NFL Draft 2017: Eight potential Day 3 steals of deep class

Sporting News
The draft is especially deep with edge rushers, as well as at running back, tight end, wide receiver and in the secondary.

NFL Draft 2017: Eight potential Day 3 steals of deep class

The draft is especially deep with edge rushers, as well as at running back, tight end, wide receiver and in the secondary.

The 2017 NFL Draft is deep at several positions, and teams with multiple needs could find starters as the draft concludes April 29.

The draft, which begins next Thursday, is especially deep with edge rushers, as well as at running back, tight end, wide receiver and in the secondary.

Here are eight potential Day 3 steals:

Alex Anzalone, ILB, Florida — The most consistent defensive player at the Senior Bowl, showing off excellent lateral range, he then was one of the best performers at the NFL Combine. Anzalone is quick with good size (6-3, 240 pounds) and vision. He’s an aggressive and instinctive player who diagnoses plays and is almost always around the ball. Although he’s an athletic, sideline-to-sideline player, there are injury concerns. He played in eight of 13 games last season, the most in any of his seasons at Florida, and had 53 tackles with three sacks. The durability issue will push him down, but Anzalone could be a steal if he can stay healthy.

Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan — Orphaned by civil war in Sierra Leone, the 6-2, 215-pound Darboh immigrated to the U.S. at 7 with his siblings. They settled in Iowa and he earned a scholarship to Michigan, where he caught 151 passes for 2,062 yards and 14 touchdowns over his career and was an All-Big Ten selection last year. He moves well in space, is a smooth route-runner and has an incredible work ethic. He does has some difficulty getting off press coverage, but his talent and drive could help Darboh etch a lengthy NFL career.

Julien Davenport, OT, Bucknell — Davenport is an athletic 6-7, 310-pound former basketball player with a lot of upside as a prospect. But he’s definitely a developmental player. A four-year starter for the Bison and an FCS All-American last season, he has good feet and superior length to handle speed rushers. He lacks ideal NFL strength and got pushed around a bit by bull rushes at the Senior Bowl. But he bends well, is a solid blocker and should find himself in an NFL camp and then on a practice squad to develop into a possible starter in a couple of years.

Connor Harris, LB, Lindenwood — The NCAA all-division career leader in tackles with 633, Harris is solid in coverage coming out of the D-II school west of St. Louis. He lacks high-end speed and athleticism but compensates with excellent vision, a high football IQ and very good instincts. Because of his work ethic and motor, Harris could secure a spot on an NFL roster and be a productive player.

Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova — Kpassagnon is a physical specimen, ripped at 6-7, 280 pounds. After injuries slowed his first two college seasons, the extremely intelligent Kpassagnon was an all-conference selection in 2015 with 9 1/2 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks. He upped those numbers last season with 21 1/2 tackles for loss and 11 sacks to earn first-team FCS All-American honors. While Kpassagnon has explosive athleticism, too often he gets muscled by offensive tackles. Though not strong against the run, he has a history of blocking kicks, which adds value at the next level. Kpassagnon has a lot of upside because of his athleticism but will have to improve his technique, balance and overall strength.

Isaac Rochell, DE, Notre Dame — Rochell brings some versatility as either a 3-4 or 4-3 defensive end. He has a good size (6-4, 282) and is strong with good feet. He has an excellent inside move helped by his explosive burst off the ball. Rochell had seven sacks last season, though he does not possess elite pass-rushing ability. He’s stronger against the run and has the potential to develop as a pass-rusher.

Fred Ross, WR, Mississippi State — Ross has good hands and size (6-1, 203) and is a very good route runner with big-play ability, evidenced by his 72 receptions for 917 yards and 12 scores last season. His total receptions and yards dipped from 2015, when he had 88 for 1,007 yards having developed a great rapport with future Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. But Ross’ 12 touchdowns last season were two more than he had in the previous three years combined. He is a fluid runner who is elusive in the open field. He will have some drops and has to get stronger, especially against press coverage, but he could become a solid slot receiver.

Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois — At 6-3, 255 pounds, Smoot has a quick burst with good speed as an edge rusher. He’s able to convert speed to power and had 29 1/2 tackles for loss and 12 sacks over the last two seasons. He relies too much on his athletic ability and has to develop technique to beat NFL-caliber linemen. He did show flashes at the Senior Bowl and should be a late-round pick with some upside with the right coaching staff.

What to read next

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes