Who got the best steals in the later rounds of the NFL Draft?

Who got the best steals in the later rounds of the NFL Draft?

Rog, looking fired up to be at the podium instead of home in his recliner.
Rog, looking fired up to be at the podium instead of home in his recliner.
Image: Getty Images

First-round players are great. We love them. They’re the highly-touted prospects that most fans heap entirely too much pressure on, with the fate of the franchise often falling on their shoulders. Teams are not strictly built in the first round, however. There were a number of rookies drafted in the later rounds that went way later than I thought they should have, which could prove to be very valuable. So, who stands to benefit the most from some unexpected draft-day slides?

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Michael Carter — New York Jets, RB (4th round)

Michael Carter — New York Jets, RB (4th round)

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The Jets got a great weapon for new starting quarterback Zach Wilson in running back Michael Carter out of North Carolina. Many thought the Jets might look at RB in the second round, but they traded up for offensive line help in Alijah Vera-Tucker. Being able to grab a versatile back that ran for over 1,000 yards in 2020 and is effective in the passing game at this stage in the draft was a big win for an organization that has a lot of needs. Carter is a do-everything back that I believe is going to surprise a lot of people.

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3 / 7

Amon-Ra St. Brown — Detroit Lions, WR (4th round)

Amon-Ra St. Brown — Detroit Lions, WR (4th round)

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Watching Amon-Ra St. Brown tumble in the draft was absolutely infuriating, as he was a prospect that I was really high on. I thought he would be a lock for the second round of the draft. Despite only having a six-game season at USC because of COVID, the Sun God managed to convert seven touchdowns. He profiles as a physical slot receiver that keeps the chains moving, and is exactly what the Lions need. I love the fit for him, and the Lions faithful will love the tenacity he brings as they reconstruct their roster.

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4 / 7

Kenneth Gainwell — Philadelphia Eagles, RB (5th round)

Kenneth Gainwell — Philadelphia Eagles, RB (5th round)

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Two years ago, Gainwell was such a prolific running back that he kept last year’s rookie, Antonio Gibson, essentially relegated to the bench. During that season, he compiled 1,459 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns, with 51 receptions for 610 yards and another three scores. He was one of the hottest running backs in the country. He opted out in 2020 for COVID concerns, and it looks like it hurt his draft stock. He will form a very capable 1-2 punch with Miles Sanders in the Eagles’ backfield and should be heavily utilized in the receiving game. Sanders will be a free agent after the 2022 season, and if Gainwell proves capable, he might just take the job.

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5 / 7

Brevin Jordan — Houston Texans, TE (5th round)

Brevin Jordan — Houston Texans, TE (5th round)

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Houston needs everything and is in a world of hurt, so they probably looked at the big board and said, “I just need a good football player, no matter the position.” Jordan is that. He fits the mold as a modern tight end that is long and athletic, and able to stretch a defense as a receiving threat. The Miami product somehow was the eighth tight end drafted, and could end up being one of the best in this draft class behind the unicorn Kyle Pitts. Houston does still kinda need to figure out their quarterback situation though. Yikes.

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6 / 7

Kylin Hill — Green Bay Packers, RB (7th round)

Kylin Hill — Green Bay Packers, RB (7th round)

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This one hurt. I loved Kylin Hill as a prospect out of Mississippi State, and thought that with a great showing during Senior Bowl week that he would get much better draft capital than he did. Heaven forbid anything would ever happen to Aaron Jones, who the Packers just gave a hefty extension to, then they would have a wonderful option behind him in Kylin Hill. Hill was third in the SEC in rushing yards during the 2019 season with 1,350. Yes, the Packers also have A.J. Dillion, the large and plodding running back out of Boston College that they selected in the 2020 draft, but Hill would bring a more versatile option to the offense should he ever see the field.

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