Forget about the first round. The fun from the NFL draft comes from trying to figure out which players were the biggest steals.
After about the second round, casual fans stop giving the draft a ton of attention. They check into ESPN or NFL Network to see whom their favorite team has just drafted. These picks in the later rounds are not given the same amount of scrutiny as those in the first and second rounds; however, there are plenty of potential All-Pros and Pro Bowlers drafted on the second and third days every year.
As has probably been mentioned once or twice, Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round with the 199th overall pick of the 2000 draft. He's gone on to have a pretty successful career, winning three Super Bowls and two MVPs.
Although these players will struggle to have the success of Brady, they were great picks nonetheless.
No. 33 Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International
The Jacksonville Jaguars needed to come out of the draft with a safety. Fortunately, they managed to snag one of the best, in the second round. Jonathan Cyprien could have easily been taken in the first round. This is a great value pick for the Jags and a vital addition to their defense.
Cyprien isn't an elite athlete, but he more than makes up for that with his fantastic instincts. According to CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman, Cyprien's position coach praised his former player:
He reads the game very well and manages to get himself in the right places at the right times. Of course, Cyprien can gamble a bit too much at times. He'll get caught out of position and give up the big play occasionally. That's hardly unique, though, for an aggressive safety.
Physicality is another of Cyprien's best traits. He's perhaps the hardest-hitting safety in the draft. He'll lay out receivers when they try to get over the middle.
No. 40 San Francisco 49ers: Cornellius Carradine, DE, Florida State
This is the perfect fit for both parties. The 49ers need a defensive end who can get after the passer. In San Francisco, Cornellius "Tank" Carradine can sit behind Justin Smith as he gets himself back to full health.
When he's on the field and healthy, Carradine is a monster. He's a great athlete and has enough moves to get around opposing linemen. With his strength, Carradine can overpower and bull rush smaller blockers, but he can also jostle with bigger, stronger opponents as well.
Inexperience is one of the biggest concerns with him , which is why San Francisco is a great fit; there's no immediate need for him to get on the field. Down the line, the 49ers will need to replace Smith. For the time being, they'll be happy to have Carradine on the bench and learning from a player like Smith.
No. 78 Buffalo Bills: Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
E.J. Manuel was a bit of a questionable pick in the first round. Should he end up leading the Buffalo Bills' offense, he'll have a great target in Marquise Goodwin.
Buffalo nailed it taking both Goodwin and Robert Woods. They're very good complements for one another. Woods is the more polished receiver who will go over the middle. Goodwin is the greyhound.
Speed kills, and Goodwin has it in spades. Apparently, he has run the 40-yard dash in under 4.2 seconds (h/t Tim Graham of The Buffalo News):
He wasn't asked to do a lot at Texas in the passing game, so Goodwin's route-running skills are lacking. If he can improve that area of his game, Goodwin will be a major threat in the Bills' air attack.
As things stand right now, Goodwin is at least a deep threat who can extend defenses. Buffalo can also get him the ball on slant routes and screens in order to try to get him in the open field.
No. 187 Arizona Cardinals: Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
Normally you don't see a sixth-rounder have much of a chance to start by training camp. Andre Ellington is an exception, as there's a very good chance the Arizona Cardinals won't be able to resist throwing him into the fire immediately.
As a smaller back, he doesn't have the kind of strength you'd want to see to make up for his lack of speed. Ellington is quick, but he's not going to be mistaken for a track star.
Ellington is a very good runner. He's patient enough to let the holes open up, and his initial quickness lets him get through the hole before the window closes. With first-rounder Jonathan Cooper in front of him, the rookie running back should find plenty of room to run.
In terms of a sixth-round pick, you can't get more value than this.
No. 218 Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Poyer, CB, Oregon State
Here's all you need to know how good this pick was (h/t Sheil Kapadia of Birds 24/7):
Jordan Poyer is a bit undersized and he's not the kind of prototypical strong, physical corner at the line of scrimmage.
That aside, he's an intelligent player who can read the game very well. Poyer was a ball hawk in college and intercepted 11 passes in the past two seasons. Despite his small stature, Poyer will fight for the ball with any wideout.
Experience is also a major plus for him . He played in zone and man-to-man defenses at Oregon State and excelled with both. That's a nice luxury to have in a rookie corner.
It's a wonder how Poyer managed to fall to the seventh round.