The first two days of the NFL Draft (rounds one-three) usually receive all of the attention, but drafts––and Super Bowls––are won on day three (rounds four-seven).
With that in mind, who were the best day three selection from each of the AFC North teams?
Round 5 (Pick #176, compensatory pick): G Robert Myers, Tennessee State
The offensive line was a position of strength for the Ravens’ last season, but day three isn’t about drafting for needs––it is about adding the best players available. Myers started 35 games for the Tigers at both tackle and guard. He will permanently move to guard for Baltimore, but having experience at tackle is a bonus. He fits nicely in the Ravens’ zone blocking scheme and has the potential to develop into a starter in a year or two when current starters Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele become free agents.
Round 6 (Pick #197): S Derron Smith, Fresno State
As a whole, the safety class was weak this year, but the Bengals were able to find great value with Smith in the sixth round. Most people pegged him to be taken in the third or fourth round of the draft, thanks to his coverage ability, but a recent sports hernia surgery and lack of height (5-foot-10) likely dropped him down draft boards. Cincinnati won’t complain, as they have another contributor in the secondary, who could see instant playing time in sub-packages.
Round 7 (Pick #239): S Gerod Holliman, Louisville
At the end of the college season, many people projected Holliman to end up in the first round of the draft, after he tied an NCAA record with 14 interceptions. He is a great ball hawk in the backend of a defense, but he seems to be almost allergic to tackling and there were rumors of a lack of work effort––hence his drop. It is almost impossible to have a bad seventh round pick, as there is little investment, but the Steelers hit a home run here, taking a chance on Holliman’s rare playmaking ability.
Round 7 (Pick #241, from Cardinals): CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
Entering the 2015 draft cycle, Ekpre-Olomu was considered to be a first round talent. He was likely going to end up on day two of the draft due to his lack of height (5-foot-9) and 2014 performance, but he tore his ACL in December––and there are reports that the injury was more severe than just a torn ACL. However, there is no way that he should have fallen this far in the draft. He is a day two talent at a premier position in the NFL. Yes, his medicals may be bad, but he is a very talented cornerback.