IRVING, Texas - Day Two of the NFL Draft is when NFL talent evaluators really begin to earn their money, attempting to find diamonds in the rough and potential impact players who can contribute to the core of a roster without gobbling up massive salary cap space. Here is a snapshot of five of the best picks from Friday, and three selections that weren't my favorites.
Five best draft picks from Day Two:
1. Jacksonville Jaguars - Myles Jack, LB, UCLA (36th overall)
The Jaguars showed a lot of interest in Jack throughout the process and considered him at the No. 5 overall pick before choosing to pass due to concerns about his surgically-repaired knee. But Jacksonville had a second bite at the apple and weren't prepared to pass on Jack a second time, selecting the UCLA linebacker in the second round.
How long will Jack play in the NFL? Will he eventually need micro-fracture surgery? Those are unknowns right now that no one, regardless of medical degree, can answer. But he is a top-three talent in this class and if the team doctors say there is a good chance Jack will play for the next three seasons then he is worth the risk at this point in the draft.
2. New York Giants - Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma (40th)
Odell Beckham is entrenched as the Giants' No. 1 target, but with Victor Cruz and his injury situation an unknown, New York was looking for wide receiver help and found it. Shepard can play inside and outside and gives Eli Manning another threat at receiver.
Yes, his lack of size will limit him in some areas, but Shepard has above average body control and route savvy, using tempo and multiple gears to get open. He can be a YAC (yards after catch) monster and reliable possession target, giving the Giants another playmaker on offense.
3. Seattle Seahawks - Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama (49th)
A player the Seahawks likely considered in the first round, Reed slipped to the bottom of the top 50 and Seattle traded up to go and get him. With Brandon Mebane leaving in free agency, the Seahawks need to rebuild the defensive line and have a need at nose guard, a position that Reed played the past two seasons in Tuscaloosa.
Reed led the Crimson Tide in tackles among the defensive linemen each of the past two seasons, which accurately reflects his impact vs. the run. He has a small radius of impact, but he's very effective in that small area. Reed won't sell a lot of jerseys in Seattle, but he is the type of run defender every NFL team would love to add to the rotation.
4. Minnesota Vikings - Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson (54th)
The top cornerback on my board, Alexander turned some off during the process due to his eccentric personality and lack of size. But for him to fall out of the top 50 picks, it was a tremendous value pick by the Vikings in the mid-second round.
Some teams view Alexander as a nickel-only player, but he plays with the toughness and confidence that NFL teams seek at the position along with the reflexes and athleticism to hold up on the outside. He plays with a contagious swagger and prides himself on his ability to get in the head of wide receivers. Does he need technique work? No question, but Alexander has NFL athleticism and is wired right for the position.
5. Chicago Bears - Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State (56th)
A college left tackle who will move inside in the NFL, Whitehair was one of my favorite players in this draft and graded as a first-round pick. It wasn't a huge shock to see him fall out of the first round, but the Bears received tremendous value toward the end of the second round, adding a player who gives them position flexibility and one of the hardest workers in the class.
Whitehair is assignment-sound and rarely makes mistakes, showing a quick punch and shuffle to stone rushers in pass protection. He isn't the most physical of run blockers and his lack of length likely keeps him from playing at tackle, but his base strength, toughness and instincts will get him on the field as a rookie, either at guard or center.
Three worst draft picks from Day Two:
1. Tampa Buccaneers - Roberto Aguayo, PK, Florida State (59th)
When I mocked Aguayo to Tampa in the third round of my seven-round mock draft, I heard it from Buccaneers fans who told me it was a ridiculous pick and I was wrong. Those fans were right - I was wrong because Tampa drafted him in the second round, not the third.
While I do understand the pick because there was no guarantee that Aguayo would make it to Tampa in the third round, moving up to draft a kicker in round two is one of my least favorite picks from Day Two. Aguayo is a consistent kicker and helps fill a critical need area for the Buccaneers, but the second round?
2. Miami Dolphins - Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama (73rd)
The third running back off the board wasn't Kenneth Dixon, Devontae Booker or C.J. Prosise, it was Drake. There are certainly qualities to like with the former Alabama running back, including start/stop athleticism and shifty feet. However, the negatives are tough to ignore and make it a curious pick in the top 75.
Drake had the highest fumble rate of all the running backs in this class and lacks the size or power to be a consistent between-the-tackles runner. He is basically a wide receiver, but unless the quarterback throws the ball at his numbers, Drake has a tough time completing catches. He is best suited for a Theo Riddick role and can be an effective cog in an offense, but he was drafted much earlier than expected.
3. Cleveland Browns - Cody Kessler, QB, USC (93rd)
In the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, the goal of those picks is to find NFL starters. So by drafting Kessler in the late third round, the Browns view Kessler as a starting caliber quarterback in the NFL. And it's tough to see that based on his film.
Kessler is extremely smart with the pro-style makeup that will endear him to coach Hue Jackson and the Cleveland coaching staff. He is very accurate on throws within 12 yards of the line of scrimmage and plays with timing and tempo. However, Kessler struggles to anticipate and lacks a power arm to consistently fit the ball into tight windows, especially on throws 12-plus yards downfield. And regardless if Kessler turns out to be a starter, backup or neither, there is a good chance he would have been available later in the draft.