The greatest stories in the NFL are when late-round picks or undrafted free agents turn into legends. Tom Brady (sixth-round), Kurt Warner (UDFA), Shannon Sharpe (seventh-round), and Terrell Davis (sixth-round) are all or will be Hall of Famers. I consider mid-to-late-round picks to be from the fourth-round and beyond, which is where we will focus. In the Thomas Dimitroff era, the Falcons had some success in this area of the draft, but they didn’t hit as frequently as some other organizations.
Devonta Freeman (fourth-round) and Ricardo Allen (fifth-round) were both productive players for the Falcons but did not turn out to be worth their second contracts. Grady Jarrett (fifth-round) was the best mid-to-late-round pick from Dimitroff. He is top three at his position and deserves to be a Falcon for life — similar to Julio Jones and Matt Ryan. De’Vondre Campbell (fourth-round) was good for Atlanta when he was here, but again, not worth bringing back. Russell Gage (sixth-round) and Foyesade Oloukon (sixth-round) both are ascending players and could possibly receive second contracts for the right price. Most recently, Mykal Walker (fourth-round) is the latest mid-to-late-round pick to earn starting time, but who is next?
Quinn Meinerz played Division III for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and was the sole Division III player at the Senior Bowl. This from my draft profile.
Mienerz is an absolute hog when it comes to run-blocking. He has a heavy background in wrestling, and it shows in his technique when pushing defenders around. He uses fantastic leverage and hand placement to dictate the direction of the defender. But someone this aggressive and bruising shouldn’t hold up in pass protection, right? Wrong, he’s lighting up all of his individual pass rush reps.
Odighizuwa didn’t play much in 2020 for UCLA, but he still has an explosive first step and elite get off with great physical attributes — long arms and solid bend. He also possesses insane versatility playing nose tackle, wide nine-technique, and everywhere in between.
UCLA's Osa Odighizuwa might've had the move of the day. Inside spin to beat RG Robert Jones. #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/5qtWsRrPzc
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) January 28, 2021
Oh wow, Osa Odighizuwa doesnt give a damn about your down block. pic.twitter.com/EaOfPP1eHn
— Matt Valdovinos (@MVScouting) May 30, 2020
Turner, like all of these prospects, is a project. He has a freaky seven-foot wingspan, is strong, and has one helluva motor. He needs a plan to rush the passer and must refine his hand usage, but he has plenty to work with.
Payton Turner is long, strong, and relentless! Heading to @seniorbowl
Feel like this is the only sack given up by Brady Christensen in like 2 seasons pic.twitter.com/eSPsgm0AH3
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) December 29, 2020
Here's Payton Turner running down a screen pass pic.twitter.com/lzDU6VFaVY
— Mike Spencer Hrynyshyn (@MikeH_Draft) February 6, 2021
Togiai developed into more than just a run-stuffer this year at Ohio State. He may weigh 300-pounds, but he plays much bigger, which is crazy to think — noting his raw power and explosiveness off the line. Though he improved his pass rush in 2020, there is still work to do in that facet of his game.
Tommy Togiai is an animal… Strong hands/base and plays with hair on fire
I want this guy on my DL pic.twitter.com/A6SkWoDH7G
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) December 20, 2020
Gainwell is the only player on this list that isn’t on the offensive or defensive lines. He represents the SportsTalkATL motto of drafting a couple of running backs every year and never giving them a second contract. The former Memphis Tiger has good vision, elusiveness, footwork, pass-catching ability, and a surprising amount of power given his build. (see video blocking Micah Parsons) Memphis featured him as both a runner and receiver. His pass-catching skills should be a big part of his role in the NFL.
I know I've got Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State EDGE 99) highlighted on this play and rightfully so, he uses his long arms to pull the QB down. However, pay attention to Kenny Gainwell (Memphis RB 19) delivering a shot to Micah Parsons (Penn State LB 11). My freaking goodness. pic.twitter.com/sVO264f72d
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) February 10, 2020
Trying to watch Trevis Gipson (Tulsa EDGE 15) but this touchdown by Kenny Gainwell is certainly something pic.twitter.com/zgpXo09ao2
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 13, 2020
Kenny Gainwell becomes the first FBS player since 1997 to record 200 receiving yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game! Dude is BIG TIME! #GoTigersGo @The_BarnBurner @SportsCenter pic.twitter.com/lshrXIeNwb
— Mason (@BarnBurnerSlim) October 20, 2019
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