The NFL draft is quickly approaching. Everyone is understandably talking about the big names in the early rounds, such as CJ Stroud and Bryce Young. However, NFL teams are fully aware of potential late-round value.
Day Three is extremely important for teams. Sure, they can find star power in the first round, but the key depth and possible breakout players can be found on day three of the draft. Finding gems in the latter part of the NFL Draft is where scouts can make their money.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at seven NFL Draft gems for day three.
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Stetson Bennett, Georgia
Most people wouldn’t consider this to be a “gem” type of pick. Stetson Bennett was a productive quarterback in college but is already 25 years old.
Are people sleeping on Bennett, though? After all, this is a quarterback who played at a Heisman-caliber level for a championship-caliber team in back-to-back seasons.
Bennett could realistically go undrafted. It seems unlikely that would happen, but it is a possibility.
Bennett doesn’t need to step in and become the franchise QB of the future. Teams can target him late in the NFL Draft as a backup with upside.
After all, 25 years of age isn’t all that old. Many quarterbacks play well into their 30s and sometimes even early 40s. Bennett could still lead a team for years to come or at least be a serviceable depth option.
Truman Jones, Harvard
Truman Jones is a very talented player, but Harvard isn’t exactly a football powerhouse. As a result, Jones hasn’t received much attention.
Jones, a defensive lineman, could prove to be a steal in the NFL Draft this year.
Jones stands 6’4 and weighs 242 pounds. He offers an impressive blend of speed and strength, making him an intriguing player.
He also can offer leadership, as he was Harvard’s team captain in 2022. He won plenty of awards with the program and has displayed quality potential.
Will Jones turn into an NFL Pro Bowler? It is possible, but he should be able to become a starter in the league at the very least.
McClendon Curtis, Chattanooga
McClendon Curtis, out of Chattanooga, is another player who isn’t going to receive much attention. He attended a school that doesn’t garner much of the national spotlight, and he’s an offensive lineman. Nevertheless, Curtis is someone teams need to keep tabs on.
A guard-turned-offensive tackle, he turned in a pass-blocking grade of just under 91. He stands around 6’7 and has plenty of strength. Most teams around the league could use a powerful offensive lineman to add to the mix, and Curtis fits the bill.
It needs to be noted that his stats are easy to overlook since he went to a smaller program. However, he absolutely dominated at Chattanooga, and that is worth something. A team like the Cincinnati Bengals, who are desperate to find extra protection for Joe Burrow, would benefit from drafting a player like Curtis.
Aubrey Miller Jr, Jackson State
Aubrey Miller Jr, out of Jackson State, played a big role in the program’s success in 2022. He thrived under Deion Sanders’ leadership and has the potential to have a strong NFL career.
Miller Jr, a linebacker, stands 6’2 and provides athleticism. He has a knack for tracking down ball carriers and making plays, and he can also help in defending against the passing game.
Surprisingly, Miller Jr isn’t being valued at a higher level. After all, Jackson State received recognition with Sanders at the helm of the football program this past year. Regardless, teams would be smart to take a chance on Miller Jr in the NFL Draft.
Dorian Williams, Tulane
Dorian Williams emerged as a star at Tulane this past year. He is fairly well-known, coming from Tulane, but Williams is still undervalued without question.
Williams, another linebacker, offers a versatile skill set. He excels at getting to the quarterback and causing pressure. He’s also no stranger to recording sacks.
Meanwhile, Williams can also cover passes and tally interceptions. He’s the kind of player who never looks lost on the field. He feels comfortable in most facets of the game.
He can sometimes be inconsistent, but Williams’ upside is worth a chance. He should be on every team’s radar late in the draft.
Derius Davis, TCU
Wide receiver Derius Davis will be a sneaky Day-Three draft pick, assuming he gets selected. He performed well in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and his speed alone may attract suitors.
Davis isn’t a make-or-break player and doesn’t offer as much upside as other players on this list. However, teams typically don’t mind having extra receiving depth. He’s a player who could also help out on special teams, if necessary, based on his skill set.
Starling Thomas V, UAB
Finally, Starling Thomas V, a cornerback from UAB, features upside without question. He offers impressive speed and strength and demonstrated the ability to keep up with most receivers he faced this past season.
He’s listed at 6’0 tall, which is tall enough to find success at the position. Sure, teams may prefer a taller option, but Thomas V shouldn’t be written off at that height.
Thomas V is likely already on the radars of teams around the league. It will be interesting to see if any of them jump the gun and select him on day two. Although, it seems likelier than not that Thomas V will be a Day-Three selection.
These players could all drastically impact the NFL Draft despite falling to the later rounds. It will be interesting to see if any of these Day-Three gems turn into stars in the league.