Backwards Draft Day Strategy: Round 7

The guys drafted on Day 2 usually have a hole.  They have a character issue, a lengthy injury history, or they languished on the bench behind a supposedly more talented starter (Brady, Priest Holmes, Willie Parker).  Everyone in the NFL is a talented athlete.  Every guy that plays is not someone I'd want to race or mess with in the middle of a bar brawl.  It's just that some are better than others. 

Some have bigger holes than others.  Some run faster 40s and shuttle times, or bench press 225 pounds more times.

 

This year, however, Mel Kiper announced that he had 120 guys on his Big Board with at least a 3rd round grade.  That means there's plenty of talent to be found deep into the fourth round.  We will start in Round 7.

 

Round 7:

 

Defensive Tackles:  Patrick Massey, Michigan, Tony McDaniel, Tennessee.

 

When in doubt, take a big guy from a big school that's "undersized" for his position and show him the way to the weight room.  Hopefully, that weight room also has a buffet table.

 

Massy (6'7", 276) and McDaniel (6'6", 303) both fit that description.  I'm of the opinion that, at the absolute minimum, a 4-3 defense needs at least one gigantic man with decent feet to occupy blockers and clog the middle.  If the coaches can teach either of these two kids to do this, the Cardinals' run defense will be better off.  If nothing else, one of these two can be rotated in on first and second down to take up space in the middle.

 

Other Possibilities:  Kader Drame, Syracuse, Anthony Montgomery, Minnesota, Trey Tate, Clemson.

 

Tight Ends:  Eric Gill, Pittsburgh, Quinn Sypniewski, Colorado.

 

These two choices pit the consistent and occasionally brilliant (Eric Gill), against the huge upside (Sypniewski).  I really believe Gill would've been a third or fourth round guy if he declared last year.  He showed flashes of big play ability as a Junior, then pretty much disappeared as a senior.  Sypniewski is a gifted athlete with real potential in the right system (provided he stays healthy).  But, I watched Colorado play a bit last year and don't remember them ever throwing to the tight end.  If he gets some balls thrown in his direction, he could do some damage.

 

Other Possibilities:  Matt Henshaw, Florida State, Darcy Johnson, Central Florida, Derek Miller, Maryland.

 

Guards:  Dan Stevenson, Notre Dame, Matt Lentz, Michigan.

 

Both have good size (around 6'4", around 300 pounds), both played in sophisticated offenses against good competition, and both are categorized as high-effort/good-technique/bad-athlete kind of guys.  If you're looking for a guard to fill a gap and learn a system, these are your guys.  I'd take Stevenson over Lentz, though, since Note Dame's offense is closer scheme-wise to Dennis Green's offense.

Other Possibilities:  Tony Tella, Miami (Fla.), Kelvin Chaisson, Oklahoma, Jason Murphy, Virginia Tech.


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