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Julian Love

Norris: Best Players Available For Day 3

by Josh Norris
Updated On: April 27, 2019, 1:51 am ET

There are so many different reasons why these prospects are still on the board. Some still have questions around their makeup. Others have questions around their evaluation. And then even more likely rank higher on my board than NFL teams’.
Below are the top 50 remaining players, according to my evaluations, heading into Day 3. You can see my original ranking of each attached. The “athletic profile” refers to SPARQ, a composite score that factors in all athletic tests along with weight in order to compare prospects’ athleticism across draft classes. The ages are in reference to September 1, 2019 and are rounded up from 0.8.
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I know some might wonder how I could possibly rank a prospect so highly (Hakeem Butler, 14) that the NFL sees so differently. This has happened before, and that's okay. Back in 2015, Grady Jarrett was my No. 23 overall prospect. Lasted until No. 137. Obviously there are plenty that went the opposite direction. Players I just mis-evaluated. Maybe that's happened here. I'm open to that. It's fine. Round 4 is important.
That's player evaluation.

14. WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State

Age: 23 | Athletic Profile: 80th percentile

Where He Wins: Chris Ballard talks about the difficulties in evaluating receivers out of college, mainly due to them not facing physical press coverage. That is not Butler, as he has plenty of snaps face up against corners. Variety of releases versus press. Sometimes a bit slow with those releases, but he doesn't give up and creates that separation. Used all over the formation. Powerful YAC vs Oklahoma. Outstanding body control to adjust on floated targets. Heck, even saw him sink his hips and run a whip route on 4th down versus Iowa. At 6-foot-5, 227 pounds.

Forecast: I don’t understand why Butler isn’t viewed as the No. 1 receiver in this class. I understand there were drops last season, but I try not to let a percentage of snaps cloud an entire list of positives. Butler wins at every level from every alignment.

36. S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: 66th percentile

Where He Wins: Likely projects as a big nickel, third safety who fills the slot and aggressively plays outside runs or crashes the line. He also has positive reps as a split safety in the back half, anticipating targets and peeling off routes to make plays on the ball, like versus Michigan. Times he starts play on one side in the slot then makes the play on the other side of the field when recognizing run. Physical

Forecast: Dane Brugler passed along word that CGJ’s interviews might not have been spectacular, so expect a selection in round 4 or 5. His on-field play warrants that.

42. CB Julian Love, Notre Dame

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: 60th percentile

Where He Wins: Reads quarterbacks eyes and closes on the football. Often times he is one step in front of the quarterback, and that extra tick allows him to disrupt rather than allowing a completion. Love played a lot of off coverage and showed good mirror skills to stick with receivers who closed his cushion.

Forecast: From my seat it looked like Notre Dame ran quite a bit of cover 2 zone, and the league more than ever is looking for press man corners or stick with receivers early on their release and stay in phase in routes. Love did not have many exposures in that. His best fit might be inside in the slot.

44. EDGE Christian Miller, Alabama

Age: 23 | Athletic Profile: Injured

Where He Wins: It is difficult to find his caliber of bend and flexibility to take advantage of positive positioning as a pass rusher. Not hyperbole, some snaps he gets parallel to the ground, which decreases his target zone, and allows him to break past the OL’s hips. Even if he gets beyond quarterback depth, he wants to work back inside. Miller lined up on both sides and has exposures of winning left and right.

Forecast: Miller’s has missed most of the draft process with a hamstring injury. For a team that wants to be more multiple and utilize stand up rushers, he should intrigue.

53. iDL Renell Wren, Arizona State

Age: 24 | Athletic Profile: 77th percentile

Where He Wins: Absolutely bull rushed his OL to the floor in first play vs Washington in 2017. Plays 1T and 3T. Locks out and finds ball to work towards making a play. Vision through separation. Carries weight very well, competes at a high level. His game is built on creating disruption in his first two steps. 

Forecast: There are a limited number of athletic interior disruptors in this class, and Wren is one.

58. S Deionte Thompson, Alabama

Age: 21 | Athletic Profile: Injured

Where He Wins: Best in a middle of field role, displaying range and closing quicks to make a play on receivers and ball carriers. He’s all about undercutting passes at the intermediate and downfield portions of coverage or closing and aiming low. On contested catches, he likes to wrap up with one arm and extend to disrupt the receiver's hands with the other.

Forecast: Injury and down 2018 player likely is the driving factor in Thompson still being available on Day 3.

59. EDGE Anthony Nelson, Iowa

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: 78th percentile

Where He Wins: Has a variety of moves that all resulted in success. His two-hand press-pull-release works in one on one situations. If he faces a tight end, Nelson can bully them back with a bull rush, then release when winning the balance battle. He also shows bend to maximize position on the outside.

Forecast: The more I watched him, the more I liked him. Nelson has a pass rush plan and quite good movement skills, especially in tight areas, for a pass rusher of his size.

62. EDGE D’Andre Walker, Alabama

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: ?

Where He Wins: Squatty edge rusher who can also work as a drop end. He’s a bit like a condensed Josh Allen. His goal is to get to quarterback depth with his tackle catching up, then using his shorter frame to lean and take a tight line to the quarterback.

Forecast: Often used as the fourth rusher but in a two-point stance. Wins on an outside line, but also closes quickly looping inside. Crashes down the line with intensity.

67. iOL Dru Samia, Oklahoma

Age: 22 | Athletic Profile: 18th percentile

Where He Wins: Easy mover who is always under control. Very good at staying active when left uncovered, checking defenders with his eyes and hands while not losing balance, then working to the second level. Smart player to recognize tackle-end stunts. Works to get back in phase when overextension does happen, and uses that momentum to still gain positive positioning.

Forecast: Obviously played along the best offensive line in college football. Showed well during Senior Bowl week. Finisher.

69. EDGE Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan

Age: ? | Athletic Profile: 88th percentile

Where He Wins: A bit hectic in his plan, as his hands and body can get animated and out of sync, but Crosby is super slippery. His athleticism shows up in his fluid movements and how he gets skinny to work the shoulders and angles of his blockers.

Forecast: He’s wild and takes himself out of too many plays. Not knowing what you’re getting out of him every snap is a drawback, but if a team harnesses that movement, he can at least be a team’s third rusher.

72. WR Riley Ridley, Georgia 116. iDL Cortez Broughton, Cincinnati
73. RB Devine Ozigbo, Nebraska 117. LB Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame
76. WR Stanley Morgan, Nebraska 118. iOL Trevon Tate, Memphis
78. WR Emanuel Hall, Missouri 119. CB Corey Ballentine, Washburn
86. S Amani Hooker, Iowa 121. WR Kelvin Harmon, NC State
87. iOL Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas 123. CB Jordan Brown, SDSU
89. CB Isaiah Johnson, Houston 125. TE Foster Moreau, LSU
93. iOL Phil Haynes, Wake Forest 126. TE Alizé Mack, Notre Dame
94. iOL Lamont Gaillard, Georgia 127. RB James Williams. Washington St
95. iDL Daniel Wise, Kansas 128. iDL Michael Dogbe, Temple
97. CB Jimmy Moreland, JMU 129. iDL John Cominsky, Charleston
98. CB Amani Oruwariye, Penn St 131. iDL Kingsley Keke, Texas A&M
100. S Marvell Tell, USC 132. iDL Armon Watts, Arkansas
104. LB Mack Wilson, Alabama 133. EDGE Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma St
106. EDGE Charles Omenihu, Texas 137. CB Donnie Lewis Jr., Tulane
107. LB Blake Cashman, Minnesota 141. WR KeeSean Johnson, Fresno St
109. TE Trevon Wesco, WVU 142. WR Hunter Renfrow, Clemson
110. S Ugo Amadi, Oregon 143. CB Kris Boyd, Texas
112. RB Bryce Love, Stanford 144. LB Vosean Joseph, Florida
114. iDL Daylon Mack, Texas A&M 145. LB Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington
Josh Norris

Josh Norris is an NFL Draft Analyst for NBC Sports Edge and contributed to the Rams scouting department during training camp of 2010 and the 2011 NFL Draft. He can be found on Twitter .