I've stated for years that acquiring picks in the 5th, 6th, and 7th rounds is the key to building the foundation to your team. So much focus is on who teams will draft in the first round. If you go and look at NFL teams' rosters, they are overloaded with day 3 picks and undrafted free agents. If a team's scouting department, had faith in what they saw on tape and lived in the bottom of the barrel, they could rebuild a horrific team in the matter of 2 years. Anybody can get lucky on picking who'll be a successful first round pick. I pride myself on predicting who'll be the steals in the 5th rounds or later.
In the past 2 years, here is a list of a few players that have gotten drafted from the 5th round on, or not drafted at all. All of these names are players that I said will be key contributors to NFL rosters. Arian Foster, Rashad Jennings, LeGarrette Blount, James Stark, Anthony Dixon, John Skelton, Perrish Cox, Captain Munnerlyn, Greg Hardy, Myron Pryor, James Casey, Syd'Quan Thompson, Kavell Conner, and Dan Lefevour.
Some of those names you might not know, but all are contributors on NFL rosters, with the exception of Dan Lefevour. I put Lefevour on the list, because I still firmly believe that he'll be a player in the NFL. Rashad Jennings is a name that I fought with so many "experts" on. They all told me that they saw nothing in him and he wouldn't make it. I wrote an article before that draft saying that he'll be the steal of that draft. Jennings was a 7th round pick, close to being Mr. Irrelevant. If you haven't looked at his stats, do yourself a favor and take a peek. He'll be starting in this league, if not in 2011, definitely in 2012.
I'm going to give you 2 diamonds in the rough that teams will be able to steal in the later rounds or possibly as UDFA’s (undrafted free agents.) They'll make a roster and be successful in the NFL.
Kerry Taylor, WR - 6'1 - 196 - 4.54 - 38" vertical - Kerry, who's uncle is the 49ers great, John Taylor. Yes, the same John Taylor that paired with Jerry Rice to catch touchdowns from Joe Montana. Kerry didn't have a stellar career at Arizona State. He has said that he felt like the prior coaches didn't make it a sense of importance to get him the ball. However, this season, he had a very strong performance. He runs great routes, cuts on the dime, and has spectacular hands. He makes plays.
If he gets a fair shot in camp, he'll impress immediately. Going the UDFA route, will be his best option. That way he gets to pick the team he wants to play for. Who knows where he'll pick, but his family seemed to like San Francisco in the 80's.
Donald Buckram, RB - 5'10 -195 - 4.39 - If I was a team needing a running back in the first couple of rounds, I would pass and go with another need with the early picks. If scouts are hearing that Buckram will go in the 7th, then I would use my 6th round pick on him and sleep like a baby at night. Injury concerns are what made Buckram's stock plummet. In 2009 he ran for 1,594 yards and maintained a 6.2 yards a carry average while doing that. He also added 18 rushing touchdowns to go with those yards, so he knows how to get into the endzone. Other than the injuries, scouts are holding the offense against him. They're stating that he's a beneficiary of a high power offense. If you watch the game film, you can tell that UTEP is a beneficiary of him, not the other way around. Defenses he’s played against know, he doesn't go down easily. Teams need to look at Buckram and then send me a fruit cake and a Christmas card come playoff time.
Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You may email Jayson directly @ email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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