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Best available for Day 3 of NFL Draft

Best available for Day 3 of NFL Draft

Here's a look at the best available players for Saturday's final rounds of the NFL Draft, grouped by position and based mostly off of Nate Tice's Top 100 big board of prospects and analysis. They include a heavy crop of tight ends, a couple of SEC QBs and a presumed top-flight Oregon wideout.

Quarterbacks

I have concerns right away with Rattler from a size and speed standpoint, but then I watch him get throws off from destroyed pockets to overmatched wide receivers from all kinds of different arm slots and it reels me right back in.

Rattler was able to move in the pocket and constantly get throws off, all while throwing his teammate open. He would hang the ball away from defenders in man coverage or save a teammate a hit from a closing safety. Rattler could be an interesting backup with a chance for more. A team with an established starter and a good offensive coach looking for a dart throw to find a replacement in the mid-future (say, the Rams) could be a good fit.

Pratt is a football player playing quarterback. He’s tough and can create as a thrower and runner, but his footwork is noisy and affects his ball placement and timing, both of which are below-average and will need to be cleaned up for him to have a chance to stick as a run-around backup type.

He's a good athlete who shows flashes of layering throws and touch. Slovis doesn’t have the strongest arm and will make too many wonky decisions for a player with so many starts. A late Day 3 type who has just enough tools to work with.

Joe Milton has one of the strongest arms you will ever see and is a good athlete with very good size. His accuracy and decision-making are wildly inconsistent and have kept him from developing from more than an interesting bundle of tools in college. He’s a late-round dart throw type of prospect for a team betting that it's the one to finally help Milton put it together.

Oregon wideout Troy Franklin had one of the biggest draft slides this weekend. (Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images)

Wide receivers

Long and twitchy, Franklin eats up ground quickly bounding down the field. Although he looks more like a classic outside-only "X" wide receiver, Franklin has the quickness to win underneath and from the slot as well. Franklin is explosive and has more to his game than first meets the eye. He’s a good route runner with long speed and will snatch throws from all angles that can help him in contested catch situations and in the red zone. He is skinny, but has more real “football player” to him than you’d think and plays with toughness and is a willing blocker. I struggle with Franklin a bit, especially considering his weight.

He has XXXL size (6-6) that has some teams viewing him as a tight end, but he will show off more route-running chops than you would think. He can be frustrating, but I am bullish on Wilson’s size and fluid athleticism, with flashes of feel for playing wide receiver.

Running backs

Estime was part of a running back rotation at Notre Dame. When given extended run, he showed off tantalizing big-play ability with tight footwork in a good-sized frame. Estime is a bit of a finesse back in a bigger body, but still consistently runs through contact and shows off good feel and tempo for when to plant his foot and get north through the hole. His timed speed (4.7s 40 at the combine, but sub-4.6 at his pro day) doesn’t match his play speed.

Allen is young with good size, light feet and solid vision. He does not have home run speed, but he's more than the Wisconsin stereotype of lumbering, oversized tailback. He will have to show more in the passing game, but has good hands and projects as a player who can eat touches in the backfield.

An NFL talent evaluator’s positive assessment of Wisconsin’s Braelon Allen, as told to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson: “He’s a freak at [age] 20 physically. Not many guys are built like that. … Behind a good offensive line, he could be really effective.” (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Irving is undersized and just an adequate athlete, but he knows how to set up his runs and keep hitting singles and doubles with his good vision and footwork. There are similarities, down to the underwhelming testing, to Kyren Williams.

Davis isn’t tall but has a good build and is a smooth rusher. He can consistently take what’s being blocked for him and knows when to plant his foot and start working forward on a run. He's also a steady contributor in the pass game. He is not explosive and is more of a singles hitter, which limits his upside, but he can be a nice member of a committee.

A back with real three-down potential as a rusher and receiver, with some kick return ability thrown in. Shipley has adequate size with good burst and quickness and will run with a real edge and toughness. He is a decisive runner between the tackles, but lacks the play strength to match his competitiveness to consistently run through contact and it keeps him from picking up extra yards. I like him as a solid contributor in a committee who can play on every down with a chance to be a team’s kick returner, too.

Wright has good size and speed for days and has plenty of gas left in the tank because of his limited touches in college, but has inconsistent vision, average agility and doesn’t know how to always properly use his pace, which makes him a boom-bust type of back. He can take any touch the distance and has the size and enough receiving ability for three-down potential, but will have to continue to work on his patience and pass protection to make himself a more consistent player.

Offensive linemen

Mahogany is a run-first guard who can wipe out a defensive tackle but is average as a pass protector. He has good size and length but will have issues early in his career in straight dropback situations.

Van Pran is a solid center-only prospect whose experience can help him start on Day 1. He is feisty with good technique and size, but has limited athleticism and length (neither as big of a deal at center, but that narrows his positional upside). He can be a steadying force.

Tight ends

Johnson has legitimate upside as an in-line tight end, but he can actually stretch the field as a pass catcher with how smooth of an athlete he is in such a large frame, a player profile seldom seen outside of the 2023 draft class.

Sanders is a receiving tight end who will have to be moved around the formation to maximize him. He is a good athlete with very good ball skills despite lacking overly long arms. He will have to be split out or in an off-ball position, with no upside as an in-line TE because of his lack of size. But Sanders is a good receiver and enough of an athlete to create consistent yards after the catch and will create some matchup issues because of his speed and strong hands.

Tight end AJ Barner celebrates a touchdown catch against Alabama in the Rose Bowl. (Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

I am a fan of Barner’s game and potential as a three-down, in-line tight end at the next level. He is a good blocker with good technique, strength and ability to bend and stay on his blocks through the whistle, while also being a solid athlete with good hands. He can contribute as an underneath and intermediate passing game option.

Wiley plays like an oversized wide receiver but is a capable blocker who can scrap in the run game. He has great size and is a fluid athlete with good hands. Wiley has a chance to keep ascending as a pass catcher in the NFL.

Stover moved around positions in college and is a bit of a wild horse of a player at tight end, often rumbling on his routes and with the football through defenders after the catch.

Defensive linemen

Dorlus is a tweener and that can be to his benefit if he ends up on the right team. He has length and can win with strength or burst right after the ball is snapped. Dorlus is a contributor against the run and pass. He is versatile and can move along the defensive front depending on the down and play call, which will intrigue certain defensive coaches.

Booker was productive in his one year at Kansas, and that was despite no real plan as a pass rusher and lack of consistency with his game, often being a non-factor for long stretches. He has length, twitchiness, and shows flashes of pass rushing upside. Booker is a project, but a fun one!

Linebackers

Gray is a run-and-hit type of linebacker, but in a weak class, he provides as good of a package as any in terms of size, length, athleticism and tackling ability. He will have to keep improving his play recognition, but Gray has plenty of traits to keep developing into a starter.

Eichenberg was productive against the run and pass. He shows consistent recognition of offensive plays. He is also not a net negative in coverage, although he can be overmatched against top-tier receiving tight ends and running backs.

Defensive backs

Here's my top safety at another thin position in this year’s class of prospects. Mustapha brings it in the run game. There are several plays a game where Mustapha closes in on ball carriers from depth and instantly wipes them out.

Mustapha is this year’s best tackling defensive back prospect. He constantly shows off his good burst when closing on the ball and is a strong and sound tackler with consistent technique in the open field.

In coverage, he is best when working in two-high shells. He shows the ability to transition cleanly when in man coverage situations. Mustapha lacks ideal height, but has plenty of size to his frame and he constantly puts ball carriers down with his strength. Think of him as a value-brand version of Budda Baker.

Tampa has good size and length and can play inside or outside. He is not the fastest player but wins with body positioning and ball skills, and he can match up with bigger receivers while being a smart player in zone coverages. He is a unique type of prospect that can be a fun chess piece for a creative defensive coordinator who can move him around and use him for certain matchups and roles.

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