Some fans may only be interested in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. After all that is when the most popular players get selected. That’s when our teams select the players we’ve all been drooling over for months. Yet even though day three of the draft may not be as exciting, it’s just as important as rounds 1-3 because one thing teams need to win in the NFL is depth and that is built on day three of the Draft.
Not only are teams looking for depth on day three of the draft but the good teams — the ones that are really well run — are actually able to get a significant amount of talent in this phase of the selection process.
Take the Packers for instance. They have had numerous players selected in rounds 4-7 that have come in and made an impact. Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, David Bakhtiari, Micah Hyde, Mike Daniels, Andrew Quarless, Johnny Jolly, Davon House, Josh Boyd, Brad Jones, James Starks and Matt Flynn were all players selected in the fourth round or later.
Heck, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, John Kuhn, Jarrett Boykin and Don Barclay weren’t even drafted.
That’s a total of 17 players that played fairly key roles for the Packers last season that were either drafted on day three or not at all, showing why you should pay attention to the draft all the way to its conclusion.
Without further ado, here are five players Green Bay will ideally be able to find in rounds 4-7:
Round 4 (121) – Tyler Larsen, Center, Utah State – The Packers have an obvious need for center and Larsen is a four-year starter at Utah State, who has been rising up draft boards. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Packers expressed interest in Larsen at the Senior Bowl and told him he was a fit for their scheme. He worked in a zone running scheme and had a lot put on him at the line of scrimmage in terms of changing protections and making pre-snap calls. He also posses great size at 6-4, 316 pounds and is a strong player. He would be a great fit at this point, providing quality competition for J.C. Tretter.
Round 5 (161) – Prince Shembo, OLB, Notre Dame – The Packers spent the offseason talking about how they want versatile players in the front seven of their defense and Shembo definitely fits that mold as he played both outside linebacker and defensive end in college. Shembo does not have ideal size for an outside linebacker in the 3-4 at 6-1, 255-pounds but has a great motor, is a physical player and was productive at Notre Dame with 145 career tackles (24.5 for loss) and 19.5 sacks. He would add some much-needed depth at outside linebacker and has enough ability to be a rotational player right away with the potential to develop into a starter down the line.
Round 5 (161) – Deion Belue, CB, Alabama – Even though the Packers are well stocked at corner for 2014, they need to add another one to develop for the future with Williams and House set to be free agents after this season. Belue is a talented corner, who won’t wow you with his measurables but is actually a solid player. At 5-11, 180-pounds and a 4.5 time in the forty-yard-dash, he has the talent to start in the NFL but will start out as a backup/special teamer. Yet he can be developed and showed enough at Alabama to be well worth this pick.
Round 6 (197) – Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt – When you have as big a need as the Packers do at safety, taking a couple players at the position isn’t a bad idea and Ladler would represent a great value if he’s available in round 6. Ladler is not a flashy player by any means but he was a four-year starter at Vanderbilt and totaled 200 career tackles, nine interceptions and 14 passes defensed. He is the kind of experienced player Ted Thompson loves to draft and could come in right away and compete for a backup role.
Round 7 (236) – Jeremy Gallon, WR, Michigan – I considered a quarterback with this pick but don’t believe there is a ton of urgency there with the re-signing of Matt Flynn, so the Packers go the best player available route and with that in mind, Gallon was the pick. At 5-8, 184 pounds, the former All-Big Ten receiver is definitely undersized but don’t let that fool you — he is a playmaker. As a senior, Gallon hauled in 89 passes for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns. He could compete right away for the no.5 wide receiver spot and could be a great fill-in for Randall Cobb if needed. Furthermore, Gallon has experience as a returner and could compete for the return job, while working his way up the receiver depth chart early in his career.