The NFL draft’s first round comes with all the bells and whistles. The commissioner announces all the picks, its in prime time, and all eyes are turned to the stage to see who gets picked next.
Day two of the draft, the second and third round really lays the foundation for whether or not teams will succeed. These are the guys you’ve probably seen on Saturdays, or at the very least on Sportscenter that night.
But its on day three where NFL executives earn the paychecks and build their reputations. Its on this day when they lean heavily on the skills and opinions of their college scouting staff. Where you’d hoping to find players with a pro skill who can be molded into future starters, special teams mavens, and quality depth for a long, harsh NFL season.
I know its never really been mentioned before, but did you know that New England’s Tom Brady was a 6th round pick? 198 players were drafted before him.
The Dallas Cowgirl’s signal caller, Dak Prescott was a 4th round selection. As was the Vikings Kirk Cousins, then with the Redskins. The latter just last year cashed in with a huge free agent deal, and the former will soon fill his own bank account.
Every year there are guys that at the time were thought to be sure things who are out of the league by time their rookie deal ends, and every year there are guys drafted on day 3 that have us scratching our heads at how they fell.
It feels like the best executives minimize their misses in the early days of the draft, and hit more frequently in identifying guys that can help in one of the 3 phases of the game (offense, defense, and special teams) on that 3rd day.
So as we review the results of this springs draft that occurred in April, who are some guys taken on Saturday that could have us scratching our heads in a few years when looking back?
Its not just the Cave of Wonders (ya know, from Aladdin. If you haven’t seen the new live action version, go check it out, its good. Nobody can replace Robin Williams, but Will Smith does a good job on putting his own spin on Genie) who is asking you to seek thee out, the diamond in the rough.
We’re going to drop 25 names on you. These young pups were all day 3 draftees, selected in rounds 4-7. They should make an early impact, even if its just on special teams, and as depth, but don’t be surprised when their names are called more and more going forward, enough to have you scratching your head come fall 2021.
- Bryce Love – RB – Washington Redskins
The standout running back out of Stanford dropped to the 4th round mostly due to health issues. A real boom or bust pick, the 2019 season may be a redshirt season for him. But with Adrian Peterson only having so many of his 9 lives left, and last year’s second round choice Derrius Guice already having his own injury issues, Love could become a key cog in 2020.
- Kelvin Harmon – WR – Washington Redskins
Out of NC State, Harmon slipped to the 6th round. This was a deep draft in terms of mining wide receiver talent, and in fact there are more than a couple undrafted rookies in the league playing wide receiver who could make impacts. With former first rounder Josh Doctson failing to live up to expectations, Jamison Crowder in New York, and Maurice Harris in New England, there is a nice opportunity for Harmon to build rapport with fellow rookie Dwayne Haskins in the Redskins offense.
- Anthony Nelson – DE – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Call me a cock eyed optimist, but with Bruce Arians on board, I think this could be a surprise year for the Tampa Bay faithful. Even with Gerald McCoy now in Carolina we could see improvement on the Buccaneers front line, and no small part of that may be the steady contributions of the former Iowa hawkeye star who was drafted in the 4th round.
- Kaden Smith – WR – San Francisco 49ers
It wasn’t a long moving trip for the former Stanford tight end who ended up going to the 49ers in the 6th round. Greg Kittles had a break out 2018 season and is firmly entrenched as the starter and go to receiver for the 49ers, but Smith’s versatility and receiving skills should show up in 2 tight end sets. It won’t be long before the talk will be about San Fran’s tight end tandem and not just Kittle’s exploits.
- Ben Burr Kirven – LB – Seattle Seahawks
When it comes to the Seahawks defense it feels like Pete Carroll doesn’t rebuild, he just reloads. Bobby Wagner is going to get PAID. The question is, will that be in Seattle, with he and Burr Kirven forming a formidable pair, or is Wagner grooming his replacement? Either way, expect the former Washington Huskie to be an impact player right away in spite of his 5th round draft status.
- Julian Love – CB – New York Giants
If you take the Daniel Jones pick out of the equation, and I’m not 100% ready to write him off yet (I’m not ready to endorse him either), the Giants quietly had an excellent draft. They’ve completely revamped the cornerback position. They already had former big money free agent (and likely 2020 cap casualty) Janoris Jenkins on board. They then selected Sam Beal in the supplemental draft before he was hurt, and then moved back into the first round for a third selection this year nabbing DeAndre Baker. They really got some value when Notre Dame’s Julian Love was available in the 4th round. He very easily could have gone in the 2nd. This year’s corner class was definitely an “eye of the beholder” situation, and the Giants should be happy with what they’ve beholden.
- Chris Slayton – DT – New York Giants
Speaking of Giants, New York got themselves a big ole boy out of Syracuse in the 7th round. Him being able to fill the shoes left behind by Snacks Harrison will not be immediate, but I don’t suspect it will take too long either. At worst he’s solid depth behind first round pick Dexter Lawrence. At best, he and Lawrence will form a defensive tackle tandem that’ll make it extremely hard for teams trying to punch it in from the goal line.
- Dru Samia – OG – Minnesota Vikings
A nice fit of need and skill. Samia who played his college ball at Oklahoma was scooped up by the Vikings in the 4th round. He’ll have an opportunity to make an immediate impact as the Vikings have looked to reinvigorate an offensive line that was borderline abysmal last year. Its not exactly unheard of to find quality interior linemen available on day 3, and Samia should add to that list.
- Dillon Mitchell – WR – Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings have a well established pair of receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen. After that though, it opens up a bit. Former first round pick LaQuon Treadwell is essentially being given his last chance. Former Buffalo Bills great, Don Beebe’s son Chad, was the talk of spring camps following what amounted to a redshirt rookie season, but neither should stop the Oregon Duck Dillon Mitchell from being a 7th round steal as he emerges as a viable #3 receiver option for Kirk Cousins.
- Charles Omenihu – DE – Houston Texans
The well built defensive end flashed some pass rush skills has last year at Texas as he posted 9.5 sacks. In spite of that he was available for Houston in the 5th round. He may not find himself on the field as an every down lineman, but I expect him to find his way into the pass rush rotation quickly.
- Amani Oruwariye – CB – Detroit Lions
The talented Penn State corner slipped all the way to the 5th round where Lions’ GM Bob Quinn selected him. Short term he should step into the corner rotation from day one. It wouldn’t be surprising here if he were a starter by year’s end, and could relieve some pressure that is on the Lions’ GM to give a big money deal to Darius Slay.
- Isaac Nauta – TE – Detroit Lions
After using big draft capital on Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, and now TJ Hockenson in an attempt to nab a stud tight end, could the Lions have found a diamond in the rough in the 7th round? Nauta has an abundance of talent and was a big time recruit coming out of high school. The Lions hope Hockenson can be their Gronk. Could Nauta be their Hernandez?
- Mack Wilson – LB – Cleveland Browns
The young backer out of Alabama has a chance to quietly step in and fill a hole in the Browns linebacking core that was left when Jamie Collins was given his release. Not a bigger linebacker, he has some speed and technique. Having lasted until the 5th round there shouldn’t be a lot of pressure on him to contribute right away, but it wouldn’t shock if he did.
- Renell Wren – DT – Cincinnati Bengals
Not that Geno Atkins is ready to ride off into the sunset at the age of 31, but he is closer to the end than the beginning. Renell Wren is a big bodied tackle who could serve as an eventual replacement to the Bengals probowler. In the meantime he will certainly serve as a plug in the middle of the D-line. The Arizona State Sun Devil should make his mark as a 4th round draft pick.
- Michael Jordan – OL – Cincinnati Bengals
Speaking of Bengals selected in the 4th round. The former Ohio State buckeye can slide in at either guard or center. He’ll join with Bengals 2018 first round pick, and another former Buckeye, Billy Price in solidifying the Bengals interior offensive line. He should be a day one starter, and be an impact player.
- Riley Ridley – WR – Chicago Bears
Calvin Ridley was a first round pick of the Falcons in 2018. Younger brother slipped to the 4th where the Bears selected the Georgia Bulldog receiver. While not as physically blessed as his older brother, he’s not exactly a non-athlete either. Coupled with his skills as route runner he should eventually emerge as a welcome addition to the Bears air game. Having the opportunity to learn from Allen Robinson won’t hurt either. I wouldn’t go using a Fantasy pick on Ridley this year, but look for him to be a fan favorite in Chicago soon.
- Christian Miller – OLB – Carolina Panthers
A versatile edge player out of Alabama, Miller has shown some fragile tendencies. Its likely the reason he lasted until the 4th round where Carolina took him. He can put his hand in the dirt, stand up, rush the passer, drop back in coverage. If he can stay healthy he could emerge as a nice sidekick to Panther stud backer Luke Kuechley.
- Vosean Joseph – Edge – Buffalo Bills
Hobbled a bit in the pre-draft process, Joseph was available in the 5th when Buffalo was selecting. It may take a bit to fully develop, but the former Gator will instantly improve the Bills on 3rd down. I don’t envision a ho-hum career for Joseph. He’ll either be out of the league by the end of his rookie deal, or will be an absolute steal. I don’t anticipate a middle ground.
- Justice Hill – RB – Baltimore Ravens
Big fan of Mark Ingram’s skills. Not a big fan of his fit with how this Ravens’ offense should be run with Lamar Jackson at the helm. Justice Hill on the other hand could prove to be a dynamic compliment to the Jackson in the back field. It wouldn’t be the first time a running back fell to the 4th and made an immediate impact.
- Iman Marshall – CB – Baltimore Ravens
Another 4th rounder for the Ravens, they may have found themselves a day one starter at corner as the former USC Trojan has the skills to step in as the heir to Jimmy Smith and hold his own. There has definitely been a changing of the guard the last few years in Baltimore highlighted by Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs moving on this spring. Marshall should be a prominent member of the new guard.
- Kendall Sheffield – CB – Atlanta Falcons
An injury at the combine dampened the enthusiasm for this Ohio State Buckeye prospect, but the Falcons felt they couldn’t wait any longer and selected him in the 4th. When healthy he’s got speed to burn and could be a cheaper alternative to Desmond Trufant, sooner rather than later. He and 2018 second rounder Isaiah Oliver should be a concern for NFC South receivers for the next half decade.
- Hakeem Butler – WR – Arizona Cardinals
With Kliff Kingsbury’s air raid offense coming to the desert you can expect to see the ball moved around the field. With veteran Larry Fitzgerald a cornerstone of the franchise. Christian Kirk emerging in his second year. Kevin White trying to jump start his career. And UMass’ diminutive receiver Andy Isabella rounding out the group, Butler is very unique functioning as a significantly larger target than his teammates. The 4th rounder out of Iowa State was thought to be a potential day one target early on in the process, he could have a Marques Colston like impact.
- Deionte Thompson – S – Arizona Cardinals
A safety out of Alabama, he fell to the top of the 5th round. The Cardinals are in a position where they’re building from the ground up, and Thompson should emerge as a key part of re-vamping the defense. It shouldn’t take much to move past former Redskin DJ Swearinger on the depth chart
- Lamont Gaillard – OL – Arizona Cardinals
Another Cardinal? Yes, that’s what happens when your team is awful and selects at the top of every round. The Georgia Bulldog center slipped to the 6th round. With 2018 3rd rounder Mason Cole emerging as the starting center, Gaillard’s roadblocks to playing time come in the form of overpriced veterans JR Sweezy, and Justin Pugh. 2019 may be an apprentice year, but I expect to see him step into a prominent roll in 2020.
- John Cominsky – DE – Atlanta Falcons
The level of play Cominsky faced at College of Charleston may lend itself to some additional development time needed. But the 4th rounder has the size and skills to become an impact defensive end. Expect some special teams work this year, some rotation work in 2020, and for him to emerge onto the scene fully come 2021. It may take a bit, but it’ll be worth the wait for dirty bird fans.
- Written by Jason Sullivan
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