The draft itself is only one part of the draft season storyline.
With no real games to watch, football fans go mad and cling to what they can. The combine, pro days, contract signings and training camp all keep the draft and its players relevant in the offseason. It’s how we get through the long winter, or summer, in this case.
Now that the 2016 NFL Draft is complete, it’s finally time to hypothesize which players will prove to be great picks for their team. Early picks are n fun so here’s a list of late round picks whose professional prospects intrigue me for one reason or another:
Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State Buckeyes
Round 3, Pick 22 (85 overall) to the Houston Texans
If it weren’t for J.T. Barrett taking his spot when he was injured, Braxton Miller might not have been drafted at all. His inaccuracy severely limited his quarterbacking potential in the pros. Moving to receiver has given his career new life. Even though he had an underwhelming first season at his new position, there’s still a ton of potential here. The Texans are awful. If they’re smart, they’ll find ways to get the ball in Miller’s hands and let him do his thing.
Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia Bulldogs
Round 4, Pick 14 (112 overall) to the New England Patriots
Had the Patriots had a reliable receiver last year, they might’ve been able to sneak by the Broncos in the AFC title game. Mitchell (great name, by the way) is a guy who can step in and vie for that role. He’s a possession receiver with great speed and elusiveness. That’s what you ordered, correct Mr. Brady? Mitchell has torn an ACL in the past and Georgia didn’t have a good season last fall. Those are the only reasons he wasn’t taken much sooner. Oh, and apparently he’s not just a dumb jock, either.
Devontae Booker, RB, Utah Utes
Round 4, Pick 38 (136 overall) to the Denver Broncos
This pick was an absolute steal for the defending Super Bowl champs. Booker’s stock fell drastically because of a torn meniscus suffered in November. He says he’s at about 90 percent right now and it sounds like he shouldn’t miss much, if any, of camp. Booker can catch, he can block, and he’s always running downhill, picking up extra yardage. He can flourish in Denver if given a real chance to chisel out solid chunks of playing time.
Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State Buckeyes
Round 4, Pick 41 (139 overall) to the Buffalo Bills
With such upside why not see what Cardale can turn into? It’s not like the Bills know who their quarterback will be in five years. They’ve tried a lot of different guys lately but none have stuck. Let Cardale learn from the bench, give him some reps to show what he can do, and maybe he evolves into a somewhat reliable gunslinger. He’s got two things you can’t teach: superior size (6’5”, 250) and a cannon for an arm. So, the tools are there, he’s just go to learn how to use them to the best of his ability. Taking a flyer on Jones was a great move for the Bills.
Keenan Reynolds, RB, Navy Midshipmen
Round 6, Pick 7 (182 overall) to the Baltimore Ravens
That’s right, Kenan Reynolds, the running back now. The old record-breaking Naval Academy quarterback will be making the sensible transition to running back in the offseason. This will be quite the experiment. Reynolds didn’t take any handoffs in college and orchestrating a triple threat attack is a much different task than anything he’ll be asked to do in Baltimore. Even so, his work ethic is unquestionable and his ability to pick up tough yards is unique. Nobody’s saying it’ll be easy, but it’s hard to bet against this guy.