NFL Draft, 2018, Adam Breneman, UMass
Adam Breneman has opened eyes this year at UMass. Getty Images

The stock may have dropped on a number of over-hyped players during this college football season, but a couple of sleepers are beginning to emerge at the midpoint of the year. One of these players that is rising in the eyes of NFL talent evaluators actually tought his college football career was over two years ago.




According to one general manager, one of the fastest rising players to keep an eye on for next spring’s NFL Draft isn’t from a perennial powerhouse or a Power  5 conference. Instead he is a transfer tight end on a 1-6 UMass program.




This general manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity to Metro, was asked if a player has surprised him as he has begun the process of reviewing film for the draft.


“Yeah, I think one guy I kind of watched last year who has taken a big step forward is Adam Breneman,” the general manager told Metro“I was aware of him last year, I kind of had an eye on him because he’s a transfer kid from Penn State. He was a good player for them, a high-character kid. But this year he has sort of separated himself a bit. He’s been impressive on tape and in person.”


So far this year, the tight end has 43 catches for 583 yards for a team that is struggling. A week ago in their first win of the season, Breneman led the way with seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.


Pro Football Focus noted after the game that he had a 154.5 passer rating when targeted.


Playing on a bad team that has struggled at times to move the ball, Breneman is likely overlooked nationally. But that he played at Penn State before his transfer and had a couple seasons cut short due to injury is also another factor.


Breneman retired from football in early January of 2016, the former four-star recruit and Penn State player thinking that injuries would cut short a once promising career.


Instead, he’s nearly two years removed from retiring and on the cusp of an NFL career.


“If you had asked me a year ago, I would have thought that [Breneman] was a late round grade at best, probably an undrafted guy. He was a good player but there were question marks. He didn’t have a ton of film from his time at [Penn] State,” the general manager said. “Now, I think you could see him sneaking into being a Day 2 pick. He’s a good blocker, he doesn’t drop the ball. He has good size.


“If he clears the medical evaluation at the NFL Draft – I think he’ll be fine there – I think he could be one of the top three to five tight ends to go next year. Listen, he’s got everything you’d look for at the position, he’ll just need to get a clear bill of health from the doctors.”