- Every year, talented players fall to the final day of the draft, and the 2019 NFL draft is no different. Here are five players that could end up being steals on Saturday.
Every year, talented players fall to the final day of the draft, and this year is no different. After 102 picks so far, there are still high-quality players on the board entering the draft’s final day, which will make the early part of Saturday intriguing as teams jockey to snatch up the top players who fell through the third round. Day 3 provides a way to build out roster depth with low-cost players, and there’s always the small chance a team hits it big and finds a star like Tom Brady, Antonio Brown or Richard Sherman.
Here are the best players available heading into Saturday:
Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
It’s curious that Love is still available after three rounds. The Notre Dame corner was solid in man coverage throughout his career, and, when he got hurt against Clemson in the College Football Playoff, the Irish totally fell apart defensively. Love doesn’t have ideal speed for the position, which could explain why he’s still on the board, but he’s a willing tackler and should be able to help a team early in his career with his ability to work in multiple spots and attack the ball in the air.
Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
The younger brother of Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley is a smooth route-runner who gets in and out of his breaks well. An arrest for marijuana possession certainly didn’t help his draft stock, but his above-average athleticism and polish should make him an ideal No. 2 receiver on the outside. Ridley isn’t the same caliber athlete as his teammate Mecole Hardman, who went in the second round to the Chiefs, but he runs all his routes at full speed and led the Bulldogs in catches last season. He’ll block too, which is a nice bonus.
Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
Butler has elite physical tools, and he should be a red-zone threat from the moment he steps onto the field in the NFL. At 6’5”, Butler’s 4.48 40 is impressive, and his combination of size and speed will make him a deep threat early in his career. He’ll need to refine his route-running and become more of a technician on shorter routes, but his size alone will allow him to contribute situationally early in his career. There aren’t many players with Butler’s array of physical traits, and his production this past season at Iowa State (1,318 yards and nine touchdowns) offers reason for optimism.
Dru Samia, OG, Oklahoma
Samia is a bit undersized, though his tape indicates that won’t be a major issue for him at the next level. A four-year starter, Samia is a high-level athlete for the guard spot, which shows up when he’s pulling in the running game. This athleticism means he can contribute right away as a swing lineman, and his floor is high. Samia fits in with the typical offensive lineman clichés—he’s nasty, physical and tough. A team picking on Saturday will get good value in Samia.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida
Many believed the Florida safety would go early in round two, so it’s surprising Gardner-Johnson is still available. He can play in the box and excel in run support, but he also has the versatility to drop back into multiple coverages. In today’s subpackage-heavy NFL, a player as versatile as Gardner-Johnson should be able to carve a role in almost any defense. His 2018 season showed tremendous growth in his tackling, which, coupled with his above-average speed, allows him to cover a lot of ground and play as an ideal modern-day safety.