The 2019 NFL Draft is officially one week away. In every draft, there are high-quality players that are selected in the mid-rounds that are not only able to contribute right away, but also can make a significant impact.
What is a mid-round marvel you ask? A mid-round marvel is a player selected after the third round of the draft that is able to become an immediate starter or is able to contribute in a significant way downstream.
Some examples of a mid-round marvel would be players such as Kam Chancellor (fifth round of the 2010 draft), Geno Atkins (fourth round of the 2010 draft) and Josh Norman (fifth round of the 2012 draft). Let’s take a look at some players that are candidates to be a mid-round marvel in the 2019 NFL draft.
Justin Hollins, Outside Linebacker, Oregon
Hollins has the tools to be a versatile chess-piece as he has the ability to play as a stand-up backer in a 4-3 defense and can rush the passer from the edge. He stood out during the East-West Shrine Game week as he looked explosive, exhibited the ability to bend and consistently disengaged from blockers. During his tenure at Oregon, Hollins was highly productive. He racked up 184 tackles, 14 sacks, and 7 forced fumbles. Hollins is likely to hear his name called in the fourth round of the draft and should be able to find his way on the field quickly.
Perfect Fit: New England Patriots
Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver, Georgia
He will not garner the attention of fellow Georgia receiver Riley Ridley. But Mecole Hardman might be the better player. Hardman has game-changing speed that allows him to create massive yards after the catch. Opposing defenses will have to account and game plan for Hardman’s speed at all times. Comparatively, he will not confuse anyone as being the next Jerry Rice as it relates to running routes. However, he is a big play waiting to happen. As a matter of fact, he adds even more value as he happens to be the best kick returner in the draft as well. There is no doubt that a team will take a chance on Hardman in the middle of this draft.
Perfect Fit: Pittsburgh Steelers
Jahlani Tavai, Linebacker, Hawaii
Tavai has the size and frame that NFL general managers covet. As a four-year starter at Hawaii, Tavai was able to establish himself as a productive player as evidenced by his 391 career tackles and 17.5 sacks. He sheds blockers well and exhibits the ability to effectively read offenses. He does not have above-average speed but is able to make up for that with his instincts and athleticism. Whomever drafts Tavai in the mid-rounds of the draft will get tremendous value as Tavai should be an eventual starter in this league.
Perfect Fit: Los Angeles Chargers
Isaiah Johnson, Cornerback, Houston
With the NFL becoming more and more of a passing league, finding solid cornerbacks is a premium for front offices. Standing 6’3 with impressively long arms, Johnson excels in press coverage. However, he needs to improve his technique and find more consistency to be a quality starter at the next level. With that said, Johnson has the size and tools that coaches will want to work with. Furthermore, he has the Seattle Seahawks written all over him.
Perfect Fit: Seattle Seahawks
Benny Snell Jr., Running Back, Kentucky
Snell is Kentucky’s all-time leading rusher, racking up 3,873 yards during his three-year career as a Wildcat. He is quick, has the ability to make defenders miss and plays with a swagger. Snell has demonstrated a knack for the end-zone as his 48 career rushing touchdowns would indicate. While he isn’t the fastest back in the draft, he does indeed have adequate speed and durability to be a productive every-down back in the NFL.
Perfect Fit: Baltimore Ravens
Tyree Jackson, Quarterback, Buffalo
There is no quarterback with a higher ceiling in the entire draft class than Tyree Jackson. Jackson has tremendous size, standing over 6”7 and an absolute cannon for an arm. He has the tools to be a starter in the NFL, but is raw and needs plenty of work. Some of his positives include the ability to move in the pocket, the ability to sling the football and is very coachable. There will be a team salivating to select Jackson if he is still on the board at the end of the third round.
Perfect Fit: Carolina Panthers
Hunter Renfrow, Wide Receiver, Clemson
It seems that fans of every NFL team want their favorite team to select Renfrow in the fourth or fifth round range. He doesn’t possess any elite traits. However, Renfrow consistently produced against the best competition that college football had to offer. He is gritty, tough and the ultimate effort player. There is a place in the NFL for him as a productive slot receiver with the ability to move the chains.