9 steals from the second and third days of the draft

Tribune Content Agency

First round picks get all the glory, but finding talent after the first round of the draft is what keeps teams competitive for years. The second day of the draft and the early parts of the third day are prime areas for teams to find cheap, effective starts if they’ve scouted well.

Here were some of the best value picks on the second and third day of the draft.


Denzel Mims, wide receiver, New York Jets (59th overall)

The Jets desperately needed to find wide receiver help for Sam Darnold and they had an explosive weapon fall right into their laps.

It’s not a particularly high bar to clear, but Denzel Mims is immediately the best wide receiver on the Jets roster. At 6-3, 207 pounds, Mims ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, a 6.66 three cone, and posted a 38.5-inch vertical jump. Mims had some issues with drops last season, but he offsets the drops with big play ability.

Mims didn’t run a full route tree at Baylor, but that doesn’t mean he can’t. When he was asked to run more nuanced routes at the Senior Bowl, he passed with flying colors.


Josh Uche, linebacker, New England Patriots (60th overall)

Uche is a stereotypical pick for Bill Belichick. He’s smart, versatile, athletic, and still has a ton of room to get better. Uche was a blitzing chess piece for Michigan’s defense and totaled 18.5 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks over the past two years.

Uche and former college teammate Chase Winovich gives Belichick two versatile pass rushers to unleash in the Patriots’ front seven.


Kristian Fulton, cornerback, Tennessee Titans (61st overall)

Kristian Fulton was a possible first round pick, but he wound up falling to the end of the second round. Fulton’s game is perfect for the NFL: he’s athletic, aggressive in man coverage, and thrives in press. Fulton shut down Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III last season, who was drafted 12th overall by the Las Vegas Raiders.


Matt Hennessy, center, Atlanta Falcons (78th overall)

Atlanta needed to find an eventual replacement for Alex Mack, and Hennessy has the talent to be a long term starter for the Falcons. According to Pro Football Focus, Hennessy didn’t give up a sack over his final two seasons at Temple.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said Hennessy will start his career at left guard. Hennessy may end up starting there over James Carpenter and Jamon Brown, who the Falcons signed last year in free agency. Hennessy joining Mack, Jake Matthews, Chris Lindstrom, and Kaleb McGary gives Atlanta one of the most athletic offensive lines in the league.


Malik Harrison, linebacker, Baltimore Ravens (98th overall)

As usual, the Ravens pulled together an impressive haul in the later portion of the draft. One of their best picks was Ohio State do-it-all linebacker Malik Harrison.

Harrison is a jack of all trades, powerful linebacker that can go toe to toe with heavier offensive linemen. He’s the perfect running mate for the speedy Patrick Queen, the linebacker Baltimore drafted in the first round.


Matt Peart, offensive tackle, New York Giants (99th overall)

The Giants drafted an immediate starter at offensive tackle when they picked Andrew Thomas fourth overall and added a long-term tackle project in Matt Peart with the 99th pick.

Peart was one of the stars of the 2020 NFL combine, excelling in the 40-yard dash (5.06 seconds), broad jump (113 inches), and vertical jump (30 inches). According to Pro Football Focus’ 2020 NFL Draft Guide, Peart gave up just two sacks and one quarterback last season. He’s an ascending player with all the tools and traits to develop into a premier pass protector.


Solomon Kindley, offensive guard, Miami Dolphins (111th overall)

Kindley is one of the most experienced offensive linemen in this entire draft. Kindley started 32 games at Georgia and was a powerhouse run blocker for one of the best rushing teams in college football.

Kindley dealt with a knee injury during the season that hindered him a bit, but when he was fully healthy he was a premier run blocker for Georgia.


Amik Robertson, cornerback, Oakland Raiders (139th overall)

The Raiders secondary was dying for a playmaker and they might have found one in the fourth round. Louisiana Tech cornerback Amik Robertson is only 5-8, but he’s a fearless defender and stuffed the stat sheet during his senior year.

Robertson had 60 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 16 passes defended, five interceptions, two interceptions returned for touchdowns, and a forced fumble last season. Robertson will likely do most of his damage in the slot in the NFL.


James Proche, wide receiver, Baltimore Ravens

Proche should fit in perfectly with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ explosive offense. Proche isn’t a speed demon like Devin Duvernay, who the Ravens drafted in the third round, but he’s a savvy route runner with strong hands. Proche can be a nice safety blanket for an offense that’s almost entirely composed of home run hitters.


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