As the NFL draft draws closer and closer here are some questions that are circulating that pertain to prospects and their draft stock as well as their potential and projected impacts at the next level.
Which prospects are going to be the diamonds in the rough that will be taken on day three?
Just because a prospect is selected in the early rounds on day one or two of the draft doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed to pan out and produce at the next level. There are plenty of examples of players that were taken high and had little to no success in the league and some of the best players in the game today were low round picks that were overlooked and passed over until day three.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is hands down the greatest late round pick in NFL history. He was taken with the 199th overall pick in the 2000 draft and has dominated the league for nearly two decades as a 14-time Pro Bowler, three-time league MVP, and six-time Superbowl Champion. He is considered the greatest quarterback of all time and first ballot Hall of Famer five years from whenever he decides to finally retire.
I am in no way insinuating that the next Tom Brady is this year’s draft because he and Head Coach Bill Belichick have been a perfect marriage ever since he entered the league. Here is a list of players that are expected to be available on day three and could even sneak into the later part of day two that could go on to become stars and studs in the league:
• LB Tre Lamar: At 6-4 and 256 pounds he looks the part of a throwback inside linebacker and he played with an old school tenacity and physicality on a loaded Clemson Tigers’ defense for the last three years. He is a true downhill middle backer with excellent closing speed and lateral quickness. He is also a great form tackler who rarely needs assistance bring down a ball carrier or corralling a quarterback for a sack.
• OLB Ben Banogo: The former TCU Horned Frog is a polished pass rusher with a relentless motor and a high football IQ. He doesn’t get too far upfield and utilizes a plethora of pass rush moves that includes a mean dip and rip move, a bull rush and ferocious inside move where he casts his blockers aside and wraps up the quarterback or whoever has the ball. When defending the run, he quickly diagnosis who has the ball on option plays and snuffs out screens before they can get set up.
• WR Hunter Renfrow: The former Clemson walk-on who earned a scholarship helped the Tigers win two national championships with his clutch plays and performances. He was the most reliable target in Head Coach Dabo Swinney’s offense with his crisp route running and strong yet soft hands. He is projected to come off the board in the fourth or fifth round and is expected to be a productive slot receiver and chain mover at the next level.
• OLB Chase Winovich: As converted tight end, he has great athleticism as a pass rusher and run defender. He excels at setting the edge on whichever side he’s on as he is extremely stout against the run as his 34.5 tackles for loss suggests. As a pass rusher, he quick off the ball and fights back across the face of offensive tackles with an inside move and can knife through double teams to blow up plays in the backfield before they get a chance to develop.
• RB Trayveon Williams: He’s one of the best three-down running backs in this year’s class with his ability as a pass catcher out of the back filed, pass blocking prowess and elusiveness in the open field. He finished his last season for the Texas A&M Aggies with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage (1,760 rushing and 278 receiving) and 19 total touchdowns.
• OG Dru Samia: He is one of four prospects from that stout Oklahoma Sooner’s offensive line that protected and paved the way for Heisman trophy winning quarterback Kyler Murray in 2018. He needs some refinement to his technique, but he has the potential to develop into a road grader on the interior of an offensive line.