The NFL draft is over and the SEC did well again, leading all conferences with 54 players chosen. It's the ninth straight season the SEC has led the country.
With so many players to choose from, there were certainly a few diamonds in the rough for teams to snag. In today's Take Two, Edward Aschoff and Sam Khan Jr. take their picks on who the best "steal" of the draft was among the 54 SEC draftees.
Take One: Edward Aschoff
I have to go with Arkansas defensive end Trey Flowers, who somehow dropped all the way to the fourth round over the weekend. I get that he doesn’t have the ideal size for an NFL defensive end and he lacks top-end speed, but there is no getting around the fact that Flowers is an absolute beast, a tireless worker and a tremendous leader. The New England Patriots got a second-round talent in the fourth round. Congrats to them, because they just got a potential star.
Now, will Flowers, who started 39 of 49 games and accumulated 18 career sacks (12 in SEC play) and 47.5 tackles for loss at Arkansas, be a sack machine or a Hall of Famer in the NFL? I’m not so sure about that, but he has the potential to be a long-time contributor and someone who will create plays for both himself and guys around him. He knows how to find the ball and consistently make things uncomfortable for opponents. He’s relentless and is an incredible student of the game.
The Patriots are probably one of the best teams he could have gone to, as well. Bill Belichick has a way of squeezing just about every ounce of potential out of guys and Flowers should really benefit from his teachings. I was shocked to see Flowers, who was very durable in Fayetteville, slip so far, but in my eyes, he’s the truest definition of a steal.
Take Two: Sam Khan Jr.
I love the Flowers pick. I think that's a worthy choice but I'm going to go on the other side of the line of scrimmage to the offensive line. Jacksonville had the good fortune of seeing South Carolina left guard A.J. Cann still on the draft board when the Jaguars' selection arrived in the third round. To get a lineman the caliber of Cann with the 67th pick is a huge steal.
We're talking about a four-year starter who was an All-American and a leader. Watch him run block and see the way he uses his size (6-foot-3, 313 pounds) and tremendous strength. When he gets his hands on a defender, it's over. He's a dominant run-blocker. He might not be quite as proficient in pass protection, but I think you'll see him improve in that area. He's a solid overall player that's going to be consistent and reliable (he started all but one game in his South Carolina career, finishing with 51 career starts). He seems like the type who could be a 10-year starter in the NFL.
Even better, he has the ability to be an instant-impact player if the Jaguars need him to be. He's good in the film room, he plays smart and he'll make the Jags look smart for snagging him with the 67th overall pick.