Every year there are players picked on the third day of the NFL Draft that outplay the expectations of where they were selected. Teams are always looking for contributors and developmental starters rounds 4-7 of the NFL Draft. Usually these players aren’t expected to make an impact as rookies, other than on special teams.
The 2018 NFL Draft is deep at a handful of positions where Day Three players will be difference makers early on in their careers. All of the players I’ve selected for the “All-Bargain team” are players that sit outside of my top 100 big board and should be available on the final day of the draft. All of these players have a certain skillset I value enough to believe that with development and them being put in the right situation it will lead to successful NFL careers. Listen to the Armchair NFL Draft podcast here. Checkout my most recent mock draft here.
QB- Kurt Benkert, Virginia
- A lot of hype has surrounded the top five QBs in this draft, and rightfully so. But Kurt Benkert seems to have been lost in the shuffle of the second tier QBs. Kyle Lauletta, Mason Rudolph, Mike White, and Luke Falk have their names mentioned more frequently than Benkert. Benkert has a rifle of an arm that allows him to make pretty much any throw. That combined with his ability to contort his arm and throw off platform make for a worthwhile developmental starter. He played in a somewhat pro-style scheme at Virginia and knows how to take a snap from under center. Benkert has the tools to be in the Kirk Cousins mould of becoming an NFL starter despite lasting until the third day of the draft.
- My Rank: 103rd
- Pro Comparison: Derek Carr
- Best Fit: Miami Dolphins
RB- John Kelly, Tennessee
- It’s a deep running back class and teams will be able to find starters on the third day. John Kelly is one of those 4th-round type players with a well-rounded enough game to become an impact player. He isn’t Alvin Kamara, but Kelly was pretty much the entire Tennessee offense in 2017. With great hands, balance, and pass pro potential he’ll be able to find a role as a third down back in the NFL. He’s got enough quickness, power, and wiggle to create for himself as a runner.
- My Rank: 112th
- Pro Comparison: Devontae Booker
- Best Fit: Minnesota Vikings
Flex- Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
- Whatever you want to call them, whether it be scatback, satellite back, or air back, there’s a new wave in the NFL when it comes to getting a receiving back involved. Dave Meggett paved the way for these backs in the 90s, while Darren Sproles made them a hot commodity in the 2000s. Chris Thompson and Theo Riddick have continued the trend recently, and Phillip Lindsay fits the mould. He might not get drafted, but the undersized Lindsay has the quickness, burst, and receiving ability to find a role as the satellite back for a team that lacks one.
- My Rank: 214th
- Pro Comparison: Theo Riddick
- Best Fit: Dallas Cowboys
TE- Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan
- After the top three tight ends in the class, there’s a big drop-off in ability/NFL readiness. Instead of reaching on a raw prospect, Tyler Conklin can be a terrific second tight end for a team. Central Michigan used him in-line, as a slot, and as an H-back to take advantage of his strong hands and natural ability to adjust to the ball. He has no trouble as a receiver and shows a willingness to block. The main knock on him is his athleticism, but the right team can use him in multiple ways, something most second tight ends don’t bring to the table.
- My Rank: 174th
- Pro Comparison: Zach Miller
- Best Fit: Philadelphia Eagles
X WR- J’Mon Moore, Missouri
- If your team needs receiver depth, this is the draft to grab one. There’s about 30 receivers worth drafting and there is very little separating the second tier of guys. J’Mon Moore might be a top 10 receiver in some classes with his combo of size, speed and ability to separate. Moore is smooth off the line and a vertical threat with a nice blend of YAC ability and consistent hands. He can be a deep threat early that could develop into a second receiving option.
- My Rank: 142nd
- Pro Comparison: Rishard Matthews
- Best Fit: Seattle Seahawks
Z WR- Keke Coutee, Texas Tech
- I can almost guarantee that Keke Coutee’s 10 best plays are more fun than any receivers’ in this class. He’s an absolute jitterbug on the field with some of the best YAC ability in the class. Once the ball is in his hands he becomes an elusive running back. Mix that with a smooth release, great burst and separation and he’s one of the best big play threats at receiver. If he can work on his route running and get more consistent hands he’ll quickly be an impact player.
- My Rank: 141st
- Pro Comparison: Brandin Cooks
- Best Fit: Arizona Cardinals
Slot WR- Trey Quinn, SMU
- I broke the rules here and included a player that’s on my top 100 big board. Trey Quinn is a player I’ve been banging the table for since December. For whatever reason he doesn’t receive top 10 wide receiver hype despite being worthy of a Day Two pick. Quinn has the soft hands, smooth route running, and ball adjustment skills that translate to the NFL almost right away. He’s this years Cooper Kupp. Quinn does everything well and has enough size and athleticism to be a starting slot in the NFL.
- My Rank: 90th
- Pro Comparison: Adam Thielen
- Best Fit: Atlanta Falcons
LT- Desmond Harrison, West Georgia
- Desmond Harrison was originally playing at Texas, but due to off-field problems ended up at West Georgia as their starting left tackle. He is long, lean, mean, and as athletic as they come for an offensive lineman. His skills are raw, but he has rare quickness and the footwork to develop into an NFL starting tackle. At West Georgia he dominated on the field, but his off-field and him coming from a small school will cause him to fall to day three. He isn’t NFL-ready yet, but with the right coaching staff the sky is the limit for him.
- My Rank: 128th
- Pro Comparison: Garrett Bolles
- Best Fit: Houston Texans
LG- Maea Teuhema, SE Louisiana
- Another offensive lineman that was at a big time school, LSU, but had to transfer due to off-field issues is Maea Teuhema. Before leaving the SEC Teuhema was a NFL caliber right tackle and the move to guard once he transferred only benefitted him. Teuhema plays through the whistle and brings it every time he’s run blocking. He doesn’t have great athleticism and struggles in pass pro, meaning he’ll likely need to be a left guard only. The mean streak and his ability to get to the second level and latch on to linebackers will make him a strong run blocker.
- My Rank: 158th
- Pro Comparison: Trai Turner
- Best Fit: Washington
C- Mason Cole, Michigan
- Versatility along the offensive line is an underrated skill. Rarely do players have the ability to play all five spots on the o-line, but Mason Cole did just that at Michigan and the Senior Bowl. Cole projects as a guard or center, but has multiple years of experience starting as the Wolverines left tackle. He has the size, strong hands, and finisher mentality to be a guard if his snapping issues from the Senior Bowl continue in the NFL. Offensive line coaches will fall in love with Cole’s ability to play all over.
- My Rank: 143rd
- Pro Comparison: JC Tretter
- Best Fit: Tennessee Titans
RG- Sam Jones, Arizona State
- Unlike the rest of the linemen here Sam Jones doesn’t bring a flashiness to the table. He’s a solid blue collar guard that wins more often than he loses. Jones can play either guard spot and be solid in pass pro with the anchor and strong hands to hold up versus interior pass rushers. In the run game he’s a good enough mover to pull and find work to create running lanes. Jones can be a top backup guard with the ability to start down the road.
- My Rank: 162nd
- Pro Comparison: Clint Boling
- Best Fit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RT- Brandon Parker, North Carolina A&T
- Finding a starting offensive tackle on day three of the draft isn’t easy, but a player with the size, quickness, and mobility of Brandon Parker will have teams intrigued. Coming from a small school, he’s a developmental player but his length and athleticism are rare. It might take a few years, but Parker can be a quality starting right tackle in the NFL, the ability certainly flashes on tape.
- My Rank: 166th
- Pro Comparison: D.J. Humphries
- Best Fit: Seattle Seahawks
ED- Chad Thomas, Miami
- Usually, edge players with big pass rush potential are driven up the board because sacks are sexy. Usually, you can find NFL quality run defenders on the edge on Day Three of the draft. Chad Thomas is an excellent edge setter against the run and plays with the motor and energy desired for that role. He also has positional flexibility because of his size and athleticism. It’s likely he’ll never be a star pass rusher, but he’ll be a great rotational run defender.
- My Rank: 120th
- Pro Comparison: Vinny Curry
- Best Fit: Carolina Panthers
1-Tech- Poona Ford, Texas
- It seems like the only reason Poona Ford is being undervalued is because of his size (5-11, 305-pounds). The NFL should have learned its lesson by now- short stocky interior players that play with great leverage can flourish. Ford has quickness and knows how to use his leverage to take on offensive linemen. His hand use helps him provide pass rush, but he’ll make his money holding the point vs the run. Ford has starting potential in the right system.
- My Rank: 121st
- Pro Comparison: Grady Jarrett
- Best Fit: Cleveland Browns
3-Tech- Andrew Brown, Virginia
- Even though Andrew Brown was a 5-star recruit, Virginia had no idea how to use him. Brown is a classic one-gap 3-tech defensive tackle, but of course to fit their defense Virginia had him play a two-gap 5-tech role. He wasn’t able to use his athleticism to shoot gaps and wreak havoc. Brown was forced to occupy space and protect gaps. In the NFL he’ll be used much differently and is a clear candidate for a player that will be a better pro than college football player.
- My Rank: 126th
- Pro Comparison: Dominique Easley
- Best Fit: Indianapolis Colts
ED- Justin Lawler, SMU
- Again, the high sack potential edge defenders rarely slide out of Day Two of the draft, but you can always find players like Justin Lawler in the 4th to 5th-round range. Lawler doesn’t have exceptional athleticism, but he knows how to play football. He always gets himself into position to set the edge and plays with great leverage and violent hands. Unlike many edge guys Lawler also has special teams value having blocked three field goals as a Senior.
- My Rank: 132nd
- Pro Comparison: Carl Nassib
- Best Fit: Los Angeles Chargers
LB- Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson
- The NFL is changing and so is the linebacker position. This draft is chalk full of athletic linebackers, but many of them don’t have terrific instincts. Dorian O’Daniel has superb sideline-to-sideline speed and quality instincts. What he lacks is size and aggressiveness. He’s built like a safety, but he can be the hybrid linebacker for a defense that needs an athlete to cover the tight end. O’Daniel will likely be available in the 4th-round and can make an impact.
- My Rank: 107th
- Pro Comparison: Mark Barron
- Best Fit: Buffalo Bills
LB- Jack Cichy, Wisconsin
- An injury cost Jack Cichy his senior season at Wisconsin and ultimately hurt his draft stock. Going back to the 2016 tape, Cichy was the clear leader of the Badgers’ defense. His instincts are phenomenal and perfect for a Mac linebacker. He makes up for a lack of athleticism with his motor and aggressiveness, when he gets to the play he makes it known. The injury and lack of athleticism will cause him to slip, but he can be an NFL starter or at the least a special teams stud.
- My Rank: 106th
- Pro Comparison: James Laurinaitis
- Best Fit: Los Angeles Rams
LB- Oren Bruks, Vanderbilt
- A late riser in the draft process has been Oren Burks. After being added late in the Senior Bowl week, he flashed a nose for getting to the ball and making plays. He then ended up testing as one of the best linebackers at the combine. His size and athleticism are intriguing. With his ability to play in coverage at a high level he’ll find his way onto the field early in the NFL.
- My Rank: 137th
- Pro Comparison: DeMeco Ryans
- Best Fit: Oakland Raiders
CB- Kameron Kelly, San Diego State
- The Seahawks made long press corners trendy, but there’s still a big need for them. Kameron Kelly is one of the few big and aggressive press man corners in this draft. He might be the most physical corner in the draft, but he lacks the smoothness and athleticism to be drafted on Day Two. Kelly also brings versatility having played both safety and corner at San Diego State.
- My Rank: 119th
- Pro Comparison: Quincy Wilson
- Best Fit: Seattle Seahawks
FS- Dane Cruikshank, Arizona
- Hear me out, Dane Cruikshank isn’t that different than Minkah Fitzpatrick. He played a similar role at Arizona to Fitzpatrick as a versatile overhang defender. Cruikshank spent time as a nickel, safety, and linebacker for the Wildcats. He’s a sure tackler with great instincts to put himself in the right place to make a play. After a big combine he’s moving up boards and looks like a versatile DB with big special team’s value.
- My Rank: 123rd
- Pro Comparison: Tyvon Branch
- Best Fit: New York Giants
SS- Cole Reyes, North Dakota
- There’s obviously a decent chunk of talented safeties in this draft, but rarely, if ever, is Cole Reyes mentioned. He wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine and he comes from a small school. A lot of factors work against him, but he brings it on the field. Reyes is a box safety and overhang defender that comes up with aggressiveness vs the run. His athleticism is solid and he has nice instincts. Reyes will be a special teams shark early in his career and could become a starting strong safety.
- My Rank: 153rd
- Pro Comparison: T.J. McDonald
- Best Fit: New England Patriots
NB- Parry Nickerson, Tulane
- Another late riser in the draft process after a big combine, Parry Nickerson is one of the best nickels in the draft. He lacks size, but has great speed and ball skills to complement his feistiness. Nickerson plays much bigger than he is and his footwork and instincts make him a great zone cover man.
- My Rank: 105th
- Pro Comparison: Lardarius Webb
- Best Fit: New Orleans Saints
- I have a soft spot for aggressive press corners that play bigger than they are. Isaac Yiadom is just that. Yiadom has a great first punch when playing press and has the footwork to mirror receivers when playing man. His ball skills and average athleticism might push him until late Day Three, but he has what it takes to be an impactful player on defense and special teams.
- My Rank: 155th
- Pro Comparison: Corey Webster
- Best Fit: Kansas City Chiefs