After the months and months of hype leading up to this year's draft, all the cards have turned in and it's time to start looking ahead to what this crop of rookies is going to bring to the table. Day 3 is always a whirlwind and this year's late rounds were no exception.
The first three rounds played out in such a way where there was a ton of skill position talent to be had in the back end of the draft. There were names we were surprised to hear this late, and names we were surprised to even hear at all on Day 3, so let's have a look at how Saturday's events will impact fantasy drafts this fall and beyond.
Connor Cook, QB (Michigan State), 6-4/217
Selected 100th overall by Oakland (2nd in Round 4)
Not only were many surprised that Cook was available this late in the draft, the fact that he was the sixth signal caller taken this year is nothing short of shocking considering his projected standing among his quarterback peers. The three-year starter at Michigan State showed impressive poise and polish during his time in East Lansing, and he has the prototypical size that teams look for in a quarterback. However, there are reasons why his name was still on the board at Pick 100: His arm, while adequate enough to make most of the throws at the next level, isn't in the same tier as the quarterbacks taken ahead of him. Cook's accuracy is also a bit of a concern, as he was never able to complete 60 percent of his passes in any season at Michigan State despite having experience in the offense and chemistry with his receivers. The landing spot for Cook is an interesting one as well with Derek Carr looking every bit the future of the franchise at quarterback in Oakland (or Vegas). With Carr locked in as the starter, Cook's value is next to nothing as there's no way he sees playing time early on barring an injury to Carr. The best case scenario for Cook's fantasy value would be sitting behind Carr for a year or two before being dangled out on the open market as trade bait because Carr doesn't look like he'll be wearing anything but the Silver and Black for years to come.
Chris Moore, WR (Cincinnati), 6-1/206
Selected 107th overall by Baltimore (9th in Round 4)
The Ravens' receiving corps by the time Week 17 rolled around last season looked more like a group of misfits fighting for roster spots in the final preseason game than a legitimate starting NFL position group. With that, Baltimore used its first pick in Round 4 to nab Moore, a speedy deep threat out of Cincinnati that has the most receiving touchdowns in program history with 26. He has the speed to separate from defenders deep down the field and the leaping ability to go up and make contested catches. However, he might be a bit of a one-trick pony whose main marketable skill is as a deep threat. Unfortunately, Baltimore has a pair of other receivers that fit that description with the newly signed Mike Wallace and last year's first rounder Breshad Perriman, who is a question mark after missing all of last season with a knee injury. The combo of Wallace and Perriman will present significant roadblocks to Moore getting playing time early on, but the fact that he possesses a similar skill set to Perriman suggests that Baltimore may have tempered expectations for its former first rounder.
Tyler Higbee, TE (Western Kentucky), 6-6/249
Selected 110th overall by Los Angeles (12th in Round 4)
Early in draft season, Higbee looked like a lock to be the second tight end off the board this year provided his medicals checked out thanks to his combination of size, speed, and playmaking ability. That changed on April 10, when he was arrested on second-degree assault charges , public intoxication, and second-degree evading police stemming from an altercation outside in which he knocked a man unconscious and left him in a coma. While the case is still ongoing, it certainly raises red flags for a young man just weeks away from potentially fulfilling his dream of being drafted. Higbee's talent as a move tight end is unquestionable (38 receptions, 563 yards, 8 TD in nine games in 2015), and he's a nice fit for the Rams following the release of Jared Cook. That said, those off-field issues are jarring and he was reportedly still rehabbing his knee injury, which occurred on Oct. 16, at the time of his arrest. If Higbee can get clear of his legal and medical red flags, he could prove to be an excellent value pick at this spot. Those look like pretty big ifs at this point, though.
Malcolm Mitchell, WR (Georgia), 6-0/198
Selected 112th overall by New England (14th in Round 4)
Mitchell had several stops and starts during his career at Georgia, coming onto campus as a highly touted recruit and making an immediate impact as a true freshman. Then, in the first game of his junior season in 2013, Mitchell tore his ACL while celebrating a Todd Gurley touchdown run against Clemson, wiping out his season and forcing him to redshirt. He didn't appear to fully trust his knee in 2014 and it showed in his production as he averaged a meager 8.0 yards per reception on 31 grabs. In 2015, however, Mitchell looked like a new man and he was able to enjoy his best collegiate season despite Georgia's shoddy quarterback play, reeling in 58 grabs for 865 yards (14.91 YPR) and five scores. That strong final season vaulted him from likely UDFA into mid-round consideration, and when New England's turn came up Saturday, the Patriots' brass scooped him up. The Patriots have a wealth of receiving options at Tom Brady's disposal with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola, but that trio has had a difficult time staying healthy enough to all be on the field at the same time. Mitchell is unlikely to land a prominent role in the offense this year if all three of those weapons are healthy, but the Georgia product brings a different type of skill set to the table than the darting styles of Edelman and Amendola. While we may not see a ton of Mitchell in 2016, the fact that New England was willing to spend a fourth round pick on him shows that coach Bill Belichick has a plan for him down the line.
Ricardo Louis, WR (Auburn), 6-2/215
Selected 114th overall by Cleveland (16 in Round 4)
If delving into mock drafts and expert position rankings was your preferred method of getting familiar with this year's crop of talent, Louis' selection here may have sent you combing back into the archives to see where he was projected. The Auburn product was the only reliable receiving option on The Plains in 2015, doubling up the second-leading receivers on the team in both catches (46) and yards (716). Dominant market share numbers can be alluring, but Louis was still a bit of a surprise pick here given the other receivers on the board. At 6-2 with explosive athleticism (4.43 40, 38-inch vertical), Louis is an intriguing prospect that fills a definite need in Cleveland. He could easily find himself in a prominent role early in his rookie year given the Browns' dearth of options behind first round stud Corey Coleman. Louis, as a bigger target, should be a nice complementary piece opposite Coleman that can get vertical and draw a safety in coverage. He may not have been a household name coming into Saturday, but Cleveland is about as nice of a landing spot as Louis could have hoped for.
Pharoh Cooper, WR (South Carolina), 5-11/203
Selected 117th overall by Los Angeles (19 in Round 4)
Cooper flew under the radar a bit in 2015 as a member of a South Carolina team that won just three games on the year. Opposing defenses would key in on slowing down Cooper due to the lack of another legitimate threat, but Cooper still managed to post impressive numbers (66 receptions, 973 yards, 8 TD) in his final year in Columbia. In terms of skill set and landing spot, Cooper fits the mold of a Tavon Austin-type threat thanks to his size and versatility. That said, Cooper doesn't have nearly the type of speed Austin does, running a 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds at his pro day compared to Austin's 4.34 mark. Still, Cooper is an intriguing piece that, regardless of straight-line speed, always seems to be putting himself in position to make big plays. He also could see some work in the return game as a former Freshman All-SEC selection as a returner in 2013.
Tyler Ervin, RB (San Jose State), 5-10/192
Selected 119th overall by Houston (21 in Round 4)
Ervin is an interesting pick for the Texans that aligns with their philosophy of adding speed and versatility on the offensive side of the ball in this draft. He joins first rounder Will Fuller and third rounder Braxton Miller among skill players added with the Texans' handful of early picks. Ervin is a speedy back (4.41, 40-yard dash) that's coming off a highly-productive season at San Jose State in which he rushed for 1,601 yards and added 45 catches out of the backfield for 334 yards. By taking Ervin in the fourth round, the Texans are certainly putting the likes of Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes on notice, but Ervin will still need to put together a strong training camp to move up the depth chart. As is often the case, Ervin will also need to be a quick study in terms of pass blocking because that is a common hurdle that stands in the way of young backs getting meaningful snaps.
Demarcus Robinson, WR (Florida), 6-1/203
Coming into 2015, Robinson looked primed to be one of the top receivers in this draft class thanks to his stellar first two seasons at Florida. The lone thing holding him back were some off the field issues, but those problems didn't go away as he found himself suspended for the fourth time in his career right before UF kicked off against Florida State late in the season, and he didn't get on the field in the SEC Championship game against Alabama. While the off-field troubles are worrisome and explained his slide down draft boards, Robinson's talent is undeniable. A 6-1 receiver with excellent hands and a willingness to go up and get the ball in traffic, Robinson has the physical tools to make it at the next level. The veterans in the Chiefs' locker room will have to will have to rein him in and keep him focused because off-field issues can be a nail in the coffin for a young player's career in today's NFL.
Kenneth Dixon, RB (Louisiana Tech), 5-10/215
Selected 134th overall by Baltimore (Compensatory pick in Round 4)
The Louisiana Tech running back finished out his collegiate career as one of the most prolific backs in NCAA history, racking up 87 total touchdowns for the Bulldogs, including 26 in his final season on campus. Dixon isn't necessarily a burner (4.58, 40-yard dash) , but he makes up for it with good acceleration and shiftiness to make defenders miss at the second level. He's also a versatile back, hauling in 30 or more catches in each of his last two seasons on campus and his four years of experience helped him develop as a pass protector. Dixon lands in an interesting spot with Baltimore because they have a crowded backfield, but no true No.1 type of back. Justin Forsett, Javorius Allen, and Lorenzo Taliaferro all figure to come into training camp as Baltimore's top running backs, but Dixon will be given the chance to compete and carve out a role as a rookie.
Dak Prescott, QB (Mississippi State), 6-2/226
Selected 135th overall by Dallas (Compensatory pick in Round 4)
If last year taught us anything about the Cowboys, it was how quickly things fall apart when Tony Romo is forced to miss time. As such, drafting a quarterback to groom was a major need for the Cowboys, and they got their man in Prescott. A two-time All-SEC quarterback , Prescott had one of the more storied careers of any player at Mississippi State and he left Starkville as the owner of 38 different school records. He is a project at the next level to be sure, but he is a toolsy player with excellent athleticism, a well-built frame, and a strong arm. Those tools can be developed over time as he learns from Romo. The ideal situation would be for Prescott to step into the starting role once Romo hangs 'em up, but if he is called into action, Cowboy fans won't have the same level of dread as they did when the likes of Kellen Moore, Matt Cassel, or Brandon Weeden had to take over under center in 2015.
Devontae Booker, RB (Utah), 5-11/219
Selected 136th overall by Denver (Compensatory pick in Round 4)
The Broncos are getting a big-time bruiser at a great value in Booker by scooping him up at the end of the fourth round. To be sure, Denver did just ink 25-year-old C.J Anderson to a four-year deal worth $18 million, and that type of monetary commitment ensures that Anderson will be getting the lion's share of the workload for the time being. That said, Booker's skill set as a one-cut, downhill back is too perfect a fit for head coach Gary Kubiak's system for him to not see a good amount of touches as a rookie. Booker is by no means a burner but he has strong instincts and he's not afraid to lower his shoulder and dish out some punishment once he gets a head of steam. Given Denver's unappealing quarterback situation, there should be plenty of carries to go around in the Broncos' backfield, and that could mean Booker pushing Ronnie Hillman for snaps as the No.2 back.
Cardale Jones, QB (Ohio State), 6-5/253
Selected 139th overall by Buffalo (Compensatory pick in Round 4)
The man known as "12 Gauge" set the college football world ablaze by coming off the bench to lead the Buckeyes to a National Title in 2014 after J.T Barrett suffered a broken ankle. Jones' incredible play in those final three games left many to wonder whether he could be the third quarterback taken in the 2015 Draft behind Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota despite only having three starts under his belt. He returned to Columbus for one last year and the results were decidedly disappointing as he ultimately lost his starting job to Barrett after a few uninspired outings. As Jones tumbled down the depth chart, his stock began to hit the skids as well. However, as an end-of-the-fourth-round project, Jones is the perfect pick for the Bills. Tyrod Taylor figures to have a hold on his starting job for at least this year, but there's a possibility that he won't be back once his contract runs out next offseason. With that, Jones should have a full year to sit out, observe, and gain a comfort level within his new system while developing a chemistry with the coaching staff before potentially taking the reins down the line. While Jones' likely value as a rookie is next to none, there's a chance that he could be the guy in Buffalo as soon as 2017 depending on the franchise's decision with Taylor.
DeAndre Washington, RB (Texas Tech), 5-8/204
Selected 143rd overall by Oakland (4th in Round 5)
The Raiders were completely unable to find a serviceable No.2 back behind Latavius Murray in 2015 as their second-leading rusher was quarterback Derek Carr with 138 yards on the ground. Enter Washington, an electric and dynamic back out of an explosive Texas Tech offense. Though diminutive in terms of height at 5-8, Washington is thickly built at 204 pounds and he has solid short-area burst. Furthermore, Washington's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield (71 combined catches in 2014 and 2015) is another bankable facet to his game that ought to get him on the field. Sure, Murray is also a solid receiver out of the backfield in his own right with 41 catches last season, but Washington's versatility will make him even more dangerous as a change of pace back in Oakland. Unlike the situation Connor Cook, Oakland is an excellent landing spot for the former Red Raider running back.
Paul Perkins, RB (UCLA), 5-10/208
Selected 149th overall by the Giants (10th in Round 5)
The Giants were trendsetters in the fifth round Saturday, kicking off a serious run on running backs that saw four backs taken in a span of eight picks. Perkins is as shifty as any back in this class and his ability to make people miss will be his calling card at the next level. As a two-year starter at UCLA, Perkins racked up 2,918 yards on the ground in 2014 and 2015 while hitting paydirt 23 times in that span. The Giants are an interesting landing spot for Perkins given their roster construction that features Rashad Jennings, former fourth-rounder Andre Williams, and pass-catching specialist Shane Vereen in tow. While those road blocks will likely cap Perkins' value as a rookie, but none of those backs are signed beyond 2017, so he could be in for a bigger role in the second and third years of his contract.
Jordan Howard, RB (Indiana), 6-0/230
Selected 150th overall by Chicago (11th in Round 5)
Matt Forte's departure this offseason guaranteed that the Bears would have a new-look backfield in 2016 and made drafting a running back a priority. With only a handful of running backs off the board by the time Chicago's fifth round pick came around, the Bears still had plenty of excellent options to choose from. Howard was ultimately the call, and he looks to be a nice fit for the NFC North. The former UAB Blazer transferred to Indiana for the 2015 season and he looked like the second-best back in the Big 10 for much of the season before his season was derailed by nagging knee and ankle injuries. Howard's powerful frame allows him to finish off runs with force, which makes him a nice complement for presumptive starter Jeremy Langford, who is more of a versatile and speedy option out of the backfield. By taking Howard, the Bears are sending a message to third-year man Ka'Deem Carey that it's time to shape up or ship out.
Wendell Smallwood, RB (West Virginia), 5-10, 208
Selected 153rd overall by Philadelphia (14th in Round 5)
Jordan Payton, WR (UCLA), 6-1/207
Selected 154th overall by Cleveland (15th in Round 5)
Jonathan Williams, RB (Arkansas), 5-11/220
Selected 156th overall by Buffalo (18 in Round 5)
Rashard Higgins, WR (Colorado State), 6-1/196
Selected 172nd overall by Cleveland (Compensatory pick in Round 5)
The man they call Hollywood is one of the best small school receiving prospects in this class after his tremendous career at Colorado State. He bested Amari Cooper's numbers in 2014, hauling in 96 receptions for 1,750 yards and 17 scores as a true sophomore. His numbers took a bit of a dip in 2015 with a new quarterback under center and a new head coach, but he still flashed why he was worthy of being a mid-round pick in this year's draft. Cleveland addressed its threadbare receiving corps in the first round with the Corey Coleman pick and then continued to fill in around him with Ricardo Louis in the fourth and the duo of Higgins and UCLA product Jordan Payton in the fifth round. It'll be a fierce competition for those three in finding a role opposite Coleman, but Higgins has the big play ability and dependable hands to come out ahead of the likes of Payton. Regardless, the Cleveland receiving corps pecking order won't be resolved until well into training camp.
Moritz Boehringer, WR (Germany), 6-4/227
Selected 180th overall by Minnesota (5th in Round 6)
The German Youtube sensation started garnering some buzz in recent months, but it was anyone's guess as to whether an NFL team would actually spend a draft pick on a guy who has never played a snap at even the Division III level. However, as the cliche goes, it only takes one team for a player to get drafted, and the Vikings were that team, scooping him up in the sixth round. Boehringer looked like a man among boys in the German Football League, catching 59 passes for 1,232 yards and 13 scores last season. Dominating in another league isn't always a ticket to the NFL, but Boehringer cemented his stock by putting up freakish workout numbers: A 4.43, 40-yard dash, a 39-inch vertical, and a 6.65-second 3-cone drill. All of that at 6-4 and 227. How Boeheringer actually adjusts to the nuances of being an NFL receiver that lie beyond raw talent will be the biggest question surrounding the German native, but his his athletic ability alone gives him a shot to make it at the NFL level and makes him arguably the most unique rookie prospect in years.