After an exciting first two days of the 2017 NFL Draft, here’s the top players left on my board heading into day three of the event.
#16 – Carl Lawson, EDGE, Auburn
At this point it is pretty clear that there were concerns about Lawson’s medicals, as the pass rusher has suffered a torn ACL and a hip injury that derailed much of his early college career. He’s the most polished pass rusher in the draft, but it’s hard to criticize teams for passing on him without knowing the full medical report.
#47 – Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M
I’m pretty surprised Reynolds is still on the board, as receivers with size, speed and terrific ball skills are typically coveted by NFL teams. Reynolds does drop some easy ones and isn’t a big threat after the catch, but he’s more explosive out of his route breaks than you’d expect given the fact that he was used more as a linear threat at Texas A&M. If teams are worried about his lanky frame working off of press coverage, turn on the tape, because Reynolds consistently showed the ability to match physicality and foot speed off the line of scrimmage. Somebody is getting a good one on day three.
#51 – Jaleel Johnson, DL, Iowa
Johnson is falling because he’s a below-average athlete without much pass rush prowess, but he’s going to be a terrific two-down run stuffer with 1/3 technique flexibility. He’s the most mentally sharp interior defensive lineman in the draft, recognizing blocks quickly to attack them with technique and power. Johnson isn’t a total waste as a pass rusher either, pushing the pocket with good power and an emphatic punch.
#52 – Dorian Johnson, OG, Pittsburgh
I wonder if an injury or bad med check could be the reason Johnson hasn’t come off the board, as he’s a round two value and an NFL-ready starter in a class without many of them on the offensive line. He’ll be a terrific fit in a gap scheme, but is explosive and efficient enough in his footwork to work in a diverse attack as well.
#56 – Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado
I didn’t expect Thompson to come off the board until day three, but for teams looking for a single high safety with ball skills, range and instincts, he should be a top target in round 4. Thompson’s run support can be shake-my-head worthy, and he often fails to show proper form as a tackler, but he’s active and explosive to the ball, and came away with seven interceptions and 16 passes defensed last season at Colorado. Keep him away from the line of scrimmage and he can start in the NFL.
#57 – Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
Butt is a second or third round talent, but a torn ACL has dropped his stock into day three. At this point in the draft, teams will be more inclined to take a risk on his health than they were yesterday.
#61 – Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
Gallman is another rusher I expected to be a day three pick, but I think he’ll make a team happy with his powerful, no-nonsense running style and well-rounded skill set. He’s not a dynamic runner, but he’ll make some vicious second level cuts and flash the power to run through arm tackles, falling forward to finish every run. Gallman can catch and block, but he needs to clean up his technique in pass protection, and he won’t be a major threat after the catch. He’s an early round 3 talent that should be one of the first players off the board today.
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