29 April 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Best picks of Day 3

When you punch a cop, you fall to round 7.
With the stars going off the board in the first day and some guys who slip going off the board in the second day, the real diamonds in the rough are to be found in the third day in rounds 4-7. What teams did their homework and look to some real players develop from the late rounds? Here are the best picks of day 3.

1st round grades
Best picks of day 2

4th Round
96. St. Louis Rams - Chris Givens, WR, Wake Forest
Who does Sam Bradford have to throw to? He really has not had any type of weapons to play with at receiver, save for a poor man's Wes Welker in Danny Amendola. The only player added to this receiving unit was the younger Steve Smith, who did nothing in Philadelphia last year. Givens is a solid value and gives Bradford a speedy deep threat that he has never had under the Arch.

97. Miami Dolphins - Lamar Miller, RB, Miami (FL)
The Dolphins had no need at running back as Reggie Bush finally looked like an every-down back, as he ran for 1,000 yards, and the team is high on backup Daniel Thomas so this is strictly a great value pick. Miller brings the Dolphins a gamebreaker at back as this former track team member at The U can fly. Was a late first round prospect at one point.

103. Carolina Panthers - Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma
One of the key reasons why the Panthers were terrible defensively a year ago was the lack of a pass rush which only finished 25th in the league in sacks, despite the nine of Charles Johnson. Alexander projects to be a solid situational pass rusher off the edge that could possibly be used as an outside linebacker as he did stand up defensively in Norman every now and again.

104. Carolina Panthers - Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas
The Panthers have needed another receiver besides Steve Smith for a while now and especially as Smith is in the later stages of his career, they need to develop a potential replacement. Adams is an explosive and speedy deep threat for Cam Newton that was a good value at this point in the draft. Plus he is awesome in the return game as well.

109. Pittsburgh Steelers - Alameda Ta'amu, NT, Washington
Casey Hampton is 34 years old and while he is still effective on the nose, which is vital for a 3-4 defense, he won't be forever. Ta'amu is a great value here early in the fourth round. He looks to be a great guy on the nose due to his massive size which allows him to clog running lanes and keep blockers off of linebackers.

110. San Diego Chargers - Ladarius Green, TE, Louisiana-Lafayette
Green was one of the most productive tight ends in college football, only you just did not know it since he played for the Rajin' Cajuns. The Chargers have had huge success with a matchup nightmare at tight end in Antonio Gates but he has had some injury problems of late and is not getting any younger. Green's size, speed and athleticism makes him a real threat in the passing game for Philip Rivers.

112. Arizona Cardinals - Bobby Massie, OT, Mississippi
How in the world did Massie fall all the way to the fourth round? There were some folks that had him going in the bottom of the first while he seemed to be a sure bet to go on the second day. Arizona's offensive line sucked last season big time and Massie is one big fella that can maul in the running game and plays to the whistle. Does need to work on his pass protection but could start right away at right tackle.

116. Cincinnati Bengals - Orson Charles, TE, Georgia
Jermaine Gresham had a solid rookie season for the Bengals and he looks to be a top weapon for Andy Dalton for years to come. Cincinnati had nothing else at tight end so making a good value pick in Charles makes a lot of sense. Charles is a big and athletic tight end who should make for a great tandem with Greshem thanks to his ability to be a vertical threat at tight end.

117. San Francisco 49ers - Joe Looney, G, Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons getting some love here in round four. Looney comes into the draft with some injury concerns but I'm assuming he checked out well here for San Francisco. The 49ers really needed some depth on the interior of their offensive line, especially as Adam Snyder left town, and Looney is a consistent and athletic lineman.

122. New Orleans Saints - Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
I've always really liked Toon at Wisconsin and thus I like this pick. Toon is a big and athletic wideout with solid ball skills and he has no fear going over the middle. Drew Brees will love this kid, especially as a replacement for Robert Meachem, who signed with the Chargers.

123. Philadelphia Eagles - Brendan Boykin, CB, Georgia
The Eagles would have gotten better value had they took Boykin in the third and Nick Foles here in the fourth. This is awesome value for a guy that easily could have gone in the second round and considering they traded Asante Samuel to Atlanta, he also fills a need. Boykin is a great athlete that is a plus leaper, which makes up for his small size.

124. Buffalo Bills - Ron Brooks, CB, LSU
Buffalo has been getting great value for most of their picks after round 1 and Brooks is a swell value. Buffalo needed help for their secondary and you need a deep secondary when battling Tom Brady. Brooks never started in a loaded LSU secondary but he has the skills to be a really good nickel corner in the slot. Underrated player.

125. Detroit Lions - Ronnell Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
In some of the earlier mock drafts on this site, Lewis was a first rounder so Detroit is getting great value here for a versatile guy like Lewis. He's an all-around solid player who will play outside linebacker after playing defensive end in college and he is tremendous at stuffing the run and is also a solid pass rusher as well. Gunther Cunningham should have some fun with him and he should be great immediately on special teams.

126. Houston Texans - Jared Crick, DT/DE, Nebraska
Crick's draft stock fell as he is coming off a torn pectoral muscle but still a great value at the bottom of round four. Crick projects well to play the five technique for Houston opposite J.J. Watt, who he plays somewhat similarly to. He gives the Texans much needed depth along their defensive line and he is an active force on the line.

5th Round
136. Indianapolis Colts - Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama
The Colts are moving to a 3-4 defense under new head coach Chuck Pagano and they are really unprepared for it with the current personnel on their roster. Arguably the most important part of a 3-4 is at the nose and the Colts get a really good value in an experienced nose who played the position in college. Chapman is stout at the nose and could hold up multiple blockers while clogging running lanes.

143. Carolina Panthers - Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina
Major props to Coastal, my cousin goes there. Anyways, Norman was given a second round grade by Mike Mayock so this is great value at a major need at cornerback opposite Chris Gamble in a spot where the Panthers were torched a year ago. Norman is a natural corner who has tremendous ball skills and his athleticism and length is a major plus.

144. Buffalo Bills - Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
Sanders looked like he would be a second day pick going into the draft so this is great value and another great addition to a porous Buffalo offensive line. Sanders is a quick tackle who excels at pass protections plus he has the ability and the versatility to work on both sides of the line. Could make for a solid tackle tandem with Cordy Glenn.

147. Buffalo Bills - Tank Carder, MLB, TCU
And yet again, another great value for the Bills; Buddy Nix is having a darn good draft this weekend. Carder would have been a second day pick before this season but he was never really 100% this season. Carder is a reliable and consistent inside linebacker who has a great nose for the football and tremendous instincts. Plus he loves to mix it up close to the line.

159. Pittsburgh Steelers - Chris Rainey, RB, Florida
It has been a while since the Steelers had a running back that had speed to go the distance every play. The last one was Najeh Davenport...no just kidding, it was Willie Parker. Plus the Steelers needed some depth at back thanks to the injury of Rashard Mendenhall. Now while Rainey is very small, he was a track star so you know he can fly.

165. Atlanta Falcons - Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy
Massaquoi followed up an awesome 2010 with a subpar 2011, thanks to seeing more focus from offensive lines but he was still thought to go in either rounds 3 or 4 so he is a good value. The Falcons needed some help at end as Ray Edwards disappointed a year ago, Kroy Biermann just sucks overall and John Abraham is getting up there in age.

166. Cincinnati Bengals - Marvin Jones, WR, California
You could never have too many wide receivers in the NFL and after making a wise move to take Mohamed Sanu in the third round, Cincinnati gets another great value in Jones here late in round 5. Jones is the possession-type that quarterbacks love, particularly on third down, and he runs great routes and has solid ball skills.

167. Cincinnati Bengals - George Iloka, FS, Boise State
The Bengals really wanted to get another safety as Chris Crocker sucked a year ago, most notably against the Texans in the playoffs. And so they can another tremendous value for the second pick in a row. Iloka has the skills to be a really good safety in a few years and he fits the defense of Mike Zimmer quite well.

168. Oakland Raiders - Juron Criner, WR, Arizona
Four straight picks, four straight value meals (sorry, awful joke). The Raiders are in pretty good shape at wide receiver but Criner is a guy that should have gone a day earlier. Criner was labeled by Mike Stoops to be a star in the making but he was inconsistent. He does have the tools you need (size, speed, athleticism) to be a good wideout for some time in the league.

6th Round
182. Kansas City Chiefs - Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M
The Chiefs did take a solid flier on Peyton Hillis as some potential insurance for Jamaal Charles, who's coming back from a torn ACL, but who really knows with that guy, though. The Chiefs need another back anyways with how small Charles is and thus Gray makes a lot of sense. Gray has decent size and is pretty athletic plus is very good at catching the football out of the backfield.

183. Miami Dolphins - B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan State
The Dolphins really have nobody at the receiver position so I'm not sure who Matt Moore or Ryan Tannehill will throw to but Cunningham makes a ton of sense in this spot. He is a bigger receiver and is pretty polished and experienced. An underrated prospect, in my humble opinion.

185. Arizona Cardinals - Ryan Lindley, QB, San Diego State
Lindley is a quarterback prospect I really liked at San Diego State and one that I liked as a developmental prospect. He has ideal size and is pretty athletic. He has a big arm but he needs to work on his accuracy. As the Cardinals have a bit of a muddled field at quarterback, thanks to Kevin Kolb's injury troubles, and a developmental guy like Lindley makes a lot of sense.

194. Philadelphia Eagles - Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
Teams always love having big receivers like McNutt because of how valuable they are in the red zone and Andy Reid has been on the lookout for a big and tall wideout. McNutt should be better over the middle but he has good ball skills plus he has the ability to make the tough catch.

204. Cleveland Browns - Emmanuel Acho, OLB, Texas
If the Browns still played a 3-4, this pick would make even more sense but I still like it a lot. Acho has been a force rushing the passer for the Longhorns the last couple years and he has the athleticism and quickness off the edge to be a really good situational rusher, one that Cleveland really needs.

205. Cleveland Browns - Billy Winn, DT/DE, Boise State
My goodness, really surprised that Winn was still on the board here but there were questions about his work ethic. He on the overall is a very sound defensive tackle who is very consistent and ferocious on the football field. You can never have too many defensive linemen either, as well, which makes this a great pick for the Browns.

7th Round
223. Detroit Lions - Travis Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma
Man, the Lions are getting really good values with linebackers named Lewis that go to some school in Norman. Lewis should be an immediate presence on special teams as he an athlete that always go hard for the football and he is athletic enough to rush the passer pretty well as well.

224. New England Patriots - Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
Dennard is an interesting story. He looked very early on to be a first round prospect after being a great corner at Nebraska. He didn't do too well at the Senior Bowl and thus his stock slipped a little. Then a week ago, Dennard got arrested for allegedly punching a cop so this is what happens. The kid is still a clear talent and Bill Belichick will not deal with any crap plus he helps a crappy secondary.

243. Green Bay Packers - B.J. Coleman, QB, Tennessee-Chattanooga
The Packers are a club that likes to develop late round quarterbacks (see Matt Flynn) and with a hole at backup, hence why the club was looking at possibly trading for Colt McCoy, taking a flier on an intriguing prospect like Coleman makes a lot of sense. Coleman was a star at the Shrine Game who can throw deep and short very well plus has some nice athleticism in the pocket.

246. Cleveland Browns - Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
How did Wade fall all the way to the bottom of the seventh round? Should have gone early in the third day plus he could potentially come in from the onset and get major minutes opposite Joe Haden, where the Browns have a hole. Wade is erratic but he has the cover skills to make it in the league. Tremendous value selection.

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