On the final day of the draft every year, the surprises aren’t typically as big, but they do still occur.
The biggest shockers on Day 3 include a bunch of guys who went lower than they should have, a couple of teams who took positions that didn’t really make much sense and an off-field situation that should have precluded someone from even being drafted.
Day 3 always facilitates some huge steals, but more than that, it also highlights where teams do a good job and where they do a bad job.
Long-term starters found in the later rounds are rare. But in some situations, it’s very possible for teams to land stars.
10. QB Connor Cook selected by the Raiders in the top of the fourth round
Long term, Cook can be a backup to Derek Carr for the Oakland Raiders similar to what Jason Garrett was to Troy Aikman. He could also turn out to be the next Mark Brunell, who was a backup for years and then finally got his shot.
9. RB Kenneth Dixon not being selected until the fourth round
The running back out of Louisiana Tech was surprisingly available in the fourth round despite being a great talent and someone with a fringe first-round grade on a lot of boards.
Dixon should be an instant competitor for a third-down role with the Baltimore Ravens and should compete for the starting role once Justin Forsett retires. He could also make it hard for Trent Richardson to maintain a roster spot, likely ending his once-promising career.
8. DT Andrew Billings even being available on day 3
The fact that the Cincinnati Bengals were even able to get Billings out of Baylor in the fourth round is a bit ridiculous.
He’s a true top-tier talent. Despite lacking much in the way of pass rushing skill, he was more than worthy of a first-round selection. Billings goes to an ideal situation. He can learn behind Domata Peko for a year or two, perhaps challenging the veteran in the meantime. Once Peko retires, he’ll play next to Pro Bowler Geno Atkins.
7. RB Alex Collins to the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the fifth round
After a phenomenal freshman year at Arkansas, Collins looked to be a potential first-round pick and a sure Day 2 selection.
He was a true workhorse and is a great running back, but he’s not someone who can do much more than run the ball. He will need to learn how to pass block and catch out of the backfield for the Seahawks to have lasting value.
6. WR Tyreek Hill was even selected
In a more-enlightened NFL where people who are even arrested for domestic abuse are considered off draft boards, it’s shocking that Hill was even taken. Not even did Hill get arrested for domestic violence, he pleaded guilty to the charges.
That’s unacceptable in today’s NFL and he doesn’t deserve to be drafted based on his off-field merits. That didn’t stop the Kansas City Chiefs from taking him in the fifth round Saturday.
5. QB Dak Prescott selected at No. 135 overall by the Dallas Cowboys
The shocking part here isn’t that the Cowboys selected Prescott to be their long-term solution at quarterback. The shock is that they actually took a quarterback in the draft. The Cowboys haven’t taken a quarterback since they took Stephen McGee in the fourth round of the 2009 draft.
They need someone to be that long-term replacement for Tony Romo, and Prescott is solid.
4. RB Devontae Booker selected by the Denver Broncos at No. 136 overall
The Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos selected a running back despite already having C.J. Anderson signed to a big contract and Ronnie Hillman also on the roster.
They did get a great value, but taking a backup running back who might eventually start isn’t a great fit at 136 overall for the Broncos.
3. Jordan Howard going to the Chicago Bears at No. 150 overall
Howard was considered a mid-second-round player on a lot of boards, so the Bears got a huge steal here.
He is an all-around talent who could compete for the starting role in Chicago with Jeremy Langford. Howard can be that grinder that Matt Forte was for the Bears and should help them have a ton of depth at the position, even if he doesn’t start.
2. Jeremy Cash didn’t get drafted at all
I don’t understand what myself and quite a few others were missing with Cash. He’s an excellent run defender as a whole who struggled at times in coverage.
But as an athlete and a hybrid safety/linebacker, he should have gone near the top of the second round. Instead, he’s going to be an undrafted free agent and should make a team very happy with their depth.
1. The Buffalo Bills wait until pick 139 to select a quarterback, Cardale Jones from Ohio State
The Bills don’t need an instant starter at quarterback with Tyrod Taylor holding down the fort this year. However, they did need a long-term answer at the position if they didn’t trust Taylor.
Cardale Jones has all the tools to be a great quarterback in the NFL, but he needs to put it all together. At some point, he’s going to have to learn the hard way and experience growing pains.