The 2022 NFL Draft is in the history books.
Day one of the draft showed us how important defending the pass is to NFL defenses with the first five picks being edge rushers and cornerbacks. The second day of the draft saw some top prospects finally get to hear their names called, including some of the most highly touted quarterbacks.
Day three of the NFL draft is where teams hope to find depth players to help fill out their rosters and maybe find that diamond in the rough who can turn a franchise around. In the history of the draft, some of those great, late-round picks include George Kittle (5th round, 2017), Stefon Diggs (5th round, 2015) and, of course, the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady (6th round, 2000).
Here's a look at the best late-round picks from the 2022 NFL draft:
Khalil Shakir, WR - Buffalo Bills (R.5, #148)
Khalil Shakir's slip to the fifth round of the NFL draft had more to do with a deep wide receiver class than anything wrong with his game. Shakir lands with the explosive Buffalo Bills offense and a wide receiver room that already includes Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. He will get the opportunity to learn from them and play with Josh Allen - a bonus for any young player. Shakir has the ability to move all around the field, including the back field, making him a valuable weapon that can be used from day one. With such a large group of receivers drafted, it would not be surprising if Shakir was looked at as one of the five best to be drafted years from now.
Zyon McCollum, CB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (R.5, #157)
When it comes to the NFL draft, destination can, sometimes, outweigh talent. For Zyon McCollum, a tall and speedy cornerback out of a small school (Sam Houston State), landing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is like finding gold at the end of a rainbow. McCollum's small school stature hurt his draft stock, but he is the perfect fit for Tampa Bay. He's a freakish athlete who excels at making big plays in the defensive backfield. McCollum will fit perfectly into Todd Bowles' defense.
Matthew Butler, DT - Las Vegas Raiders (R.5, #175)
When you look at Matthew Butler on tape, he doesn't come across as a dominant run stuffer or pass rusher. He doesn't have the explosiveness that a lot of teams are looking for from the defensive tackle position. Butler is, plainly, just a good football player. He's a solid run defender and has shown flashes of getting to the quarterback. Butler needs to get stronger and add weight to his frame, but he's going to be a player in the league for a long time.
Matt Araiza, P - Buffalo Bills (R.6, #180)
No one is going to look at picking a punter in the late rounds of the NFL draft as anything besides, this is exactly what should be happening. However, when it comes to this particular punter, things are different. Matt Araiza was the best punter in college football and immediately comes into the NFL as the punter with the best leg. Ironically, he goes to a team that does not punt very often, but his huge leg (51.2 yrd average) is just another weapon for a team filled with them. Plus, Araiza can kick field goals if called upon.
Isaiah Thomas, DE - Cleveland Browns (R.7, #223)
Picks in the last round of the draft are home-run swings that teams take in the hopes of hitting the big one. NFL teams are looking at top-level athletes and hoping their traits will turn them into legitimate players. Thomas has the potential to be one of those players. He was a four-star recruit who chose Oklahoma over Alabama and finished the season with 11.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 12 starts. Thomas can get to the quarterback, and as long as you can do that, you'll always find a place in the NFL.