The New Orleans Saints took advantage of a sliding small-school prospect, and got some much-needed protection for Drew Brees. Meanwhile, the San Diego Chargers took advantage of a sliding top receiver in Keenan Allen, and the Miami Dolphins took an offensive tackle in Dallas Thomas, after being unable to reach terms on a trade for Branden Albert.
Terron Armstead is a typical story associated with small-school prospect. One of a player that is overlooked by top programs, but proves them wrong by consistently improving and becoming a top athlete. In the case of Armstead, though, he was offered several Division I scholarships, but chose UAPB because it was the only school that would allow him to participate in track and field as well, where he went on the become an eight-time SWAC champion.
Dan Kadar on the selection of Armstead:
When they lost Jermon Bushrod in free agency, the Saints had an immediate need at left tackle. With how much the Saints pass the ball, finding a left tackle this draft was imperative. Armstead is a raw player who will have to develop, but that's nothing to New Orleans. Bushrod was developed out of Towson and Jahri Evans has been one of the leagues best guards after coming out of Bloomsburg. If Armstead can be brought along as quickly as Bushrod and Evans were, it's a great pick in the third round.
Keenan Allen was considered to be one of the top wide receivers in the draft, but a knee injury as well as poor quarterback play at California hurt his stock. SB Nation's Matthew Fairburn wrote a detailed scouting report on Allen as as Fairburn noted, Allen has all of the skills to develop into a NFL starter. Allen has good size and speed and was excellent after the catch during his college career. He also displayed tremendous body control and hands while at Cal.
There were some questions about his medical status which could have resulted in the slide, but the Chargers found a way to get a potentially elite talent with a low-risk pick. Built in the Anquan Boldin mold, San Diego will hope he is able to emulate Vincent Jackson, who they lost to free agency in 2012.
Dallas Thomas' best asset as a lineman may his versatility. He started at tackle and guard while he was with the Volunteers, and proved adept at both positions. His senior season, Thomas played guard exclusively and the Vols saw significant improvement in both their rushing numbers and sacks allowed. Thomas is known for having good speed and balance, as well as a penchant for pulling.
The Dolphins coudn't land Branden Albert in a trade with the Chiefs before the Draft, so it's possible they've elected to move on. With Jake Long leaving for the Rams, there was a need at tackle. Given the hole on the roster, there's a good chance for Thomas to start.