Seven rounds exist in the NFL draft because plenty of non-BCS prospective talent resides every year.
And the depth of each class always promises impact players on the final day as well. Here, we examine some of the best capable of contributing sooner than anticipated.
With roughly one month until the 2013 draft kicks off, much attention will obviously surround the top talent. However, it is just as important to break down the later rounds as we will see some of the players selected there shine during their rookie campaigns.
Running back Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins is a prime example from 2012. The following offer similar potential for 2013.
D.J. Hayden: CB, Houston
Any team looking for a playmaking cornerback, Houston's D.J. Hayden is the man.
Combined between 2011 and 2012 he defended 25 passes, six of which were interceptions returned for 229 yards (three scores) and 127 tackles. In addition, Hayden forced five fumbles in 2011 and another last season.
Sporting decent size for the position at 5'11", 191 pounds, Hayden works nicely in press coverage and reacts quickly to the ball. Although he could definitely improve with perimeter run support, his talent to isolate one-on-one provides much potential.
The major flag is simply with health, as mentioned by Rob Rang of CBS Sports:
His (Hayden's) sternum is still recovering from the emergency heart surgery conducted shortly after his injury was diagnosed following a freak hit during practice on November 6.
Still, expect Hayden to impact as a nickel/dime back in 2013 with the upside of a developing No. 2 corner.
Brandon Kaufman: WR, Eastern Washington
Presenting the frame of 6'5", 216 pounds, Brandon Kaufman is already a red-zone advantage for any offense.
Even better, the guy snagged 93 passes for 1,850 yards and scored 16 times in 2012. That's an average of nearly 20 yards per reception. So, not only is he capable of splitting a Cover 2 zone or defeating man coverage on the outside, Kaufman can occasionally go over the middle and accumulate yards after the catch.
Clearly he must build more short-area quickness and acceleration, because the NFL's stronger defensive backs will give him trouble. That said, his route-running is decent as is his ability to adjust to the pass.
And with this talent to stretch defenses, Kaufman's presence will help set up the run to keep opponents from stacking the box and blitzing.
Braden Brown: Tackle, BYU
One underrated offensive tackle to keep a close eye on is BYU's Braden Brown.
He showed great natural talent for the position, with 7.43 seconds on the three-cone drill and 28 inches on the vertical leap at the NFL combine. Given his size at 6'5", 310 pounds he'll make a strong impact as a right tackle.
According to the Cougars' official team site he switched from tight end—which displays Brown's overall athleticism—and quarterback Riley Nelson was only sacked 34 times combined between 2011 and 2012. Despite not featuring the dominant strength needed for the edge, Brown will get this strength through pro development.
Already possessing the agility and balance to man the outer walls of the pocket, improving his first step will only enhance Brown's force as a run-blocker.