Perhaps more than any other sport, the NFL seems to unearth stars in the later rounds of their draft on a consistent basis.
You don’t see too many second-round picks in the NBA develop into stars, or MLB prospects drafted in the 30th round who go on to win Cy Young awards or batting titles.
Players like Dalvin Cook, Xavien Howard, and Darius Leonard were all drafted in round two, and it’s almost a given that a few guys taken in the second-round of the 2021 NFL Draft will become faces of the league for the next decade.
There’s no doubt that key contributors will emerge from selections 33-64, but we’ll zoom in on a couple of players who have a chance to be perennial Pro Bowlers in their careers.
2. Jevon Holland, Safety, Miami Dolphins
When the Dolphins selected Jevon Holland out of the University of Oregon, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense at first.
Miami had one of the best secondaries in the NFL last season, led by talented cornerbacks Howard and Byron Jones.
After the draft, Miami released McCain, which will pave the way for Holland to get meaningful snaps on defense in his rookie season.
During his time with the Ducks, Holland was one of the premier ballhawking safeties in the Pac-12 and in the country.
As a freshman, he burst on to the scene by picking off five passes, and recorded six passes defensed.
As a sophomore, Holland maintained his playmaking prowess on the back end of the Oregon defense, but was also more willing to get involved near the line for scrimmage.
He posted 24 more tackles in his second season in Eugene, and recorded four-and-a-half tackles for loss.
Holland opted out of the 2020 college football season, but should be able to thrive with his natural coverage ability in a secondary that won’t need him to patrol large areas of the field.
Without further adieu… pic.twitter.com/7JVvLXw0xq
— Vón🧞 (@HollywoodVon) September 26, 2020
1. Javonte Williams, Running Back, Denver Broncos
Behind Najee Harris and Travis Etienne, no running back garnered more attention for his ability to contribute on the next level than Javonte Williams from the University of North Carolina.
He didn’t quite face the same level of competition as the aforementioned round one backs, but Williams was a major contributor to the Tar Heels’ offensive attack.
He got progressively better each season, but his junior year campaign truly vaulted him up draft boards.
Williams rushed for 1,140 yards and a whopping 19 touchdowns on the ground last season.
He averaged over seven yards per carry, and also chipped in 25 catches in the passing game.
It’s clear the Broncos have big plans for him, considering the level of investment they made in him, and the level of investment they’ve already made in incumbent starting running back Melvin Gordon.
Gordon will receive $13.5 million guaranteed from his two-year contract with Denver, which will expire after the 2021 season.
Even if Denver decides to give Gordon all the work he can handle in the final year of the deal, Williams has an excellent opportunity to be the bell-cow with the Broncos as soon as next season.
— Tar Heel Illustrated (@HeelIllustrated) December 26, 2020
That workload will give Williams a golden chance to showcase the type of skills he displayed at Chapel Hill.