NFL Mock Draft – Round 3

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Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

72.) Vikings: DE Jackson Jeffcoat, Texas (6’3. 247) – Jeffcoat fits the mold of recent Vikings DEs Jared Allen & Brian Robinson. He’s a little light, but has good quickness off the edge and displayed good pass rush moves in college. Jeffcoat struggles at time to shed blockers and will struggle against the run until he gets stronger. He is the son of former NFL player Jim Jeffcoat who had 103 career sacks and two super bowl rings with the Cowboys. Jeffcoat can slide right into their defensive end rotation and take over Emerson’s role as third down pass rusher.

73.) Bills: TE Troy Niklas, Notre Dame (6’6, 270) – The Bills re-signed Scott Chandler, but he is mediocre at best and they could use some young talent at the position and another weapon for E.J. Manuel. I don’t see Niklas being much of an offensive weapon as a rookie, but the potential is there. Niklas has only played the position for two years at the college level, but has shown flashes of massive potential. He’s already a great blocker, has shown soft hands, and can move pretty well for a big man. Niklas might need a year to two to learn the nuances of the position at the pro level but he could help right away in the run game and eventually be a weapon in the middle of the field.

74.) Giants: G David Yankey, Stanford (6’6, 315) – The Giants interior offensive line was old and bad last year. They need some young upgrades and Yankey is a good start.  His speed was disappointing at the combine (5.48), but has great size, position versatility, intelligence and was a team captain at Stanford. Yankey is a good value pick in the 3rd round and could contribute immediately for the Giants.

75.) Rams: WR Martavis Bryant, Clemson (6’4, 211) – The Rams get a legit deep threat to go with their eclectic collection of underneath receivers. Bryant was inconsistent in college, but has great size and deep speed. The 4.42 40 Bryant ran at the combine is pretty ridiculous for a guy that is 6’4 and probably locked up a draft spot no later than this one. 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 of years.

76.) Lions: DE Kareem Martin, North Carolina (6’6, 272) – He’s better against the run than the rushing the passer, but did flash some ability last year with 11 sacks after only 8 combined the two previous years. Martin doesn’t have natural pass rush moves, but he has prototypical size and uses a strong punch to keep blockers off him and diagnose plays. Martin was a team captain and his leadership skills get mentioned in every scouting report I’ve seen. With all the thugs on the Lions defensive, they could use a solid citizen who could bring a stabilizing presence to their overly emotional defensive line. North Carolina has churned out some quality DEs in the past (Robert Quinn, Julius Peppers, Quinton Coples) so maybe the Lions will get lucky with Martin in the 3rd.

77.) 49ers: C Marcus Martin, USC (6’3, 220) – 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 need a replacement for Jonathon Goodwin and Martin has potential to be very good in a year or two.

78.) Cowboys: ILB Shane Skov, Stanford (6’2, 245) – One of my favorite players in the draft, Skov will be a quality replacement for Sean Lee who is moving to WLB. Skov will give the Cowboys a solid tackler and blitzer up the middle as well as some toughness and leadership which just wasn’t there last season after Lee got hurt.

79.) Ravens: T/G Brandon Thomas, Clemson (6’3, 317) – After taking a tackle in round 2 the Ravens don’t have a glaring need for another O-lineman, but they are rumored to be so high on Thomas that they considered him with their 1st round pick until he tore his ACL during a private workout. I don’t think they will pass on him if he is still available in the 3rd.  It never hurts to have O-line depth and Thomas is versatile enough to play either tackle or guard. He’s smooth in pass pro with good technique, but could be more aggressive as a run blocker.

80.) Jets: T Seantrel Henderson, Miami (6’7, 331) – The Jets lost RT Austin Howard in free agency and Henderson has all the tools to be a beast. Of course he couldn’t do it consistently in college which is why a guy with his size and agility is still around at this point in the draft. Henderson has a ton of potential, but off-field issues and on field focus problems have kept him from reaching it so far. If he ever matures and focuses on football the sky is the limit and he’s worth a gamble in the 3rd round.

81.) Dolphins: DT Will Sutton, Arizona St (6’0, 303):  The Dolphins re-signed DT Randy Starks and added DT Earl Mitchell (Hou), but they have little depth behind them. It’s hard to know what to think of think of Sutton. He looked like a first rounder as a junior (13 sacks) then gained a bunch of weight and became a run-stopper as a senior (Pac 12 co-defensive player of the year). He’s had success in both roles, but can he drop the added weight and regain the explosiveness he showed as a junior? Sutton looked decent at the combine & Senior Bowl but not as quick as he used to. If he can get near 290 pounds consistently, he could be a dynamic 3-technique tackle and a steal this late. If he’s around 310, then he’s a 1-tech run stopper and a 4th-5th round talent. Sutton has elite potential, but is a risky pick due to his inconsistent weight and sporadic play last season.