Finding the Fits: 10 Day 3 Picks Set to Click in the NFL

In Rob Rang
FOX Sports NFL Draft Analyst

As the salary cap gets more and more out of control in the NFLthe ability to find Day 3 bargains in the draft has become even more critical to maintaining a competitive roster.

There are bargains on Day 3 every year, but the 2022 NFL Draft was especially loaded with talent due to the NCAA granting players an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic. As such, the talent pool this year was literally bigger than in the past. Therefore, all teams in the league must have at least one or two players called up in rounds 4-7 on Saturday, who must be part of the squad. Some clubs will have a handful with some future stars.

I’ll break down each club’s full draft in the coming days, taking a division-by-division approach to fully developing talent, but first, let’s provide an immediate reaction and highlight my 10 favorite picks from Day 3.

Round four, #106 overall: Tampa Bay BuccaneersCade OttonYOU, Washington

As Rob Gronkowski contemplates returning for another season in the NFL, the Buccaneers have landed an equally secure replacement with the first overall selection on Day 3 in Otton, arguably the best overall tight end in the class this year. While Otton is not the physically dominant player that “Gronk” has proven throughout his stellar career, he is a quality runner with soft hands and sufficient size (6ft-5, 245lbs) and strength to hold on as an inline blocker, making your transition to the pro game much smoother.

Otton’s production slowed in 2021 due to his own injury (ankle surgery) and Washington’s poor offense, but that really worked in Tampa Bay’s favor as he wouldn’t be available at this point in the draft otherwise. Tom Brady knows a thing or two about being a Day 3 steal and his accuracy will help Otton unlock potential only hinted at in college.

Fourth round, #107 overall: houston texansDameon PierceRB, Florida

Perhaps the toughest tailback in this year’s draft, Pierce was a favorite of draft analysts across the country, and he will likely be listed by many as a Day 3 steal. That’s because his potential as a lead back couldn’t have been more obvious. in Florida, and yet he leaves “The Swamp” with just 329 career runs. By comparison, Day 3 colleague Tyler Allgeier (listed below in this article) had 276 attempts in 2021 alone.

Lovie Smith may be Houston’s new head coach, but he’s as old as it gets. He would love to lean on a real bell cow runner. And let’s face it, the Texans’ current running back depth chart (Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, Royce Freeman and Dare Ogunbowale) is hardly a who’s who of NFL running champions. A fierce downhill runner, pass guard and quality receiver whose game projects even better at the NFL level than it does in college, Pierce has a chance to be one of the true steals of this year’s draft.

Fourth round, #121 overall: New England PatriotsJack JonesCB, Arizona State

It’s not often that a cornerback with loose hips and fat Jones knees drops out of the top 100 selections, but let Bill Belichick and the Patriots get one when that happens. Jones turned heads wherever he played, going back to his time at USC as a five-star recruit, Arizona State and the East-West Shrine Bowl. Along with his quickness, Jones is tenacious, playing the game like a terrier rat on the hunt. New England have proven to be masterful at digging up mid- and late-round steals in the secondary and Jones will be a perfect fit.

Fourth round, 132 overall: Green Bay PackersRomeo DoubsWR, Nevada

To be clear, no rookie wide receiver will make Packers (or Aaron Rodgers) fans forget about Davante Adams, but I love the Green Bay selections of Christian Watson (North Dakota State) and Doubs, the latter of whom would have earned a score significantly. bigger choice if he had been able to fully exercise for the scouts before the draft. Like Adams at Fresno State, Doubs dominated Mountain West, catching 20 touchdowns in the last two seasons, winning with a combination of speed, body control and sticky hands.

There are numerous grips on the tape where Doubs grabs the back half of the ball, showing excellent hand-eye coordination to snatch it out of his frame. And like Watson, Doubs has excelled in the great outdoors, so there won’t be the transition to Lambeau Field that some receivers might face. One of the best at tracking balls over his shoulder, Doubs is going to prove a steal.

Fourth round, #136 overall: Cincinnati BengalsCordell VolsonOG, State of North Dakota

Still on the topic of NDSU’s dominant perspectives, why not turn our attention to the offensive line? The Bengals found a future starting point guard late in the fourth round in Volson, the best blocker in this year’s East-West Shrine Bowl. Protecting Joe Burrow, of course, should be the #1 priority in Cincinnati and one might think that wasn’t the case based on this year’s draft class, as Volson was the only forward selected by Cincinnati – albeit after the club signed a trio of free agency veterans in La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras. Volson was one of my favorite sleepers in this draft class, and while I expect these veterans to play well, he offers the positional versatility and courage to push forward if necessary.

Fourth round, #143 overall: Tennessee TitansChigoziem OkonknwoYOU, Maryland

Titans fans who have lost “undersized” but highly athletic former tight ends such as Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith should rejoice in the similarly-built, athletic Okonkwo club selection that has led all athletes in their position with an impressive 40-yard run of 4.52 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine after measuring 6-foot-3, 243 pounds. While it doesn’t have the volume most teams want in the tight end, by featuring a dynamic downhill runner like Derrick Henry, a classic “move” tight end creates all sorts of confrontational problems for defenses and Okonkwo delivers that, exploding last season for 52 receptions for 447 yards and five points before turning heads in the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Okonkwo isn’t likely to overtake free agent Austin Hooper as Tennessee’s top tight end target in 2022, but don’t be surprised when he finally surpasses his draft slot, as do Walker (175th overall in 2006) and Smith (100th overall). , 2017) has done previously.

Fifth round, #151 overall: Atlanta FalconsTyler AllgeierRB, BYU

Veteran Cordarrelle Patterson rushed for 618 yards and six touchdowns as the Falcons’ surprise a year ago, but head coach Arthur Smith acknowledged that the talented runner and receiver will be on the move more in 2022, opening up the possibility for another lap to take advantage of time off. match. Enter Allgeier, a player who would have won a much higher selection if he only possessed more top speed. The 1.75m, 100kg Allgeier was clocked at 4.60 seconds in the 40-yard run at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he plays faster than that and has everything a team could want in a feature, including prototype size, balance through contact and a keen eye for the end zone, tying for the 2021 national lead with 23 rushing touchdowns in just 13 games.

Smith, of course, signed with Atlanta after serving as offensive coordinator in Tennessee, where he bragged about the game’s preeminent home work in Henry, and he knows a bell cow when he sees one. Don’t be surprised when Allgeier challenges this role early in his NFL career, perhaps even as a rookie.

Fifth round, #153 overall: Seattle SeahawksTariq WoolCB, Texas-San Antonio

It remains to be seen whether Woolen can develop the same grit as a tackler that was such an underrated element of Richard Sherman’s game, but it’s easy to see some parallels between the two angular, athletic cornerbacks, whose college careers began as wide receivers and were crowned for weeks. impressive in the Senior Bowl. Dating back to his days at USC, Pete Carroll has always prioritized flashy athletes and they just don’t come with more tools than Woolen, whose 4.26-second, 40-yard electric run time and 42″ vertical jump at 6ft-4.205 pounds was arguably the most impressive performance at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine. And don’t think Woolen is “just” a sparring warrior. He turned heads with his body control and ascendant instincts in coverage at the Senior Bowl, just as Sherman did. back in 2011.

Sixth round, #201 overall: Arizona CardinalsKeaontay IngramRB, USC

The Cardinals laughed all the way to the bench a year ago with James Conner, who served as the perfect battering ram to complement Kliff Kingsbury’s fast offense. The former Pittsburgh Steeler reached the endzone 15 times in just 15 games, finishing tied for second in the entire NFL (with Damien Harris of New England) in quick touchdowns and three more as receiver. The depth behind him has been hit, however, with Chase Edmonds taking his talents to Miami. Ingram is not the tackle grinder like Conner, nor is he a classic “air back” like Edmonds. What he may well prove to be, however, is a quality combination of the two. He showed top-level playing ability in Texas, USC and the East-West Shrine Bowl, recording 3,393 combined rushing and receiving yards with 22 touchdowns scored against elite competition. Not only will he make the Cardinals roster, but he could also prove grand theft-type robbery should the Cardinals call him to handle duties full-time.

Seventh round, #237 overall: Detroit Lionschase LucasCB, State of Arizona

Seventh-round players making NFL clubs are a rarity, but I’m very confident that Lucas will not only make it, but also win a second NFL contract. A former four-star rookie who started 49 games in the Pac-12, Lucas only dropped to the seventh round because he’s older than most prospects, turning 25 in March. Say what you will about his age, Lucas delivers the agility and acceleration of a youngster, clocking 4.48 seconds on the 40-yard dash and posting a 38″ vertical jump at the NFL Scouting Combine, and he was a Day 1 differentiator for the NFL Scouting Combine. Demons of the Sun. For a club in search of grit and pros on defense, Lucas will prove that the Lions are smart by ignoring the birth certificate and focusing instead on the game tape.

One of the most recognizable names in the industry, Rob Rang has covered the NFL Draft for over 20 years, with work at FOX Sports, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports, USA Today, Yahoo, and, among others. others.

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