The 2022 NFL draft class has yet to play a single snap, but we already know the players who are expected to be stars. High draft picks like Travon Walker, Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux are expected to stand out after stellar college careers.
Hitting on players like that is great, but the real gems come when a team can find production after the first two rounds. While first- and second-round picks are expected to make contributions right away, the odds of a rookie contributing in a meaningful way start to decline once the third round starts.
Yet, there are those who inevitably have great rookie campaigns anyway. Amon-Ra St. Brown was a great 2021 example, as he led the Detroit Lions in receiving despite being a fourth-round selection.
Here we'll take a look at players taken in the third round or later who could make an impact based on their ability as well as the situation they got drafted into.
WR David Bell, Cleveland Browns
David Bell saw his stock plummet in the predraft process.
He was the No. 51 overall prospect in the post-Senior Bowl edition of the big board. He ultimately wound as the No. 92 prospect on the final version of the board before going 99th to the Cleveland Browns in the draft.
The concerns over his athleticism are legitimate. He earned a 4.02 relative athletic score, per Kent Lee Platte of Pro Football Network. His workout numbers included a 4.65 40-yard dash, 7.14 three-cone time and 33" vertical.
All of which points to a receiver that doesn't have great straight-line speed, change of direction or explosiveness.
Yet, he still had 93 catches for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns for Purdue last season. The analytically-minded Browns still took a chance on him despite his athleticism not matching up with the rest of their draft class.
The Browns don't have much depth at receiver. Amari Cooper figures to be their top wide receiver, but former sixth-rounder Donovan Peoples-Jones is next in line for targets and Jarvis Landry is now gone. Bell is going to have every opportunity to carve out a significant role early on.