Finding Value in the 6th
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.
JaCorey Shepherd, CB, Philadelphia Eagles
Put on the West Virginia or TCU tape and you’ll be as surprised as me as to why he went this low. Real smooth athlete who can mirror well off the snap and plays the ball well. Not a really physical corner but might just be the most natural playmaker in the entire draft at the cornerback spot.
Max Valles, ED, Oakland Raiders
Bit of a lanky frame that you think could add a few pounds to help him beef up against the run (Pittsburgh hurt him in that regard a little). Has a real feel for what is going on in the game, shows up well with timing of stunts and his nine batted passes (including five in one game) were twice as many as any other edge defender.
Michael Bennett, DI, Jacksonville Jaguars
One of the slides of the draft. He’s a little undersized and it does seem him getting overpowed at times, but he has such a frighteningly good first step that he can win a play as quick as a hiccup. That might not lend him to being the most consistent player but he can be incredibly disruptive with his pass rush grade the third-highest against Power-5 teams. Initial sub-package superstar?
Nick O’Leary, TE, Buffalo Bills
A favorite of Neil Hornsby, O’Leary just catches everything you throw at him. Can adjust to poorly thrown balls and that was a big reason in him having the third-highest receiving grade at the position with just one drop on the year. Not as polished a blocker by any stretch but has time to develop behind Charles Clay.
Christian Ringo, DI, Green Bay Packers
And Ringo was his name-o. His level of competition was unfair almost and made it tough to judge because he was literally too quick for nearly anyone that attempted to block him. Not a big guy so likely better suited to a sub-package role, with him being extremely productive rushing from a 1-tech position. Ole Miss was toughest test and still graded positively which bodes well.
Overshadowed somewhat by Lorenzo Mauldin, Deontrez Mount was a consistent performer for the Cardinals earning positive marks against the run and rushing the passer … Offensive Tackles Tayo Fabuluje and Tyrus Thompson are both huge men who I think might have a chance to latch on inside, but both played well against a good level of opposition in 2014 … The Rams are perennially in need of wide receiver help and Bud Sasser, 11th-highest production grade at wide receiver, could help … Tight end Kennard Blackman was a beast of a run blocker and that propelled him to the second-highest overall production grade at his position … Christian Covington played like a man possessed but missed so much time (only 272 snaps) that I’d want to see more before pushing him into my Top 5. He was fantastic when he played, though … Level of competition a concern but Cody Wichmann was our fourth-ranked guard in the FBS last year … Rakeem Nunez-Roaches is just a guy who made plays in the run all day. Was real impressive against Alabama which bodes well.
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