Look no further than this year’s Super Bowl to see the value in late-round NFL draft prospects. The Seattle Seahawks’ ferocious defense was led by fifth-round corner Richard Sherman, as talented a corner as there is in this league.
Safety Kam Chancellor was a fifth-round selection as well. Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith was a seventh-round pick. Michael Bennett was undrafted. And star quarterback Russell Wilson was a third-round steal.
The Philadelphia Eagles are a similarly constructed team. Their quarterback, Nick Foles, was a third-round pick. The team’s top three offensive linemen—Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, and Jason Kelce—were undrafted, drafted in third round and taken in the sixth round, respectively. The top pass-rusher, Trent Cole, was a fifth-round player. While they don't have the defensive prowess, the Eagles have had key contributions from late-round players.
General manager Howie Roseman has an excellent opportunity to add to the team’s collection of key late-round players. While the Eagles choose just six times in the upcoming draft (and not at all in the sixth round), it’s said to be the deepest draft class in league history. Choosing wisely in the late rounds could really benefit the Eagles in the future. The following six players are worth keeping an eye on.