- Hurst is considered a first-round talent, but a heart issue has kept him waiting, while Griffin may be the story of this draft for whichever team picks up the unique UCF linebacker
ARLINGTON, Texas—There’s one player left in the green room, four more rounds and 156 picks left to go. Tom Brady’s five Super Bowls will forever ensure that the back half of the draft is not overlooked. This is the part of the process when teams focus a little bit more on need than value and when picks will begin to be delivered through such far-reaching means as Zsa Zsa the Parrot (stay tuned for Mike Mayock’s reaction). As the draft moves to Day 3, here are some of the more notable names left on the board, including the player the nation has been waiting to see walk across the stage at AT&T Stadium.
DT Maurice Hurst, Jr., Michigan
The All-America is considered a first-round talent, but after a heart condition was detected at the combine that disallowed him from working out, Hurst is still waiting to hear his name called. While he has not disclosed the specifics of the condition publicly, he was cleared by cardiologists at Michigan and Harvard and participated fully in his school’s pro day in March. “Been through adversity my whole life, just waiting for the right place to find me!” Hurst wrote on Twitter after Round 3 ended. “This is my process.” Some teams may have taken him off their boards entirely, while others may have put him on a risk-and-reward board, in which they’d consider taking him once the risk is lower, perhaps in the fourth or fifth round.
OLB Shaquem Griffin, UCF
Griffin was thrilled to be invited to the NFL draft, because there was a time in his life when he said he wasn’t invited to much at all. The UCF linebacker has become a fan favorite and face of perseverance in making it to the cusp of the NFL, regardless of the fact that he had his left hand amputated at age 4 due to a congenital condition. Griffin, who has twin brother, Shaquill, a third-round pick of the Seahawks last year, by his side, has said he’s committed to waiting until he hears his name called, which many expect to happen early on Saturday, perhaps in the fourth round. Griffin should be able to contribute on special teams right away, with the possibility to grow into a starter at weak-side linebacker, and team decision-makers have fallen in love with the charisma that made him the leader of his undefeated UCF squad last season.
QBs Kyle Lauletta, Richmond; Luke Falk, Washington State; and Mike White, Western Kentucky
After five QBs were drafted in Round 1 for the first time since 1999, just one, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, was selected in Rounds 2 and 3. If you operate by the old Ron Wolf philosophy of drafting a QB every year, then nearly every team should be in the QB market on Day 3. The next three names to look for are Lauletta, this year’s FCS darling and Senior Bowl MVP; Falk, a four-year starter in Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense; and White, a former pitcher who transferred to WKU from South Florida.
WRs Equanimeous St. Brown, Notre Dame
Just two WRs were drafted in the first round, but there was a run at the position during the second round that included SMU’s Courtland Sutton and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk. St. Brown is notable for his unique name; his body-building father, John Brown, who was a former Mr. Universe and Mr. World; and the fact that he entered the draft as a true junior despite a big dip in his production last season for the Fighting Irish.
OL Tyrell Crosby, Oregon
A versatile offensive lineman who has experience playing both left and right tackle in college, but could move inside to guard.
S Marcus Allen, Penn State
The godson of Curtis Martin and future godfather of Saquon Barkley’s daughter, Allen is a downhill safety who was a tackle machine for the Nittany Lions.
DE Josh Sweat, Florida State
A talented pass rusher who was once the top recruit in the country, Sweat suffered a severe knee injury his senior year of high school that limited his college production and may be of concern to NFL teams.
RB Nyheim Hines, North Carolina State
Small (5’8”) and fast (his 4.38 40-yard dash was best among running backs at the combine), Hines is a versatile offensive weapon who could be used as a scatback, slot receiver or kick returner.
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