Who You Calling Irrelevant? The Top Day 3 Picks in the Divisional Playoffs
By now, you’ve all heard about Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, a title earned as the 262nd and final choice of the 2022 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He is the face of the Day 3 picks ready to suit up in the Divisional Playoffs, but far from the only one who has become very relevant to the Super Bowl chase with eight teams set to take the field this weekend.
Let’s look at the Day 3 (fourth to the seventh round of the NFL Draft) selections, not just from the most recent draft but going back to 2016, starting with the fourth round.
Most Relevant Fourth-Round Pick: Dak Prescott
While Jerry Jones had his sights set on Paxton Lynch out of Memphis, when the Dallas Cowboys were unable to trade up into the first round to select the 6’7″ passer, America’s Team had to “settle” for a lesser-tiered prospect in Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, who they nabbed with the 135th pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Jones can count his lucky stars.
Last week, Prescott became the fifth player in NFL history with four passing and one rushing touchdown in a playoff game and the first Cowboy with 300 passing yards and four scoring strikes in a postseason contest.
With Tyler Biadasz, Tony Pollard, Dorance Armstrong, and Dalton Schultz drafted early on Day 3, the fourth round has been very good to the Cowboys over the past few years.
Other Fourth-Rounders: Daniel Bellinger, N.Y. Giants (No. 112 overall in 2022); Cordell Volson, Cincinnati (No. 136 overall in 2022); L’Jarius Sneed, Kansas City (No. 138 overall in 2020); Tyler Biadasz, Dallas (No. 146 overall in 2020); Julian Love, N.Y. Giants (No. 108 overall in 2019); Tony Pollard, Dallas (No. 128 overall in 2019); Dorance Armstrong, Dallas (No. 116 overall in 2018); Josh Sweat, Philadelphia (No. 130 overall in 2018); Dalton Schultz, Dallas (No. 137 overall in 2018).
Most Relevant Fifth-Round Pick: George Kittle
It’s hard to imagine an Iowa tight end being underrated in 2023–the Hawkeyes were second only to Miami as “Tight End U,” according to ESPN–but that was the case when George Kittle slipped all the way to the 146th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to the 49ers coming out of Iowa City.
It’s hard to leave off Matt Milano but even harder to argue against Kittle, who has become even more relevant to San Fran’s offense since Purdy took over. Kittle’s 11 touchdown grabs are second in the NFL among tight ends, and his four games with two TDs were the most by a tight end since 2015. Three of those games came in the final four weeks of the season.
Other Fifth-Rounders: Daron Bland, Dallas (No. 167 overall in 2022); Evan McPherson, Cincinnati (No. 149 overall in 2021); Talanoa Hufanga, San Francisco (No. 180 overall in 2021); Dre Greenlaw, San Francisco (No. 148 overall in 2019); Darius Slayton, N.Y. Giants (No. 171 overall in 2019); Matt Milano, Buffalo (No. 163 overall in 2017).
Most Relevant Sixth-Round Pick: Trey Smith
When the Kansas City Chiefs selected center Creed Humphrey in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, they were hoping for an immediate starter. Never could they have imagined Trey Smith, selected 226th overall, would join him along the offensive line as the 17th and 18th rookies in franchise history to start every regular season game.
Smith would start in 20 games in total, including the postseason, and has missed just one start in his two seasons in Kansas City. Some believe he’s developed into their most consistent blocker, as the “Pancake Specialist” is known for his mauling style and dominant run blocking.
Other Sixth-Rounders:DonovanWilson, Dallas (No. 213 overall in 2019)
Most Relevant Seventh-Round Pick: Jordan Mailata
Considering Jordan Mailata didn’t play any high school or college football in the United States, it wasn’t a surprise that he lasted until the 233rd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but more of a novelty that he was selected. He is the second player with a similar resume to have his name called.
A native of Australia of Samoan descent, Mailata didn’t see the field until his third season with the Philadelphia Eagles but made an immediate impact, earning ten starts in 2020. The following season he was named the starting left tackle and signed a $64 million contract.
This season he’s been named a Pro Bowl alternate. As if his journey wasn’t interesting enough, Mailata can sing. Check out the 6’8″ behemoth crooning at the team’s Christmas party. He also recorded A Philly Special Christmas with his teammates and competed on The Masked Singer.
Other Seventh-Rounders:Brock Purdy, San Francisco (No. 262 overall in 2022); Jaylen Watson, Kansas City (No. 243 overall in 2022); Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City (No. 251 overall in 2022)
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