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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 South teams.
Offense: Anthony Schwartz – WR, Auburn
Even in this year without the combine where all the 40-yard dash times seem a little fast, Schwartz’s 4.26 seems legit. Speedy Colt’s wideout Parris Campbell hasn’t been able to stay healthy, which makes the addition of Schwartz a no brainer. He always seems to be one missed tackle away from a huge TD, so one misdirection play will usually allow him some open field.
Defense: Paris Ford – Safety, Pittsburgh
Originally regarded as a possible day one pick, Ford has slid down into the day two and even day three draft board. He’s a real threat in the run game who comes hard downhill from the safety position. His mentality meshes well with the Colts’ hard nosed defensive mindset and he will help uphold the number two rush defense in the league.
Offense: James Hudson – OT, Cincinnati
Head coach Urban Meyer may look to people he trusts on college staffs to help him find guys to protect Trevor Lawrence. Hudson will require a little polishing but he’s physically gifted enough to play tackle at an elite level. He not only played for Meyer’s college rival at Michigan, but also for a good and trusted friend in Luke Fickell after his transfer to Cincy.
*Side-note* both Meyer and Hudson were born in Toledo, Ohio. It’s pretty much destiny now.
Defense: Jonathon Cooper – DE, Ohio State
Cooper played under Meyer during his tenure in Columbus, and he was the first Buckeye to wear the “Block O” jersey. He finally had his breakout season as a 5th year senior, which led him to being the highest PFF graded defender against ranked teams. A good 40 time and a great three cone drill solidified Cooper’s draft stock as a day three selection.
Offense: T.J. Vasher – WR, Texas Tech
The Texans first pick of the draft comes in round three, so they need to really know what they’re looking for to improve their team. One area they could improve is getting a tall red zone wideout, due to their three starting wideouts all being under six feet tall. Vasher has a packed highlight tape with circus catches and contested grabs. The only issue with him is the effort but if that gets squared away, the sky is literally the limit for the 6’6” Vasher.
Defense: Tommy Togiai – DL, Ohio State
Aside from the Deshaun Watson saga that has been going on for weeks, the Texans really did a good job in building up their linebacker and secondary groups. The defensive line could use a guy like Togiai, who is versatile enough to play all spots on their 3-4 front. Also he’s ridiculously strong, as he boasted 40 reps in the bench press.
Offense: Matt Bushman – TE, BYU
It’s wild to think about how good BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was last season without his favorite target at tight end. Bushman has incredible hands to make contested grabs in traffic, and the route running ability to flex out wide. If it wasn’t for a torn Achilles before 2020, he would be a firm top four tight end.
Defense: Caden Sterns – Safety, Texas
Just like the aforementioned Ford, Sterns is a player that was highly rated coming into 2020. Regardless of the drop in ranking, he still is extremely efficient at high pointing the ball downfield and will literally launch himself to bat passes down. Maybe Sterns can imitate the greatness of Longhorn safety turned Titan in Michael Griffin.