Josh Norris

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Best Players Left on Day 3

Saturday, April 28, 2012


There is plenty of talent available after three rounds of the draft. Even after a massive run on wide receivers and defensive backs, those two positions remain rich. However, many of these talented players usually come with concerns, specifically medical or character questions.

Keep in mind that quite a few of last year's day-three picks contributed as rookies, including Seahawks LB K.J. Wright, Titans LB Colin McCarthy, Redskins RB Roy Helu, Titans DT Karl Klug, Raiders WR Denarius Moore, Texans QB T.J. Yates, Seahawks CB Richard Sherman, Ravens DE/OLB Pernell McPhee, and Giants LB Jacquian Williams. Good players have yet to be drafted.
Here are the 15 best available:

1. DT Alameda Ta'amu (6'3/348), Washington - Blessed with the massive frame of a nose tackle, Ta'amu plays more like a penetrating interior lineman, doing his best work upfield to disrupt. For such a big player, he lacks a dominant anchor versus single blocks and especially when double teamed. Ta'amu's upper body is a bit soft, and teams likely question his best fit at the next level. Wade Phillips and the Texans prefer their nose tackles to penetrate, so Ta'amu could be a fit in Houston.

2. WR Joe Adams (5'11/179), Arkansas - An explosive athlete that is unafraid to work over the middle, Adams should have been drafted ahead of several receivers taken on the draft's first two days. Adams projects very well to the slot with tremendous vertical speed and quick cuts to create separation. He is a bit thin and drops catchable passes at times, but teams are not only getting a viable inside option but a tremendous returner. The Panthers worked Adams out before the draft and have a need in both areas.

3. DL Malik Jackson (6'5/290), Tennessee - A personal favorite, Jackson possesses some of the strongest and most active hands in the draft. He holds an anchor very well when playing the run and wins with persistence and power when pass rushing. As a senior, Jackson played inside at defensive tackle after being a longtime end. This 'tweener label should be categorized as versatility since Jackson excels from each position and can seemingly gain or lose weight at will. Jackson compares favorably to a Chris Canty type with the potential to play at least three positions: 3-4 power end, 4-3 left defensive end, and 4-3 tackle. The Colts could be a great fit.

4. RB Chris Polk (5'11/215), Washington - Multiple shoulder surgeries and a unique running style dropped Polk more than expected. He looks like he is gliding on the field, using a single speed while displaying exceptional patience and vision to work behind blockers downfield. The way Polk weaves to open areas and maintains distance from incoming tacklers is impressive. Polk is also a very comfortable receiver but lacks pass-protection ability. He broke plenty of tackles with balance and toughness, but it wasn't enough to break into the top three rounds. The Steelers need a running back and could look at Polk.

5. NT Josh Chapman (6'1/310), Alabama - Despite playing his final eight games on a torn ACL, no player in the nation defended the run more stoutly than Chapman last season. He plays in a two-yard radius, getting little penetration but rarely losing ground. An inability to rush the passer certainly limits Chapman's value, as does his knee surgery, but he is an immovable force with excellent balance to clog and occupy blockers. The Steelers could use his services.

6. WR Marvin Jones (6'2/199), California - Overshadowed at Cal by top recruit Keenan Allen, Jones made a statement with an impressive Senior Bowl performance. It wasn't enough to boost him into the first three rounds, but he will be a terrific value today. Jones' routes are crisp and exaggerated, and he's at his best when adjusting to poor throws in the air, showcasing some of the greatest body control in the draft. Jones does lack vertical speed and run-after-catch ability that teams covet. The Patriots are the type of club that will appreciate his game.

7. RB Lamar Miller (5'11/212), Miami - A pure speedster that can take any run to the house if given a sliver of space, Miller left Miami after his redshirt sophomore season with expectations of being selected earlier in the draft. He lacks physical qualities to his game, especially on third downs as a blocker and receiver, but Miller's speed should be coveted now that he's a value pick. The Bengals could use that behind Benjarvus Green-Ellis.

8. WR Chris Givens (5'11/198), Wake Forest - A true vertical speedster with a solid build, Givens was not asked to run many routes in college and was limited by a weak-armed quarterback. In every game he was underthrown on long passes but still managed to rack up 1,330 yards receiving. Givens left school one year early and needs to get rid of a slight bobble on easy catches, but he offers valuable slot skills. The Browns could use his speed on offense.

9. DL Jared Crick (6'4/285), Nebraska - A highly touted player before his senior year, Crick tore his pectoral muscle in the fall and surgery cost him the rest of the season. Crick is a technician that grinds out pressures after consistently making solid contact off the snap. He lacks extra burst to penetrate or work around the edge, but Crick should appeal to a base 3-4 team like the Cardinals as a power end.

10. ILB James-Michael Johnson (6'1/249), Nevada - Johnson is the most prototypical inside linebacker left in the draft. He loves contact, showing a physical nature when filling run lanes and shedding blocks at the second level. For a thicker-framed defender, Johnson flips his hips in space adequately and reacts quickly to plays in front of him. After Curtis Lofton left town, the Falcons could use a later-round starter inside like Johnson.

11. CB Alfonzo Dennard (5'10/203), Nebraska - As the most physical corner in the draft, Dennard will appeal to teams that prefer press-man coverage. He consistently stays in a receiver's hip pocket while redirecting their routes. However, Dennard may be too physical at times and has a tendency to overextend himself. It does not help that he lacks makeup speed to close distances quickly, so that every mistake he makes hurts him. Dennard was also arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer just a week before the draft. Dennard's game still fits the Seahawks' secondary style, and Pete Carroll is willing to roll dice on talented character risks.

12. DE/OLB Cam Johnson (6'4/267), Virginia - The top pass rusher available offers burst around the edge while flashing length to generate separation and work back inside. Johnson played with an undisclosed leg injury during his senior season, but offers glimpses of high-caliber disrupting ability. He is reliable and consistent when holding the edge versus the run, but teams may worry about how out of shape he looked at the Senior Bowl.

13. S Antonio Allen (6'1/202), South Carolina - A true rover safety/linebacker hybrid, Allen offers a versatile skill set on the third day. He is a strictly in-the-box safety with long arms and reliable tackling. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier mentioned at the Senior Bowl that teams must find players that can defend massive receiving tight ends, and Allen fits the bill.

14. S George Iloka (6'4/222), Boise Sate - Iloka offers incredible measurables, including a wingspan longer than Jason Pierre-Paul's and a 4.66 forty. However, upside may be Iloka's best asset. The defensive back has plenty of range downfield and even saw time at cornerback in college, but he lacks an aggressive style. Iloka's angles are tentative and he does not clean up when tackling. A team is getting a project safety/rover that could find a specialized role at the next level. The Browns, who face Jermaine Gresham, Heath Miller, and Ed Dickson/Dennis Pitta twice a year, could use Iloka's skills.

15. CB Brandon Boykin (5'9/183), Georgia - Boykin offers exactly what teams look for in a slot corner, a physical style at the second level in man or zone coverage. He attacks the proper shoulder when facing the run and forces everything back inside, but in space Boykin is an awful tackler. The Georgia product also offers return ability. He broke his foot during the Senior Bowl, so questions surrounding that injury and his availability are understandable. The Eagles could benefit from trading up to select Boykin.



Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for Rotoworld and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Josh Norris



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