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Best late-round sleeper quarterbacks in 2023 NFL Draft

We take a look at which late-round QBs have the best chance to succeed in the NFL.

USC v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

While much of the quarterback draft talk thus far has surrounded Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, and Will Levis, there are a few NFL hopefuls whose names will be called later on in the weekend. As we well know, you can’t overlook those late picks — success stories are not unheard of for later-round QBs. So, aside from this year’s obvious picks, who are some sleeper quarterbacks who could find success in the pros? Let’s take a look.

2023 NFL Draft: Sleeper QBs

Jake Haener, Fresno State

Projected round: 5

Haener is projected in different mock drafts to head to the Lions (ESPN), the Saints (, the Browns (The Athletic), and the Vikings (CBS). Obviously, he’s far from starting at any of these locations, most of whom have recently traded for (and paid big money for) their desired QBs.

A graduate of Derek Carr’s alma mater, he could work behind the man whose passing record he broke if he went to the Saints. Because of his smaller size and the passing limitations that brings in the NFL, Haener will likely never win a starting job, but he is a great and reliable option to have as a backup in case of injury.

Haener has an excellent pocket presence. He can quickly and skillfully read defenses and get the pass off quickly and accurately, and can anticipate receivers’ routes and locations. He can dodge pressure — if not well enough to get a run play off, well enough to find a receiver downfield. His instincts and passing talent would allow him to step in with any of these teams and target their receiving corps. A Taylor Heinicke-type of player, Haener could always find his breakthrough season if things fell together in the right way.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA

Projected round: 5 or 6

Thompson-Robinson is projected to head to the Seahawks (ESPN), the Ravens (, the Bengals (The Athletic), and the Lions (CBS). Thompson-Robinson was in Heisman talks during parts of his 2022 season at UCLA. He has the size and the arm strength to fit into the NFL quarterback mold, but he will need to tighten up some other aspects of his game. His accuracy is not up to par, and he sometimes panics in the pocket, unable to avoid or instinctively sense pressure.

These are mostly traits that can be fixed through coaching and practice. DTR is a clear talent and has the physical attributes that NFL teams look for. While we won’t expect to see him taking many snaps or even stepping into a primary backup role in his first few seasons, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him stay in the league and find a solid backup spot in a few years. He also possesses those uncoachable traits of leadership and character that make a good teammate that people want to keep on a roster. We may have to wait on DTR, but he will have his shot.

Jaren Hall, BYU

Projected round: Unsure

Hall goes as early as the third round and as late in the seventh in different mock drafts, so it’s difficult to place him with a solid projection. His mock destinations include the Raiders (CBS), the Packers (, the Chiefs (The Athletic), and the Texans (ESPN). Hall is on the older side at 25 years old.

The teams that are projected to draft Hall all have something in common — a lack of a truly reliable backup QB, someone to step in if their starter is seriously injured. The Chad Henne Chiefs moment last season showed that they were much in need of a better backup, and with Aaron Rodgers gone, the Packers will need someone else besides Jordan Love. The Texans may or may not choose a rookie with the second pick, and the Raiders have the oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo as their starter now that Derek Carr is gone.

Considering all this, Hall has some legitimate potential to see playing time as soon as this year, whether he’s selected in the third, the seventh, or somewhere in between. He has a high ceiling, though he will have to develop in the NFL to reach it. He’s a top-notch passer from just about anywhere on the field, throwing with the combination of strength and accuracy that you want to see. However, he dealt with some serious injuries in his college years, which could give teams some pause in drafting him.