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2024 NFL Draft: Gallagher's Five Best Value Picks From Day 3

There's an old saying in football that when it comes to the NFL Draft, rounds 1-3 are the easy picks, and rounds 4-7 are the selections that make Super Bowl champions. Just look at last season: The Rams found reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Puka Nacua in the fifth round. Along with this, after waiting until day three to hear his name called, Dawand Jones had a stellar campaign for the Cleveland Browns. The Ohio State product made his case for the best rookie tackle. He surrendered just one sack on over 400 pass-blocking snaps while earning a grade of 64.7 from Pro Football Focus. With 257 picks now in the books, here are my five best-value choices from Saturday in Detroit.

New England Patriots: Javon Baker, WR (UCF)

Following the selection of what they hope is their franchise signal-caller of the future in Drake Maye, New England doubled down at the wide receiver spot. After selecting Washington Huskies product Ja'Lynn Polk 37th overall, the team grabbed UCF's Javon Baker to start the fourth round. A former five-star recruit, he began his college career at Alabama before transferring before the start of the 2022 season. Immediately becoming the go-to option for the Knights' passing game, the Atlanta native hauled in 52 receptions for 1139 yards and seven touchdowns in 2023 while earning First-team All-Big 12 honors. He has the skill set to win at all three levels of the field with his refined route-running skills and contested catch abilities.       

Baltimore Ravens: T.J. Tampa, CB (Iowa State)

A two-year starter at Iowa State, Tampa earned first-team All-Big 12 honors as a senior. He recorded 44 tackles, nine pass breakups, and a pair of interceptions. Offering ideal size and length for a defensive back at 6'1, 189lbs, the Pennsylvania native has advanced movement skills, allowing him to sink his hips in coverage and get out of his break to make plays on the football. Furthermore, Tampa uses his excellent instincts and physicality to knock the ball loose from opposing wide receivers. Once considered a day-two selection, the 22-year-old was Daniel Jeremiah's 84th-best prospect. He likely fell due to his 4.58 40-yard dash time at the Cyclones pro day. Opting to double down at the cornerback position, the Ravens grabbed Clemson's Nate Wiggins in the first round.  

Kansas City Chiefs: Jaden Hicks, SAF (Washington State)

Kansas City began the draft by selecting three straight offensive players, including University of Texas speedster Xavier Worthy at 28th overall. Adding to their defense in the fourth round, the Chiefs took Hicks. One of the most productive safeties in the nation in 2023, the 21-year-old racked up 79 tackles, six tackles for loss, six pass breakups, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and a forced fumble in 12 starts for the Cougars. This led him to earn Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 honors. Widely regarded as a top 100 player throughout the draft process, Hicks is a versatile player who can move all over the field. Last season, he logged 456 snaps in the box, 200 snaps deep, and 103 snaps over the slot, making him the perfect chess piece for defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Buffalo Bills: Sedrick Van Pran-Granger IOL (Georgia)

Buffalo parted ways with Mitch Morse in a salary-shedding move, leaving a hole at the center spot. Connor McGovern is expected to slide over from left guard and handle snapping duties for Josh Allen. However, expect Van Pran-Granger to immediately compete for starting reps as a rookie. A model of consistency over his time at Georgia, the New Orleans native made 44 consecutive starts for the Bulldogs after earning the starting job before the start of the 2021 season. The 22-year-old is a firm run blocker who is stout at the point of attack. He has elite first-step quickness that allows him to help on double teams while also pulling as a lead blocker to climb to the second level.  

Green Bay Packers: Michael Pratt, QB (Tulane)

A disciple of the Ron Wolf tree, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst made it clear before the draft that he wanted to get back to selecting a quarterback each year. Staying true to his word, Green Bay took Tulane quarterback Michael Pratt at pick number 245 in the seventh round. A four-year starter with the Green Wave, he shattered Patrick Ramsey’s school records for passing yards and passing touchdowns. The 2023 AAC Offensive Player of The Year also threw a touchdown pass in 44 of his 45 games. A quick processor pre-snap, Pratt has clean mechanics with a smooth throwing delivery. Furthermore, he can layer throws to all three levels of the field. While he lacks the physical tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, the Florida native will compete with Sean Clifford for the backup job behind Jordan Love.

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