There’s been plenty of material in recent weeks about rookies (and veterans) whose stock changed with the NFL Draft taking place. Now, we’ve had the opportunity to see just how some dynasty rookie drafts have shaken out. Though there are many sites publishing completed mock drafts, I decided to sample two and give a brief rundown of some observations.
|1||Saquon Barkley, NYG||Saquon Barkley, NYG|
|2||Derrius Guice, WAS||Derrius Guice, WAS|
|3||Rashaad Penny, SEA||Rashaad Penny, SEA|
|4||Sony Michel, NE||Sony Michel, NE|
|5||Ronald Jones, TB||Ronald Jones, TB|
|6||Nick Chubb, CLE||Nick Chubb, CLE|
|7||D.J. Moore, CAR||D.J. Moore, CAR|
|8||Royce Freeman, DEN||Royce Freeman, DEN|
|9||Kerryon Johnson, DET||Kerryon Johnson, DET|
|10||Christian Kirk, ARI||Courtland Sutton, DEN|
|11||Anthony Miller, CHI||James Washington, PIT|
|12||Courtland Sutton, DEN||Calvin Ridley, ATL|
There isn’t much of a difference between these two mocks, with the first nine picks being entirely the same. Other similarities include that no quarterbacks or tight ends were taken in the first round, leaving eight running backs and four wide receivers to populate the 12 picks.
The first pick doesn’t require much analysis and should be Saquon Barkley no matter what. He enters a scenario where he should be the workhorse back on the Giants, though Jonathan Stewart could steal touches if we’re being realistic. He wasn’t the unanimous top-rated player among draft analysts but was certainly close.
Guice is likely the most commonly selected player from the second slot in the draft. However, he is almost certain to lose touches on third down or other passing situations, assuming Chris Thompson is physically ready to play in Week 1. The concern of a diminished role opens the door for considering other options at the second pick, one of which is Rashaad Penny who is the consensus third pick in these mocks. Penny is reportedly going to have the opportunity to win an every-down role in Seattle immediately, something that makes him an appealing option in the short-term. In the long-term, Guice is likely to be the better bet, but Penny may make the bigger impact this season and shouldn’t be dismissed in the long-term either.
Sony Michel checks in as the fourth pick in both mocks. He is a well-rounded back who should be stable in the passing game (both as a receiver and blocker) while also being a well-rounded runner. However, landing on the New England Patriots presents serious questions. If anyone believes they know how Michel will be used by Bill Belichick on a week-to-week they are fooling themselves.
While the picks stay consensus in these two mocks, after some of the elite running back options are off the board the draft opens up much more. Running back continues to be the most likely position to go in the next few picks, but there are a number of reasonable choices at the position. Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones, Kerryon Johnson, and Royce Freeman are the next grouping at the position, and they offer different appeal to owners. Nick Chubb is likely to have the most long-term fantasy impact but faces the most uncertain role heading into 2018. Freeman, Johnson, and Jones all have a greater chance to produce in 2018 with question marks in the future with it being unclear just how well they will be able to produce in the NFL
D.J. Moore seems to be the consensus top pick at wide receiver, with the remaining question being where he goes among the running backs. Unlike the running back position, after Moore, there is little consensus. This is illustrated in the above drafts, with four unique wide receivers going in the last three picks of the round. Miller would be the early favorite to have the biggest impact this season, but it will be important to follow any team moves made by Denver or Atlanta as the season nears. If Denver parts with one of Emmanuel Sanders or Demaryius Thomas, Sutton could be a big winner.
Meanwhile, Christian Kirk joins a thin Cardinals receiving core but profiles as a slot receiver, a role which happens to be filled by some receiver named Larry Fitzgerald. Generally, rookie receivers have a harder time making an impact in their rookie season, so draft for long-term production or short-term at the position.