has experience at both tackle positions and played five seasons, making him the perfect backup swing tackle.

Expect to see Glover be taken early on Day 3 as opposed to being a fringe selection.

Michigan Wolverines offensive lineman Zak Zinter (65) gets ready to play against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Zak Zinter, OG, Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines had one of the more memorable championship journeys we've seen in recent years, and the on-field storylines were only part of the equation.

Unfortunately, even if everyone earned their ring, the final moments of the Wolverines’ season didn't include arguably their best player on the field. All-American and team leader Zak Zinter broke his tibia and fibula against Ohio State and missed the remainder of the season.

The injury could've been worse, and Michigan rallied in his absence. Thankfully, this wasn't a career-ending moment for one of the most dominant blockers in the nation. The fourth-year guard said he was about "90 percent" healthy at his pro day and has earned good medical remarks from teams.

This great news should lock Zinter into Day 2. 

>>READ MORE: Greg Cosell's Scouting Report on Zinter