2013 NFL Draft Projections: New Homes for Electric Late-Round Playmakers
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
We will see some impressive playmakers taken in the later rounds of the 2013 NFL draft, which will take place April 25-27.
Just because they are Day Three prospects, however, does not mean they won't immediately produce. Running back Alfred Morris of the Washington Redskins proved that quite well during the 2012 season.
The great production put on by any late-rounder should not be shunned aside. If anything, the further a prospect falls, the greater his motivation in proving his cynics otherwise, which leads him throughout the offseason and into the real games.
The following players are those not only possessing that potential, but key athletes to track during the third day of the NFL draft.
Chad Bumphis: WR, Mississippi State
Mississippi State's Chad Bumphis will get overlooked as the Bulldogs weren't the most dominant of passing teams in the country. Given that the SEC is more known for defenses only puts Bumphis further down the draft boards.
He is, however, a consistently reliable target. In four seasons for the Bulldogs, he caught 159 passes and averaged 14.3 yards per reception. Considering that most of his snaps were from the slot, Bumphis proved the talent to accumulate nice yards after the catch.
Bumphis also contributed on the ground to a solid extent during 2009 and 2010, rushing 25 times for 204 yards and a touchdown. Enhancing his marketability are his play on special teams as he served as a double-duty return specialist.
Between 2009 and 2011, Bumphis racked up 315 yards in punt returns, averaging 11.4 per attempt. On kickoff returns, he collected 526 yards with an average of 21.9 yards per return.
Prediction: Round 6, Chicago Bears
Offensively, the Bears are mostly set. Jay Cutler can definitely use more talented depth along their line of scrimmage, but Chicago's offense will be more effective in 2013. Adding Bumphis later simply makes for another potential target in the passing game. Also allowing him to develop will be the presence of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery on the outside. In other words, Bumphis won't ever face press coverage or get a bracketed zone geared his direction.
Zac Stacy: RB, Vanderbilt
The complete talent of Zac Stacy will make an immediate NFL impact.
He's a punishing runner between the tackles, but also possesses the balance and agility to make defenders miss in open space. The past two seasons, Stacy played a significant role in Vanderbilt's offense by rushing for 2,334 yards, averaging 5.7 per carry and scoring 24 times.
His repertoire extends to the passing game as evidenced by his 46 career receptions for 415 yards. He also has the explosiveness to bolt upfield as Stacy clocked 6.7 seconds in the three-cone drill and 4.17 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle at the combine.
Not to mention he also pumped out 27 reps on the bench press and measured at 5'8" and 216 pounds. This will undoubtedly help with pass protection as Stacy will develop as an every-down contributor.
Prediction: Round 6, St. Louis Rams
Running back isn't the biggest of needs for St. Louis so waiting on the position for the later rounds will not compromise its offensive capabilities. Stacy's style of play is suited perfectly for the NFC West as he'll punch the gut of a defense to establish a physical ground game. A byproduct of that sets up the play-action, which leads to Stacy's power when pass-blocking—or slipping out for a screen pass or check-down.
Josh Johnson: CB, Purdue
Be sure to pay close attention to Purdue's Josh Johnson. The guy possesses much more potential than it appears at first glance.
Which of these late-rounders has the best rookie season?
During his tenure at Purdue, Johnson defended 36 passes, forced seven fumbles and recorded 182 tackles from 2010 through 2012. Checking out the overall approach of Big Ten offenses, which is mainly slamming the rock between the tackles, Johnson capitalized often on his opportunities in coverage.
He also put up solid numbers at the combine of 11.51 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle, 16 reps in the bench press (solid for a corner) and 6.99 seconds in the three-cone drill.
Showcasing the short-area quickness to change directions without losing speed, Johnson is capable of making an impact as a nickel/dime back in 2013. He has the potential to be at least a No. 2 cornerback in the NFL because he has a reliable knack for generating turnovers.
Prediction: Round 7, San Diego Chargers
Last season, San Diego ranked No. 18 in pass defense, allowed a 61.1 completion percentage and only managed 14 interceptions. Chances are that the Bolts elect to take a corner in the middle rounds, especially because free-agent Quentin Jammer turns 34 this summer and Antoine Cason signed with the Arizona Cardinals (via Kent Somers of AZCentral.com).
Mixing Johnson into the equation allows for better intermediate level coverage and a cornerback with experience at reacting decently to the run.
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