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- Under The Radar Players On Defense – Conference USA - August 2, 2021
The mid rounds of the NFL draft are just as critical to a team’s success as the first and second rounds. Every year there are late round grabs that become starters, and even all-pros. Let’s take a look at some mid round projections that will be perfect fits for the AFC North teams.
Offense: Quintin Morris – TE, Bowling Green
Morris has strong hands to make contested catches in traffic and runs good routes for a tight end. He can really track deep throws and high point jump balls. He’ll provide Joe Burrow with another red zone weapon to go along with the taller receivers of Tee Higgins and Auden Tate, who are already in the Bengals’ arsenal.
Defense: Israel Mukuamu – CB, South Carolina
Mukuamu stands tall on the outside at 6’4” and has really long arms. He’ll definitely need to add some weight to his frame, but he’s athletic enough to force incompletions. Having him will be beneficial in red zone defense to match up with taller wideouts on fade routes. The only corner over 6’0” on the current roster is newly acquired Eli Apple, who is only 6’1”.
Offense: Jaelon Darden – WR, North Texas
Darden is a supreme inside operator, snagging 16 if his 19 TDs from the slot in 2020. Outside of Jarvis Landry, who can be effective at all the receiver spots, the Browns don’t have a legitimate slot guy. Adding a player like Darden will give Baker Mayfield an underneath threat who will undoubtedly receive little attention with Odell Beckham Jr. and Landry on the outside.
Defense: Garret Wallow – LB, TCU
Wallow is the perfect fit at linebacker for the Browns’ new 4-2-5 base. He played four years in the scheme as a Horned Frog, tallying just shy of 300 career tackles. Wallow has enough athleticism to succeed, and can play down the line or downhill as needed.
Offense: Nick Eubanks – TE, Michigan
Eubanks fits perfectly into what the Ravens want to do on offense. He can be used just as they use their blocking specialist Nick Boyle, paving holes in the run game. Having Andrews, Boyle and Eubanks on the field at the same time would be an intimidating heavy package.
Defense: Pete Werner – LB, Ohio State
The only downside here is that Werner is not accustomed to playing in a 3-4 scheme. The reason he’s slated here is because he is one of the best coverage linebackers in the whole class. The Ravens will deal with the pass heavy Bengals and Steelers twice per year, and will likely have to go through the Chiefs in the playoffs.
Offense: Rhamondre Stevenson – RB, Oklahoma
Stevenson is a small tank at 230 lbs. (likely to be 240 in the pros) who really brings the wood running downhill. The Steelers running game last season fell off a cliff, finishing last in total rushing yards and yards per rush. Having Stevenson in the backfield will come in handy when playing in the nasty weather in November and beyond.
Defense: Tyler Shelvin – DT, LSU
Weighing in at 346 lbs., Shelvin is quite the load. He’s familiar with playing at the nose tackle spot in a 3-4 scheme so the transition to becoming a Steeler won’t be difficult. Having a giant run stuffer will help out when playing the run-happy Browns and Ravens.