National Football League
2024 NFL Draft: Best players available in Day 3
National Football League

2024 NFL Draft: Best players available in Day 3

Updated Apr. 27, 2024 11:15 a.m. ET

One need only look back to the Super Bowl to understand the importance of Day 3 of the NFL Draft .

While the Kansas City Chiefs were led by former first-round pick and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, his brilliant play was enhanced by players like right guard Trey Smith, who has started all 50 games since being drafted 226th overall in 2021.

Meanwhile the San Francisco 49ers were led by quarterback Brock Purdy — the very last pick of the draft two years ago — and a five-time Pro Bowl tight end in George Kittle who was a fifth-round pick back in 2017.

The strengths of the 2024 NFL draft have been proven during the first three rounds, with a full quarter of the 100 picks made thus far being offensive linemen and another 16 being wide receivers.


After two rounds in which no quarterbacks were selected, it is easy to see why six of the first 12 picks of this draft were used on the position. The talent at signal-caller has not dried up yet, however, as two of the top-rated remaining prospects are South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler and Tulane’s Michael Pratt, who I anticipate being among the first players off the board Saturday.

The other positions that seem ripe for early runs in Round Four include linebacker and tight end. Here are the best players available, sorted by their overall rankings on our big board.

[NFL Draft picks, grades and analysis: Bears land pair of A's for top-10 duo]

42. Cade Stover, TE, Ohio State — 6-4, 247, Senior 

A former linebacker and defensive end, Stover emerged as the top tight end in the Big Ten in 2023, showcasing impressive agility, physicality and soft hands. 

50. Brandon Dorlus, DT, Oregon — 6-3, 283, Senior

If the Florida-born Dorlus had remained in SEC country, he'd probably be nationally viewed as a first-round pick. Instead, the three-time All-PAC-12 selection seems to still be under the radar as one of the nation's most instinctive, productive and versatile defensive linemen.

52. Javon Foster, OT, Missouri — 6-6, 313, Senior

Overlooked by many in an exceptional class of offensive tackles, this 41-game starter with experience on both sides ranks among my favorite Day 3 bargains. 

51. Ja'Tavion Sanders, TE, Texas — 6-4, 245, Senior

Teams looking to duplicate the splashy totals enjoyed by rookie tight ends Sam LaPorta (Detroit), Dalton Kincaid (Buffalo) and Luke Musgrave (Green Bay) will be intrigued by Sanders' speed and soft hands.

53. Brenden Rice, WR, USC — 6-2, 208, Senior

The apple didn't fall from the tree with Rice, who plays with a similar blend of savvy route-running and strong, secure hands as his legendary father.

57. Mohamed Kamara, Edge, Colorado State — 6-1, 248, Senior

Criticize his level of competition all you'd like, but 45.5 tackles for loss, 29.5 sacks and five forced fumbles speak for themselves — especially when you take into account Kamara's compact frame and burst. 

61. Khyree Jackson, CB, Oregon — 6-4, 194, Senior

An Alabama transfer who immediately took over as the leader of Oregon's secondary, the long-armed Jackson is among the most intriguing press corners of this class. 

63. Troy Franklin, WR, Oregon — 6-3, 187, Junior

As his 17.1 yards-per-reception average in 2023 suggests, Franklin is a big play waiting to happen, showing rare elusiveness and acceleration for a receiver of his height.

64. Austin Booker, Edge, Kansas — 6-5, 240, Redshirt Sophomore

Booker rarely saw the field in two years at Minnesota but exploded at Kansas in 2023, earning the Big 12's Defensive Newcomer of the Year award. He's flexible, long and has an explosive burst to close — traits that project very well to the NFL. 

68. Audric Estime', RB, Notre Dame — 5-11, 221, Junior

A disappointing 40-yard dash time (4.71) shouldn't cloud scouts' vision with Estime', who shows good eyes, feet and physicality to be a bell-cow in the NFL.

69. T.J. Tampa, CB, Iowa State — 6-1, 189, Senior

With just three interceptions in 37 career games at Iowa State, Tampa lacks the ballhawking traits of some of his peers but his size, physicality and sticky coverage suggest he'll become a quality NFL starter.

70. Sedrick Van Pran-Granger, C, Georgia — 6-3, 310, Senior

Broad, powerful and surprisingly quick, the SEC's reigning Jacobs Blocking Trophy Award winner has the look of a plug-and-play starting center and potential Day 2 steal. 

72. Jeremiah Trotter Jr., LB, Clemson — 6-0, 228, Junior

Quite different in size and style to his father (a four-time Pro Bowler who played at around 260 pounds), the younger Trotter nevertheless flashes his father's instincts and tenacity. 

79. Cedric Gray, LB, North Carolina — 6-2, 234, Senior

While perhaps not a true thumper, no linebacker in this class can match Gray's stellar production over the past three seasons, which include 365 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 15 turnovers forced. 

80. Jaylen Wright, RB, Tennessee — 5-11, 210, Junior

Despite playing fierce competition, Wright averaged an FBS-best 7.39 yards per carry in 2023 and followed it up with explosive numbers at the Combine, justifying a Day 2 selection. 

83. Spencer Rattler, QB, South Carolina – 6-0, 211, Senior

Rattler is a former five-star recruit who certainly battled through some inconsistency but also showed resiliency and natural playmaking ability in stops at South Carolina and Oklahoma. 

84. Devontez "Tez" Walker, WR, North Carolina — 6-2, 193, Senior

Among the better vertical threats in this draft, "Tez" will provide instant juice to any NFL offense — and at a fraction of the cost of many of this year's top-ranked wideouts. 

87. Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, S, Texas Tech — 5-10, 197, Senior  

One of this year's biggest Combine winners, DTD aced interviews and led all safeties in the 40-yard dash (4.41 seconds) after showing plus instincts and ball skills (10 career INTs) at Texas Tech. 

90. Sataoa Laumea, OG, Utah — 6-4, 319, Senior

Teams looking for more of a sure thing than upside will value Laumea, a four-year starter with the size, athleticism and experience to play virtually anywhere on the offensive line. 

98. Anthony Gould, WR/PR, Oregon State — 5-08, 174, Senior

Gould may lack ideal size, but not value, as a starting slot and returner is quite the bargain in the third round. Gould dazzled at the Combine and his 80-yard punt return touchdown in the East-West Shrine Bowl was the must-see play of this year's all-star games.

99. Jaden Hicks, S, Washington State — 6-2, 215, Redshirt Sophomore

Imposing, athletic and having shown the ability to make big plays behind the line of scrimmage (including 8.5 tackles for loss and a blocked kick), as well as in coverage (three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown), Hicks might have the highest upside of any safety in this class.

100. Michael Pratt, QB, Tulane — 6-3, 217, Senior

He may lack the elite traits of some of the higher-rated quarterbacks, but Pratt is a competitor whose savvy as a four-year starter and culture-setter at Tulane will be highly respected by NFL teams. 

Rob Rang is an NFL Draft analyst for FOX Sports. He has been covering the NFL Draft for more than 20 years, with work at FOX, Sports Illustrated,, USA Today, Yahoo, and, among others. He also works as a scout with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Follow him on Twitter @RobRang.


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