New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese is fond of saying that beyond the third round is when personnel guys start really earning their paychecks, and quite a few people in front offices around the league got a good start on that in a fifth round that featured some surprising talent. Of course, various dings pushed these prospects to the third day of the draft, but there are a lot of rotational players in this round, and a few potential foundation starters. Here are the best values as we see them.
Atlanta Falcons -- Jonathan Massaquoi, DE/OLB, Troy (164th pick overall) -- Well, I'm going to like this pick, since I had Massaquoi ranked 50th in this year's Shutdown 50. This either makes me an idiot, or the Falcons geniuses, or both. Since most of my readers would vote in the affirmative on the former, why did Massaquoi fall this far? His production dipped in 2011 after he put on weight, and he's not a very aware defender in space, but he has outstanding speed off the edge, and the Falcons have been trying to get that edge-rusher position right for a number of years in the draft. Expect new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to run different fronts, which could have Massaquoi playing a lot as a pass-rushing outside linebacker -- the position I believe best highlights his abilities.
Kansas City Chiefs -- DeQuan Menzie, DB, Alabama (146th pick overall) -- A favorite sleeper pick of our buddy Greg Cosell, Menzie is a cornerback/safety potential tweener at the next level, and an interesting nickel player with Brandon Flowers and Stanford Routt holding things down on the edges. At 5-11, 202 pounds, and having run in the 4.7s, Manzie had to wait for the right team to see the right things on tape, as opposed to going with pure measurables.
Buffalo Bills -- Tank Carder, ILB, TCU (147th pick overall) -- Not only was Carder a pointman in one of the NCAA's defenses over the last few seasons, he's also got an amazing story -- he was hit by a car when he was a teenager, almost died, and was told that he might never walk again. A decade later, one of many smaller speed linebackers taken in this draft is known as an in-the-box thumper who's very aware on the field. Doesn't have the prototype side for a 3-4 linebacker, which leads us to wonder if he might play a nickel linebacker role for the Chiefs.
Pittsburgh Steelers -- Chris Rainey, RB, Florida (159th pick overall) -- Rainey was Percy Harvin's replacement at Florida, and I had a third-round grade on him based on what I saw. He's a burner in the open field with limited experience in the things that scouts and personnel people term "football skills (blocking, advanced route concepts, positional consistecy)," but the raw athleticism makes him an intriguing fit in Pittsburgh. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley tried to get creative with waterbug Dexter McCluster in Kansas City -- expect the Steelers to line Rainey up in all sorts of places.
Cincinnati Bengals -- George Iloka, S, Boise State (167th pick overall) -- Like Carder, Iloka was a longtime star for one of the NCAA's under-the-radar defenses. A big DB who covers a lot of ground, Iloka has the potential to have the same kind of impact Kam Chancellor has enjoyed in Seattle. As a box safety, he explodes to the ballcarrier with force, and can cover in certain packages. Iloka gets in his own way on the field at times, but he's a much better pure football player than safety Taylor Mays, who the Bengals picked up from the 49ers after San Francisco overdrafted him in the second round in 2010. With time, Iloka could be an imposing force for a team receiving high draft grades from just about everyone.
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