Top Value Picks Of The 2nd-3rd Round

The 2nd and 3rd round's were filled with talented players who will provide considerable value to the teams that drafted them. Many will ultimately outperform some of the prospects taken in the 1st round. To evaluate which picks brought back the most value, I used a metric called Value Score. The Value Score is a measure of how much higher I had a player ranked on my big board than where he was drafted. It is calculated by dividing the actual draft slot by my ranking for that player. A positive score means I had that player higher on my big board than where they were drafted. Value is relative to the number of the pick with which the player was drafted. The later the pick, the more valuable a player is given the same level of production. Value score indicates the value of a pick, not necessarily the quality of the player. A larger Value Score will not always signify a better/more talented player. A high Value Score means that the player picked in that slot is likely to outperform most of the players taken before him. The teams who have players on this list are more likely to have better draft classes as a whole. The Bengals lead the way with three players on this list, followed by the Browns, Ravens, and Giants with two. 24 picks finished with a positive value score, accounting for just over one third of the 67 picks (35.8%) in the 2nd and 3rd round. I have analyzed the picks with the top five Value Scores, as well as two other picks that I particularly liked.   Top Value Picks: 1. DE Henry Anderson - Stanford Draft Slot: 93rd overall - Indianapolis Colts (3rd round) My Rank: 25th overall Value Score: 3.72 Henry Anderson was inexplicably underrated throughout the entire draft process. He has everything you look for in a prototypical 3-4 DE. He was highly productive as a sophomore, registering 51 total tackles, 13 TFLs and 5.5 sacks. Injuries marred his junior year, and he was not nearly as productive (4 TFLs, 3 sacks) and this led to him dropping off of the radar a bit. He bounced back to record 15.0 TFLs and 8.5 sacks in 2014 as a senior. Anderson's impressive production in his sophomore season is a better indicator of success than is his production as a senior, though it was important to see him rebound when he was healthy. He is extraordinarily quick for a player of his size (6'6 - 294) and is consistently disruptive in both when defending the run and when rushing the passer. Anderson will be one of the biggest steals of the 2015 NFL draft.   2. OLB Randy Gregory - Nebraska Draft Slot: 60 - Dallas Cowboys (2nd) My Rank: 19 Value Score: 3.16 This pick is about as boom or bust as it gets. Gregory is an elite edge rusher when healthy, and would have in all likelihood been a top ten pick if not for his off-field issues. I do not know all of the details of his problems, but I do know there are major concerns that Gregory is not mentally ready for the NFL.  Even with this being considered, the Cowboys got fantastic value with the 60th pick. Regardless of whether Gregory ever pans out, it was the right decision. I see this situation very similarly to when the Cleveland Browns took Josh Gordon in the 2nd round of the 2012 Supplemental Draft. In 35 games across three seasons, Josh Gordon accumulated 2,754 receiving yards and 14 TDs. This equates to 1259 yards and 6.4 touchdowns per season. These numbers are even more impressive given the fact that he put up these numbers with Brandon Weeden and Brian Hoyer throwing him the football. Even if Josh Gordon never plays another game in a Cleveland Browns uniform, he was worth that 2nd round pick. The only problem for the Browns is that they weren't good enough to capitalize on his elite level of play. The Cowboys are in position to win now, and could have quite a formidable pass rush if Gregory, Greg Hardy, and Demarcus Lawrence all play to their potential. There is no denying the chance that Gregory could be a bust. However, the odds that Gregory reaches his full potential, even though they may be slight, more than warrants the 60th overall pick in the draft. The Cowboys took a risk, but they did so at the bottom of the 2nd round, putting themselves in position to potentially get a great return on their investment.   3. LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA Draft Slot: 45 - New Orleans Saints (2nd) My Rank: 17 Value Score: 2.647 Image title Image: si.com Kendricks is a bit undersized at 6'0 - 230 lbs, but his collegiate on-field performance was outstanding. He led the nation in solo tackles two out of his last three seasons, and is widely regarded as the best cover linebacker in the draft. I wrote about Kendricks in our NFL Draft Preview series, and I believe he is a 1st round talent. Kendricks was extremely productive as a sophomore, leading the nation with 91 solo tackles. This level of production early in a college career projects very well to the NFL, especially when considering his coverage ability. He is a true three down linebacker, and these types of players are extremely valuable in the passing league the NFL has become. He will slot in very nicely next to former UCLA teammate Anthony Barr.   4. WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State Draft Slot: 70 - Houston Texans (3rd) My Rank: 29 Value Score: 2.41 Jaelen Strong's drop in the draft reminded me a lot of when Keenan Allen dropped all the way to the 76th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Neither are known for their straight-line speed, yet both are great with the ball in their hands and are productive as bigger slot receivers (Allen: 6'2 - 211 //  Strong: 6'2 - 217).  However, Strong surpassed expectations at the combine with a 4.44 second 40 yard dash while Keenan Allen ran a 4.71 second 40 yard dash at his combine. This year's Wide Receiver class is exceptionally deep, and in a weaker class Jaelen Strong would have been selected much higher. He will help replace Andre Johnson and provide support across from DeAndre Hopkins. Great pick by the Texans.   5. DE/OLB Owamagbe Ohdigizuwa, UCLA Draft Slot: 74 - New York Giants (3rd Round) My Rank: 37 Value Score: 2 Owa Ohdigizuwa has outstanding athleticism and the length (33 3/4 inch arms) that is so crucial for defensive lineman and pass rushers.  He excels at setting the edge and holding his ground in the running game, but also has some pass rushing ability as well. Owa's broad jump (127 inches) and vertical jump (39 inches) were both tops among defensive lineman at the 2015 NFL Combine. The jump scores are very important for pass rushers, and his marks are excellent. Owa has the skill set and versatility to play both DE in a 4-3 or OLB in a 3-4. The Giants added a nice piece to their defensive line at the cheap price of a mid-3rd rounder.     9. WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State Draft Slot: 69 - Seattle (3rd) MR: 39 Value Score: 1.77 When I saw what the Seahawks gave up to move up to this pick (3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th rounders), my first thought was that GM Scott McCloughan of the Washington Redskins had pulled off highway robbery. However, the Seahawks picked one of the only players that could make me think that Seattle may have gotten their money's worth. Tyler Lockett has been overlooked in this incredible group of Wide Receivers, but I think he has T.Y. Hilton-type potential. The Seahawks got a big passing target in Jimmy Graham this offseason, and now they add more speed to their receiving corps to go along with promising 2nd-year receiver Paul Richardson. What I didn't realize at the time of the pick, but makes this deal even sweeter for Seattle, is that they have four extra compensatory picks (a 4th, a 5th, and two 6th rounders) in this year's draft. These added picks allowed Seattle to move up and draft a player, who I thought was an early 2nd round value, without trading away the rest of their draft picks in the process. I also think that their 2nd round pick, DE Frank Clark, could prove to be a steal. He has very serious off the field concerns, but he has unquestionable talent and will bring even more ferocity to the the Seattle front seven if he can stay out of trouble.  Great job by GM John Schneider and the Seahawks front office finding value without the luxury of a 1st round pick.   12. SS/OLB Landon Collins - Alabama Draft Slot: 33 - New York Giants (2nd) My Rank: 22 Value Score: 1.5 Image title Image: bamahammer.com They had to trade up to get him, but the Giants desperately needed a safety after losing Antrel Rolle in free agency. Landon Collins was one player I thought was hurt by the extra time before this year's draft. His lack of proficiency in coverage became the focus of attention when analyzing Collins rather than all of the things that he does well. When you think about Collins from the proper perspective, a player who has the ability to cover but whose strength is his attacking the ball, you get a better idea of the type of player he is. Ideally, Collins will play a little closer to the line of scrimmage in the NFL than he did in college at Alabama. Carolina Panthers 1st round pick Shaq Thompson (25th Overall) is a player that is is built similarly (6'0 - 225) to Collins but isn't quite as physical. Thompson is on the opposite end of the spectrum, as I think he should play more in coverage than he did in college. In that role I think he could potentially live up to his draft slot. Despite being taken later, I think Collins is a better player than Thompson, and he will probably start Week 1 next season for the Giants   Rankings by Value Score for 2nd-3rd Round Picks (only positive grades):
  1. DE Henry Anderson (Colts) - 3.96
  2. OLB Randy Gregory (Cowboys) - 3.16
  3. LB Eric Kendricks (Vikings) - 2.65
  4. WR Jaelen Strong (Texans) - 2.41
  5. DE/ OLB Owamagbe Ohdigizuwa (Giants) - 2
  6. CB Ronald Darby (Bills) - 1.85
  7. LB Paul Dawson (Bengals) - 1.83
  8. DT Carl Davis (Ravens) - 1.8
  9. WR Tyler Lockett (Seahawks) - 1.77
  10. OT Jake Fisher (Bengals) - 1.77
  11. RB Duke Johnson (Browns) - 1.57
  12. S Landon Collins (Giants) - 1.5
  13. CB/S Eric Rowe (Eagles) - 1.47
  14. OLB Eli Harold (49ers) - 1.44
  15. TE Maxx Williams (Ravens) - 1.31
  16. TE Clive Walford (Raiders) - 1.31
  17. WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Titans) - 1.29
  18. CB Steven Nelson (Chiefs) - 1.27
  19. WR Sammie Coates (Steelers) - 1.19
  20. DE Preston Smith (Cardinals) - 1.12
  21. DT Jordan Phillips (Dolphins) - 1.11
  22. TE Jeff Heuerman (Broncos) - 1.07
  23. DT Xavier Cooper (Browns)  - 1.05
  24. OG A.J. Cann (Jaguars)  - 1.02
  25. TE Tyler Kroft (Bengals) - 1.01
  26. LB Denzel Perryman (Chargers) - 1
  Top 20 Still Available on Big Board
  1. OT/OG La'El Collins*  - Currently involved in a murder investigation, but has not been named a suspect. Without concrete confirmation that Collins is innocent, teams have been reluctant to draft Collins to this point. He has said he will not sign with a team if he was not drafted on Day 2. This will be a situation to monitor very closely.
  2. DT Grady Jarrett
Image title Image: profootballspot.com Grady Jarrett, aside from La'El Collins, is the last player on the board that I had a 1st round grade on (25th overall). I would absolutely trade up to get him at the beginning of the 4th round. He is shaping up to be one of, if not the best value pick of the NFL Draft. 3. DE Trey Flowers 4. OT/OG T.J. Clemmings 5. S Adrian Amos 6. DE Michael Bennett 7. S James Sample 8. RB David Cobb 9. RB Mike Davis 10. RB Jay Ajayi 11. WR Justin Hardy 12. DT Tyeler Davison 13. S Derron Smith 14. LB Ben Heeney 15. WR Deandre Smelter 16. DT/DE Bobby Richardson 17. EDGE Shaquille Riddick 18. WR Dezmin Lewis 19. CB Quandre Diggs 20. QB Bryce Petty

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