The NFL Draft has come and gone, and now is the time we all start prepping (if you haven’t already, that is) for your rookie drafts. Even on day three of the NFL Draft, there are gems to be found and stash on our taxi squads. Some of these guys you won’t be taking in your drafts but instead picking them off the waiver wire and praying they turn into something of value. Enough of the mumbo-jumbo, let’s dig into rounds 4-7 of the NFL Draft.
Jabril Cox – Linebacker – Dallas Cowboys
Round 4, Pick 10 (115th overall)
Background: Coming into college, Jabril Cox was an unranked recruit. He joined up with North Dakota State and won three National Championships with the Bison, and was one of the top transfers for the 2020 season. Cox transferred to the LSU Tigers and had himself a pretty good year. He racked up 58 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, five pass deflections, and three interceptions. Cox doesn’t make a name for himself racking up sacks but in his ability to play in coverage against tight ends and running backs.
Team/Value: The Dallas Cowboys got one of the better steals on day three of the NFL Draft. Even though they drafted former Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons in the first round, the Cowboys weren’t kidding around to rebuild their defense. Dallas also declined the fifth-year option on former first-rounder Leighton Vander Esch; however, they did say there were going to try and re-sign him this offseason. Nonetheless, Cox should get the opportunity to play on passing down and show off his coverage skills.
Tyree Gillespie – Safety – Las Vegas Raiders
Round 4, Pick 38 (143rd overall)
Background: The physical, toolsy safety had an impressive junior and senior season, which vaulted him into one of the best safeties in the 2021 NFL Draft. Tyree Gillespie is an aggressive tackler and hardly misses his man. He could’ve been more talked about, but teammate Nick Bolton took up a lot of attention on that Missouri defense. Gillespie has the versatility to play anywhere on defense, making plays.
Team/Value: Gillespie was the third safety taken by the Las Vegas Raiders in the NFL Draft. Trevon Moehrig was taken in the early second and should start right away. Divine Diablo, selected in the third round, could be swapped to linebacker. This leaves the possibility for Gillespie to be the second safety behind Johnathan Abram. With his versatility, he shouldn’t have to wait to play at just safety and should be able to contribute sooner rather than later in the Raiders defense.
Daviyon Nixon – Defensive Tackle – Carolina Panthers
Round 5, Pick 14 (158th overall)
Background: Daviyon Nixon was a JUCO transfer before becoming a star at the University of Iowa. Nixon is a solid run-defender that has some quickness to squeeze through gaps in the offensive line. He has shown inconsistency at times, which caused his fall in the NFL Draft. However, if he can play consistently and develop more of a pass-rushing skill set, he could be one of the better rookie defensive tackles.
Team/Value: Some of us play in leagues with defensive tackles, so we better get some of them in here. Nixon has the chance to excel playing alongside 2019 first-round pick Derrick Brown. The Panthers had a mediocre run defense last year, and with the addition of Nixon, they hope to revert to their run defense from a few years ago. Nixon may not have outstanding value in leagues that don’t use the defensive tackle position. However, in leagues that do, he could be a sneaky late-round pick or UDFA pickup.
Cameron McGrone – Linebacker – New England Patriots
Round 5, Pick 33 (177th overall)
Background: The redshirt sophomore decided to test the waters in the NFL after only 18 career games with the Michigan Wolverines. Cameron McGrone’s redshirt freshman year was a solid one. He racked up 66 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, and four sacks. The following season, much was left to be desired. McGrone played only five games for the Wolverines, amassing only 26 tackles, two tackles for a loss, and a half-sack. His speed helps him get from sideline to sideline, making plays. McGrone shows great play recognition when in pass defense and will get his hands in and break up the pass.
Team/Value: The Patriots snagged McGrone late in the fifth round. He is currently buried on the depth chart for them, and it will be hard for him to see playing time right out the gate. McGrone gives the team an extra boost on passing downs, and that’s where he might get most of his playing time for the time being. He won’t be a guy you take in drafts, but McGrone could be a guy you pick up off the wire and stash him on your taxi squad.
Hamsah Nasirildeen – Safety – New York Jets
Round 6, Pick 2 (186th overall)
Background: He was a swiss army knife for the Florida State Seminoles during his career. Nasirildeen is that guy that can play anywhere on defense and succeed. At 6-foot3 and 215 pounds, He can play in the box or as the deep safety. He has great speed that can get him from sideline to sideline, making play after play. Nasirildeen had an injury-plagued 2020 season but gave him draft stock a boost back up with an excellent Senior Bowl week. He showed that he could cover tight ends and running backs with ease.
Team/Value: On the initial depth chart from Ourlads.com, the Jets have him listed as an outside linebacker. Wherever Nasirildeen can get on the field is a positive for him, even not at his normal position. He can cover, tackle or do whatever the team needs. He might be draft-able if you have a deeper league; nonetheless, keep your eye on him and see where he is going in mock drafts. This could be one of my favorite IDP sleepers from the NFL Draft.
Isaiah McDuffie – Linebacker – Green Bay Packers
Round 6, Pick 36 (220th overall)
Background: One of the best tacklers on this Boston College team, McDuffie made over 230 tackles and eight and a half sacks during his college career. McDuffie has excellent quickness and is all over the field, making play after play. When it comes to passing defense, he can hold his own, but he still needs not to grab the defender.
Team/Value: The Packers had a decent defense in 2020, but you could see the loss of linebacker Blake Martinez hurt them. The linebacking core was a revolving door and in need of some solid pieces. In comes McDuffie. He brings excellent athleticism allowing him to make plays all over the field. He has the versatility to back up all three linebacker positions, giving him an easier way to playing time. McDuffie is another guy to keep an eye on after your rookie draft is over.
JaCoby Stevens – Safety – Philadelphia Eagles
Round 6, Pick 40 (224th overall)
Background: Here is another guy on this list that did a little bit of everything in college. JaCoby Stevens played all over the field as a deep safety, in the box or even in the slot. He doesn’t excel at one trait, but he can do them efficiently to stay on the field and make plays. Stevens’s frame shows him closer as a linebacker instead of a safety, which the Eagles show on their initial depth chart. He showed at the Senior Bowl that he could cover tight ends and running backs with efficiency.
Team/Value: The Eagles’ linebacking and safety core have quite a few players; however, it seems that there is a wide-open competition for playing time. Stevens would have the most value in tackle heavy leagues. For a sixth-round pick, Stevens will have to show day-in and day-out that he can sustain a starting role. At the very least, he will carve out a role as a key reserve at multiple positions.
Shaka Toney – EDGE – Washington Football Team
Round 7, Pick 19 (246th overall)
Background: Following the footsteps of Yetur Gross-Matos from the 2020 NFL Draft, Toney is very athletic off the edge with an outstanding ability to get around the outside and make plays. Toney is still a bit raw and could use a couple of countermoves to get past defenders instead of just his speed.
Team/Value: Shaka Toney won’t be getting a starting gig anytime soon playing behind Chase Young and Montez Sweat. However, he does have a chance to learn from that excellent defensive line. Toney will be a rotational player at best for the foreseeable future. He will get playing time when they need rest, but I don’t expect much from him this year. Toney will be a taxi squad player this year and probably next year as well.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the article. You can find me on Twitter @ejh1528IDP. Feel free to shoot me any IDP (NFL or Devy) questions you may have. You can check out my NFL Draft Content here and my previous Dynasty Nerds articles here. Are you a #NerdHerd member yet? For just $2.99/month, you get access to rankings, extra podcasts, the buy/sell tool, and more on the way.