The first three rounds of the NFL draft is over, and most of the names you know are gone. But there are still contributors to be found in the last few rounds. Here are the best players remaining for the last day of the NFL draft.
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Butler is a big-bodied receiver who can catch just about anything thrown in his general direction thanks to his ridiculous wingspan, rare even among NFL athletes. His speed was the biggest question mark coming into the draft, and as a result teams are clearly concerned about Butler’s ability to gain separation as he fell past the first three rounds. He may never be more than a red-zone threat, but with the size and athleticism he brings to the table, someone should take a chance on him pretty early in the fourth round.
Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
It’s not terribly surprising that Ridley has fallen this far; route-running is the strongest part of his game, and the ball control offense at Georgia didn’t exactly play into that strength, so he didn’t put up big numbers in college. Still, his instincts and savvy positioning make him an attractive prospect for a team willing to wait a bit for him to contribute. His lack of explosiveness and relatively slim frame puts a hard ceiling on what Ridley can become as a player, but more than a few guys have made a career out of always being in the right place at the right time.
Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
Thompson was projected to be drafted as high as the late first round before plummeting in the first few days of the draft. He’s an unfinished product who will need time to develop, but possesses the athleticism and instincts to grow into a quality deep safety for whoever picks him. His lack of experience at Alabama has played against him, but he was a first team All-American last year, and should be taken sooner rather than later as a developmental prospect.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Similar to Thompson, Gardner-Johnson appeared in the first round in several mock drafts, but still finds himself awaiting that phone call as Day 3 begins. He’s a versatile safety who will be quite useful to a team that enjoys giving players undefined roles in their defense; he’s big and fast enough to cover in the slot and occasionally blitz, with experience playing as the last line of defense. His coverage instincts need a lot of work to fulfill his potential in either role, and safety-linebacker hybrids who can’t cover aren’t very useful in the NFL. Still, his athleticism gives him a chance to make an impact for whoever lands him.
Ryan Finley, QB, NC State
Finley, like every QB not named Kyler Murray in this class, was projected to be a project coming into the draft, and it’s no surprise he hasn’t been picked up yet. He has a natural feel for ball placement (64% completion rate over his college career) but his lack of arm strength and questionable decision-making in the red zone offset the positives that accuracy brings. On the plus side, he’s a hard worker who improved every part of his game in each season as a starter. He could be a high-level backup or an average starter for most teams in the league.
D’Andre Walker, DE, Georgia
Walker is the best prospect remaining out of a very deep edge rusher class this season. He played a variety of roles at Georgia and was good in all of them but great in none, which is the primary reason for his slide. He’s a good athlete whose experience in multiple roles will appeal to more than one team. His ceiling is rather low, but his floor is higher than most other prospects in the draft at this point.