NFL Draft 2014: Projecting Where Biggest Names Available Will Land on Day 3

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIMay 10, 2014

NFL Draft 2014: Projecting Where Biggest Names Available Will Land on Day 3

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    Defensive lineman Michael Sam is one of the biggest remaining names in the NFL draft. Where will he land on day three?
    Defensive lineman Michael Sam is one of the biggest remaining names in the NFL draft. Where will he land on day three?Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Day two of the 2014 NFL draft is finished and rounds three and four are gone with it. There were plenty of surprising picks, trades and potential steals in the first 100 overall picks.

    However, there are still a handful of big names that will be available on day three. Players like Michael Sam, A.J. McCarron and Aaron Murray have been forced to wait an excruciating two days without hearing their names called.

    Today we'll try to predict where the above prospects, and a number of others, will land on the final day of the NFL draft.

A.J. McCarron, QB, Alabama

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Projected Landing Spot: Tennessee Titans

    No one should really be surprised that McCarron is still available heading into the third day of the draft. However, there were those that believed the "winner" label would convince a team to select him in the second or third round.

    The greatest attribute that McCarron brings to the field is his ability to make wise decisions on a consistent basis. He may never win games for a team with his huge arm, but he'll never lose a game by making stupid decisions, either.

    That's why he's a perfect fit for the Titans. Tennessee currently has a quarterback in Jake Locker who is sort of a wild card. He's shown flashes of being a franchise player but hasn't stayed on the field long enough to prove it. 

    By drafting McCarron, the Titans would be getting an extremely solid backup who could push Locker for a starting job in Week 1. With all the weapons Tennessee has at wide receiver, it could actually be quite successful if they were forced to start McCarron.

Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Landing Spot: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The greatest quality that Zach Mettenberger has going for him is his arm strength. He's got a powerful arm with the ability to make every throw an NFL team could want.

    Mettenberger's biggest issue is with his accuracy, but he did improve in that area during his final year at LSU. The perfect place for Mettenberger's big arm is in Tampa Bay.

    With huge targets like Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Mettenberger could literally just throw the ball as high as possible and let his guys go up and get it. That'd be a scary thought for the defenses of the NFC South.

    While there are injury and off-field concerns for Mettenberger, he still has the potential to develop into a talented quarterback for an NFL team. 

Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Landing Spot: Houston Texans

    The Texans have still failed to add a quarterback in this year's NFL draft. Many thought they would do it at the start of the second round, but they went for offensive guard Xavier Su'a-Filo.

    It's hard to believe that Houston feels confident with its current quarterback situation. Neither Chase Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick nor T.J. Yates look like long-term options. And we all know that you simply can't win in this league without talent at the quarterback position.

    That's why the Texans need to take a player like Tom Savage. Sure, he's a project, but head coach Bill O'Brien is supposed to be a whiz at developing quarterbacks.

    Even if Savage takes a year to become the starter for the Texans, they at least can enter the 2015 NFL draft not having to look for a franchise quarterback. Don't be surprised if the quarterback O'Brien decides to draft is the one who had more pre-draft buzz than anyone.

Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Projected Landing Spot: Green Bay Packers

    It seems as if everyone has forgotten about Aaron Murray among the top quarterbacks. A late-season injury is the reason for some of that, but Murray still had one of the most productive college careers in the history of the SEC.

    The biggest problem with Murray is that he has a relatively low ceiling in the NFL. Whichever team drafts him is basically going to get exactly what they saw in the NFL. For teams that need a starting quarterback, that simply won't do.

    However, for a team like the Packers that is simply looking for a quality backup, someone like Murray makes perfect sense. He'd be able to sit behind Aaron Rodgers and learn from him while only getting onto the field when absolutely necessary.

    While the Packers won't spend one of their early day three picks on Murray, they could select him if he's still available in the later rounds of the draft.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Projected Landing Spot: Minnesota Vikings

    It's easy to forget about other running backs when you have a player like Adrian Peterson on your roster. However, the Vikings will certainly feel the loss of Toby Gerhart to free agency if they don't replace him.

    While a running back like Florida State's Devonta Freeman isn't a bruiser like Gerhart, he still brings quite a bit to the table. For starters, Freeman always shared the load at running back while at FSU, so his legs are relatively fresh heading into the league.

    Freeman could also replace Peterson as a third-down back due to his ability as a blocker in the passing game. Overall, Freeman would be a solid complement to the elite talent that is Mr. Peterson.

Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Projected Landing Spot: Cleveland Browns

    With news from T.J. Quinn and Don Van Natta Jr. of that wide receiver Josh Gordon could potentially be suspended all 16 games next year, the Browns desperately need help at receiver.

    In fact, one of the biggest surprises of the second day was the fact that the Browns didn't draft a single wide receiver. They certainly had plenty of chances with lots of solid players but decided to address other positions in every round.

    That will likely change on the final day, and the top playmaker available is South Carolina's Bruce Ellington. While Ellington is undersized at only 5'9", he's an exciting player in the open field once the ball is in his hands.

    With Johnny Manziel potentially starting at quarterback, he'll need a speedy receiver to throw the ball to down the field. The ideal player for that would be Ellington, who would be an absolute steal in the fourth round or later.

Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Landing Spot: Pittsburgh Steelers

    There was once a time when Antonio "Tiny" Richardson was considered a potential first-round pick. Well, that clearly didn't happen.

    The biggest issue with Richardson is his consistency. Too often will he find himself out of position or he'll have poor footwork and just get dominated by defenders.

    However, if things ever click for Richardson he could be a truly great offensive tackle. He has the size, athleticism and strength to dominate defensive ends for the next 10 years.

    The Steelers currently have some nice pieces along their offensive line, but they could still use some talent and depth. Richardson could provide both of those and could end up being the biggest steal on day three if he reaches his full potential.

Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Landing Spot: Jacksonville Jaguars

    If there is one thing that head coach Gus Bradley learned while with the Seattle Seahawks, it's that you can never have too many pass-rushers. And if there's one thing that defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat can currently do, it's rush the quarterback

    The Jaguars have spent most of the first two days building their offense. They drafted quarterback Blake Bortles and added wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.

    However, now it's time to turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball and find some talent in the later rounds of the draft. Jeffcoat is coming off his best year at Texas, where he recorded 13 sacks and won Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

    As long as Jeffcoat can give the Jaguars 8-10 sacks a year, he'll be a great value as a pick on the third day.

Shane Skov, ILB, Stanford

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Landing Spot: New York Jets

    Inside linebacker Shayne Skov is another player who was once considered an early-round pick. Unfortunately, a slow time in the 40-yard dash at the combine pushed him down draft boards.

    Skov has great instincts, is a sure tackler and is fantastic against the run. In fact, he's an extremely similar player to current Jets linebacker David Harris. With Harris turning 30 years old earlier this year, the Jets need to start thinking about potentially replacing him.

    The biggest problem with Skov is that he simply doesn't have the speed or athleticism to drop back into coverage and defend tight ends. That makes him a two-down back and more of a specialty player in the NFL.

    If there's any coach who could get the most out of Skov's current talents, however, it'd be Rex Ryan. Look for him to go early in the fourth round and develop into a solid starter in the NFL.

Michael Sam, DE/OLB, Missouri

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Projected Landing Spot: Atlanta Falcons

    We all know about the background surrounding Michael Sam. He's easily one of the most polarizing figures of the 2014 NFL draft, but the fact he hasn't been selected yet really isn't that surprising.

    What ultimately hurts Sam is that he doesn't have a natural position in the NFL. He isn't necessarily a "tweener" where he could play multiple positions. He's more of a positionless player who knows how to get after a quarterback.

    And it's that ability to create consistent pressure that'll finally get him drafted on day three. The team that needs an increase in quarterback pressures from their defense more than anyone else is the Falcons. 

    By adding a player like Sam, Atlanta would be able to do some unique things defensively in order to create pressure. The pick would certainly bring about plenty of publicity, but Sam brings enough value to offset any distractions selecting him might make.