Don't believe what you've heard—Day 3 of the NFL draft is not just a mid-afternoon matinee filled with anonymous small-school cornerbacks, mediocre interior linemen and anonymous faces bound to be forgotten or released by August.
Sure, there were those, as there are every draft. There were also national championship-winning quarterbacks, Heisman Trophy finalists and reality television stars—and that was just AJ McCarron. There were also national leading rushers, conference players of the year and guys who will soon become the linchpins of their new franchises.
There is an inherently wild unpredictability that comes with draft Saturday. There are trades, reaches and compensatory picks galore, but no one knows entirely what to make of the proceedings.
It is, as I dubbed it on Twitter, Act Irrationally Excited Over Any Player I've Actually Heard of Day for fans. Local Ohioans will spent the next couple days wondering whether McCarron can push Andy Dalton to the next level, yet it is far more likely Russell Bodine, the semi-anonymous center they drafted out of North Carolina, will be more of an impact player.
The draft is silly (if understandable) in that way. We gravitate toward the known rather than parsing through the so-called boring muck, taking the word of whatever draft expert we happen to be watching on television to conclude whether a pick is good or not.
That's all well and good—mostly because it is entirely unfair to judge a player four months prior to his stepping on the field. And, in Day 3, teams are looking to fill needs and take advantage of market inefficiencies more than ever, meaning the Bengals probably could have taken a player in the fifth round more likely to impact their roster in 2014 than McCarron, but...I mean, you just gotta do it.
Keep that in mind as we take a look at Saturday's results and try to formulate an inexact science to grade how teams did.
|2014 NFL Draft - Day 3 Grades|
|Team||Players Taken||Day 3 Grade|
|Buffalo Bills||Ross Cockrell (109th), Cyril Richardson (153rd), Randell Johnson (221st), Seantrel Henderson (237th)||B+|
|Miami Dolphins||Walt Aikens (125th), Arthur Lynch (155th), Jordan Tripp (171st), Matt Hazel (190th), Terrence Fede (234th)||C+|
|New England Patriots||Bryan Stork (105th), James White (130th), Cameron Fleming (140th), Jon Halapio (179th), Zach Moore (198th), Jemea Thomas (206th), Jeremy Gallon (244th)||B+|
|New York Jets||Jalen Saunders (104th), Shaq Evans (115th), Dakota Dozier (137th), Jeremiah George (154th), Brandon Dixon (195th), Quincy Enunwa (209th), IK Enemkpali (210th), Tajh Boyd (213th), Trevor Reilly (233rd)||B|
|Baltimore Ravens||Brent Urban (134th), Lorenzeo Taliaferro (138th), John Urschel (175th), Keith Wenning (194th), Mike Campanaro (218th)||B+|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Russell Bodine (111th), AJ McCarron (164th), Marquis Flowers (212th), James Wright (239th), Lavelle Westbrooks (252nd)||B|
|Cleveland Browns||Pierre Desir (127th)||C+|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Martavis Bryant (118th), Shaquille Richardson (157th), Wesley Johnson (173rd), Jordan Zumwalt (192nd), Daniel McCullers (215th), Rob Blanchflower (230th)||A-|
|Houston Texans||Tom Savage (135th), Jeoffrey Pagan (177th), Alfred Blue (181st), Jay Prosch (211th), Andre Hal (216th), Lonnie Ballentine (256th)||B-|
|Indianapolis Colts||Jonathan Newsome (166th), Andrew Jackson (203rd), Ulrick John (232nd)||C+|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Aaron Colvin (114th), Telvin Smith (144th), Chris Smith (159th), Luke Bowanko (205th), Storm Johnson (222nd)||B+|
|Tennessee Titans||DaQuan Jones (112th), Marqueston Huff (122nd), Avery Williamson (151st), Zach Mettenberger (178th)||B-|
|Denver Broncos||Lamin Barrow (156th), Matthew Paradis (207th), Corey Nelson (242nd)||C+|
|Kansas City Chiefs||De'Anthony Thomas (124th), Aaron Murray (163rd), Zach Fulton (193rd), Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (200th)||B-|
|Oakland Raiders||Justin Ellis (107th), Keith McGill (116th), Travis Carrie (219th), Shelby Harris (235th), Jonathan Dowling (247th)||B-|
|San Diego Chargers||Ryan Carrethers (165th), Marion Grice (201st), Tevin Reese (240th)||C|
|Dallas Cowboys||Anthony Hitchens (119th), Devin Street (146th), Ben Gardner (213st), Will Smith (238th), Ahmad Dixon (248th), Ken Bishop (251st), Terrance Mitchell (254th)||B-|
|New York Giants||Andre Williams (113th), Nat Berhe (152nd), Devon Kennard (174th), Bennett Jackson (187th)||B|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Jaylen Watkins (101st), Taylor Hart (141st), Ed Reynolds (162nd), Beau Allen (224th)||B-|
|Washington Redskins||Bashaud Breeland (102), Ryan Grant (142nd), Lache Seastrunk (186th), Ted Bolser (217th), Zach Hocker (228th)||B|
|Chicago Bears||Ka'Deem Carey (117th), Brock Vereen (131st), David Fales (183rd), Pat O'Donnell (191st), Charles Leno (246th)||B+|
|Detroit Lions||Nevin Lawson (133rd), Larry Webster (136th), Caraun Reid (158th), T.J. Jones (189th), Nate Freese (229th)||B|
|Green Bay Packers||Carl Bradford (121st), Corey Linsley (161st), Jared Abbrederis (176th), Demetri Goodson (197th), Jeff Janis (236th)||B|
|Minnesota Vikings||David Yankey (145th), Antone Exum (182nd), Kendall James (184th), Shamar Stephen (220th), Brandon Watts (223rd), Jabari Price (225th)||B+|
|Atlanta Falcons||Devonta Freeman (103rd), Prince Shembo (139th), Ricardo Allen (147th), Marquis Spruill (168th), Yawin Smallwood (253rd), Tyler Starr (255th)||A-|
|Carolina Panthers||Tre Boston (128th), Bene Benwikere (148th), Tyler Gaffney (204th)||C+|
|New Orleans Saints||Khairi Fortt (126th), Vinnie Sunseri (167th), Ronald Powell (169th), Tavon Rooks (202nd)||B-|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Kadeem Edwards (143rd), Kevin Pamphile (149th), Robert Herron (185th)||C+|
|Arizona Cardinals||Logan Thomas (120th), Ed Stinson (160th), Walt Powell (196th)||C|
|St. Louis Rams||Mo Alexander (110th), E.J. Gaines (188th), Garrett Gilbert (214th), Mitchell Van Dyk (226th), C.B. Bryant (241st), Michael Sam (249th), Demetrius Rhaney (250th)||B+|
|San Francisco 49ers||Bruce Ellington (106th), Dontae Johnson (129th), Aaron Lynch (150th), Keith Reaser (170th), Kenneth Acker (180th), Kaleb Ramsey (243rd), Trey Millard (245th)||A-|
|Seattle Seahawks||Cassius Marsh (108th), Kevin Norwood (123rd), Kevin Pierre-Louis (132nd), Jimmy Staten (172nd), Garrett Scott (199th), Eric Pinkins (208th), Kiero Small (227th)||B|
Best Value Picks of Day 3
Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech (No. 107, Oakland Raiders)
The Raiders have some major holes to fill in their defensive line and get a multitalented guy in Ellis who can do just about everything. He's a little short (6'1") for most NFL teams but possesses a wide frame that makes him difficult to move off the line of scrimmage. Guys Ellis' size are typically seen as slow and plodding, but he's quick off the ball and should help against the run and pass.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson (No. 118, Pittsburgh Steelers)
In the Steelers' late-round wide receiver scouting department we trust. Pittsburgh has been mining gold out of middle-round receivers in recent years, and Bryant has the potential to join Emmanuel Sanders, Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown as the latest. Bryant is incredibly raw as a receiver, but he might be the best all-around athlete at his position. He's huge (6'4"), fast (4.42-second 40 time) and consistently wins 50-50 balls with his leaping ability. Ben Roethlisberger will love this kid if Todd Haley ever allows him to throw deep again.
Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood (No. 127, Cleveland Browns)
You've gotta love this kid based on his story alone. A Haitian immigrant who came over to the U.S. at the age of four, Desir was a promising high school star until an unexpected pregnancy and low test scores wound up forcing him to spend his collegiate career at two Division II schools. Desir as a player still is a little raw, and he will have to acclimate himself to NFL speed. But he has all the raw tools to make a name for himself in this league. The Browns had only one pick in Day 3, and they made the most of it.
David Yankey, G, Stanford (No. 145, Minnesota Vikings)
I'm not sure I can adequately express how much I love this pick. One of my favorite value selections of the entire draft. If Yankey isn't starting for the Vikings on Week 1, he'll be doing so eventually in 2014—barring an injury of some sorts. Yankey is a converted tackle who has the smarts to play all over the line and should eventually settle in as a solid interior option. He's not the most athletic player and will have to get bigger at 6'6" to play guard, but he has more than enough all-around skills to step right in.
Cyril Richardson, G, Baylor (No. 153, Buffalo Bills)
As someone whose favorite national pastime is making fun of the I-don't-even-watch-the-ball football fan, I find myself liking a ton of interior line picks in 2014. Richardson, like Yankey, is a guy who should compete for a starting gig from the outset of camp. A behemoth at 6'5" and 329 pounds, Richardson drives smaller defenders off the ball and projects as a very good run defender. He's not quite as much of a sure thing as Yankey, but if Doug Marrone can keep him engaged, Richardson is a long-term starter.
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin (No. 176, Green Bay Packers):
The rich keep getting richer. The Packers' receiver corps is almost unfairly deep at this point. Abbrederis joins second-round pick Davante Adams to give Green Bay two very good, NFL-ready prospects who will help offset the loss of James Jones and perhaps provide replacement for future departures. Abbrederis won't ever be a superstar, but he's a solid third receiver type who just knows how to play football. He runs beautiful routes, has very good hands and should quickly pick up an NFL route tree. Don't be surprised when Aaron Rodgers hits him up for 10 receptions in 135 yards in some random game two years from now and causes a waiver-wire rush in your fantasy league.
Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU (No. 178, Tennessee Titans)
I'd been prepared for months to hate on whatever team took Mettenberger. The bloviating about his prototypical size and skill set grew tiresome, as did the thought he'd somehow eclipse quarterbacks who'd actually been great at the collegiate level. Basically, sub everything bad being said about Tom Savage now and throw it Mettenberger's way. But the former LSU product is a better player than Savage and shockingly lasted until Round 6. His ACL tear undoubtedly had something to do with that. Nevertheless, the Titans could have done a whole lot worse waiting to address their quarterback need than they did. Mettenberger went from soon-to-be-derided to hailed overnight—funny how the draft works.
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor (No. 186, Washington Redskins)
This running back class ain't great shakes, but Seastrunk is going to latch on somewhere as a situational player. He'll have to impress for it to happen in Washington, where the Redskins already boast a deep backfield. This pick probably would have drawn more praise had another team made this selection. Given Washington's need for depth elsewhere, it probably could have survived passing on Seastrunk. Still, the 'Skins got a Day 2 prospect midway through Round 6.
Eric Pinkins, S, San Diego State (No. 208, Seattle Seahawks)
When Pete Carroll drafts a defensive back, buy stock and buy it early. Pinkins is, as per usual with Carroll, a massive, moldable athlete. He has 4.4ish speed with a 6'3" frame that makes him a punisher when hitting receivers at full speed. The Seahawks need to continue finding late-round, cheap gems in the secondary with Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas locked up to cap-sucking deals. Pinkins could be next in line.
Storm Johnson, RB, UCF (No. 222, Jacksonville Jaguars)
The Jaguars are sure making Blake Bortles feel as comfortable as possible, eh? In Round 2, they grabbed him Marqise Lee and an undervalued receiver in Allen Robinson. In Round 7, they ensure Bortles will be handing off to a familiar face through at least rookie minicamp. Johnson is a big, strong back who hearkens to another era. He's also quicker on his feet than most realize, and it wouldn't have been a surprise to see him come off the board three rounds earlier.
Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami (No. 237, Buffalo Bills)
At this point in the draft, you're betting on the talent. Henderson's production was intermittent at Miami, and Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported he was among the players who failed his combine drug test. That does little to dispel the notion that he's an entitled but uber-talented kid who might not ever put it all together. If dropping to the seventh round serves as a wake-up call, though, the Bills might have landed a steal.
Michael Sam, DE, Missouri (No. 259, St. Louis Rams)
Don't even remotely care if I'm dead wrong about this one in a few years. If your living room didn't suddenly become overrun with "dust mites" that caused your "eyes to water" when ESPN's broadcast Sam's reaction, you're inhuman. That was a great moment for Sam, the Rams, the NFL and proponents of equality everywhere. I'm rooting for Michael Sam to make this the best pick of the 2014 draft. As should you.
|2014 NFL Draft Results - Round 4|
|103.||Falcons||Devonta Freeman||RB||Florida State|
|104.||Jets (from TB)||Jalen Saunders||WR||Oklahoma|
|105.||Patriots*||Bryan Stork||C||Florida State|
|106.||49ers*||Bruce Ellington||WR||South Carolina|
|107.||Raiders||Justin Ellis||DT||Louisiana Tech|
|110.||Rams||Maurice Alexander||S||Utah State|
|111.||Bengals*||Russell Bodine||C||North Carolina|
|112.||Titans||DaQuan Jones||DT||Penn State|
|113.||Giants||Andre Williams||RB||Boston College|
|114.||Jaguars (from BAL)||Aaron Colvin||CB||Oklahoma|
|120.||Cardinals||Logan Thomas||QB||Virginia Tech|
|121.||Packers||Carl Bradford||OLB||Arizona State|
|127.||Browns (from IND)||Pierre Desir||CB||Lindenwood|
|128.||Panthers||Tre Boston||S||North Carolina|
|129.||49ers||Dontae Johnson||CB||North Carolina State|
|132.||Seahawks||Kevin Pierre-Louis||OLB||Boston College|
|133.||Lions||Nevin Lawson||CB||Utah State|
|138.||Ravens||Lorenzo Taliaferro||RB||Coastal Carolina|
|139.||Falcons||Prince Shembo||OLB||Notre Dame|
|2014 NFL Draft Results - Round 5|
|143.||Buccaneers||Kadeem Edwards||OG||Tennessee State|
|144.||Jaguars||Telvin Smith||OLB||Florida State|
|146.||Cowboys* (from OAK)||Devin Street||WR||Pittsburgh|
|148.||Panthers*||Bene Benwikere||CB||San Jose State|
|150.||49ers* (from DET)||Aaron Lynch||DE||South Florida|
|152.||Giants||Nat Berhe||S||San Diego State|
|154.||Jets||Jeremiah George||ILB||Iowa State|
|159.||Jaguars (from BAL)||Chris Smith||OLB/DE||Arkansas|
|161.||Packers||Corey Linsley||C||Ohio State|
|165.||Chargers||Ryan Carrethers||DT||Arkansas State|
|166.||Colts||Jonathan Newsome||DE||Ball State|
|169.||Saints (from NE via PHI)||Ronald Powell||OLB||Florida|
|170.||49ers||Keith Reaser||CB||Florida Atlantic|
|172.||Seahawks||Jimmy Staten||DT||Middle Tennessee|
|175.||Ravens||John Urschel||OG||Penn State|
|2014 NFL Draft - Round 6|
|180.||49ers*||Kenneth Acker||CB||Southern Methodist|
|181.||Texans (from OAK)||Alfred Blue||RB||LSU|
|182.||Vikings*||Antone Exum||CB||Virginia Tech|
|183.||Bears (from TB)||David Fales||QB||San Jose State|
|185.||Buccaneers (from BUF)||Robert Herron||WR||Wyoming|
|187.||Giants||Bennett Jackson||CB||Notre Dame|
|189.||Lions||TJ Jones||WR||Notre Dame|
|190.||Dolphins||Matt Hazel||WR||Coastal Carolina|
|191.||Bears||Pat O'Donnell||P||Miami (Fla.)|
|193.||Chiefs (from DAL)||Zach Fulton||OG||Tennessee|
|194.||Ravens||Keith Wenning||QB||Ball State|
|195.||Jets||Brandon Dixon||CB||Northwest Missouri State|
|196.||Cardinals||Walter Powell||WR||Murray State|
|198.||Patriots (from PHI)||Zach Moore||DE||Concordia-St. Paul|
|201.||Chargers||Marion Grice||RB||Arizona State|
|202.||Saints||Tavon Rooks||OT||Kansas State|
|203.||Colts||Andrew Jackson||ILB||Western Kentucky|
|205.||Jaguars (from SF)||Luke Bowanko||C||Virginia|
|206.||Patriots||Jemea Thomas||S||Georgia Tech|
|207.||Broncos||Matt Paradis||C||Boise State|
|208.||Seahawks||Eric Pinkins||S||San Diego State|
|210.||Jets||IK Enemkpali||DE||Louisiana Tech|
|2014 NFL Draft Results - Round 7|
|218.||Ravens*||Michael Campanaro||WR||Wake Forest|
|221.||Bills*||Randell Johnson||OLB||Florida Atlantic|
|223.||Vikings||Brandon Watts||OLB||Georgia Tech|
|225.||Vikings* (from NYG)||Jabari Price||CB||North Carolina|
|226.||Rams||Mitchell Van Dyk||OT||Portland State|
|229.||Lions* (from CHI)||Nate Freese||K||Boston College|
|232.||Colts (from BAL)||Ulrick John||OT||Georgia State|
|235.||Raiders (from ARZ)||Shelby Harris||DE||Illinois State|
|236.||Packers||Jeff Janis||WR||Saginaw Valley|
|237.||Bills*||Seantrel Henderson||OT||Miami (Fla.)|
|238.||Cowboys (from KC)||Will Smith||ILB||Texas Tech|
|241.||Rams (from IND)||Christian Bryant||S||Ohio State|
|242.||Broncos* (from NO)||Corey Nelson||OLB||Oklahoma|
|243.||49ers (from CAR)||Kaleb Ramsey||DT||Boston College|
|246.||Bears*||Charles Leno||OT||Boise State|
|247.||Raiders||Jonathan Dowling||CB||Western Kentucky|
|250.||Rams||Demetrius Rhaney||C||Tennessee State|
|251.||Cowboys||Ken Bishop||DT||Northern Illinois|
|252.||Bengals||Lavelle Westbrooks||CB||Georgia Southern|
|255.||Falcons||Tyler Starr||OLB||South Dakota|
Follow Tyler Conway on Twitter: