Diamonds in The Rough

An in depth look at possible steals in the 2018 NFL draft


Coverage of the NFL Draft begins Thursday on FOX

Nate Shirley, Staff Writer

The 2018 NFL draft is almost here. The first round kicks off on Thursday and many top prospects will be taken, but Thursday is not everything. The next two days are also vital to the way teams rosters will look at the start of the season and some very talented players will be taken. Below are some players that can really make a difference for a team even if they are drafted on the second or even third day. These players have the talent to be true difference makers even if they are not considered “blue-chip” prospects.

S Justin Reid (Stanford)

The younger brother of former pro-bowl safety Eric Reid is ready to make a name for himself in the NFL. In most draft years Reid would be considered a top prospect, but this years class is loaded with talented defensive backs such as Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, Florida State’s Derwin James, and Iowa’s Josh Jackson among others. Reid is often overlooked which means he could fall way down in this draft and whoever takes him will be getting a bargain. Reid is an elite safety that should be a first round pick, and if a team can snag him in the second or even third round it could be the best pick of the draft. He brings versatility and consistency to the safety position and should be a lock to start from day one wherever he goes.

If Gage goes to the right team that can work to his skills, he could become the next great LSU wide receiver in the NFL.

WR Russell Gage (LSU)

While the offense of LSU has had some historically bad years during the past few seasons, Matt Canada’s offense opened up with the introduction of the jet sweep. While Gage may not have the flashy long-ball ability of fellow Tiger DJ Chark, who is projected to be drafted much higher, Gage was crucial to the success of the Tigers offense this season. He brings value because of his versatility, as he can line up as a wideout or a slot receiver. His value does not end there as his speed makes him a lethal threat in the jet sweep. If Gage goes to the right team that can work to his skills, he could become the next great LSU wide receiver in the NFL.

WR Trey Quinn (SMU)

Trey Quinn began his college career as an undersized slot receiver fighting for playing time at LSU. At LSU he got lost in a talented receiving core and decided to transfer to SMU. At SMU he showed why he had a offers from top tier schools like LSU coming out of high school. He showed his speed and athleticism out of the slot and has drawn comparisons to Wes Welker and Danny Amendola. His speed, quickness, and small stature make him difficult for linebackers to guard and his explosive first step gives him the ability to beat a lot of slot corners off of the line. In the NFL Quinn will look to carve out a role as a slot receiver and possibly a punt returner.

DE Ebenezer Ogundeko (Tennessee State)

Some avid college football fans may remember Ogundeko as the talented yet troubled defensive end prospect for the Clemson. With legal issues derailing his career at Clemson, Ogundeko got a second chance at Tennessee State and he made the most of it. The legal troubles of his past do raise some red flags and will harm his draft stock, but the talent that landed him a scholarship offer from Clemson is still there. He terrorized quarterbacks at Tennessee State and will look to translate his skills to the NFL. Solely based on talent, Ogundeko should be at least a second or third round pick, but the red flags will cause him to fall making him a great value pick.

TE Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State)

While he may not be as flashy or as strong as a guy like South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst, Goedert got the job done at South Dakota State and has the build and ability of an NFL tight end. He has drawn comparisons to the Eagles Zach Ertz during his tenure with the Jackrabbits. He has very consistent hands and is an elite threat in the receiving game. The blocking part of his game was solid in college but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to handle an NFL defensive end attempting to maul his quarterback. His 23 reps in the bench press at the combine, most of any tight end, give reason to believe that he can. Goedert could be a sleeper in a strong tight end class.