Draft Dish: Look for these late-round prospects to become solid starters

The NFL Draft’s first three rounds get almost all of the attention, but the teams that win consistently do a good job of finding starters in later rounds. Here are 10 likely late-round picks or undrafted free agents who could eventually become quality starters.

Offensive prospects

Levi Brown, QB, Troy
An athletic quarterback who played in a wide-open spread attack, Brown must adjust to playing under center. He has a strong arm and can make every NFL throw with zip and accuracy when his footwork is sound. He is poised under pressure and will not force throws into bad spots to avoid sacks.

He has a very quick release with good zip — even when there is pressure in his face and he can’t stride into his throws. Brown is a bit raw and will need a season or two as a backup to develop, but he should become a good starting quarterback.

Chris Campbell, T, Eastern Illinois
Campbell has the talent to become a good starting left tackle, but he has a lot of work to do first. He is a tall, well-built prospect with the long arms, quickness and athleticism to slide out and block edge pass rushers. He also has the agility to move outside and block effectively in space.

Despite these positives, Campbell won’t be a high pick because his technique is very raw and he gets beaten too often. He won’t be able to contribute any time soon, which is why he’ll most likely be a seventh-round pick or a free agent.

Otis Hudson, T, Eastern Illinois
Not only does Hudson have good size and athletic ability, but he has adjusted well to a position change after beginning his career as a defensive lineman at Minnesota. He is a thickly built prospect, with good athleticism and natural strength. Though his technique needs much improvement, he is a very competitive blocker who is able to control his man if he can lock up on him.

Hudson won’t be drafted before the seventh round, but he has the talent and competitiveness to become a quality starter after a season or two on the practice squad.

Defensive prospects

Travis Ivey, NT, Maryland
Ivey is a big, thick-bodied prospect who has the natural strength to be dominant at the point of attack. He can hold his ground against double-teams, clogging the inside and allowing linebackers to make plays. But he did not always play with passion and intensity at Maryland and was ridden out of plays too often.

Ivey will likely be a sixth- or seventh-round pick who may get cut once or twice if his intensity doesn’t improve. If the light goes on, however, he has the talent to be a good starting nose tackle in the NFL.

Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, DE, Washington
Because Te’o-Nesheim lacks the explosiveness be a top edge rusher, it’s easy to overlook him. But he has quick feet and good speed, which enable him to consistently chase down running plays in pursuit. Though he can’t blow by offensive tackles as a pass rusher, his quickness, hand use and excellent intensity allow him to be effective.

He isn’t likely to be chosen before the sixth round, but he has the ability to develop into a starter if he can bulk up to 270 pounds. At that weight, he could be a solid strongside end in a 4-3 scheme. If he can bulk up to 290, he could become a good starting end in a 3-4.

Want more? We’ve posted an expanded file on late-round prospects who could become starters. Click here and read it in the War Room Draft Dish.

For more than 660 player scouting reports from Lande and his team of former NFL scouts — plus updated Mock Draft, Super 99 rankings and more — go to warroom.sportingnews.com.

The NFL Draft’s first three rounds get almost all of the attention, but the teams that win consistently do a good job of finding starters in later rounds. Here are 10 likely late-round picks or undrafted free agents who could eventually become quality starters.

Offensive prospects

Levi Brown, QB, Troy
An athletic quarterback who played in a wide-open spread attack, Brown must adjust to playing under center. He has a strong arm and can make every NFL throw with zip and accuracy when his footwork is sound. He is poised under pressure and will not force throws into bad spots to avoid sacks.

He has a very quick release with good zip — even when there is pressure in his face and he can’t stride into his throws. Brown is a bit raw and will need a season or two as a backup to develop, but he should become a good starting quarterback.

Chris Campbell, T, Eastern Illinois
Campbell has the talent to become a good starting left tackle, but he has a lot of work to do first. He is a tall, well-built prospect with the long arms, quickness and athleticism to slide out and block edge pass rushers. He also has the agility to move outside and block effectively in space.

Despite these positives, Campbell won’t be a high pick because his technique is very raw and he gets beaten too often. He won’t be able to contribute any time soon, which is why he’ll most likely be a seventh-round pick or a free agent.

Otis Hudson, T, Eastern Illinois
Not only does Hudson have good size and athletic ability, but he has adjusted well to a position change after beginning his career as a defensive lineman at Minnesota. He is a thickly built prospect, with good athleticism and natural strength. Though his technique needs much improvement, he is a very competitive blocker who is able to control his man if he can lock up on him.

Hudson won’t be drafted before the seventh round, but he has the talent and competitiveness to become a quality starter after a season or two on the practice squad.

Defensive prospects

Travis Ivey, NT, Maryland
Ivey is a big, thick-bodied prospect who has the natural strength to be dominant at the point of attack. He can hold his ground against double-teams, clogging the inside and allowing linebackers to make plays. But he did not always play with passion and intensity at Maryland and was ridden out of plays too often.

Ivey will likely be a sixth- or seventh-round pick who may get cut once or twice if his intensity doesn’t improve. If the light goes on, however, he has the talent to be a good starting nose tackle in the NFL.

Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, DE, Washington
Because Te’o-Nesheim lacks the explosiveness be a top edge rusher, it’s easy to overlook him. But he has quick feet and good speed, which enable him to consistently chase down running plays in pursuit. Though he can’t blow by offensive tackles as a pass rusher, his quickness, hand use and excellent intensity allow him to be effective.

He isn’t likely to be chosen before the sixth round, but he has the ability to develop into a starter if he can bulk up to 270 pounds. At that weight, he could be a solid strongside end in a 4-3 scheme. If he can bulk up to 290, he could become a good starting end in a 3-4.

Want more? We’ve posted an expanded file on late-round prospects who could become starters. Click here and read it in the War Room Draft Dish.

For more than 660 player scouting reports from Lande and his team of former NFL scouts — plus updated Mock Draft, Super 99 rankings and more — go to warroom.sportingnews.com.

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