We've all talked a ton about who we should be looking at in rounds 1-4 and I've enjoyed almost every conversation. Today I wanted to look at some quality options for rounds 5-7. I think that there is some real value to be had in those later rounds. I am not going to cover anyone that has already had a piece written on them such as Justin Britt who I'd be fine with taking in the 7th or as a UDFA. I'm focusing on players that are projected to fall in that late 4th-7th round range.
1) Cody Latimer WR Indiana: He has good size at 6'3, 215. He had a good junior season 72 catches for 1096 yards and 9 TDs. He averaged 91.3 yards per game. He passes the eye test.
Pros- good size, runs good routes, very good hands can catch the ball in traffic or with tight coverage, catches with his hands and high points well, he plays faster than his times suggest, Has great vision and gets good YAC, good power and always moving forward, has the size and mentality to be a good blocker.
Cons- lacks top end speed is listed as a 4.5 40 (but looks faster on tape), tips his routes at times, needs to work on using his hands at the line and when blocking.
A big day at the combine could push him as high as round 3 but I think he will go in the 4-6 range. I'd be happy to get him in the 5th and thrilled in the 6th.
2) Jonathan Brown OLB Illinois: 6-1 225 pounds of tackling machine. He played OLB for first three season and transition to ILB for his senior year. He ranked second in the conference in tackles with 119, and ranking third in the Big Ten with 15.0 tackles for loss. He also added 5.0 sacks, four pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble on the season.
Rob Rang with CBS Sports had the following to say "Brown sports a stout frame with long arms and a thick lower half. He is quick to attack the line of scrimmage, showing impressive burst to make plays in the hole and the willingness to take blockers head-on. Brown has good speed to the flanks and pursues with passion, showing the ability to track and drag down ball carriers from behind as well as the light feet and balance to drop into coverage. He shows a physical bull rush and good determination when after the quarterback and closes with a thump when he has an open lane. "
He is project as a 6th or 7th round pick. I seem him as a monster for Special teams, good versatile depth and a potential replacement for TD down the road, another hard hitting OLB with coverage skills.
3) Jake Fisher OL Oregon: At 6'6, 295 he's a little light in the ass to be a true Hog mollie but he is a very athletic and versatile OL. He played TE and DE in High school but was still ranked as the 25th best OT prospect by Scout.com. He has played primarily at RT for Oregon but could kick into guard if needed. A good athlete and well condition which is a prerequisite for an Oregon lineman. Walter football has him listed as the number 12 OT for the draft and projected in rounds 4-6. I'd be happy to pick him up in the 6th as I think he has a higher ceiling than Britt would have in the 7th.
4) Kenny Ladler FS Vanderbilt: Nfldraftscout.com had the following to say "Ladler has put together his best season for the Commodores as a senior safety. The Stone Mountain, Ga., native tied a school record with a league-leading five forced fumbles and ranked second in the conference with a team-high five interceptions. Ladler's 60-solo tackles also ranks second in the SEC - and tops among defensive backs in the conference. Twice in 2013, Ladler matched career highs by posting 14 tackles. He also closed the season remarkably, registering four interceptions and all five forced fumbles in the last seven games."
Listed at 6-1 , 205 pounds many scouts are suggesting his upside is limited by average athleticism. He has a nose for the ball, is a hard hitter and has 4 years of experience in the SEC. He is projected to go in the late rounds possibly as a reserve or special teamer. I would consider him in the 7th and he'd be my first call if he goes undrafted. I would consider transitioning him to OLB. I know who would convert a hard hitting safety from Georgia to an OLB :-) Not saying he is anywhere near the talent TD was coming out of college but there is a lot of material there to work with.
5) Jeoffrey Pagan, DE, Alabama (HT: 6'4" WT: 290 lbs) information from bleacher report.
"Well-built, compact frame with a very thick lower half, Strong upper body to deliver blows to blockers or ward off their hands, Flashes ability to extend and control blockers with length. Will grab and yank blockers to get them off balance. Uses a quick swim move to beat blockers, especially as a pass-rusher, can work quickly into the frame of pass blockers to keep their hands off and split gaps. Reads blocks well and tracks to the perimeter. Can control multiple gaps by stacking blocks at the line of scrimmage and playing off with violent hands. Absorbs double-teams at the line of scrimmage while keeping shoulders square. Quick to follow pulls and disrupt the backfield before cutoff blocks reach him, quick reactions. Closes with fine acceleration after working off blocks. Carries his weight and pursues well enough despite a lack of gaudy statistics. Played from a variety of alignments all over the defensive line at Alabama."
Pagan is raw but has a lot of potential could be there somewhere in rounds 5-7. Could rotate in and play some DT in a 3 technique but also a good run stuffing DE in the 5 technique.
Obviously there is a degree of risk with anybody taken in the later rounds but I feel like each of these players offer some good upside as well. For me personally the ideal scenario would be:
6th- Fisher (Pagan if Fisher is gone or we went heavy OL 1-4)
7th -Brown (Ladler if Brown is gone)