2018 NFL Draft Winners and Losers: Day 3



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By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
May 3, 2018



Winners

Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals did very well on the third day of the 2018 NFL Draft, adding three talents with starting skill sets for the NFL. Taking Miami running back Mark Walton in the fourth round was excellent value, because he has the running and receiving skills to start in the NFL. With Cincinnati, however, he will be a valuable backup behind Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard. Walton will probably be the primary backup to Mixon in a year or two and gives the Bengals excellent depth if Mixon gets hurt.

Cornerback Davontae Harris and defensive tackle Andrew Brown were fifth-round choices who both have size, speed and athleticism. Harris is sleeper who has the potential to be an outside corner. Brown has an early-round skill set, and he could be a boom pick if he puts it all together.

I also like what Cincinnati did in the seventh round. Toledo quarterback Logan Woodside has some arm talent and could be a quality backup. Florida State wide receiver Auden Tate is a massive player who could provide at least a red-zone weapon for Andy Dalton. The Bengals did an excellent job of taking talented depth players with their seven picks during Day 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft.



Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have taken a lot of heat for a bad draft class, and I can understand questioning the early-round selections. However in the mid-rounds, the vast majority of players selected never pan out in the NFL. In fact, less than 50 percent of second-round picks make it as pros, so I think Oakland's strategy of taking some boom-or-bust players makes some sense. The Raiders could end up getting some massive steals from their third-day picks.

Wisconsin cornerback Nick Nelson isn't really a boom-or-bust selection. He was graded as a second-rounder across the league but slipped because of a meniscus tear. That injury is supposed to be healed by training camp, so Nelson could definitely be a steal for Oakland. Fifth-round pick Maurice Hurst was a consensus second-day pick who could be a dynamic interior pass-rusher. He slipped because of concerns over a heart issue, and if that doesn't hold him back, then he will be a great value. Azeem Victor was being projected to Day 2 prior to a rough 2017. In the seventh round, the Raiders took wide receiver Marcell Ateman, who has mismatch size potential. Overall, I think Oakland could end up having some big-time steals from its third-day group.



Indianapolis Colts
A year ago, I had the Colts as a winner for Day 3, and general manager Chris Ballard made it two years in a row with a strong group of picks on the third day in the 2018 NFL Draft. To lead it off, he took N.C. State running back Nyheim Hines, who will immediately be one of the fastest running backs in the NFL. Beyond providing big-play speed on offense, Hines brings the added value of contributing on special teams as a returner. I think Hines could provide a real spark for Indianapolis on offense and special teams.

Fifth-round wide receiver Daurice Fountain and sixth-round wide receiver Deon Cain both could be good contributors. Cain is a one-trick-pony deep-threat receiver, but he will give defenses coverage problems on the other side from T.Y. Hilton. Fountain is a good possession receiver who has strong hands, runs good routes, and is gritty receiver. I think he has the potential to grow into a No. 2 or 3 receiver who becomes a solid contributor. Ballard did a nice job of adding a lot of talent to the Colts' roster with his 2018 draft class.




Losers

Houston Texans
I liked Houston's first two selections in the third round, but after that, I think the rest of the team's draft was very questionable. To open the third round, the Texans took Texas Tech speed receiver Keke Coutee. They had a lot of needs to fill in this draft, and adding a competitor at slot receiver was lower on the list. Coutee ran very few routes at Texas Tech and needs a ton of development as a route-runner for the NFL. The Texans run a complicated offense, and I think Coutee could have a hard time beating out Braxton Miller or Bruce Ellington. Houston is in bad shape at cornerback, and passing on Nick Nelson here was a huge mistake by general manager Brian Gaine and head coach Bill O'Brien. Other good picks who could have been made here included Miami running back Mark Walton, Arizona State running back Kalen Ballage and Alabama cornerback Anthony Averett.

In the sixth round, the Texans took a player I like in Wake Forest defensive end Duke Ejiofor. He is an athletic pass-rusher with a good skill set, but Ejiofor's inconsistent motor, production, and run defense, I think, are going to infuriate the hot-tempered Bill O'Brien. As a result, I could see Ejiofor quickly getting in the dog house and working his way off the team. That would be similar to other O'Brien moves on players like D.J. Swearinger and Jaelen Strong.

Other third-day picks, including Jordan Thomas, Peter Kalambayi, and Jermaine Kelly, could have a hard time making the Texans' roster. Thomas has a better shot as blocking tight end considering other Houston tight ends like Jordan Akins and Steven Anderson don't offer anything as blockers in the NFL. I think offensive tackle Greg Senat would have been a better pick than Thomas.

It wouldn't surprise me if Gaine and O'Brien have very little to show from their first draft together. However, it will probably take a couple of years before that is realized.

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