(Photo Credit: USA Today via Reuters/Jerome Miron)
Every year, there are several players taken on the final day of the draft who not only find their way on to NFL rosters but also make major contributions at some point this season. Here is a look at five players capable of doing so (in alphabetical order):
Antonio Callaway, WR, Cleveland Browns (Round 4)
The speedy Callaway has first-round talent, but too many off-field issues saddle him with perhaps the biggest question mark among draftees. Callaway, who had 89 catches, 1,399 yards and seven touchdowns at Florida in 2015 and ’16, was suspended for the 2017 season for an alleged stolen credit card issue. He also failed a drug test at the combine, was cited for marijuana possession last year and was cleared from sexual assault allegations made the year before. The baggage is plenty, but so is Callaway’s talent.
Tyrell Crosby, OT, Detroit Lions (Round 5)
The Oregon product can play either tackle spot and gained attention with a solid performance at the Senior Bowl. At 6-foot-5, 320 pounds, Crosby has the size to be successful in the NFL and with versatile offensive lineman at a premium, it would not be a stretch for the former Duck to start at some point this season for the Lions, who also took a center with their first pick.
Shaquem Griffin, LB, Seattle Seahawks (Round 5)
Perhaps the most popular player in the draft from a human-interest standpoint. The Central Florida product is a feel-good story who had his left hand amputated as a child due to a condition known as Amniotic Band Syndrome. That never hindered him on the football field, especially in college where he recorded 195 tackles, 33 ½ for loss and 18 ½ sacks. Griffin is quick, but his 6-1, 223-pound frame makes him more of a hybrid linebacker on the pro level.
Maurice Hurst Jr., DT, Oakland Raiders (Round 5)
Taken one pick ahead of Griffin, Hurst was slated to be a first-round pick until he was diagnosed with a heart condition at the combine. He dropped into the fifth round where the Raiders traded up to get him. Though Hurst’s condition was seen as a red flag, the Raiders feel he can still do the job without concern after recording a career-high 59 tackles last season and 13 ½ sacks during his time at Michigan.
Kyle Lauletta, QB, New York Giants (Round 4)
Is this the Giants’ quarterback of the future? That remains to be seen since New York also thinks highly of second-year signal-caller Davis Webb. Lauletta threw for over 3,000 yards in each of his last three seasons at FCS-level Richmond and tossed 52 touchdowns in the last two. Accuracy and touch are Lauletta’s strengths, and he gets to learn under a two-time Super Bowl MVP in Eli Manning. If circumstances align–likely in a negative form–New York might give Lauletta a look later this season.
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