Day Three Dream Team: Offense
By Simon Carroll
You build a team through the draft, or so the old adage tells us. And those that buy into this mantra will be the first to tell you that unearthing value in the mid to late rounds is the way to win championships. From Tom Brady to Richard Sherman, Jahri Evans to Adalius Thomas – day three of the draft is littered throughout history with star players who have helped their teams to Super Bowls.
With that in mind, I’ve attempted to build a ‘dream team’ for the upcoming NFL Draft of prospects who are likely to come off the board in rounds 4-7. This exercise will be split into two sections, with this first article focusing on offense:
QB: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA
Brock Purdy has forever skewed opinion on backup quarterbacks and how difficult it is to find one in the later rounds of the NFL Draft – particularly one who can win when they are thrown into the fire. In the modern NFL, where athleticism under center is being increasingly appreciated, swinging for a dual-threat signal caller who can rely on their feet whilst the passing game slows down for them is prudent.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson has the agility to escape the pocket and make plays on the ground, and as such ticks that box. But don’t be fooled; this kid can SLING it. He’s adept at diagnosing defenses, works through his progressions well when afforded time, has the arm strength necessary to make all the throws, and the x-factor to make plays outside of structure. A high-character prospect, ‘DTR’ will be circled by those teams looking for late round security at the most important position.
RB: Chase Brown, Illinois
Running back may be the one position where front offices have a reasonable amount of optimism they can find starting talent on day three of the draft. This year, my best bet would be to cast your eyes over to Champaign, Illinois, where Chase Brown turned a promising collegiate career into an impressive one, making a giant leap in 2021-2022.
If THREE THOUSAND all-purpose yards and 18 scores in two seasons doesn’t grab your attention, just turn on the tape; Brown is a full-tilt running back who will attack every carry with all gas, no brakes. He’s so explosive, and I love his ability to cutback through a hole and turn on the jets. Once he’s in the open field he has the speed to run away from defenders. And on top of that, he developed as a pass catcher last year. Chase Brown can be a day 1 contributor on pretty much any franchise.
WR1: Joseph Ngata, Clemson
Hailed as a future pro bowl NFL receiver, Joseph Ngata was a five star recruit when he chose to play for Dabo Sweeney and the Clemson Tigers. Injuries have cruelly derailed his college career, but if you watch the film you’ll see a guy who still possesses the traits to be a factor on Sundays…
Ngata is a brooding, big bodied receiver with excellent length – a true possession receiver who intimidates defensive backs and likes to dominate at the catch point. He seemed to step up in the big games, showing out against Georgia, and considering his play style you feel like he could become a real redzone threat with more development.
WR2: Matt Landers, Arkansas
This Day 3 Dream Tea is nothing if not versatile. With a possession receiver in Joe Ngata lining up on one side of the field, we decide to give DTR some speed to work with on the other. Matt Landers began life as a Georgia Bulldog, before heading to Toledo and then Arkansas. But it was with the Razorbacks where he showed his real ability.
Landers isn’t just quick, he’s agile too. Whilst he possesses the speed to take the top off a defense, he also has the fluidity to create separation through the breaks in his route running. He’s a natural outside receiver who knows how to use his body to widen the catch window, and isn’t easily bullied. And when the ball is there to be won, he’s more than capable of climbing the ladder for it.
WR3: Charlie Jones, Purdue
We round out our receiving corps with another nomadic playmaker. Charlie Jones went to both Buffalo and Iowa before finally ending up at Purdue, where he EXPLODED. After never recording more than 400 yards or 3 scores in a season, he put up 1,361 yards and 12 TD’s for the Boilermakers in 2022.
Jones is an elite route-runner, a candidate to earns separation with as little as a head fake. I love the idea of him playing as a ‘big slot’ in the NFL – give him some option routes to attack the middle of the field and watch him feast. He’s not the quickest receiver in this class, but always seems to be in space – and is an expert in finding soft spots in zone coverage.
TE: Daniel Barker, Michigan State
Think three proficient pass catchers is enough for this offense? Think again. Despite having modest numbers during his four years at Illinois and one season in East Lansing, Michigan State’s Daniel Barker flashes some serious playmaking ability.
Aligning as your classic in-line tight end, Barker has good blocking technique, but it’s his receiving qualities that suggests there’s some untapped potential here. Big, lean and long, he can be quick when necessary but physical when required too. And those big hands are incredible, frequently reeling in tough passes outside of his frame.
LT: Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland
In order to protect the blindside in the NFL, you need to be quick and agile. And in that department, Jaelyn Duncan was born to play left tackle. His burst off the snap is quick and urgent, but he’s really graceful across the field and getting into his pass sets. He’s a smooth kick-slider with active hands and good lower body agility to react to counters too. His speed and positioning make him a very difficult man to get past – and if he had a few more pounds on him he would be well off the board before day 3 even began.
LG: Nick Broeker, Ole Miss
I want animals on the interior of my offensive line, and Nick Broeker fits that bill perfectly. This guy was born to drive people off the football. A true apha-dog, Broeker plays with a controlled aggression – but when it gets down to it he isn’t afraid to make it a dogfight for sixty minutes. He’s undersized but has combated the measurables with effort, will power and underappreciated technique. He has an active radar and is alert to danger – Nick Broeker is a starting NFL guard.
C: Jake Andrews, Troy
Versatile and well-rounded, Jake Andrews’ slightly shorter frame makes hi ideally suited to a center role at the next level. And for a day three draft pick, he has an incredibly polished game – especially considering how often The Trojans moved him around in his college career. I love how quick he is to get his hands up and on pads after he’s snapped the football, and his whole body works in sync. The leg drive and feet are as quick as the hands, and he has no problem moving bigger bodies out of the A Gap. Andrews could be a real steal.
RG: McClendon Curtis, Chattanooga
McClendon Curtis has quite the story, which I was privileged he shared with me – and so getting to this stage is an impressive achievement in of itself. But he’s here on merit – ‘Curt’ blends measurables, athleticism and and length with an insatiable work ethic and team-centric mentality. I love the grit with which he plays – he simply will not be beaten. He’s positionally aware and I appreciate how he doesn’t lean on his long arms or strength to win reps -although having them as tools to combat bigger and better pocket penetrators at the next level will very much come in handy.
RT: Dalton Wagner, Arkansas
The second Razorback to make my Dream Team on offense, Dalton Wagner is a man-mountain. With all the measurables you look for in an NFL tackle, Wagner’s size translates to play strength too. He’s aggressive in the run game, displacing bodies and clearing lanes. And he’s remarkably refined in pass pro too, playing with good balance and violent hands on the end of those long arms. A ‘bruiser with finesse’ if you will, Wagner sets the tone of this offensive line.
PREVIOUSLY THE FOUNDER OF NFL DRAFT UK, SIMON HAS BEEN COVERING COLLEGE FOOTBALL AND THE NFL DRAFT SINCE 2009. BASED IN MANCHESTER, SIMON IS ALSO CO-CREATOR & WEEKLY GUEST OF THE COLLAPSING POCKET PODCAST.