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Five Day 3 players who could have a big impact


The first and second round get almost all the attention in the draft, but Day 3 is where general managers earn their money and cement their status among the league's best talent evaluators. While this is the time to take your project picks, it's also time to fill out the back end of your starting lineup and develop the affordable, controllable bedrock of your roster.

So we're here to take a look at which Day 3 prospects will have the biggest impact right away, whether that be on the field or merely by their presence on the roster. With the help of our crack draft analyst team, here goes nothing:

Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State (Bills): Jones will (probably) not start a game for Buffalo this year barring a rash of injuries but the Bills selecting him at the bottom of Saturday's fourth round will carry some far-reaching consequences if he's competitive in camp. We're guessing the Bills love his athleticism, and the "blank canvas" effect is always attractive to general managers. But there is some book keeping to watch for as well. The Bills have less than a week to pick up EJ Manuel's fifth-year option, and if they decide not to, he is free and clear after the 2016 season. Tyrod Taylor is also hoping for a contract extension that has yet to be discussed. While Buffalo is dreaming big about their quarterback of the future, Jones can at least help them make some very important decisions in the interim.

Joe Schobert, OLB, Wisconsin (Browns): The Browns had offers at the top of the fourth round on Saturday but decided to stay put. When they made the call to Schobert, an inside-outside linebacker drawing comparisons to current Patriot and former first-round pick Shea McClellin, coach Hue Jackson stepped back and pumped his fist several times. It's safe to say the team has some plans for the 6-foot-1, 244-pound Badger. During free agency, the team told departing linebacker Karlos Dansby that they were looking to get much younger at the position in an effort to install a Pittsburgh-esque 3-4 scheme. Getting versatile linebackers who can make a difference in sub packages is a nice way to start.

Devontae Booker, RB, Utah (Broncos): If you're a running back in Gary Kubiak's offense, you're going to get used. Booker has great size for the position even if some teams were worried about his ability to pack on extra weight. Fumbles are also an issue, but he does two things that elite, three-down NFL running backs do well: protect the passer and catch balls out of the backfield. Mayock had him rated as the No. 2 tailback in the draft -- a nice complement to C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman.

Tyler Higbee, TE, Western Kentucky (Rams): Jared Cook is now a member of the Green Bay Packers, leaving the Rams with little pop at the tight end position. Higbee was potentially viewed as the top tight end in the draft before a series of off-field incidents tainted his draft stock. He was arrested on April 10 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and charged with second-degree assault, evading police and public intoxication. An arraignment is planned for next week. On the field, the Rams know a tight end that can create mismatches in the 5-15 yard range are typically a rookie quarterback's best friend. With so much invested in Jared Goff, Higbee was deemed worth the risk.

DeAndre Washington, RB, Texas Tech (Raiders): Pro Bowler Latavius Murray was third on the team in receptions last year, adding to a massive workload for the 26-year-old. If the Raiders hope to keep him fresh, the addition of a speedy, reliable third-down back is important. Washington caught 41 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns as a senior at Texas Tech.


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