Once you start selection players after the 3rd round, I feel like every draft eligible guy is a total crapshoot. The odds of them working out are low, and you have to be real mindful of personality, system fit and potential. You also have to take some risks. Either the guy has an injury history, a character question mark, or he’s just too small/slow. There needs to be some realization that these players come with serious flaws and yet there’s a belief and vision you are set up to play to their strengths. Digging deeper in the draft, here’s five guys I like in the later rounds:
Tarell Basham, DE, Ohio
If you need pass rush help addressed late in the draft, Basham is a small school prospect to keep an eye on. He has comps with Auburn sensation Carl Lawson except he’d be available much later. He was named Mid American Conference’s defensive player of the year thanks to 11.5 sacks this past year. He’s said to have the character and football love that coaches like to target. Granted he’s played lower level competition, but the guy has it all. Run support and pass rushing potential. When you watch his tape, his good body language, locker room respect and leadership is evident. He’s supposed to be a pass rusher but his run defense stands out when you watch this highlight film.
Hunter Dimick, DE, Utah
You might be asking “who??”. For some reason this guy isn’t getting high draft grades despite the fact that he had 14.5 sacks this year and is 6’3″ 269lbs. And he played in the Pac-12, so it’s not like he wasn’t facing good tackles that knew he was a problem. No invite to the combine is a shock. But when you consider his high motor and the fact that he was a captain, his high level production make him the under the radar steal. Plus he’s just THICK.
Damontae Kazee, CB, San Diego State
Yeah, I get it. He played for a small school. He’s 5’10 183lbs. But the guy had 15 interceptions in the last two years. 15!!! Sometimes it’s that simple. I’m not sure there’s a guy with better ball skills from this class.
Ben Boulware, ILB, Clemson
Did you watch this guy in the National Championship? He’s not expected to go high but as a team captain, high level producer and tough player how could you not want him? He’s the kind of guy that would excel at any role you gave him. And he would undoubtedly stand out on special teams.
Tanzel Smart, DE/DT, Tulane
Could give valuable snaps as a sub package player immediately. If you read his write up, he sounds like a really good fit for a lot of teams. What’s not to like about his tape, too? Teams need versatile backups and Smart is the kind of guy that can play a lot of different roles along the defensive line depending on the down and distance.