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|Eighteen starters in the last Super Bowl were selected in the fourth round or lower Max Pacioretty Jersey , including six players who didn't get a call until the NFL draft was over.While first-round picks receive most of the attention and players chosen the first two days of the draft get more money and better job security, success on Day 3 of the draft often separates the elite teams from the good ones.
That was evident when the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots met in February. Corey Clement had 100 yards receiving and one touchdown and LeGarrette Blount ran for 90 yards and one touchdown in Philadelphia's 41-33 victory. Danny Amendola led the Patriots with 152 yards receiving and Chris Hogan had 128.
All four players were undrafted free agents.
The Eagles enter this week with only six picks in the draft and none on Day 2 so there's a bigger emphasis for them to hit on some of their picks in the later rounds and find quality rookies in free agency.
It won't be easy, however.
"You would think because we're coming off a Super Bowl and we don't have a second- or third-round pick that it would be a lot easier after the draft," said Joe Douglas, the team's executive vice president of player personnel. "But my experience coming off a Super Bowl, it's sometimes harder to get guys to commit to your roster because agents and players have a perceived notion that it's going to be that much tougher to make your team. It's going to be a challenge for us, and we know it, and we're going to attack it, and I think our guys are going to do a great job recruiting some of these guys who slip through the cracks like we did last year. But it is going to be a challenge because there's going to be some guys who think there's a tougher shot of making the team."
One way to combat that is to offer more guaranteed money to undrafted rookies. It helped the Eagles snag Clement last year after he ran for 1,375 yards his senior season at Wisconsin.
Tom Brady's story is known, going from sixth-round pick to five-time Super Bowl champion. Three of the offensive linemen blocking for him last year were under-the-radar guys, too. Center David Andrews was undrafted, and right guard Shaq Mason and right tackle Cameron Fleming were fourth-round picks. Overall, the Patriots had 18 undrafted players on the Super Bowl roster.
The Jaguars, who lost the AFC championship game, got Pro Bowl linebacker Telvin Smith (fifth round, 2014) on Day 3 of the draft. They also relied on two rookie receivers late in the season: fourth-round pick Dede Westbrook and undrafted Keelan Cole.
"You're looking for those types of nuggets Nathan MacKinnon Jersey ," said Tom Coughlin, Jacksonville's top executive. "You're talking about value. That's what this is all about, so when you get a player in that circumstance and you've done the research on the guy, you know the guy solid and it happens to be that he's there for you, then obviously you feel very good about that."
Titans general manager Jon Robinson said his scouting department has focused the past couple of weeks on finding value in the late rounds and after the draft.
"Anytime you can get return on those guys in those later rounds with play on the field whether it be offensively, defensively, in the kicking game, I think that's good," Robinson said. "I think we've done a pretty good job the last couple years of finding some guys to carve out a niche, carve out a role on this football team and contribute. So we're hoping we can kind of sift through those guys over the weekend and come away with a couple that can help us."
Accumulating more picks, especially in the later rounds, certainly helps a team's chances of adding a solid contributor. Minnesota, which lost the NFC title game, has eight draft picks, including five on Day 3.
"Sure, you're going to have your misses. But, the more swings that you get at the plate Sven Andrighetto Jersey , the better odds you have of hitting the ball," said Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. "If you only get to bat twice, you've got maybe a 50-50 chance. If you get to bat 10 times, hopefully your 50-50 chance, your odds have increased pretty good. I think it's taking as many swings as you can down in those later rounds."
San Francisco GM John Lynch had success with third-day picks and rookie free agents last year, adding Trent Taylor, George Kittle, D.J. Jones, Adrian Colbert, Matt Breida and Kendrick Bourne.
"When you can hit at that part of the draft, and/or free agency, it's a really good thing," Lynch said. "Shoot, we picked guys off of tryout camp last year. ... Everyone focuses on the work up top with No. 9 but we really try to take a holistic look at this thing and pride ourselves on being real strong on the back end of the draft."
AP Pro Football Writers Josh Dubow, Teresa M. Walker and Dave Campbell, and AP Sports Writer Mark Long contributed to this report.AP NFL website: pro32.ap.org and AP_NFLFollow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: s://AP_RobMaaddiINDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Marvin Lewis expects his defense to play aggressively.
It also comes with a danger — as the Cincinnati Bengals found out Sunday.
They overcame the first-quarter ejection of safety Shawn Williams and three more personal foul calls during the season opener to hold on for a 34-23 victory after Williams’ replacement jarred the ball loose and returned a fumble 83 yards for a touchdown with 24 seconds left at Indianapolis
“There’s a lot of stuff we can do better. Too many penalties in critical situations,” Lewis said. “We did a nice job with that all summer and now http://www.officialavalanche.com/authentic-adidas-j.t.-compher-jersey , today, it cropped in there, so it really could have hurt us.”
Williams was tossed in the first quarter after helmet-to-helmet contact with Colts QB Andrew Luck — becoming the first player to be ejected this season.
The NFL has sent a clear message to players everywhere that it intends to eliminate dangerous hits.
And for a while, it looked as if the Bengals would pay a steep price with eight penalties, three of which led to first downs.
Somehow, they managed to regain their composure, avoided any defensive penalties in the fourth quarter and overcome the loss of Williams to snap an eight-game losing streak at Indy.
Oddly enough, Clayton Fejedelem, Williams’ replacement, wound up saving the game after Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle appeared to convert a third-and-15 into a first down by contorting his body around the Bengals 15-yard line.
Instead, Fejedelem, the second defender on the play, delivered a textbook lesson by knocking the ball out, quickly scooping it up and sprinting down the sideline for the clinching score.
“You don’t get time to hiccup or flinch,” Lewis said. “You’ve just got to keep playing.”
The Colts learned that lesson the hard way, too.
After taking a 23-10 lead midway through the third quarter, it appeared the Colts might finally end the second-half troubles from last season. This time Brent Seabrook Jersey Kids , they unraveled again.
A.J. Green split Indy’s two deep safeties — Clayton Geathers and Malik Hooker — for a 38-yard TD catch and after Adam Vinatieri’s rare miss on a 55-yard field goal, the Bengals capitalized by driving for Joe Mixon’s leaping 1-yard score to take the lead. Indy was called for three defensive penalties on the second series, including an inexplicable pass interference call on Geathers on third-and-15.
“I thought we played good, just penalties in the end killed us,” Colts defensive end Margus Hunt said after recording two sacks against his former team. “We just need to keep playing football.”
Doyle has been one of the Colts’ most reliable players over the past few seasons.
So the fumble was out of character and teammates quickly came to his defense, starting with Luck.
“Jack cares about this game as much as any guy I’ve ever played around,” he said. “He’s an incredible person, an incredible teammates and he’s a great friend. So you give him a big hug. He’s going to be all right. He’s going to be fine.”
The Bengals and Colts have new offensive coordinators and revamped offensive lines, and both showed promise after slow starts.
Andy Dalton and Luck were each picked off on their first passes of the afternoon before settling down and delivering more typical performances.
Luck was 39 of 53 with 319 yards and two touchdowns in his first regular season start since having shoulder surgery in January 2017. Dalton was 21 of 28 with 243 yards and two scores.
Each was sacked twice.
GIVING IT AWAY
The Colts lost seven halftime leads in 2017, falling one game short of matching the NFL record.
And a coaching change didn’t help Indy find its finishing touch Sunday. The Colts gave up 24 points over the final 20 minutes, allowing the Bengals to spoil Luck’s long-awaited return.
While the passing games appeared to be in sync, the ground games left more to be desired.
Mixon carried 17 times for 95 yards , but the Bengals only had three other rushing attempts and wound up with 101 yards.
Indy, meanwhile, relied heavily on rookies Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines in their pro debuts. Wilkins carried 14 times for 49 yards, while Hines had five attempts for 19 yards and caught seven passes for 33 yards.
Both teams need to be more effective on the ground this season.
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