Finding Value in the 7th
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.
Martin Ifedi, DI, St Louis Rams
Didn’t play an awful lot this year (463 snaps) but that was more than enough to earn the 10th-highest production grade across the FBS of draft-eligible interior defenders. Very productive who lined up plenty outside the tackles, showing a good bullrush in the process. Might need to get stronger and the level of competition a worry but jumped out when watching Memphis.
Austin Shepherd, OT, Minnesota Vikings
Got Bosa’d a little when Alabama met Ohio State and doesn’t have the top athleticism to go against top-end athletes. But is technically sound for the most part and has a knack for fighting through with his blocks when it looks like all is lost. Not going to do much in the run game but is good enough in pass pro (second-highest production grade of all right tackles in 2014 season) that he is a nice fallback developmental plan if T.J. Clemmings (pretty much the exact opposite player) doesn’t work out.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Cleveland Browns
Quite the tumble for a guy who he thought was a little overrated, but not to the level he’d go here. Just how bad is the prognosis on his injury? Natural change of direction ability and really challenges at the catch. Doesn’t have that top-end speed to recover like a Trae Waynes (not many do) and is really game against the run. Good spot to develop in Cleveland and heal up for the future.
Darryl Roberts, CB, New England Patriots
Given that our whole team thought there was a chance New England pick him up in the second round, this is some get for the Patriots who are never shy about giving young corners an opportunity regardless of where they are drafted. Had the seventh-highest coverage grade across the FBS of draft-eligible players, allowing just 50% of passes into his coverage to be completed. Bigger, stronger receivers may cause him a problem or two, but his tape shows a natural at the position.
Gerald Christian, TE, Arizona Cardinals
One of my favorite parts of watching Louisville this year was Christian. He’s not the biggest but he’s an extremely willing run blocker who really worked to lock out a defensive end on pulls outside him and showed up catching the ball over the middle despite some ordinary at best QB play. Good guy to have on the roster who was sixth overall in our TE production grades.
New Jags tight end Ben Koyack isn’t much of a pass catcher but is a willing enough run blocker that he could find a role as part of a 12-personnel-based look … He can’t tackle all that well but Gerord Holliman has a nose for the ball no matter what else you say about him … I didn’t see enough of Tre McBride given he was non-FBS but what I did see I liked … Da’Ron Brown forced 14 missed tackles after the catch in a nice effort for Northern Illinois.
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