NFL draft Day 3 dandies? Offensive line, tight end

Offensive linemen and tight ends don’t typically generate a lot of enthusiasm among fans in the draft, but Day 3 can produce some starters at those positions. We look at the mid- and late-round prospects to watch there.

The flashy picks are mostly gone by the time the third day of the draft rolls around, but there are still quality starters selected in the middle and late rounds every year. Interior offensive linemen are often acquired in that range.

Here are thumbnails on some of the Day 3 picks at tight end and offensive line that have a shot in the NFL:


Kyle Carter, Penn State, 6-3, 238 – He doesn’t have ideal size, but could develop into an H-back. But he likely will struggle to find a role for himself on an NFL roster.

Kivon Cartwright, Colorado State, 6-3, 240 – A fifth-year senior who was an H-back that converted to tight end. He is a developmental project who will need time to improve his game.

David Grinnage, North Carolina State, 6-5¼, 248 – A three-year starter who wasn’t used much in the Wolfpack offense but was a consistent catcher. He will need to improve his footwork and route running, which will make him a likely practice squad candidate.

Darion Griswold, Arkansas State, 6-3½, 253 – A three-year starter who wasn’t asked to run an NFL route tree, he has prototypical size but will be a work in progress with no guarantees of success.

Glenn Gronkowski, Kansas State, 6-2, 238 – The brother of Rob Gronkowski, he is more of a blocker than a receiving threat and may be drafted more on name recognition than on-field accomplishments.

Jake McGee, Florida, 6-4½, 250 – A fifth-year senior and two-year starter, he caught 83 passes over the last two years but isn’t much of a blocker. He will need to find a team looking for a receiving tight end that doesn’t need to be an in-line blocker.

Beau Sandland, Montana State, 6-4½, 253 – Emerged in 2015 with nine touchdowns. He’s a project that a team might stash on the practice squad in hopes he will develop.

Steven Scheu, Vanderbilt, 6-4¾, 253 – Started 36 of 46 games and has a good combination of size and strength, but he isn’t elite at anything and will struggle to make a roster.


Caleb Benenoch, UCLA, 6-5½, 311 – Started all 35 career games at right tackle. He has the ability to be an NFL starter, but he doesn’t play with natural awareness and is late off the snap and late to react to blitzes and flooded coverages.

Fahn Cooper, Ole Miss, 6-4½, 303 – A two-year starter who was a linemate of Laremy Tunsil. He doesn’t have ideal athleticism and will likely have to move inside if he’s going to have an NFL career.

Parker Ehinger, Cincinnati, 6-6¼, 310 – A good technician who doesn’t have good recovery skills when he loses leverage, he will be a candidate to move from a college left tackle to the right side, which will take some time to nurture.

Joe Haeg, North Dakota State, 6-6, 304 – Started 60 games, many of them as Carson’s Wentz’s blindside protector. He will need to add bulk and muscle and hasn’t played elite competition, so there will be a learning curve.

Tyler Johnstone, Oregon, 6-5½, 301 – A very athletic tackle in Oregon’s hurry-up offense but doesn’t have ideal bulk, and two ACL surgeries on the same knee will scare off some teams.

Alex Lewis, Nebraska, 6-6, 312 – He has excellent height, but he has a thin frame for a 300-pounder and doesn’t have the kind of body that can easily add weight. Likely an undrafted free agent who will have to fight to survive.

Tyler Marz, Wisconsin, 6-6¾, 316 – A three-year starter who is country strong, he doesn’t have the agility and foot speed to be a left tackle. He will likely be moved to the right side or inside to guard.

Kyle Murphy, Stanford, 6-6½, 305 – Looks the part, but will likely have to move inside or to right tackle. He didn’t help his cause at Senior Bowl week when he moved to right tackle and struggled in one-on-one drills.

Stephane Nembot, Colorado, 6-6¾, 322 – He has only been playing football for six years, so he remains very raw, especially considering that he came to Colorado as a defensive end. A strong developmental project.

Brandon Shell, South Carolina, 6-5½, 324 – His great uncle is Hall of Famer Art Shell and shares some of his traits of strength and durability. He played left tackle as a senior but likely will have to move to right tackle or guard to have a NFL career.

John Theus, Georgia, 6-6½, 313 – A four-year starter in the SEC always draws attention. He projects as a swingman type who will make an NFL roster and be a contributor, but perhaps not as a full-time starter.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, TCU, 6-6, 320 – Technically and mechanically sound, he started at both tackle spots. In the right system with a year or two of building up his strength, he could become a starter.

Avery Young, Auburn, 6-4¾, 328 – Started 37 of 38 career games. He’s an inconsistent player who has upside and could go as early as late on Day 2, but more likely as a versatile Day 3 project.


Chase Farris, Ohio State, 6-4, 306 – A converted defensive lineman who plays with a mean streak but appears to be a work in progress that will need a patient organization to give him some time to develop.

Ted Karras, Illinois, 6-3¾, 308 – A four-year starter who suffered a significant knee injury in 2014, he has very good strength but is undersized and will have a lot of developing to do.

Nila Kasitati, Oklahoma, 6-3¼, 317 – A first-team Big 12 selection who was a three-year starter. He doesn’t excel at any aspect of his game, but he is technically sound and does his assignments right, which should give him a good chance to make a roster.

Denver Kirkland, Arkansas, 6-4½, 335 – Has many positive attributes but has struggled to keep his weight in check. He played left tackle but likely doesn’t have the agility to make it there in the NFL, so he will have to move inside.

LaQuan McGowan, Baylor, 6-6, 410 – A giant prospect who needs to refine his technique because he lacks some fundamentals, but he also lined up at tight end occasionally.

Rees Odhiambo, Boise State, 6-4, 314 – A native of Kenya who didn’t play football until high school, he has a high upside, but his inexperience and injury history will likely play against him on draft weekend.

Cole Toner, Harvard, 6-5¼, 306 – A college tackle who played marginal competition and will need to get bigger and add more bulk strength. A team leader who will be an intriguing developmental project.

Jordan Walsh, Iowa, 6-2, 295 – A three-year starter and All-Big 10 guard as a senior, he needs to add a little bulk to his frame, but he could end up being a starter over time.


Siaosi Aiono, Utah, 6-2, 317 – Started eight games at right tackle and 22 at center. He plays with aggressiveness. He is still somewhat raw but could have the chance to replace an aging starter in a couple of years in the right system.

Jake Brendel, UCLA, 6-4¼, 303 – A three-time team captain, he has natural leadership but needs to refine his game in terms of consistency. Even so, he has a good chance to make it in the NFL.

Matt Hegarty, Oregon, 6-4, 300 – He has decent size but has maxed out on how much bigger he can get without sacrificing his body. He transferred out of Notre Dame and is a solid technician who will need to refine his game to stick in the NFL.

Joey Hunt, TCU, 6-2, 295 – A three-year starter at center and guard, he has the chance to become a swingman. He is undersized and will always struggle against big interior defenders pushing him back.

Mike Matthews, Texas A&M, 6-2¼, 291 – Another member of the fabled Matthews family of offensive linemen. He is undersized, but genetics may get him drafted and give him an opportunity to make the roster.


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