The third and final day of any NFL Draft is rather exhausting. The league has to organize over 150 draft picks in only a few hours.
And don’t get me started on when two franchises decide to trade picks!
As for the players drafted within rounds 4-7, being a late-round selection could prove to be a blessing in disguise. It could give these new guys extra motivation during the summer training and preseason and use it to prove why they deserve a spot on their teams’ 53-man rosters. Every so often, we see some of these players find a way to put their names out there and take over the conversation.
Here are a few Day-3 draft picks that could make it big in 2023. Since we have a huge field to cover, we are breaking it down into two parts, starting with rookies selected in rounds four & five.
Late-Round Draft Picks Who Could Rise in 2023 (Pt.1)
Clark Phillips III: Cornerback (113th Overall)
The All-American from the University of Utah is a name that should land on more people’s radars. Clark Phillips was part of a Utah squad that made two consecutive Rose Bowl appearances. The Utes also beat Heisman trophy winner, Caleb Williams, and the USC Trojans in last year’s Pac-12 Conference Championship Game.
Being named All-Pac 12 twice, along with Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, does get NFL scouts talking. Now that Phillips has entered the big leagues as an Atlanta Falcon, the talking time is now over, especially if one plays in the NFL’s lousiest division right now: the NFC South.
Atlanta is currently trying to find a winning identity that they seem to have lost after their 2017-2018 season, which was their last playoff appearance. But going 7-10 in back-to-back seasons is not a very good way to go about it. Looking at their roster, the Falcons still have more questions than they have answers for. But if Phillips can create chemistry with the likes of A.J. Terrell and Jesse Bates, he can help that Falcons secondary bolster Atlanta’s defense.
Stetson Bennett IV: Quarterback (128th Overall)
In his final two years at the University of Georgia, Stetson Bennett led the Bulldogs to back-to-back college football championship titles, the first of which ended an over 40-year title drought. Not to mention the Dawgs went 26-1 with him under center in that span.
His numbers are nothing to sneeze at, either. Bennett raked in over 6,900 yards and threw for 56 touchdowns versus only 14 interceptions in those two seasons combined.
Coming into this past draft, however, Bennett had a steeper hill to climb in comparison to other signal-callers taken before him, like Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson. Being a 25-year rookie QB that stands 5’11 and weighs only 192 lbs. does not help his case very much, either. But there is a reason why that Georgia team performed so well with Bennett starting. The way he led that team to the top in two consecutive seasons is a testament to why he deserves a crack at the professional level.
Sure enough, the Los Angeles Rams selected him with the 128th overall pick. If Bennett can absorb every tip and trick he can from head coach Sean McVay and starting quarterback Matthew Stafford (also a Georgia Bulldog), Bennett can replicate the success he enjoyed in college, and then some.
Clayton Tune: Quarterback (139th Overall)
To say that the Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation is a mess right now is an understatement. Starting signal caller, Kyler Murray, is down with a torn ACL and will miss much of the 2023 campaign. The names filling in for him, like Colt McCoy and Jeff Driskel, are not much to write home about either. However, one name sticks out and could be a pleasant surprise for Cardinals fans.
Meet Clayton Tune, a rookie out of the University of Houston. As a Houston Cougar, Tune almost broke 12,000 passing yards and threw 104 passing touchdowns in his college career. His 41 interceptions do present a concern. But he has shown significant improvement in his game season-by-season.
Now, Tune finds himself in the deep end of the pool, so to speak. Not to mention he won’t have DeAndre Hopkins around. Fresh off of a dismal 2022 outing and with a new head coach in tow, Arizona cannot afford to take this rebuilding process lightly. Luckily, Tune does have a few weapons to work with. Having wide receivers, Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore, and tight end Zach Ertz, could help Tune develop his passing game. If this works, Tune can provide the Cardinals organization a much-needed bright spot.
Noah Sewell: Linebacker (148th Overall)
Noah Sewell has been one of the most talked about college prospects during his time at the University of Oregon. Much like his older brother, Lions offensive tackle Penei Sewell, Noah is looking to start hot in his first professional season with the Chicago Bears.
The two-time All-Pac 12 linebacker will have to get his act together almost immediately. The Bears are facing headwinds in different areas of the organization, from building around quarterback Justin Fields to the front office finding a new stadium to succeed Soldier Field. But Sewell does have a key component in developing his skill set, Tremaine Edmunds.
Chicago sought after the two-time Pro Bowl Linebacker from the Buffalo Bills to help lead the Bears’ defense. Sewell could learn how to perfect his craft and become a much-needed impact player on that front seven.
Check back in next week as we bring part 2 of late round picks to look out for in 2023.
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