73. Bills: ILB Shane Skov, Stanford (6’2, 245) – One of my favorite players in the draft and another guy I hoped would fall to the Bears, but Skov will fit nicely next to Kiko Alonso in the middle of the Bills defense and should be a solid run stopper right away.
74. Giants: LB Christian Jones, Florida St (6’4, 234) – Great athlete with good size and speed. Jones has been moving up draft boards quickly and this may be too low of a spot for him. Either way, the Giants need OLBs and they get a good one here in Jones.
75. Rams: QB Zach Mettenberger, LSU (6’5, 235) – Publicly the Rams are saying all the right things about Sam Bradford being the man, but I would be surprised if they don’t use an early-to-mid round pick on a QB of the future. Mettenberger has good size and a cannon arm, but showed inconsistent accuracy at the college level and he’s not mobile at all. With a year or two of grooming, he could end up being a very good NFL QB.
76. Lions: C Weston Richburg, Colorado St (6’4, 300) – The Lions get an eventual replacement for 35-year old C Dominic Raiola. Richburg helped his stock with a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and was one of the only O-lineman there who had any success against Aaron Donald and other speed rushers. Richburg didn’t miss a game in college, showed good intelligence making the line calls the last two seasons for CSU, and performed well against an upgrade in competition at the Senior Bowl. He has a shot to move up to the 2nd round and be the first center drafted.
77. 49ers: C Marcus Martin, USC (6’3, 310) – Is a center run starting? Ha, not sure that’s ever happened. Martin declared early after only one year of starting and could probably use another year of seasoning. Regardless of his inexperience, Martin has more potential than any center in the draft. He plays with a mean streak and a low center of gravity that allows him to excel in run blocking and anchor well in pass protection. The 49ers can afford to keep him on the bench for a year and then should have a solid starter for years to come.
78. Cowboys: DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina (6’3, 298) – The more I watch tape on South Carolina, the more that Quarles stands out. A month ago he was projected in the 4th round, but now I wouldn’t be surprised if he moves up as high as early in the 2nd. Quarles could very well switch places with the Cowboys 2nd round pick, Will Sutton. Either way, Dallas ends up with 2 DTs that can step into the starting lineup and make an impact right away. Quarles is a well-rounded prospect who holds the point well against the run and shows enough quickness to generate an interior pass rush (9.5 sacks last year). DTs that are good against the run and can get to the QB are rare and Quarles should continue to move up draft boards as long as he performs well at the combine.
79. Ravens: DE Chris Smith, Arkansas (6’1, 266) – Smith helped his stock at the Senior Bowl showing great quickness off the edge, the power to bull rush, and a surprising mix of pass rush moves. Smith has unusually long arms which help negate his lack of height. His elite acceleration off the ball will make him at worst a situational pass rusher, but I think he has enough talent to eventually become a 3-down DE.
80. Jets: WR Martavis Bryant, Clemson (6’4, 200) – The Jets get a deep threat to pair with Brandin Cooks and give Geno Smith a 3rd weapon from the draft. Bryant was inconsistent in college, but has great size and deep speed. Bryant made enough spectacular catches in college to get excited about his potential, but he also dropped plenty of easy ones and needs to get stronger to beat press coverage at the NFL level. It won’t happen right away, but Bryant could be special in a couple years.