NFL Draft 2017: Best players available as draft moves to Day 3 – Sporting News

NFL Draft 2017: Best players available as draft moves to Day 3 – Sporting News

Three rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft are complete, but there are stil plenty of talented players on the board as the draft shifts to its third and final day.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick in 2000. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was taken in the fourth round last year. Former Broncos running back Terrell Davis was a sixth-round selection in 1995. The Redskins found receiver Pierre Garcon from Division III Mount Union in the sixth round in 2008. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman and Redskins cornerback Josh Norman were all fifth-round picks.

If there are some diamonds in the rough this year, they might be among the best players available. 

Here are the best players on the board for rounds four through seven of the 2017 NFL Draft. 

1. Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida — Brantley was a possible first-round pick, but slid down draft boards after he was charged earlier this month with misdemeanor assault after allegedly knocking a woman unconscious. If he’s cleared of any wrongdoing, any NFL team willing to select him Saturday will get a player whose talent is higher than his draft selection. Unfortunately for Brantley, because his case won’t be resolved by Saturday, he’ll likely be a priority free agent once the draft ends.

2. Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson — Watkins is quick, explosive and strong. The 6-4, 312-pound defender was a disruptive force while leading Clemson’s outstanding defensive line. Watkins had 82 tackles, 13 1/2 for loss, with 10 1/2 sacks last season. He had an excellent week at the Senior Bowl and is a second-round talent sitting on the board on Day 3.

3. Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State — Kazee is one of the most aggressive cornerbacks in this draft class. He loves to play press coverage and jam receivers at the line, but he does get a bit too handsy. He was a two-time All-Mountain West selection and had a very productive career for the Aztecs with a school-record 17 interceptions. Kazee is lean at 5-10, 183 pounds, but a fluid athlete who trusts his eyes to read the quarterbacks and is instinctive with superior ball skills. He has excellent recovery speed and footwork to break on the ball. He changes direction very well and is even a solid tackler. 

4. Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh — Johnson is a tough, durable lineman who started for three seasons and was a two-time All-ACC selection and All-American last year. He’s a 6-5, 300-pound technician with the potential to be a long-term starter in the NFL. Though he gets too aggressive at times, Johnson has the functional power to succeed at the next level. 

5. Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State — Johnson has great length at 6-7, 298 pounds and has the frame teams want in a prototypical tackle. He needs to bend better and play with more balance, but if he can shore up his fundamentals, Johnson can be one team’s blindside blocker for years to come.

6. Desmond King, CB, Iowa — King was the 2015 Thorpe Award winner and had 14 career interceptions as a four-year starter for the Hawkeyes. He’s a 5-10, 206-pound DB with very good ball skills. He could be on an island outside or play nickel in the slot, which would be his ideal fit. While he does have excellent ball skills and good vision, he is tight in the hips, which is why moving him inside would be the right move for whichever team were pick him in the second round.

7. Carl Lawson, DE/OLB Auburn — It’s kind of a shock Lawson is still available. The 6-2, 261-pound pass rusher was a first-team All-SEC selection with 14 tackles for loss and 9 1/2 sacks last season. Lawson was bothered by injuries while at Auburn and received a medical redshirt in 2014 because of a torn ACL. He then had a hip injury in 2015. If he can stay healthy, the talent is there with an aggressive player who has natural power and explosive burst off the snap. 

8. Jermaine Eluemunor, OT, Texas A&M — Eluemunor is a British native who moved to the U.S. when he was 14. He has tremendous upside as a raw talent with great strength on a 6-4, 332-pound frame. He played both guard and tackle for the Aggies and has the lateral quickness to make him versatile enough to fit into any system or blocking scheme. Because he was late to pick up football, Eluemunor still has to develop his skills but could be a longtime NFL starter.

9. Jake Butt, TE, Michigan — Butt tore his ACL during the Orange Bowl loss to Florida State and may have been a first-round pick if healthy. The 2016 Mackey Award winner caught 138 passes for 1,646 yards and 11 over his career. Butt he has NFL size at 6-5, 246 and should find a team willing to take a flier on him early Saturday. 

10. Isaac Asiata, OG, Utah — The 6-4, 315-pound Asiata is a powerful run blocker and was voted by Pac-12 defensive linemen as the best offensive lineman in the conference. Asiata has good reactive quickness, but can sometimes get too aggressive and lose hand placement. Asiata was thought to be a third-round pick, but a hamstring issue at the Senior Bowl bumped him down. Incredibly strong, Asiata did an impressive 35 bench reps of 225 pounds at the combine.

The next 10:

11. Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
12. Lorenzo Jerome, S, Saint Francis
13. Storm Norton, OT, Toledo
14. Ryan Glasgow, DT, Notre Dame 
15. Vincent Taylor, DT, Oklahoma State
16. Ryan Switzer, WR, North Carolina
17. Trent Taylor, WR, Louisiana Tech
18. Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington
19. I’Tavius Mathers, RB, Middle Tennessee State
20. Will Holden, OT, Vanderbilt

NFL Draft 2017: Best players available as draft moves to Day 3 – Sporting News

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