NFL

Ten Top Talents Available Entering Day 3

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The first three rounds of the 2015 NFL Draft have featured a ton of value and some shocking surprises along the way. But as is always the case, when the draft got late into Round 2 and then moved into Round 3 on Friday night, teams began to reach for players they coveted even though those players might have been graded out in later rounds. All it takes is one team to fall in love with a player for him to move up, and if that team has a sense that another team has eyes for their guy, they’ll often use the middle rounds to make that reach.

Because of that, as the draft enters Day 3 with rounds 4-7 ahead to finish things off, there is still quite a bit of talent on the board that could present value to the teams early in Round 4 either as a pick for themselves or via a trade offer from another team.

Here are some of the best players still available:

T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh – A big, physical bookend blocker, Clemmings was a projected late first round pick before pre-draft examinations revealed a stress fracture in his foot, which has teams concerned in the short and long term. But at this point in the draft, his upside seems more than worth the risk.

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA – Only two quarterbacks have been selected since the top two picks in the draft, Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson and Oregon State’s Sean Mannion, who both went in the third round. The group promises to grow on Day 3 and Hundley is the best of the remaining bunch. He has all the physical ability to be a talented quarterback in the league, all he needs is the right opportunity to develop.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State – This draft’s plethora of talented running backs finally started coming off the board in the third round, but lingering concerns about a knee injury kept Ajayi from hearing his name called. When healthy, Ajayi is a prototype three-down workhorse back who can do it all, as evidenced by his 347-carry, 50-catch campaign with the Broncos in 2014.

La’el Collins, OT, LSU – Collins’ loose ties to the investigation into the murder of an ex-girlfriend (police have said he is not a suspect) have caused teams to avoid him like the plague for two days, and he and his agent have threatened that they won’t negotiate with a team that takes him on Day 3. Some team still might take the chance, but the guess here is he goes undrafted.

Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson – Jarrett isn’t your prototypical space filling nose tackle, and he’s borderline undersized as a 3-4 nose tackle. But he might be the perfect fit for a team that runs the 4-3. His quickness and motor for a man of his size make up for a lot of his flaws.

Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland – Kind of shocking he’s still here given some of the receivers who have come off the board and his own skillset. Diggs isn’t going to beat many defensive backs, but he’s an ideal slot receiver, who will haul in anything in his vicinity, with the burst to make short throws into big plays after the catch. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him to come right in as a rookie and make an impact for a team as a No. 3/slot receiver.

Derron Smith, S, Fresno State – Smith has been questioned for his size, but he wouldn’t be the first player to overcome that to make an impact at the safety position. The tape says he can do it. His coverage ability as well as his knack to track the ball and then cover ground to get to the ball carrier make him an ideal fit as a free safety/centerfielder.

Taiwan Jones, LB, Michigan State – Jones is a beast of a man who already has the size and toughness to make a NFL impact as an inside linebacker. Teams will see that and buy into the fact that they can teach him the technique to take his game to the next level. At worst, he can step in immediately and be a force on special teams.

Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas – Another player whose measurables might not meet what NFL teams are looking for, but who when you watch him play, makes you think, “this guy’s talent can play at the next level.” Showed a keen ability to use superior technique to stop the run and get after the passer. Could be a steal this late in the draft.

Josh Shaw, CB, USC – A versatile defensive back coming into a league that’s going the way of hybrid DB’s. What’s not to like? Well, there is that whole thing where he lied about an ankle injury, saying it occurred after he jumped off a balcony to save a family member’s life when the real reason he jumped was to get away from police who were called to his apartment to investigate a domestic violence incident. Whoops. Shaw was cleared of criminal charges and the talent still plays, but that’s quite a hurdle to get over to gain the trust of NFL teams.


About Devon Jeffreys

Devon Jeffreys