Saturday marked the third and final day of the NFL Draft. When you get to Day 3, you’re looking for a few prospects that landed in spots that might provide some fantasy intrigue for late in drafts. Below is a look at a few Day 3 prospects that caught my eye, plus the biggest Day 3 news, the trade of D’Andre Swift.
After the Lions took Jahmyr Gibbs with the No. 12 overall pick, it seemed to signal that Swift’s long-term future with the Lions wasn’t particularly bright. On Saturday, the Eagles traded a Fourth-Round pick to acquire Swift. Swift, in three years with the Lions, rushed for 1,680 yards and 18 touchdowns, catching 156 passes for 1,198 yards. That gives the Eagles another major weapon in the backfield.
The Eagles’ backfield is loaded. The team signed free agent Rashaad Penny, and already has Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott on the roster. The Eagles have used a committee approach to the backfield in the past, and that seems likely this season. Swift has RB1 ceilings game-to-game, but I like him as an RB2 for fantasy in 2023. He’s in the final year of his contract, so a strong performance will go a long way to determining a long-term role.
- Stetson Bennett, taken No. 128 by the Los Angeles Rams. On Day 3 we saw a lot of quarterbacks taken but none project to have an immediate fantasy return. Bennett was a solid starter for the National Champion Georgia team, and he solidified his position as QB6 in this class with a Fourth-Round landing with the Rams. The Rams don’t have anything behind Matthew Stafford, giving Bennett a chance to get on the field in 2023. He likely profiles as a career backup, but it’s a decent landing spot.
- Jake Haener, taken No. 127 by the New Orleans Saints. Haener, who looked strong for the Fresno State Bulldogs at times, went to the Saints. Does he have potential as a long-term backup? Possibly. But with Derek Carr and Jameis Winston on the roster, I don’t expect to see the field in 2023.
- Clayton Tune, taken No. 139 by the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have Kyler Murray, who is their long-term starter that just signed a massive extension last off-season. But Murray is coming on an ACL injury that could well leave him missing a chunk of the season. Tune, then, becomes an interesting spot starting option. Will he get thrown out there? Probably not, but he could become a solid backup to a quarterback in Murray who has missed time in the past.
- Sean Clifford, taken No. 149 by the Green Bay Packers. This was a surprising pick, but since the Packers traded Aaron Rodgers, they don’t have much behind Jordan Love. That makes any quarterback acquired a bit interesting.
- Jaren Hall, taken No. 164 by the Minnesota Vikings. Hall is interesting for the same reason as the rest of the players on this list, there isn’t a lot ahead of him on the roster. Kirk Cousins is the starter, but there’s space on the depth chart behind him. Hall was an interesting prospect, so as a speculative add in a Superflex League, that makes sense.
- Max Duggan, taken No. 139 by the Los Angeles Chargers. Duggan was another intriguing prospect, coming from TCU. He joins a Chargers team with Justin Herbert as the starter but, again, there’s not much behind Duggan. That gives him at least a chance to see the field if anything happens.
- Roschon Johnson, taken No. 115 by the Chicago Bears. Are you taking Johnson high in your rookie draft? Probably not. But he’s a running back with Fourth Round draft capital on a team with a recent Sixth Round Pick (Khalil Herbert) as the likely starter. The Bears also have veteran D’Onta Foreman, so it’s not lock Johnson sees the field, but there is enough opportunity for him to be part of that next wave of running backs for me.
- Israel Abanikanda, taken No. 143 by the New York Jets. Abanikanda is an interesting prospect but doesn’t land in a great spot. The Jets have a star in Breece Hall and a good young backs in Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight. So, taking Abanikanda is more of a speculative add. It was a solid NFL pick, but it won’t pay any immediate fantasy dividends.
- Chase Brown, taken No. 163 by the Cincinnati Bengals. Brown is an interesting pick that lands in a solid spot with the Bengals. Joe Mixon is the starter, but his primary backup from a year ago, Samaje Perine, is now in Denver. That gives Brown a potential path to touches if he picks up the offense well. That’s what you’re looking for in a Third Round running back pick in your rookie drafts.
- Eric Gray, taken No. 172 by the New York Giants. The Giants have Saquon Barkley, and he’s a three-down starter when healthy. But he’s been known to miss games. That gives the backs behind him opportunity. Matt Breida returns, giving the Giants some depth, but Gray is an intriguing prospect because of the depth chart and the potential opportunity.
- Deuce Vaughn, taken No. 212 by the Dallas Cowboys. A lot was made of the fact Vaughn got the call from his father, who is a scout for the Cowboys. But he’s an interesting prospect. Do I expect immediate production? No. But the Cowboys are re-making their running back group, with Tony Pollard taking the lead spot coming off a broken leg. The team also has veteran Ronald Jones, but it’s not lock he’s a key contributor. That gives Vaughn at least a chance to earn snaps during the off-season.
- Zach Evans, taken No. 215 by the Los Angeles Rams. Evans is the last of the backs taken on this list, but he might have landed in the best position. The Rams have Cam Akers, and last year’s Fifth Round selection in Kyren Williams, but it’s fair to say they have a mostly wide-open group. Akers had ups and downs on the field and with coaches, and Williams is unproven. That gives Evans, a player some had as high as third in this RB class, a great chance to seize on some rookie year snaps.
- Kayshon Boutte, taken No. 187 by the New England Patriots. Most of the relevant receivers went the first two days, but there are a couple Sixth Round selections I might take a flyer on in my rookie draft. The first is Boutte, a player who has bounced around a lot on evaluations throughout the off-season. The LSU product has talent, but it’s been unclear what his role, if any, could be in the NFL. That’s part of the reason he slipped to the middle of the Sixth Round, not an ideal spot for draft capital. Boutte goes to a Patriots team that is in need of weapons, which gives him late round intrigue in rookie drafts. We’ll see if he hits.
- Trey Palmer, taken No. 191 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Palmer is a guy who flies down the field. The Buccaneers’ offensive line and quarterback situation is a work-in-progress, as is the quarterback situation. The team also has Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Russell Gage at receiver. So, there’s not an obvious path to touches for Palmer. But Scotty Miller is gone, so maybe he can fill a niche role.
- A.T. Perry, taken No. 195 by the New Orleans Saints. Perry is another player who might get a shot. The New Orleans Saints depth chart has some holes. Chris Olave is there, and is solid, then comes Michael Thomas, who has struggled to stay on the field the past three seasons. After that, it’s a lot of questions and projects. So, that gives Perry some intrigue if he can prove himself this off-season. Again, this isn’t a player you’re taking early, but in the late Third or Fourth round of a rookie draft, I’m giving it a shot.
- Will Mallory, taken No. 162 by the Indianapolis Colts. Most of the tight ends you’re going to want to draft were taken the first two days. Nine total tight ends were taken in those rounds, so there are plenty of options. There were some Day 3 tight ends taken but the one that I might take a shot on is Mallory, a raw but intriguing prospect. The Colts have a lot of guys at tight end, but Mallory could make is way in that group. As a late in the draft flyer, you could do worse.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.
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