This is my favorite day of the NFL draft.
As Day 3 commences today, we still have more than half of the picks to be made. Today is the scouts’ day. The day where hitting on talent maximizes return on investment. Here are my top 12 players heading into the final day of the draft.
Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn – Lawson is one of my favorite players in the draft but concerns over his medical history have impacted his draft stock. He has tremendous burst, bend and hand technique that should make him an impact pass rusher in the NFL. Overall rank on my board: 23
Dorian Johnson, G, Pittsburgh – Johnson has all the tools to become a long-term starting guard in the NFL. He has the power to drive opponents off the line of scrimmage, movements skill to execute in space and the length and foot speed to win as a pass blocker. Overall rank on my board: 25
Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M – Reynolds was the SEC’s leader in receiving yards last season and has the ball skills needed to become a vertical threat in the NFL. Things slow down for him at the catch point and he has the profile of a strong number two receiver in the NFL. Overall rank on my board: 44
Jake Butt, TE, Michigan – Butt suffered an unfortunate knee injury in his senior season which severely impacted his draft stock. With that said, Butt has an all-around skill set to become an in line blocker and has nuanced pass-catching skills. Overall rank on my board: 54
Howard Wilson, CB, Houston – Wilson has a natural feel in coverage and knows how to attack the football. His ball production is outstanding and he is among the most physical corners in the class. Overall rank on my board: 55
Xavier Woods, S, Louisiana Tech – Woods is one of the most productive safeties in the class and has been a play maker in college. Offering plus range and ball skills, Woods thrives when attacking the football to disrupt at the catch point while also playing with an aggressive demeanor as a tackler. Overall rank on my board: 60
Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama – A converted cornerback, Jackson is among the best coverage safeties in this class. His mental processing skills are outstanding and he offers the versatility to play in deep zones, underneath zones and man coverage. He is also an outstanding punt returner. Overall rank on my board: 63
Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh – Peterman is my third ranked quarterback in the class and offers baseline starter traits in all areas. He can keep the offense on schedule and distribute the football. Overall rank on my board: 67
Jermaine Eluemunor, OT, Texas A&M – I’ve been pounding this table for a while. Eluemunor is a big time people-mover with the foot speed to protect the passer. He got a late start in life playing football but has the physical attributes to become an outstanding NFL offensive lineman. Overall rank on my board: 70
Blair Brown, LB, Ohio – Brown has the mentality and play demeanor that I’m looking for in a second-level player. Everything he does is physical and aggressive as he works to the football. Brown has good movements skills in any direction, which allows him to make an impact all over the football field. His reactionary skills are excellent and he gets a quick read on plays and commits. Brown is an excellent finisher who rarely misses on an opportunity to bring down the ball carrier. Overall rank on my board: 73
Desmond King, S, Iowa – While King is not an universal scheme fit, he does offer high level skills in a zone-heavy defense, and can play inside or outside. With advanced skills in layering coverage, reading the backfield, and competing at the catch point, King understands spacing and anticipates routes and route combinations at a high level. King effectively plays the boundary and takes away perimeter runs and screens. Overall rank on my board: 74
Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB, Tennessee – Reeves-Maybin’s final season at Tennessee was supposed to be his breakout season after a terrific 2015, but injuries precluded that from happening. His ability to quickly diagnoses plays, attack the football with urgency, and rapidly closes down windows makes him an ideal fit to play weak side linebacker in a 4-3 alignment. He has the fluidity and short area quickness to operate in zone coverage, and can also carry running backs and tight ends into space in man coverage. Overall rank on my board: 76