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 could be some of the late round gems in this year’s draft?
In each draft, there are always gems, steals or diamond in the rough that can be had on day three of the draft during rounds five through seven. I am in no way by any means insinuating that the next Tom Brady or Antonio Brown will be sitting around in the sixth round of this year’s draft, but good players can still be found later in the draft every year. Here are some prospects that could prove to be late round gems:
• TE Isaac Nauta, Georgia:
He busted on to the scene in his first year with the Bulldogs in 2016 and earned freshman All-American honors. Even though he set career highs receptions (30), receiving yards (430), yards per catch (14.4) and touchdowns (four), he’s not being talking about as one of the top prospects at the tight end position. That might stem from his production doesn’t reflect the talent. He is seam stretching vertical threat that can make tough and contested catches in traffic and even line up out wide to run routes.
• CB Kris Boyd, Texas:
He’ll likely come off the board as high as the late fifth and will probably start off his career as a core special teamer that might rotate in at cornerback. Boyd is a bit undersized at 5-11 and his 4.45 time in the 40-yard dash suggest decent long speed but he makes up for it with a high football IQ. He doesn’t get a lot of interceptions, but he racks up a lot of pass breakups because he waits until the receiver hands make contact with the ball to dislodge so that he won’t get called for interference and he also isn’t afraid to defend the run as well.
• DE Charles Harris, Buffalo:
The small school product was an absolute bully off the edge for the Bulls and will look to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Buffalo Alum Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears and do the same in the NFL. He has active hands and is insanely strong at the point of attack. Harris can set an excellent edge in the run and rush the pass from all over the defensive front that includes off tackle, on stunts, has the versatility to line up over the guard and rush the passer from the interior. He possesses a unique blend of speed and power that shows itself in his plethora of pass rush repertoire that included a nasty inside spin move and bulldozing bull rush.
• OT Bobby Evans, Oklahoma:
He took over for Orlando Brown Jr. as the Sooners' blindside protector last season. Evans helped pave the way in the run game and kept Kyler Murray upright during his Heisman winning campaign. He is a natural athlete that does a good job of mirroring the edge defenders that line up across from him in open space.
• OLB Silas Stewart, UIW:
He’s a highly instinctive linebacker that makes quick reads in defending both the run and the pass. Stewart knifes into the backfield and stuff running backs at or behind the line of scrimmage. He lurks in the second level of the defense and follows the eyes of the quarterback to fall into passing lanes or jump routes to make interceptions.
• WR Darius Slayton, Auburn:
He ran a blazing 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine but on tape, he’s more than just a straight-line burner. Slayton can cleanly break off his routes on comebacks and out routes. He also excels at uncovering downfield so if he is paired with a mobile quarterback then he could be a dangerous option on scramble drills.
• TE Trevon Wesco, West Virginia:
He’s one of the most complete prospects at the tight end position in this entire draft with an ability to be a stout inline blocker and contribute a receiver in the passing game as well. Wesco provides a sure-handed reliable target on play action and gets open quick off the line to pick up decent yardage or first downs. He sometimes makes the first person miss with a timely spin move and can be tough to bring down by just one man once he starts barreling down in the open field.