Day three of the 2017 NFL Draft was a goldmine for American Athletic Conference players. From a pair of Wilsons in Houston to a couple of offensive players in South Florida, it was a good day for AAC talent.
The AAC as a whole had a great draft with a total of 15 players hearing their names in the seven round event in Philadelphia. Days one and two had their fair share of excitement with Haason Reddick heading to the Cardinals at #13, Zay Jones heading to the Bills at #37, Obi Melifonwu heading to the Raiders at #56, Dion Dawkins headed to the Bills at #63, Tyus Bowser heading to the Ravens at #47, and Shaquill Griffin heading to the Seahawks at #90
While the first and second round players got their own posts, day three will be looked at as a group. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the eight AAC players that heard their names called on Saturday.
- Rodney Adams, WR, South Florida, Round 5 (170) Vikings: Adams was one of the most explosive players in all of college football throughout his career, but showed in 2016 that he can handle the intermediate stuff as well. Heading to Minnesota is a great route Adams as does not need to produce early with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen sitting at the top of the depth chart. Adams can step into the void left by Patterson and be a return man with the ability to be a #3 receiver.
- Kofi Amichia, G, South Florida Round 6 (212) Packers: After a great career for the Bulls, Amicha was able to secure a spot in the NFL Draft after hearing his name called in the sixth round by the Packers. Amicha is not guaranteed a spot on the roster, but should be retained in some fashion as he transitions from tackle to guard.
- Jake Elliott, K, Memphis, Round 5 (153) Bengals: One of the most prolific kickers in AAC history, Elliott was a multiple winner of the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year. He made 81 of 104 career kicks and never missed a PAT in his entire career. He will battle with Randy Bullock for the kicking job, but his ability to turn kickoffs into touchbacks is enticing to the Bengals.
- Nate Hairston, CB, Temple, Round 5 (158) Colts: Seen as a bit of a project player, Hairston should be able to make the team as a special teams performer. That may be all he ever does at the NFL level, but he does have the upside to become a backup or even nickel back long term. Hairston will be able to give depth to the secondary at the very least. He is one of three defensive backs added to the roster through the draft this season.
- Marlon Mack, RB , South Florida, Round 4 (143) Colts: The Colts seemingly got a steal in the draft with Mack being available in the fourth round. The Colts were in need of a player that Frank Gore could pass the torch to as the bellcow back. Gore, Turbin, and Mack should make the Indy running game much better than in 2016.
- Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane, Round 6 (189) Rams: Smart will have to prove his worth in camp to make the roster, but at the very least should make a practice squad. It would benefit him immensely to play every day with All-Pro Aaron Donald, learning how to play in the middle at a high rate. It may take 2-3 years for him to contribute, but Smart can play in the league.
- Brandon Wilson, CB, Houston, Round 6 (207) Bengals: Maybe one of the more confusing picks of the entire draft, it is not certain what position Wilson will play in the NFL. He played cornerback and running back in college while also returning kicks. Wilson can do just about everything, but can he do anything exceptionally well. This pick reeks of the Bengals wanting to bring him into camp and slip him into the practice squad as they figure out his true role on the team.
- Howard Wilson, CB, Houston, Pick 20, Round 4 (126) Browns: Despite still having eligibility to burn, Wilson made the decision to leave early for the NFL. It worked out well for him in landing in the fourth round to a Browns team in need of playmakers in the secondary. Joe Haden returns, but he joins a defense that gave up 392.4 yards per game last season, second to only San Francisco.
- Mike Tyson, S, Cincinnati, Round 6 (187) Seahawks: Listed as a free safety, Seattle has plans to convert him to cornerback at the next level. He played a bit of nickelback last season for the Bearcats and looked the part, but making a transition to the NFL is tough. Tyson, if he makes the roster, has plenty of time to adjust as he isn’t taking Richard Sherman off the field. It should be interesting to see Tyson and former UCF cornerback Shaquill Griffin battle in camp.