Finding Value in the 5th
When you get to the third day of an NFL draft you’re not necessarily expecting to find stars. It’s what makes it so satisfying when you actually do.
Any player you can find that ends up contributing for your team is a win. Whether they end up your star receiver, a solid special team contributor or a backup guy who does a serviceable job while you rest the starters. Today I’m going to break down the final four rounds of the draft and give you my favorite five picks from each one.
Grady Jarrett, DT, Atlanta Falcons
Possibly the steal of the draft. Looking at this draft Jarrett deserved a first round selection more than a fifth. Incredibly productive at Clemson, his size turned some teams off but he really lives up to the low-man-winning adage. Our fourth-highest grade of all interior defenders, Jarrett might have some issues against length but his relentless work rate and leverage give linemen fits from snap to whistle.
Adrian Amos, DB, Chicago Bears
I love a guy who can do multiple things for your defense, especially when your defense has multiple needs. Amos isn’t just a safety but rather someone who you can use to man the slot and still get good work out of. QBs had a 3.4 NFL rating when targeting him in the slot. That’s extremely impressive when you realize he was in slot coverage on 178 passing plays. Had our eighth-highest production grade of all safeties who were draft eligible.
Jay Ayaji, HB, Miami Dolphins
Had the dreaded injury red flag drop him down draft boards, but at some point you have to accept that he’s great value. I mean how many fifth-rounders go onto make it to their second contract having made an impact with their first? Ajayi isn’t much of a blocker right now but finished sixth in the nation with 51 forced missed tackles and has the ability to get vertical quickly after his cuts.
Tony Lippett, CB/WR, Miami Dolphins
Drafted to play corner, Lippett is a really intriguing guy. As a wide receiver he reminds me a little of Stevie Johnson because he wins routes in a way you don’t expect him to win. That constant winning had him get the fifth-highest receiving grade (from a production point of view) of all FBS receivers who were draft eligible. As a cornerback he only played 88 snaps but earned positive grades against both Rutgers and Penn State with his stat line reading, thrown at nine times, three receptions allowed and four pass breakups.
David Parry, DT, Indianapolis Colts
Played well in the Shrine game and was excellent throughout the year against the run. Has a real chance to catch on as an undersized nose tackle in the mold of Kelly Gregg. He’s not going to win the stat sheet, that’s not who he is. But he can clog lanes and free up the guys behind him, an invaluable asset in any defense.
There was a little bit of a running back run going on here and I like the immediate impact both David Cobb and Cameron Artis-Payne might have. They were both in the Top 10 of our production grades for pure runners, though Cobb really hurt his rating with his work in pass pro … J.J. Nelson was our top returner in the nation so I’d look for him to make a mark there even if he doesn’t do so on offense … I didn’t see enough of Davis Tull, but if his showing against Tennessee was his regular effort, then I’ve got an eye on him during preseason for sure … Damian Swann put on some really nice tape in Georgia and could make a play at some slot snaps as a rookie.
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