Feb 26, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Washington Huskies running back Chris Polk runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
This is a continuation of the second round prospects posted here. The strongest point of this year's NFL Draft is definitely in the middle rounds. What this draft lacks in elite talent, it makes up for in quality, starting caliber players in the second to fourth rounds of the draft. Perhaps the best talent in this draft can be found in the third round, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. After the jump, see a few prospects who I like in the third round.1. Brandon Brooks, OG, Miami (Ohio) - Brooks has had a fantastic off season proving that he is perhaps the most athletic and strongest guard in the draft. He has great film and excels as a run blocker but is quick enough to pull and protect the passer. With his fantastic pro day, he might have propelled himself into second round discussion.
2. Mitchell Schwarts, OT, California - Schwarts is an under the radar tackle that has the tools to be a starting right tackle in the NFL. His biggest strength is his footwork and he couples that with great intelligence and good strength. He is a little slow to play on the left side but as a late third round pick he should provide good value with great upside.
3. Brandon Washington, OG, Miami - Washington is an interesting prospect. He came into this season with a first round grade but disappointed in the hectic year at Miami. However, he still has fantastic athleticism and huge upside which should allow him to be taken in round three of the draft. However, whoever picks him is taking a huge risk with him as he is the ultimate boom or bust prospect. If he can put it all together and use his athleticism and harness that onto the football field, he could become one of the best guards in the league. If not, he will flame out and be gone after his rookie contract.
4. Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama - Out of all the Nose Tackle's in this year's draft, Chapman had perhaps the best college career. While at Alabama, he played almost always in a 3-4 front so experience is on his side. He has done a great job anchoring that fantastic Alabama defense and has all the tools to do the same in the NFL. However, he is currently recovering from an injury which caused his stock to fall. Some concerns about him are whether or not he can handle the strength of the NFL offensive linemen and whether or not he will be able to regain his quickness after recovering from his injury. Mike Tomlin likes players with multiple year body's of work so I could see him taking a guy like Chapman in round three.
5. Mike Martin, DT/NT, Michigan - Martin is a physical freak with the strength and quickness to dominate in the NFL. However, he seems best fit as a NT but he weighs "only" 310 pounds so he might be forced to play 4-3 DT where he is not as good of a fit. However, for a team looking to add a force on the interior defensive line, Martin seems like a great option in the third round of the draft with huge upside.
6. Chris Polk, RB, Washington - Polk is a very under-rated back who does everything well. The biggest knock on him coming into drafts season was his top end speed but he proved the scouts wrong running an impressive 4.44 at the combine. With that speed and Polk's vision, power, smarts, and ability to catch passes out of the backfield and Polk seems like a potentially really good running back. The team that gets him in the third to fourth round will be very lucky.