NFL Draft 2017: Best Available Players For Patriots Entering Day 3

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The third and final day of the 2017 NFL Draft is upon us.

After selecting defensive end Derek Rivers and offensive tackle Antonio Garcia in the third round on Friday, the New England Patriots enter Saturday with three selections remaining — one in the fourth round (131st overall), one in the fifth (183rd) and one in the seventh (239th).

Here are a few of the best available players who could be fits for the Patriots, with the caveat that any or all of them might be gone by the time New England goes back on the clock:

Carl Lawson, defensive end, Auburn
In a draft chock-full of promising pass rushers, Lawson didn’t hear his name called in the first three rounds. He might be the best player available on Day 3 regardless of position, though his injury history at Auburn could give some teams pause. The Patriots already addressed their need for a pass rusher with the Rivers pick, but nabbing another potential backfield disruptor certainly wouldn’t hurt.

Desmond King, cornerback, Iowa
Yes, King is listed as a cornerback, which isn’t a position of need for the Patriots. But he possesses the versatility to play anywhere in the secondary, with some even believing he’ll be better off at safety in the NFL. A sure tackler and excellent run defender, Pro Football Focus compared him to former Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan, who signed with the Tennessee Titans last month in free agency. King, a four-year starter for Bill Belichick’s bud Kirk Ferentz, also is solid in coverage, recording 14 interceptions and 24 pass breakups during his career with the Hawkeyes.

Jake Butt, tight end, Michigan
Butt might have gone in the first round if he hadn’t torn his ACL in the Orange Bowl. Instead, he has fallen all the way to Day 3. He likely won’t be healthy enough to play Week 1, but the Patriots wouldn’t need him to, since they already have Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen on their roster. Plus, you know Gronk would get a kick out of being teammates with a guy named “Butt.”

George Kittle, tight end, Iowa
Another Iowa product, Kittle lit up the combine, ranking third among this year’s talented pool of tight ends in the 40-yard dash (4.52 seconds) and broad jump (132 inches) and sixth in the vertical jump (35 inches). He’d be an ideal fit to slide into the No. 3 spot on the Patriots’ tight end depth chart, which currently doesn’t have a permanent resident.

Thumbnail photo via Joe Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports Images

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