The NFL Draft is always full of surprises, and this year was no different, with players like Duke QB Daniel Jones going way earlier than expected at No. 6 to the Giants and Clelin Ferrell getting picked by the Raiders at No. 4, despite barely being a first-round pick in some mock drafts.
But for every happy riser, there has to be a disappointed faller, and of course, this year was no different. From guys who were expected to be Top 15 picks to potential franchise QBs, here are the remaining best available players.
Jawaan Taylor, OL, Florida
At one point, Taylor was expected to be the first offensive lineman off the board. Then he got hurt (hamstring) and missed running drills at the combine. Guess that and his technique issues hurt him because he didn’t get picked in the first round, which was a major surprise. Now he’s the best remaining player in the draft.
Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
Remember all those people who wondered if the Broncos would pick Lock at No. 10? Well, they didn’t, and neither did other QB-needy teams like the Dolphins, Redskins or Giants. Lock has all the measurables of a prototypical QB, but his lack of consistency probably scared teams off in the first 32 picks. That doesn’t mean he’ll wait around too much longer.
Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
Greedy Williams was another projected first-round pick, though it wasn’t a guarantee. He’s fast (4.37 40) and big (6’2″, 185). He’s great at the line pressing against wide receivers. While he needs to bulk up, he has the makings of being a great corner in this league.
Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
Murphy was ranked by some as the best cornerback in the draft. He wasn’t the first selected, however, as the Giants traded up to pick Deandre Baker instead. Murphy is seemingly the complete package at cornerback. He’ll go early in round 2.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
Guess speed isn’t quite as important as it used to be. Where’s Al Davis when you need him? After impressing at the NFL Combine, Metcalf shot up draft projections. But his insane physique and speed weren’t enough to overcome his lack of production in college. Still, with his physical ability, someone will snatch him up soon. The biggest surprise is it didn’t already happen.
Cody Ford, OG, Oklahoma
Ford is a little raw, but when it comes to potential, his is as high as any offensive linemen in the draft. He’s incredibly powerful with good speed too. The biggest issue is he might have to play guard in the NFL because his sloppy mechanics can get exposed more easily on the outside. Guards aren’t as valuable, which could have played a role in his drop.
Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple
Besides having a great name, Ya-Sin is also a great corner. His biggest issue might have been the talent he played against, which always makes it harder to evaluate. Still, he was moving up in most mock drafts ahead of the real thing and was projected as a Top 3 corner.
Irv Smith Jr., TE, Alabama
Smith has the potential to be an All-Pro. He also has the potential to be a bust. That’s probably why he wasn’t drafted yet. The measurables put him as a top playmaker. But the consistency was an issue in college. Someone will take a chance on him in the second round, and he could wind up being a steal for that team.
Ryan Finley, QB, NC State
Ryan Finley is probably a bit of a project in the NFL, but then again so is Daniel Jones. One got drafted in the Top 10, the other is still waiting for the call. Finley’s biggest issue might be his arm strength, which doesn’t have the pop that wows some GMs. But he was consistent in college and could be a steady backup or game manager at the next level.
Chase Winovich, DE, Michigan
Winovich is the kind of relentless defensive end offensive linemen hate. What he lacks in athletic prowess he makes up for in effort and physicality. At the next level, those guys don’t often become stars, but they do become critical pieces on great defenses. Winovich could be that guy in the right system.