The mystique of the NFL Draft is one of the most fun parts of the NFL off-season. As free agency is all but over and the NBA period picks up, it is time to take early heed of some impact rookies from the third round or later who will make their names known.
VI: Baltimore Ravens WR Tommy Streeter
WR Tommy Streeter was one of the only reasons that Miami Hurricanes QB Jacory Harris had a respectable senior season following an interception laden career. Streeter, who played sparingly under former Coach Randy Shannon, was used extensively in his final season as a Hurricane. “Touchdown Tommy” was a major component of an offense that far too often resorted in chucking it in his general direction. The funny thing was, it actually worked. At 6’5 and nearly 220 pounds, Streeter is as big as he is quick. He is a raw and inexperienced prospect, but with WR Anquan Boldin falling apart fast, WR Torrey Smith will need another field stretching weapon to complement him.
V: Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller
Yes, I am a die hard Hurricanes fan, but before anyone goes off crying foul, hear this explanation. Miller, firstly, was regarded as a first round talent that somehow faded to the fourth round. There is his first qualification. Miller is one of the most explosive multi-purpose players in recent memory. While RB Reggie Bush played extraordinarily well last season, he has injury issues. RB Daniel Thomas played well in short spurts, but does not have the hole splitting and breakaway speed that Miller has and also struggled with lower body injuries. Miller looks to factor into the lineup as a kick returner, or multi-faceted back. He will make the most of his time on the field.
IV: Arizona Cardinals CB Jamell Fleming
Jamell Fleming has been turning heads thus far in training camp. For a team that lost one of the better CB’s in Richard Sherman to the allure of South Beach, a young lineup of Fleming and last year’s dynamic pick in CB Patrick Peterson figures to be the defensive backfield of the future. Yes, there will be some growing pains hence the term “future,” but these guys came to play and represented some great defenses in college to couple with their intrinsic individual talents.
III: Cincinnati Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu
Having family around the Rutgers area gave me the privilege of catching plenty of his telecasts. Sanu is a solid receiver with great hands. He uses his strength to keep defenders away from easy plays on the ball. Sanu can play at all the receiver positions at his size. Sanu has to learn the most intricate portions of the position, but looks to factor as WR A.J. Green’s compatriot. His upside is high as he will look to capitalize on the attention provided to Green.
II: Indianapolis Colts WR/KR T.Y. Hilton
Another great player who I had the benefit of enjoying due to proximity. For the longest time, Florida International University was one of the absolute worst college football programs. Now they can compete at a far higher level thanks in large part to T.Y. Hilton. This guy is far below the radar but could very well be the next Wes Welker. Hilton has far more physical tools than Welker however, and has incredible deception after the catch to go in line with his sideline burner speed. Look for both his QB Andrew Luck and Hilton to make a name for themselves as the years go on in vein of the Brady-Welker connection.
I: Buffalo Bills OT Zebrie Sanders
It was about time the trenches saw some love. Bills’ OT Zebrie Sanders is a long way from one of the best tackles in the draft, but he will not have to fight against DE Mario Williams due to the two of them sharing the same locker room. Sanders could very well be a high upside player who moves to the right side of the line in similar fashion to the Miami Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin. At a fifth round price, Sanders may be a steal. He will prove to be competent in a division with a stingy defense in Miami and a solid line in New York. The Bills will have some tough teams to show up against, and Sanders’ play will predicate victory.
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