With four rounds left in the NFL draft, there are still plenty of gems left to be unearthed.
The draft concludes with rounds four through seven Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The most interesting player still left on the board is Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who had his left hand amputated when he was a child.
Griffin was a star for the unbeaten Knights last season and then lit up his combine workouts, running a sub-4.4 in the 40-yard dash. He is undersized for a linebacker in the NFL at 6-foot and 227 pounds, but his athleticism and tenacity will likely earn him a spot. Where is to be determined.
Six more intriguing players available heading into Day Three of the NFL draft.
Maurice Hurst, DT, 6-1, 292, Michigan
Hurst was an All-American and one of the most productive defensive players in the country last season. No FBS player received a higher grade from Pro Football Focus, the analytics website that reviews film of every game and grades every play. Hurst had a heart condition discovered during the combine that has apparently scared away teams. He is also undersized for a tackle with short arms — though there were similar complaints about All-Pro Aaron Donald coming out of college. Hurst is not at that level as a prospect, but if his health is OK, there is little doubt who is the best player still available.
Tyrell Crosby, OT, 6-5, 309, Oregon
Crosby is a steady run blocker who might be better off at guard, but he is also a player who many evaluators viewed as not far off many of offensive linemen already taken. The Packers have the first pick of the fourth round and could use help along the offensive line.
Kyle Lauletta, QB, 6-3, 222, Richmond
After five quarterbacks were taken in the first round, only one went in rounds two and three (Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph to Pittsburgh in round three). Who is the next quarterback to go? Maybe Lauletta from an FCS school. Physically, Lauletta doesn’t jump out. His arm is OK. But he played well against better competition in the postseason and is accurate with good mechanics and decent mobility. Mike White from Western Kentucky and Luke Falk from Washington State are the other quarterbacks most likely to be drafted Saturday.
Antonio Callaway, WR, 5-11, 200, Florida
Callaway has had a litany of off-field issues and could go undrafted because of them. But he also has first-round talent. Will some team take a chance? There are other good options left at receiver including Clemson’s Deon Cain, who also had some off field problems in college though nothing compared to Callaway, Daesean Hamilton of Penn State, Equamimeous St. Brown of Notre Dame and Keke Coutee of Texas Tech.
Nyheim Hines, RB, 5-8, 198, North Carolina State
There is no shortage of talented running backs left, but Hines might be the most interesting prospect still on the board at that position. He’s not an every-down back at that size, but Hines was a dominant do-it-all speedster who led the Atlantic Coast Conference in all-purpose yards last season. He could contribute returning kicks and be an interesting addition to a creative offensive team. More traditional runners such as Tennessee’s John Kelly, Alabama’s big Bo Scarbrough and Arizona State’s Kallen Ballage are just a few of the other running backs likely to go in the fourth and fifth rounds.
Josey Jewell, ILB, 6-1, 235, Iowa
Jewell was a tackling machine and All-American with the Hawkeyes, the type of linebacker that is easy to envision having a 10-year career as a steady two-down player. Micah Kiser from Virginia and Tegray Scales from Indiana also fill that bill. All are likely to be gone by round six.
More AP NFL: https://pro32.ap.org