Best available in 2013 NFL Draft’s third day
Just as expected in this deep NFL Draft, Day 2 afforded teams the opportunity to keep adding impact players, right on through Tennessee’s selection of LB Zaviar Gooden to close Friday’s action.
So, who’s still left for Day 3? A glance at some of the top options:
• Matt Barkley, QB, USC/Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse: Unquestionably, the two biggest names remaining as we head into Day 3. Even the most outspoken naysayers of Barkley and Nassib would have had a hard time predicting both to fall beyond the first three rounds. Surely, a couple of teams will see the value here early on Saturday, right?
• Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech: This is the point in the draft where it’s worth a reminder that Patton had a 21-catch, 233-yard, four-touchdown day against a Texas A&M team that later won at Alabama. He’s not an elite athlete for his position, but Patton will find a way to produce.
• Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama: I really thought Williams was going to be San Francisco’s pick at No. 34 overall. Instead, the 49ers traded down, took Tank Carradine at 40 and Williams kept dropping out of the top three rounds. He’ll be a steal on Day 3, as a player that can hold up at nose tackle or slide out to DT in a 4-3 or DE in a 3-4.
• Alex Okafor, DE, Texas: Okafor is going to get to the quarterback, so even if a team takes him as a rotational pass rusher late, it will be worth it. Quanterus Smith from Western Kentucky is another option — like Carradine, he’s coming off an ACL injury.
• Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA: Truth be told, I’m stunned Franklin made it to Saturday — almost as surprised Knile Davis was the only running back taken in Round 3. Franklin runs with authority. It would not surprise me one bit if he still turns out to be the most productive rookie RB.
• Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers: A former safety, Greene can drop back to cover tight ends and wide receivers, but he does his best work chasing down running backs. There’s very little downside to find in using a fourth- or fifth-rounder here.
• Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State: Poyer’s presence on the board stands as proof of how deep this cornerback class is. Though he does not have top-end speed, Poyer has the know-how to play in any type of coverage.
• Barrett Jones, C/G, Alabama: Like with the cornerback position, there are at least a handful of linemen who could play key roles in 2013. Jones plays above his physical gifts, even if he’ll get beat from time to time. He moved all over Alabama’s line, so that versatility ought to help. Ohio State tackle Reid Fragel is another lineman who should be an early pick on Day 3.
• Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas: The next tier of QBs after Barkley/Nassib is led by Wilson — and it also includes Zac Dysert, Tyler Bray, Matt Scott and Landry Jones. Wilson is the best of that bunch. His toughness, if nothing else, will appeal to teams looking to develop a project.
• Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse: One of the stars of the combine, Thomas brings a lot of the same characteristics to the table D.J. Swearinger did to earn the No. 57 pick (Houston). Thomas is better near the line than he is deep and he’ll punish ballcarriers.