Best NFL Value Picks
The most interesting part that most analysts don’t talk about is the return on investment (ROI). When a player is drafted, their salary is slotted with minimal wiggle room for the agents to discuss with the organization, per the CBA. Each player is an investment for the organization and the players that provide the highest ROI will continue to wear an NFL uniform.
Round one is the round with the most star power. As the NFL Draft progresses, players with less and less focus are selected. Rounds four through seven usually contains the highest quantity of value picks. The 2017 NFL Draft had a prime amount of value picks and were lead to victories by some of those rookies.
The following are 7 rookies that were drafted on day three of the NFL draft that had excellent seasons.
WR | Drafted: 4th round (110th overall)
The Jacksonville Jaguars hit a home run with the 110th overall pick and selected the 6’0” wide-receiver from Oklahoma, Dede Westbrook. Westbrook had a sound preseason where he averaged 22.2 Yards per Catch (YPC) and found paydirt two times in three games. While Westbrook got hurt during the preseason, he came back to the Jaguars to play in their matchup with the Cleveland Browns on November 19th. As Westbrook got his stride back, he played a crucial role in the Jaguars’ win over the Seattle Seahawks on December 10th. The former Oklahoma Sooner had five receptions on eight targets and scored his first career touchdown. He finished the season with 27 receptions on 51 targets and averaged 12.6 YPC in just seven games.
FS | 4th Round (112th Overall)
Nick Saban runs an amazing program at the University of Alabama and churns out NFL talent year-in and year-out. Eddie Jackson was one of the most recent players to get selected from Saban’s program to the NFL. The first-year safety was selected 112th overall by the Chicago Bears. Jackson was a ball hawk while he was a Crimson Tide and he treated his rookie year as if he was riding a bicycle. The 6’0” 202 lb. rookie burst onto the scene in the Week 7 for the Bears against the Carolina Panthers. He finished the game with four tackles and one interception returned for a seventy-six-yard touchdown. Jackson was third on the team with tackles (73) and a 75 yard TD against the Panthers in his rookie season.
RB | 4th Round (114th overall)
Oklahoma has been a powerhouse in college football essentially since its existence. They’ve produced a ton of talent at every single position. In recent memory, Oklahoma has produced DeMarco Murray, Adrian Peterson, and now, Samaje Perine. The leading rusher in Oklahoma Sooner football history with 4,122 rushing yards was selected by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round 114th overall. Perine was intermittently used to begin the season for the crowded backfield of the Redskins. After the New Orleans Saints beat the Redskins on Sunday, November 19th, the Redskins backfield was left with Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson injured and on injured reserve, respectively. Perine got his first start of the year against the New York Giants on Thanksgiving night. The former Oklahoma Sooner had twenty-four rushing attempts for one-hundred yards and three receptions for thirty yards. In his first official start, Perine helped the Redskins secure a victory and gave the Washington organization something to be thankful for that night. Moving forward, the Redskins will have a three-down back that they found in the fourth round in the 2017 NFL Draft.
TE | 5th round (146th overall)
In a draft filled with talented tight-ends, George Kittle was a name that not many people heard of prior to the 2017 NFL Draft. The former Iowa Hawkeye was selected in the fifth round by the new GM, Jon Lynch, and new head coach, Kyle Shanahan. While Kittle did not have a season for the ages, he did, however, have a season that will allow the 49ers organization to be excited for the future of their fifth-round selection. Kittle had 63 targets and averaged 12 YPC while finding the end-zone twice. In the 49ers overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, he had seven receptions for eighty-three yards and one score. Later in the season, the 250 lb. tight-end had four receptions for 100 yards and helped the 49ers to round out the season on a high note with a win over the Los Angeles Rams.
SS | 5th round (151th overall)
After the selection of George Kittle, the Los Angeles Chargers made a splash by selecting Desmond King 151st overall, just a few selections later, out of the University of Iowa to bolster their secondary. The Chargers had a very solid cornerback duo coming into the season with Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett and decided to address the safety position. King had a very solid season rookie season and made his name known on Thanksgiving Day against the Dallas Cowboys. The former Hawkeye had five tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown. The Chargers selected King and in return, he provided them with seventy-six tackles, four sacks, and one interception for a touchdown. In college, King was a ball-hawk in college and translated it to the professional level. He will be a solid player for years to come and a fifth-round selection that the Chargers are ecstatic about.
RB | 5th round (182nd overall)
The Green Bay Packers had one of the bigger steals in the draft by selecting Aaron Jones in the fifth round 182nd overall out of the University of Texas-El Paso. Since Aaron Rodgers has been the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, the running back position has been secondary to Packers’ front office. Similar to Samaje Perine, Jones was the leading rusher at his alma mater with 4,114 rushing yards. The former Miner played in his first game on Thursday, September 28th against the Chicago Bears. While his stat-line didn’t jump at you, he did have a rushing score on thirteen rushing attempts and totaled forty-nine rushing yards. Green Bay came out of that game with a win and was on to Dallas to play in Jerry’s Palace. Jones started the game against the Cowboys and led them to another win. He had one touchdown on nineteen rushing attempts and totaled one-hundred and twenty-five rushing yards. The selection of Jones has paid off dividends and will only continue to pay off for the Packers and Jones.
LB | 6th round (193rd overall)
The Cincinnati Bengals had one of the less exciting draft classes concluding the 2017 NFL Draft. However, one player that did pay off after being selected in the sixth round from the University of Oklahoma was LB Jordan Evans. Evans was selected 193rd overall and found himself in a starting role in the latter half of the season. While his stat-line was very quiet, his game film speaks for itself. He has a very high level of intelligence and it was displayed well in the Bengals’ win over the Cleveland Browns on November 26th. The former Sooner had five total tackles and made sure he ran sideline to sideline. Again, Evans does not boast the numbers that make other linebackers selected ahead of him do, but his intelligence and ability speak for itself. The Bengals can pair him up with Vontaze Burfict.
Honorable Mentions: Wayne Gallman (140th overall), Marlon Mack (143rd overall), Jake Elliott (153rd overall), Xavier Woods (191st overall),