- Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.
Many draft pundits focus on the first round in the weeks leading up to the draft, and understandably so. In the salary cap era, the investments teams make in first-rounders puts a tremendous amount of pressure on them to find players who can contribute early. Fans know this and want to know which players their favorite teams are looking at in the first round.
That being said, the impact of the salary cap doesn't end in the first round. It also prevents teams from signing too many high-priced free agents and forces teams to find quality talent in the middle- to late-rounds. No team did a better job of this last year than the Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
When the Giants took Western Oregon TE Kevin Boss in the fifth round, most figured Boss would do little more than provide adequate depth behind Jeremy Shockey. And many questioned whether Marshall RB Ahmad Bradshaw, a seventh-round pick, would even make the team. Things obviously unfolded a bit differently than predicted.
Players drafted in the middle rounds need the right fit to make immediate contributions in the NFL. Steve Muench takes a look at four mid-round safeties and where they might find a niche.