Hitting on Day 3 picks is the most difficult part of drafting but is also one of the most important parts of roster construction. Year in and year out Super Bowl and playoff contending teams find late round gems who become key contributors for them. In recent years the Dallas Cowboys took Dalton Schultz in the fourth, the San Francisco 49ers selected George Kittle and the Green Bay Packers got Aaron Jones in the fifth, and the New England Patriots added Michael Onwenu in the sixth. Although teams don’t have to draft stars on Day 3, they just have to draft contributors to their roster.
The Seattle Seahawks are a great example of the importance of finding contributors on the last day of the draft — Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Kam Chancellor, Byron Maxwell, J.R. Sweezy, Quinton Jefferson, Chris Carson, and Michael Dickson are among Seattle’s most notable Day 3 selections turned contributors if not outright stars. If Seattle can walk away from Day 3 drafting three contributors with their four picks then it would be an extremely successful day; if even one of those picks can turn out to be a star then they might be the winners of the draft in a few seasons.
Carson Strong - Nevada - QB - 6’3 - 226
Round 4 Pick 109
As discussed in my prior two articles, quarterback is a pressing need for Seattle. If Seattle decides to address other needs in the first three rounds then Carson Strong is an extremely logical pick in this spot. Strong is only here because of his injury history, as he has a condition in his knee called osteochondritis dissecans, which is when some of the cartilage in the bone disconnects or deteriorates. The former Nevada QB has had multiple surgeries since high school to address the issue, but without seeing his medicals as well as not having a medical degree it makes it near impossible to judge his long-term future. If Strong did not have this injury label, which I do understand is a big if, there would be considerable talk of him being a day one prospect because of his traits.
Quick scouting notes
- Strong’s best attribute as a passer is far and away his arm strength. He shows an ability to consistently make opposite sideline throws regardless of if it’s a driven ball or if it has to be lofted over the top of a defender. He can zip the ball into tight windows and can effortlessly throw a ball fifty plus yards.
- On the move his arm strength doesn’t slip as he keeps a strong base throughout the play. When moving he displays a great amount of patience, waiting for his receiver to get open by running parallel to the line. Additionally, Strong has the ability to throw off any platform.
- Strong’s accuracy is inconsistent. He shows flashes to where he can perfectly layer a ball, although he also has moments where he struggles to hit open receivers. When his accuracy slips it is almost always a result of his mechanics. On deep balls he has a tendency to throw it solely with his hips and short arm it, rather than stepping into the throw and finishing strong.
- Within fifteen yards his accuracy concerns come mainly from him short arming the ball or fading away on the throw. When Strong’s mechanics are right, he is able to make any throw in the playbook including NFL open throws where there is very little separation.
- Strong displays a good understanding of zone defenses in where to attack and where to try and force his receivers to sit down in the soft spot of the zone.
- Against the blitz, Strong struggles. He does a good job of keeping his eyes down the field rather than having them drop. He gets very antsy against the blitz, often fading away when throwing. His feet can get choppy on blitzes coming from up the middle.
- Strong’s eye discipline does need a little work. Too often he stares down his read rather than looking off and coming back in order to manipulate the defense. He shows the ability to go from side to side with his progressions, although that is not something that was consistently required in Nevada’s offense.
- Strong is not a statue in the pocket and can move but he is never going to be able to rip off chunks if the play breaks down. When provided the opportunity against man coverage he’ll be able to tuck it and run to pick up five or so yards.
Josh Jobe - CB - Alabama - CB- 5’11 - 182
Round 5 Pick 145
Jobe, the only player in this article who does not possess an injury red flag, does have some other concerns. After the 2020 season he was a projected top 100 pick in the 2022 class, although he took a bit of a step back this season which raises some question marks. Seattle is not taking a risk with this pick as worst comes to worst Jobe winds up being a special teamer, which is what you are expecting from this spot in the draft. However, if Jobe can rediscover his 2020 form Seattle could be drafting a starting corner in the middle of day three.
Quick scouting notes
- Jobe’s biggest strength in the passing game is the power he is able to deliver in press coverage. If he gets his hands on the receiver within the first five yards, it sets them back significantly. When Jobe does miss his press, he does lose a step or two at the start of the play, but he possesses the makeup speed and fluidity in his hips to flip them and catch up. In press man coverage Jobe looks very comfortable keeping his eyes locked on the receiver and hardly ever panicking.
- He has extremely quiet feet when playing press in both man and zone as he stays on the balls of his toes rather than getting choppy and flatfooted. His starting press position is a little too deep as rather than staying more upright he gets a bit too far over his skis which does result in wasted movement at the start of the play. Jobe does carry the physicality he brings at the start of the route with him throughout every route.
- At the stem of the route Jobe does allow some separation to be created when he doesn’t have his hands on the receiver. He is reliant on flipping his hips quickly and his makeup speed to get him back into the play, although there are often times where a receiver can create two to three yards of separation against him when snapping it off.
- In off cover three Jobe does look a bit uncomfortable. His footwork at the start of the play is very good as he does display a very quick and fluid pedal off the snap. Jobe’s head and hips have a tendency to flip multiple times throughout the play. His eyes do look a bit panicky, although he does not get grabby throughout the route.
- He does look indecisive at times in zone coverage with his eyes darting from spot to spot not sure who to pick up or how deep to drop. Jobe does struggle with putting his foot in the ground and coming up on the ball regardless of what coverage he is playing. When making a play on the ball carrier Jobe is an extremely sticky and physical tackler everywhere on the field.
Damone Clark - LSU - LB - 6’2 - 239
Round 7 Pick 229
Damone Clark, like Strong, is a player who possesses a significant injury tag. Clark has the talent to be picked at some point on day two. However late in March, Clark underwent spinal fusion surgery to help fix a herniated disc. The consensus is that Clark is going to miss the entirety of the 2022 season, but he is expected to make a full recovery. Losing him for a year of his rookie contract is a massive negative but getting a player of Clark’s talent with a pick that more often than not will turn into a player competing for a roster spot almost entirely outweighs that negative.
Quick scouting notes
- Clark is a great zone coverage defender. He’s extremely fluid in his drop and pairs it with very loose hips and quick feet. He does a great job of handing off players in front of him who go and out of his zone. He does not panic in zone coverage rather setting a strong base and keeping his eyes on the quarterback whilst staying light on his toes. He excels at reading and reacting to what is happening in front of him in zone when the quarterback dumps it off.
- In man coverage Clark is inconsistent as there are times where he shows his over aggressiveness. Rather than staying patient Clark shows a tendency to overplay the route and commit to a spot leaving him open to double moves. When he is patient and willing to let the offensive player show the route before, he reacts to it, he is a great man defender.
- As a blitzer, Clark’s main way of generating pressure is by beating the lineman to the spot whether that be through the A or B gap. He possesses enough downhill speed as well as first step explosiveness that if used in a double mug or delayed blitz with enough regularity he can get three plus sacks a season.
- Clark’s biggest attribute as a run defender comes in his tackling. He struggles occasionally with over pursuing a ball carrier, although if Clark gets his hands on the ball carrier the play is almost always over.
- Clark does lack true sideline to sideline speed, although he’s still able to chase down running backs on plays run to the outside. Clark does need to improve his pursuit as there are too many plays where he breaks it down early.
- Clark does a great job of stacking and shedding lineman rather than getting stuck to them. He packs a punch at the first point of contact which helps prevent him from getting set back at the point of contact. He has active hands which helps him get the lineman off of him quickly or allows him to use his strength and perform a push and pull move to disengage with the blocker.
- Clark occasionally takes himself out of the play on runs by crashing down to the line of scrimmage too quickly which allows him to get sealed off by a lineman due to his proximity to the line.