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We will update this list/ranking 10-15+ times throughout the offseason, and the next update will come a little quicker than you’d expect as we sift through all the undrafted free agents and try to get some local info on them with their new teams.
As a reminder, this ranking is not saying where you should take these players (although some are)…it’s just where we value them right now. Your approach/game plan to get the most you can out of the Dynasty Rookie Draft is on your shoulders.*See FFM reports throughout the summer on top 25 ADP trends we’re seeing in this week’s Dynasty Rookie Drafts we’ve sampled.
Players we are very much against are at the bottom of this report – in the ‘Do Not Touch’ section.
Here we go…
#1) RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
You have to understand something within the context, if you don’t already…the football media’s favorite player in this draft is Ezekiel Elliott. He checked all the major scouting boxes – he ran a 4.4+ 40-time. He is 220+ pounds. He is a running back, and went to Ohio State.
I’m not sure which came first, the chicken or the egg… I don’t know if fans love running backs because of the coverage from football analysts, or if analysts cover running backs because the fans love them so much. Either way running backs ‘rule’ with fans – which means they rule with most fantasy football GMs.
The Dallas Cowboys generate more media heat than any team in football…there’s something about the Cowboys. Credit Jerry Jones. Credit Jimmy Johnson. I don’t know who to blame/credit. Whatever it is, what the Cowboys do is on a Professional Wrestling level of interest – hero or heel. It does not matter. The media loves to cover the ‘Boys…fans love to engage about them.
Ezekiel Elliott being taken in the top five in the draft overall by the Dallas Cowboys is like taking a turn down an abandoned road, and accidentally coming up on a unicorn lapping water at the Fountain of Youth…with the Holy Grail strapped to its back…all right next to a sign that says, “This way to the lost city of Atlantis.” I don’t know if there’s ever been a better convergence of events in recent years, as it pertains to any rookie prospect for the Dynasty Rookie Draft. The post-draft analysis was 92% about Dallas, and mostly about them drafting Elliott. It’s football analyst’s Camelot.
The ‘scouting boxes’ that I mentioned, you could substitute ‘Alabama’ in for ‘Ohio State’, and arrive at the same place. See Trent Richardson circa-2012. However, in 2012 Richardson happened to be in the same draft with another mythical creature – Andrew Luck. Elliott shares no such spotlight in this draft. This rookie draft offers a stunning lack of enthusiasm for people…after Elliott.
Ezekiel Elliott to the Dallas Cowboys is instant top 12 ADP in upcoming redrafts…not top 12 in rookie drafts, I mean top 12 overall in a redraft. His valuation in Dynasty will be on a level of any single player you can name…and that’s the part you must fully appreciate. You could trade the 1.01 draft pick (and maybe a small token extra) in the 2016 Dynasty Rookie Draft for players you would consider in the universal top 10 overall best for Fantasy. That’s the incredible valuation. That’s why Ezekiel Elliott has to be the #1 rated prospect in this Dynasty Rookie Draft.
The extreme value of Ezekiel Elliott, to you the 1.01 owner, is not to draft him in 2016. The opportunity of a lifetime is to auction off/hold for ransom Ezekiel Elliott for a top 5-10-15 existing player that you covet in all of Fantasy Football.
If there’s plenty of time until your rookie draft, and you own the 1.01, then pit all teams against each other the next few months in order to acquire what you want. Of course, not every Dynasty GM is buying/willing to pay the price for Elliott, but I suspect one out of every two of them would…whether they admit it or not.
If you’re drafting soon, too soon to trade him, then you go ahead pick Elliott…and then hold the Elliott sweepstakes afterwards. And make the deal before the preseason games start…before the value bubble can burst.
I don’t dispute that Elliott is a good/solid running back prospect. I don’t dispute that joining the Dallas Cowboys turbocharges his Fantasy value some/a lot. I know we’re having a much different conversation if Elliott had been drafted by the Browns or Jaguars. I’m not saying Elliott is a bust you must trade away. I’m simply saying this is the ultimate sell high of a player who cannot possibly live up to the hype. He’ll be really good for Dallas – but you can score more stable, elite players at other more critical positions by trading him.
**The true #1 DRD prospect, if he were in this draft: RB Leonard Fournette, LSU. Not even debatable. Start trying to maneuver for the #1 DRD pick next year**
**The true #2 DRD prospect, if he were in this draft as was Fournette, is RB Nick Chubb, Georgia. Trade for high 2017 picks and hope you wind up with the one or the two. If you get 1.01 and 1.02 next year…franchise changing at RB.
See our full reports on Fournette and Chubb from the ‘Index’.
#2) WR Corey Coleman, Cleveland
7/28/16: Coleman has not made the true move to #2 overall yet. In some leagues he has, but in most, especially with typical ESPN followers, he hasn’t…he’s 50-50 #3/#4 off the board with Josh Doctson…and with Sterling Shepard, Derrick Henryand Kenneth Dixon popping up in there from time to time. Coleman is moving to more of an ADP #4 in the DRD with a range of #3-#5 as his trend.
The news of Josh Gordon’s return is pushing Coleman from more taken #3 to more taken #4 in rookie drafts…popping up #5 a few more times now. I say, take advantage of this fall. It’s hard to trade up into the top 5 because ‘draft picks’, people are orgasmic about them. You might be better to now, pre- the preseason games being played, let someone take Coleman and trying to make a deal right after.
When Coleman goes #2-3…it’s someone likely who wants him. Tough to deal with.
When Coleman goes #4-5, it’s a possible sign of someone who took him just because rankings say so. They may not fully BELIEVE. Try to make your move there.
The impact of Gordon:
1: It’s good for Coleman to have Gordon taking heat, when they are on the field together. I worried there would be too much coverage on Coleman right away with the current Browns roster. With Gordon, it opens things up for Coleman, and Gordon.
The return of Gordon means either nothing, or is a positive for Coleman…especially for 2016.
2: Long term, the Browns are going to dump Gordon if they can – so whatever the impact, it will change down the road. Either the Browns deal him, or Gordon relapses and is gone-gone. The long term Coleman outlook really isn’t affected.
All in all, the Gordon news doesn’t change our opinion one bit. It just creates opportunity to get Coleman FROM others who are scared of Gordon – rejoice, this is a good thing/news!!
Original Comments: The one non-QB from this draft who could be a mega-star is Corey Coleman. He has all the measurables you’re looking for, and was unstoppable for the most part in college.
The two negatives I hear about Coleman are:
To that I would say…he doesn’t need that many routes. He just needs someone to get him the ball short, and let him go. Or get him the ball medium-to-deep as he’s blowing by his defender by several yards. Odell Beckham Jr. is no genius either, but mega-talent WRs don’t have to be technicians. Coleman falls into that description for me.
2) What good can come of him on the Cleveland Browns?
I’m stunned by how much him being on Cleveland has poured cold water on his NFL/Fantasy buzz. I get that Cleveland traditionally sucks, but as you saw from this past draft…’times, they are a-changing’. With Corey Coleman’s talent, I don’t believe quarterback really matters as much. Sure, I’d love him to be working with Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers, etc., but even with an RG3, it means Coleman gets a bunch of screen passes, and/or heaved-up deep balls…his perfect situation.
I’m really not worried about the quarterback in the equation here with Coleman – he’s a WR that doesn’t need the quarterback to help him…he helps make the quarterback, one of the rare few that is like that.
I’d rather have Corey Coleman long-term than Ezekiel Elliott. A wide receiver always has longevity/ROI factors over a running back, in general. Plus, I think Coleman is just that gifted. However, you can’t take Coleman #1 over Elliott because people look at Coleman sideways, right now, because he’s a Cleveland Brown…and you can trade ‘the magical unicorn’ Ezekiel Elliott for riches untold. That part of the equation aside, I’d rather have Corey Coleman over anyone else in this draft…if I had to keep them the next 5–10 years.
** At this point in the Dynasty Rookie Draft, I’d mostly be OK if I had no picks for the rest of the draft. Honestly, everything from this point on has various/serious flaws and scenarios that make trading the pick/player much wiser than obtaining/keeping them. If I were holding picks after 1.02, I’d rather have more Round 3+ picks, and trade away my firsts and seconds.**
*2017* QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson (See CFM Report) – You take ONLY to trade in the hysteria. In reality, you don’t want him to use…from what I can tell at this stage.
Laquon Treadwell note:
5/6/2016: After the release of the 1.0 version of our DRD rankings, a few people emailed to ask whether it would also be wise to take Laquon Treadwell at #3 or #4 or #5 and trade him ‘hot’ as well?
It’s definitely not crazy, and is what you should look to do…if you can pull it off. Our initial stance has been that Treadwell is on our ‘Do Not Touch’ list because he normally is gone by the 1.04 pick, and I would suggest taking Elliott-Coleman-Doctson-Shepard (not Goff, because you shouldn’t reach that early…it’s an overspend) as the first four.
The reason I slide Shepard in ahead of Treadwell as a draft-and-trade is because I perceive there is some lust for Shepard, and there is a tepid response for Treadwell. I know most Fantasy analysts are probably ranking Treadwell #2 or #3 overall…and thus some sheep will follow by drafting him there in May 2016. My sense from the frontline is that people WANT Shepard…they’re buying in. On the other hand, people are ‘settling’ for Treadwell because Fantasy writers said so. My great fear, and I think a real fear: You draft Treadwell, and you’ll be stuck with no real buyers…you’ll get in at the peak of the market, and sell into a falling knife of value. You draft Shepard, and you’ll have an investment to work now and later.
Today, copycat national rankers that are using a February 2016 mainstream-mindset all line up/are holding onto their robotic-love for Treadwell. I’m telling you, that mindset is going to break…soon. Treadwell is going to become so obvious to break ranks from – given his awful landing spot for Fantasy. Once the first leak springs in the dam wall, the whole ‘dam’ thing is going to crumble soon after. Treadwell is at peak value today, and every day he depreciates another percentage. In short order, I think Treadwell is going to wind up more as a #4-6 media ranked/Dynasty drafted prospect with not a lot of enthusiasm
Include Treadwell in the ‘flip this WR’ sweepstakes if you’d like. At 1.03 or 1.04 or 1.05, if Elliott-Coleman are gone…I want to explore trading that PICK before I make the pick – the more trade partners the better…they may love Doctson or Treadwell or Shepard or even Kenneth Dixon. The more of them pitted against each other to get whomever, before the actual pick is made, the better. The key takeaway is TRADE the 1.03-4-5 pick once it’s not Coleman-Elliott. If you get stuck making the pick, taking Treadwell to trade is an option…but not my favorite option…but is an option.
For some cocktail napkin valuation, the non-Elliott/Coleman pick in the top 5 is potentially worth a top 20-25 ADP WR (today) or better…shoot for that target, make that trade. I am seeing people packaging their 1.03/4/5 + trinket for Brandin Cooks, etc. Do that all day long.
#3) WR Josh Doctson, Washington
Doctson joins a team where there are three receiving options who are much more experienced and better linked to the starting quarterback, and they are very talented, Garcon-Jackson-Reed. Are you telling me that rookie Josh Doctson is just going to show up and push past all of them, and become instant fantasy gold? Most likely, Doctson becomes a bit player and a 2016 Fantasy disappointment that leaves people looking to 2017 hopes and dreams on him.
I definitely want Doctson on my Dynasty roster, but I’m willing to roll the dice here that I could trade the pick that could get something more valuable for 2016…and then trading for Doctson in September or October 2016. I go back after Doctson via trade…when his price is reduced by 10-20-50%, as what almost always happens with rookies when Rookie Derangement Syndrome starts wearing off.
I want Doctson, but I’ll probably let you draft him…you trade a lot to me so you can make the pick – and then I’ll hit you back up when you’re desperate and your defenses are down in September–October, and you’ll trade him to me at a discount. If not, the world won’t come to an end.
#4a) LB Jatavis Brown, San Diego
8/8/16: Could very well be a starting linebacker this year. Glowing reports from camp.
Org. Comments: I think Jatavis Brown could wind up as the best defensive player from this draft in the long run. He’s measured athletically better than any of the other name prospects at the linebacker position, and he has proven results to go with it. Brown is fast enough to rush the quarterback, as well as hang back in coverage. He’s a monster tackling in the open field. He has it all.
Brown could be an outside linebacker, an inside linebacker, or a strong safety. The only question is whether San Diego was going to give him the push because of his late-round draft status. I think Brown will play well enough, and the opportunity is there in San Diego for him to make an immediate impact. However, Mike McCoy’s instincts scare the hell out of me…so ‘buyer beware’.
#4b) DE Emmanuel Ogbah, Cleveland
Ogbah is the best pure edge-rusher in the draft. If you’re looking to fill your roster with high-potential sack guys, you can’t do much better than Ogbah from this draft. He’s not an elite DE/OLB prospect, but he is very good; borderline great.
#6) RB Dwayne Washington, Detroit
9/11/16: At a certain point when you see ‘it’, you stop screwing around worrying about the team, the coaches, the media, the opportunity, the depth chart…and you just put your money in for something special. A chance at something special. Dwayne Washington is a poor man’s David Johnson. Enough said. He has been near magic every time they give him a touch. Let’s stop screwing around with nice WR2s and chasing mediocre RBs who will for sure get touches because of draft status. I’m not leaving the DRD without Washington. Never was, now it just costs more.
8/15/16: One thing we have to watch – the fumbles. Had some issue in college (6 fumbles lost over 2+ seasons of play). Whispers of it in training camp…didn’t have an issue when he exploded onto the scene Week 1 of the preseason.
Outside of that – he’s the most naturally athletic RBs (or WRs) on the team.
Original Comments: The next full scouting report we plan to do is on Dwayne Washington, so I’m going to limit my comments here. However, Washington is a highly intriguing converted wide receiver to running back prospect, who is joining a Detroit team that isn’t sure who their best starting running back is. Ameer Abdullah is just not that good. Zach Zenner is interesting, but has red flags. Dwayne Washington has a chance, because of the Lions’ roster set up today, to be a shock FF producer in 2016. Again, will get more into this with the full report soon.
#7) WR Sterling Shepard, NY Giants (+1 spot)
5/31/16: The more I look at this NYG offense for 2016, the more I am having a change of heart for trading Shepard. I saw initial heat for Shepard because made his way onto a New York team, and given a weaker 2016 draft pool of talent – I thought he’d stay hot, and get hotter. So far, the sheep are being sheep. They are following the mainstream right off a cliff withLaquon Treadwell at #2 overall most drafts, and now I’m seeing more Kenneth Dixon going top 5…ahead of Shepard, which is pure insanity.
All that aside, Shepard in that emerging NYG offense, minus Tom Coughlin now…Shepard may work as a WR2/WR3 right away and all 2016.
I still think back to prior drafts, and shake my head at this 2016 group…a team’s #2 WR is a top 5 prospect…it’s sad. However, Shepard has talent and may pay off nicely…nice enough to keep vs. trade away this summer. I would still explore trades to find the ‘overzealous on Shepard’ person in the league.
Original Comments: Sterling Shepard is a very good wide receiver, but he is radically overvalued in this rookie draft. I draft Shepard primarily to trade him.
Had Sterling Shepard gone to the Cleveland Browns, he might not even be in the top 10 of anyone’s rookie draft rankings. Much of the heat here is because he went to a New York-based team. Some of the heat is because this draft is lacking. Some of the heat is because people are daydreaming about a world where Shepard runs wild because Odell Beckham is the focus of defenses. I get that, but it never works out that way. The #2 WR who thrives opposite a great #1 is mostly a fallacy.
We all need to get a slap in the face, and be brought back to reality – how highly do you want to draft a wide receiver who will without a shadow of a doubt be the team’s #2 WR option? How sad is this? With top rookie draft picks you want wide receivers who are brought in to be the team’s ‘main act’, not a nice sideshow. I like Shepard a lot, but I am trading him if others are willing to pay this steep price.
#8) RB Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore (+1 spot)
8/17/16: This was the mystery player that I referenced in the BAL-CAR preseason Week 1 game recap. I was wildly impressed with the way Kenneth Dixon was moving/running the ball at the NFL level. I liked him before, but I’m moving towards loving him.
I thought, maybe his size-speed might hold him back a little, and plus he’s trapped in the tornado of Ravens RB options…so the fantasy outlook seemed ‘muddy’. Watching him at work – he’s got great feet (and had nice agility numbers at the Combine), and I know he’s a reliable catcher of the ball. His college numbers werew outstanding…and instead of pooh-poohing them for the lower conference — maybe, it’s just because Dixon is that damn good? He might be a guy, who is a ‘B’ athlete that efforts into an NFL ‘A-‘ player potentially.
Javorius Allen is really good for screen passes, but is not a work horse RB. Terrance West is in and out of trouble with coaches for years. Dixon does a little of everything. I’m starting to believe he will be the future at RB…not just part of a muddy mess. BUT that’s a big assumption. Risky move to take early. Probably not going to pay off for a while in 2016.
Org. Comments: I like Kenneth Dixon just fine…it’s more that I hate his NFL situation. I have no idea why Baltimore drafted Dixon when they already had a solid+ running back group rostered. On one hand, it’s confusing. On the other hand, the Ravens must like Dixon a lot. Most of the things the Ravens have done in the past 12 months make little sense to me.
I don’t see how Kenneth Dixon is going to matter all that much in a crowded backfield in 2016. His future may be bright, but 2016 is probably going to be a cluster…and his Fantasy value is going to drop early on. There’s no reason to draft him at a higher value when you can trade for him in October at a great discount.
#9) RB Tra Carson, Cincinnati (-2 spots)
9/1/16: I won’t need to expand too much on what I mean here with this description – I think I see the next Marshawn Lynch.
Unreal power and bounce for his size. Runs likes he just robbed a bank – he doesn’t hesitate or stop for anything. He just runs through and past things. Plus, he has nice hands out of the backfield in the passing game as well.
The risk here is wondering when Cincy admits it, and starts to shove lesser-skilled Jeremy Hill aside. That probably won’t happen easily. Likely happens like all my visions of players against the mainstream – when ‘their’ guy gets hurt, and they have to turn to Carson…and then there will be no turning back.
Original Comments: Totally loved the Week 1 preseason glimpse. He’s a monster – 230-pounds with aggression and a bounce in his step. On my radar now. Was injured all last season, and we’re all just finding out how bad it was (his toe)…and he still ran for 1,100+ yards in the SEC last season.
***Big drop from #8 to #9+ in ‘star’ potential for the future.***
*2017* RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (See CFM Report)
*2017* RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State (See CFM Report)
#10) QB Dak Prescott, Dallas
8/17/16: Best performer, rookie or pro, in Week 1 of the preseason. Wildly impressed with his poise. Extra rocket fuel here because ‘Cowboys’.
6/10/16: Mike Glennon trade rumors are cranking up.
Original Comments: Much like with all the enthusiasm about Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith, any prospect the Cowboys take that has name recognition is going to get pushed higher than he should be. Imagine what would happen if Tony Romo gets hurt, AGAIN, and Dallas has to run with Prescott in a pinch? Prescott’s value would rise quickly, and he’s a decent little quarterback – a guy whose style is built more for instant success/usefulness in the NFL.
If Dak Prescott has a great debut game in place of an injured Tony Romo, he will be treated like he’s the next Tom Brady. Because of the ‘Dallas’ label, we have Prescott ranked higher than we ever thought we would.
#11) RB Derrick Henry, Tennessee
You know the drill with Derrick Henry – the DeMarco Murray factor looms. You can try to look into the future and assume they’ll move Murray next year or whenever, but the fact that they are willing to pair Murray and Henry now would scare me that they’re always going to pair Henry with somebody.
Henry is a guy I’d rather not waste a draft pick on if I can help it, and I’m sure somebody will take him ahead of me before I even contemplated it. This Titans backfield situation is going to be a mess to figure out. However, Henry has talent, and maybe bumps Murray in 2016, and has quicker production than expected. Still, I’ll always have the fear he’s too one-dimensional for Fantasy.
#12) LB Blake Martinez, Green Bay
8/17/16: This guy is moving around the field, as a preseason starter, and he looks like a ten-year veteran. So smart, so purposeful…so quick. Man, is he a stealth cheetah tracking the ball, and especially in coverage. Looks like he is the starting middle linebacker.
Org. Comments: We were fans of Martinez right out of the gates, pre-NFL Draft, but as far as IDP goes, we figured he might take a year or two. We also weren’t sure how he’d integrate with 2015 rookie we LOVE, Jake Ryan…apparently ‘it’s all good’ because talk is already that Martinez may start for the Packers this year; he’s been that impressive in camp.
#13) CB Jalen Ramsey, Jacksonville
Jalen Ramsey could be the top defender in our rankings, but I fear one thing – too many times Ramsey plays lazy. He’s very talented, but he’s lazy and sloppy…and he goes to a franchise that is not a well-oiled machine. If Ramsey went to the Patriots, I’d be ecstatic about his opportunity. Ramsey on the Jags scares me. However, I know he’s going to be thrust into the lineup right away, and probably be tested a bunch, so his initial FF-numbers should be good for passes defended. He also used to play safety, and was a big hitter at one time, before he became a diva/lazy. At his best, Ramsey could be the best IDP on the list.
#14) FS Sean Davis, Pittsburgh
6/21/16: He’s playing slot coverage in camp all of a sudden…I’m afraid they see how great he covers, and moves him to CB, and reduces his IDP stat upside.
Davis at Safety, might be the #1 IDP on our board.
Original Comments: With Pittsburgh already announcing Davis as a safety, I feel comfortable ranking him up this highly. Had Pittsburgh committed to making him a cornerback, I’d worry about his Fantasy production just because of that position lacking the bigger IDP numbers usually. However, safeties produce highly for those that play in a league that just list ‘DB’ as the option to fill.
Davis is a threat in coverage, as well as a nice hitter in the open field. He’s a guy who can get you good tackle counts along with some pass-game action (PDs and INTs).
#15) QB Jared Goff, Los Angeles
9/1/16: Jeff Fisher is killing off the golden goose.
8/10/16: The more I think about the possibility of Goff long-term stuck with Fisher-Snead, the more concerned I get. The future is not really built for QBs like Goff. It will be interesting what happens when/if he ever gets a new coach/offense.
6/16/16: Talk of Jeff Fisher and Les Snead getting their contracts extended is not good for Goff, for FF.
Org. Comments: Why Jared Goff this early? Because he is arguably the single best football talent in this draft. Also, most everything about this draft is awful, so weak…someone has to be #3.
Jared Goff is probably going to have a horrible 2016 season. I know this. Jeff Fisher is the absolute worst thing that could happen to a passing game for quarterback. I am banking on the fact that Goff has a lot of those ‘next Tom Brady‘ attributes in our system, and that there will be a new coach in Los Angeles for the 2017 season.
Josh Doctson is a good-great wide receiver, but there are a lot of good-great wide receivers entering the NFL. There are not a lot of truly great quarterbacks entering the NFL… Jared Goff is a rare bird. When the offense changes for Goff, assuming that it does/with a new coach, a pass-friendly coach…then you are looking at a potential elite passer…a QB1 talent for years here.
#16) RB Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia
5/26/16: The more I study this, the more I’m buying Smallwood is in the right place at the right time. He may be an average-good prospect, but the path for him to have quick impact is there for the taking. He is the perfect fit for a West Coast offense.
Original Comments: I didn’t believe in the possibility of Smallwood mattering in Philadelphia in 2016…or much in the future either. He profiled as a typical smaller running back prospect (208-pounds) — fast, but not strong (14 bench reps) at an NFL size that isn’t ideal. However, the more I watched tape, and studied his work for a deeper scouting report – I started to like what I saw. He is really a very gifted, instinctual runner. The size is a fear for injury issues and general NFL effectiveness, but Smallwood has the speed-agility and instincts that can overcome…if he gets a chance.
Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles are the experienced incumbents, but Mathews has been rumored to be traded…and is always hurt. Sproles is great, but not a workhorse running back. There is a window for Smallwood to hit in 2016. It’s not a given, but I am more open to the possibilities than I was pre-Draft.
#17) DT DeForest Buckner, San Francisco
8/16/16: I thought his debut Week 1 preseason was “OK’, but I didn’t see anything exciting.
Had Buckner going to a pure 4-3 scheme defense, and his coaches talked him up as a defensive tackle, I might have Buckner as the #1 IDP from this rookie class. However, he’s going to a 3-4 scheme, and they’re talking about him at defensive end…that’s not his best, most disruptive position at all. He’s not going to be a big producer from the end.
Because he’s such a freakish athlete, and this draft is so weak…we’ve got him ranked up this highly because of the gamble/upside aspect…or hope he plays more DT in 4-3 alignments.
#18) DT Sheldon Rankins, New Orleans
8/15/16: May miss half the season with broken fibula.
Sheldon Rankins is the most ‘sure thing’ defensive tackle in this draft. He’s definitely going to start immediately. He may be one of the better defensive tackle producers in the NFL right away.
#19) WR/RB D.J. Foster, New England
9/1/16: Playing great in the preseason, and Dion Lewis’s future in some doubt. Foster may matter faster than anyone suspected.
6/14/16: The Dion Lewis ‘handcuff’, if you will, potentially. What if he is the Dion Lewis replacement plan…even if just more of a 2017 plan? Foster is better suited for the ‘Dion Lewis role‘ than Dion Lewis is…in a very ironic statement.
Org. Comments: He’s moved up nearly 100 spots the past two weeks for us. Why? You’ll see why in a few days when a full scouting report hits.
#20) LB Tyler Matakevich, Pittsburgh
8/24/16: I’m starting to believe Matakevich is going to be a throwback ILB who gets 8-10 tackles a game in 2017 or 2018…or maybe later this year.
One of the best tacklers in the 2016 NFL Draft. His college tackle numbers are sick (good). We were worried about his athleticism, but watching him preseason Week 1 – I was impressed. I want to see more.
#21) QB Paxton Lynch, Denver
6/10/16: The more I think about this, the less clever messing with Lynch is. I had a draft and trade strategy in my mind, but no one cares about Lynch, and by the time they do he will be old news. His Rookie Derangement Syndrome has already run out. Nobody really cares about him. His next move may be on our ‘Do Not Draft’ list.
Original Comments: You may be shocked to see Paxton Lynch up this high in our Rookie Draft Rankings, because you might already know we have poor scouting grades on him coming out of college. This is simply just another situation where I take a guy whom I know the team is going to force in as a starter at some point, and that will get people all worked up about the possibilities – and then I can trade that smoke before anybody realizes there’s no fire.
I know Paxton Lynch is going to start for Denver at some point. When you look at the rest of the list of offensive players we have remaining…you tell me the guy that is the definitive starter or #1 weapon for his team at his position. I’ll save you some time searching – there isn’t one. At least Lynch is going to get his day, which means he’s going to get his hype – which means I have something to trade.
*2017* OLB Myles Garrett, Texas A&M – On the upside, he feels like another Anthony Barr…high-end athleticism for college, and just runs by lesser-talented guys. At the pro-level, more of an OLB chaser than pure DE pass rusher…a 3-4 OLB who can rush the passer. On the downside, in my brief study…I didn’t see ‘it’. I see the athleticism, but I don’t see any superstar ‘things’.
*2017* RB Jalen Hurd, Tennessee — He might deserve a higher ranking than this…he strikes me as a Matt Forte-alike type runner. Measurables will be the key. He’s a gritty, tough, big 6’1″+/220+ runner. What team he winds up means everything for true DRD rankings.
#22) RB Josh Ferguson, Indianapolis
7/28/16: Varga retired, so only Trey Williams stands in your way now. I like these odds!!
6/30/16: Ferguson’s ‘buzz’ is starting to catch hot fire. Now, the owner is tweeting about how great he is.
6/8/16: The mini-camp reports have been glowing…that’s a good sign he’ll stick, but possibly go right into that key receiver role in this offense. Tyler Varga is the threat to this blowing up in your face…
Original Comments: We might be way ahead of ourselves here – I thought Josh Ferguson would be a mid-draft selection this year, but he went undrafted. I believe he has the talent to play/start in the NFL. His gift is that he is arguably the best, most fundamentally sound receiving weapon at running back in this draft. His high-end receiving skills are perfect for this new dawning era of the running back as a pass-game specialist. It’s perfect timing for him to hit the NFL.
The Colts’ running back depth chart is pretty sad after Frank Gore. Josh Ferguson could be the shock higher target PPR running back of 2016…at least that’s what it looks like in my dreams. His lowly no-draft status makes him easy for the team to jerk around – cut or placed on the practice squad. This is a team that drafted Josh Robinson on purpose last year, so I’m not all warm and fuzzy here.
#23) SS Derrick Kindred, Cleveland
8/23/16: I saw enough Week 2 preseason to let me know my first instinct was right here. He’ll be the long-term starter for the Browns before long.
Org. Comments: I could see Kindred starting on opening-day. He’s a big-hitter with decent coverage skills as well – 86 tackles last season, along with 2 interceptions (and 8 INTs in his college career). I really liked his tape. We had him rated the fifth-best safety prospect in this class, a top 50 overall prospect.
#24) WR Malcolm Mitchell, New England
9/1/16: Love him, but so crowded in New England.
8/16/16: A very sound, technically gifted WR working with one of the great offenses in the NFL. He;s going to start, and going to matter – hopefully, his hyperextended elbow heals in time for opening day and doesn’t nag him. Great pro receiver.
I think Malcolm Mitchell has the chance to be a fantastic wide receiver in the NFL. He was totally underutilized at Georgia, playing with a terrible pass game. You take a talent like his, match it up with the smartest minds in the NFL, and the best quarterback…and there is real hope here.
My fear is that by the time Mitchell is fully ready to be a good/great wide receiver in the NFL, Tom Brady is starting to fall off. However, Brady may be a robot/alien from the future that will never not be great. Mitchell has a chance to be one of the shock players from the 2016 rookie draft.
#25) LB Myles Jack, Jacksonville
8/16/16: Horrible debut as an ILB. The guy does not know how to tackle (see our twitter videos). He’s a strong safety mind in a linebacker body, and Jacksonville is getting suckered by it. He’ll put up numbers, but I think less than you’d think…and ultimately he’ll be moved to safety. He’s a coverage guy at heart, not a monster in the middle mindset.
8/7/16: All signs point to him as a starting ILB for the Jags…I’m shocked, but he’s going to be in position for great FF numbers.
Org. Comments: All the loose puzzle pieces about Myles Jack scare me to death now.
I know…his highlight reel shows him as a wildly gifted linebacker in spots. You can only imagine the possibilities with him…and they’re very exciting – when Jack is at his best. But like Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack gets lazy and sloppy. Unlike Ramsey, Myles Jack has a tornado of injury concerns…the fact that he dropped out of the first round should scare the hell out of everybody. NFL teams had to know something bad to allow him to drop from top five overall to second round.
When you take Myles Jack, you’re signing up for a huge gamble. If he stays healthy, and motivated, he’ll be the best defender you could’ve taken in this draft. However, the odds say that there are problems lurking around various corners here. This is very much a ‘buyer beware’, but the upside is sweet enough that at a certain point you take a swing at it.
#26) WR Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati
I like Tyler Boyd. I know he has great hands. I know he’s a bit of a limited athlete. What I don’t like is him being the third-wheel option in Cincinnati. Marvin Jones was never that consistent of a producer for Fantasy purposes, and he’s more athletically gifted than Boyd. A very similar Mohammed Sanu only had a moment of rookie excitement, but was mostly quiet. The fact that Boyd has athletic limitations and will need to adjust some as a rookie means that you could acquire Boyd at a discounted price in September–October or 2017.
#27) WR Robby Anderson, NY Jets (+18 spots)
8/16/16: I think he’s a great sleeper, but buried on the Jets depth chart.
Org. Comments: On a different team, in a better situation, I might have Robby Anderson in the top 15 on this list. However, he goes to a horrible situation in New York. At least, horrible for 2016. There’s no way Anderson’s going to sneak in to a key starter’s role naturally in 2016. If Anderson’s going to hit – it’s going to be in 2017+.
Again, I say… Anderson is the Antonio Brown/Stefon Diggs of this draft. The guy who’s a better technical receiver than scouts recognize.
#29) RB Jordan Howard, Chicago (-6 spots)
6/22/16: I’m getting more and more excited, especially in a non-PPR format. Howard really has the best chance of any rookie RB, who is seen as a backup today, to usurp power/ascend to the throne of main carry status. Howard is a really nice power runner – savvy and instinctual. He is mediocre, but not a klutz, in the pass game. Jeremy Langford is overrated andKa’Deem Carey is not the talent anyone thought. I would not be shocked to see Howard as the opening day starter…I almost expect it now.
Original Comments: I like Jordan Howard perhaps more than others, because I see a path most people don’t – I don’t thinkJeremy Langford’s very good, and that opens the door up for a guy like Howard to take over the backfield. I also believe the power running game is what John Fox would prefer, and Howard is his guy for that… Not Langford. I wouldn’t be shocked if Howard won this job outright by opening day, with Langford seeing some time as a third-down/pass-game running back.
#30) WR J.D. McKissic, Atlanta (+55 spots)
9/7/16: What I wrote about him at FFM:
In his second preseason game, after he caught my attention as a returner in his first game, I saw him working as a WR (caught 2 passes on 2 targets). I remember taking a little extra interest, and noting that he caught the ball surprisingly well for a non-name (to me). The more I watched him as a receiver in the preseason, the more he caught my eye. Always looking smooth in returns (50.5 kick return avg. in preseason, 33.7 after his 101-yard TD return), and then turning around and being really nice as a receiver.
The guy has fantastic hands. I mean really good. Not only does he catch the ball like a professional, with his hands, snatching it, but he’s tough as nails. He caught some passes in the preseason in a crowd, knowing he was going to get blasted and still made the catch. I shouldn’t say ‘knowing he was going to get blasted‘, because I don’t think he knew – I don’t think he cares. He’s single-minded after the football like my dog is after a tennis ball. Nothing else matters when he’s focused on the task. McKissic has no fear. DeVante Parker is filled with fear. McKissic has none. I would argue within a year, he should be a starting wide receiver for an NFL team, if not right now. Obviously, he’s raw, but you can have the great route runners who play scared, and I’ll have a guy I just tell where to go and throw the ball anywhere near him and he catches it…and then can do something major with it after the catch.
McKissic was below average in our scouting models, in part, because he did not blow away the stat sheets in college. As a senior, he led his team in catches, but went for just 52 catches for 525 yards and 2 TDs. You have to consider that he ran the ball as an RB at times – 18 carries at 6.2 yards per pop in 2015. He rushed for 2 TDs with an 8.1 yards per carry total in college. Still, nothing mind-blowing as a senior – and we put a lot of weight on how player’s finish their career.
Here’s what we overlooked – as a freshman, McKissic walked in as a starter and caught 103 passes for 1,022 yards. When the pass game was more high-functioning – he was awesome, as a redshirt freshman. He caught a meager 11 TDs in his career. He ran for 2 TDs. He returned 2 kicks for TDs. He played cornerback some as well. He threw a TD pass. He’s been all over doing ‘things’. He’s that kind of talent.
He’s the all-time Sun Belt leader in catches with 289, despite tailing off with the QB play his last two seasons. He’s #1 all-time in the Sun Belt with a 27.3 kick return average.
It was staring me in the face, but I was focused on the declining output at a lower level of college play. He’s a 4.5+ runner with 7.00 three-cone…mehh. Nothing stands out…until you watch him play. I might argue that McKissic is the single best wide receiver talent I’ve seen play this preseason, right up there with the Jets’ Robby Anderson.
None of us have seen Josh Doctson on an NFL field.
Sterling Shepard has been a ghost.
Corey Coleman looks lost, but athletic. One catch on six targets this preseason.
Tyler Boyd made a nice catch or two, but has a hard time separating from coverage.
Patriots rookie Malcolm Mitchell looked fantastic, but got taken away just as quickly by an arm injury.
Given a lot of names haven’t done much, I make the claim that McKissic is arguably the best-looking rookie wide receiver I’ve seen this preseason on only eight catches, and none of them a big time event…just subtle brilliance.
I might argue McKissic is the best physically tough, ‘hands’ receiver, non-established starter, that I’ve seen in this entire preseason….rookie or not. You might know how I’ve been glowing about watching Walter Powell work with Buffalo? I take McKissic over him, long-term, for fantasy/dynasty in a heartbeat. And that’s no smack at Powell.
I like to think I can see players, before anyone else, that have ‘it’ – McKissic has some markers of ‘it’, as a high-quality NFL wide receiver.
I’m not sure how it will ever manifest itself, especially in Atlanta, but all I can tell you is – there is a ton of talent here. He’s shown me more than I’ve seen with Sterling Shepard, and no slam at Shepard. McKissic’s been that good.
My hope here, my prayer here – that some team wakes up and snags McKissic off the Falcons’ practice squad, so his destiny can be rewritten. Assuming he stays in Atlanta, you’re going to have a long time to wait for viability…and even if he gets in, it won’t matter because it’s all about Julio Jones. We need him free of Atlanta…#freeJDMcKissic.
#31) CB Brandon Williams, Arizona
8/17: Showed well in his debut facing Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. They attacked him, and he was not flustered. He’s going to get picked on and be instant IDP numbers this season. He’s this highly ranked because he’s instant numbers…talented, but more for the numbers across from Patrick Peterson.
8/10/16: I was a fan of Brandon Williams early on, but I thought this would be a 2-3 year story to unfold. However, he is set to start as a rookie – and opposite Patrick Peterson, Williams’ PD count might be 20+ this year. He’s a talent, but still a rookie. Numbers for IDP could be fantastic this year. Good for him!
#50) WR Leonte Carroo, Miami
8/7/16: The more DeVante Parker pisses off another staff of coaches…the more I believe Carroo can matter for fantasy right off the jump.
Org. Comments: I’m not as over the moon with Leonte Carroo as a lot of people are, but I do realize he’s a pretty good wide receiver. However, he goes into a bad situation in Miami contending for targets with Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker, along with weak quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Unless one of the two top WRs get hurt, I don’t know how Carroo is going to matter anytime soon.
#32) DE Carl Nassib, Cleveland
8/17/16: Now, I’m wondering if he won’t be an undersized, highly athletic DT freak. I’m starting to like this move after what I saw in the preseason.
7/14/16: Desmond Bryant injury may force Nassib back to rush end.
7/4/16: Rumor is he’s working as a DT…not good.
Carl Nassib is a prospect of great interest to me.
Sometimes, I get the feeling he’s going to struggle in the NFL because of his thinner body type. On the other hand, I get the feeling that he’s the hardest working player in this 2016 NFL rookie class, and he’s going to ‘will’ his way into becoming a Pro Bowl player. At a certain point, I just want a ‘ticket to the show’ on him.
*2017* OLB Jabril Peppers, Michigan – Kinda of a Shaq Thompson jack-of-all-trades player, just a great/natural ballplayer. Plays like a bigger, thicker Tyrann Matthieu…kinda wanders all over doing various things.
#33) RB C.J. Prosise, Seattle
8/15/16: The rapid resurgence of Christine Michael, and the quicker-than-expected return of Thomas Rawls…and the nagging injuries of Prosise – not good for Prosise’s short or long term outlook now.
Org. Comments: The only reason I have C.J. Prosise ranked this highly is because I believe Seattle tipped their hand, and they are telling us that they fear Thomas Rawls’s injury or talent or whatever. The Seahawks drafted three running backs in the 2016 NFL Draft. The best and most complete of which is C.J. Prosise.
At worst, Prosise is going to be a PPR option as a third-down running back with Thomas Rawls. At best, Prosise is going to be the opening day three-down running back on a terrific offense.
I don’t love the long term, but I very much like the short term here…if Rawls is delayed/out first part of the season.
*2017* WR Mike Williams, Clemson – Has nice size at 6’3″/220, NFL athleticism. Hard time getting my arms around him – open deep a lot, just sprinting down and catching jump balls/bombs. Hard to say how he’d fight in the NFL…or is he too one-dimensional to be elite. His 2015 neck fracture is a fear, obviously.
#34) LB Su’a Cravens, Washington (+6 spots)
Watched him work the Deone Bucannon-like role for Washington in the preseason – he was all over. Not my favorite safety, but as a hybrid…I liked what I saw. He’ll get numbers when he’s in.
#35) SS Karl Joseph, Oakland (+6 spots)
Karl Joseph is going to play sooner rather than later, and he’s going to be working on an Oakland team that has a pretty great pass rush. There are going to be a lot of opportunities for Joseph to use his ‘sticky hands’ to pick passes off, as well as make tackles against the quick passes in front of him, short/quick passes that offenses will deploy to try to minimize the Raiders pass rush. I like the IDP scoring setup here.
#36) LB Deion Jones, Atlanta (+46 spots)
Bulked up, and has become their main linebacker. I’m shocked.
#37) LB Elandon Roberts, New England
7/6/15: I was watching tape on 2017 prospect Dalvin Cook, and I got reacquainted with Roberts…damn, is he a good-looking linebacker. I know he may not have full impact in 2016, but could be the man in the middle in 2017.
#38) QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia
I’m not a huge Carson Wentz fan, but I know the Philadelphia Eagles are. I know that Carson Wentz is going to be given a year to develop (maybe less), and then be the starter in 2017. The Eagles’ future is going to center around Wentz. He may not put up gaudy passing numbers, but he’s a pretty savvy runner, and can add a couple of FF points with his feet…maybe enough to matter for Fantasy purposes, in leagues where the quarterback scoring is not as wild and crazy for passing numbers.
The fact that we have Carson Wentz up this highly is a sign of how bad this Dynasty Rookie Draft is. For more evidence, wait into you see the next rookie quarterback we have ranked.
#39) CB James Bradberry, Carolina (-5 spots)
If you’re going to get excited about rookie Brandon Williams starting, and getting picked on for Arizona…what about Bradberry starting in the void left by Josh Norman? Bradberry will get picked on too, but not as much as Williams, because Bradberry doesn’t have Patrick Peterson locking down people on the other side. Still, he’s going to get his share of work…and instant FF stats.
#40) QB Cardale Jones, Buffalo
There are times that I watch Cardale Jones and believe he’s one of the best quarterback prospects I’ve seen in a while. There are other times I watch Jones play, and I’m left scratching my head. However, there are more moments where I think Cardale’s got a huge upside than not.
If you suspect Jones has some talent, he now gets put onto a franchise where only Tyrod Taylor stands between him and the starting job. Nothing against Tyrod, but I know he’s going to run the ball a lot and take hits, so he is a perpetual injury risk. Cardale Jones could be a shock starter in 2016 due to injury, and then we’ll find out how good Cardale really is. I think he might shock everyone with his natural instincts.
#41) TE Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles (-13 spots)
9/1/16: Taking him down just as fast as his rise because it looks like Jared Goff is dying. Higbee matters if Goff is at QB.
8/17/16: Am I more intrigued by Seth DeValve? Yes. However, I might have to wait 2-3 years there. What I just saw with Higbee in preseason Week 1 has me totally jacked. One part of this is that Higbee is good. We didn’t know how good because he had to skip pre-draft workouts due to injury. He’s a mountain of a TE, and has good hands. I’m a now a believer that he is good-to-very good. The extra hot sauce here is…
I think I saw a special connection between he and Jared Goff. IF Goff starts…Higbee could be his default. Mostly, because the Rams have the worst WR group in the NFL. He has to throw somewhere. Higbee is a big, quality target that Cooper-Britt-Quick et al. do not deliver.
Look, we’re in a TE desperate world – Eifert, Ladarius, Jimmy G. One by one the top guys are fading away. Tight end is a barren market looking for a boost…Higbee, especially in PPR, might be a shocking rookie boost.
Org. Comments: A legit 6′6″ tight end who ran into some off-field issues pre-draft, in addition to coming off an injury that forced him to miss pre-draft workouts. Much of this is a blind dart throw – the Rams need a tight end, and Jared Goff is a talent to work with. There’s a window where this might work.
#42) TE/WR Seth DeValve, Cleveland (-7 spots)
5/25/16: Because of the lack of tight end options in the past last two drafts, any glimmer of hope has to have a somewhat inflated value.
Original Comments: I wish DeValve had gone to a better situation. However, the fact that Cleveland went this highly on him (fourth round) gives me more enthusiasm. He was our top tight end deep sleeper for the 2016 NFL Draft. I was shocked, and pleased, the Browns took him this highly.
Gary Barnidge starts as the traditional tight end. There are several other more college-experienced wide receivers who will work over DeValve early, if they look at DeValve as a wide receiver. The play on DeValve is in him becoming a Jordan Reed-like tight end. DeValve is arguably the best tight end prospect in this draft; the most athletic. The gamble is whether Cleveland can figure out how to maximize his talent, and how fast they’re going to do so.
*2017* WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC (See CFM Report)
#43) RB Darius Jackson, Dallas
7/27/16: Start hedging bets that Elliott might off-field his way out of the league at some point.
You know how everybody is unbelievably orgasmic about ‘the magical unicorn’ Ezekiel Elliott? Who is his handcuff? Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris are obvious, but what if it’s Darius Jackson at some point? He may not be in 2016, but he might be in 2017.
Jackson has some David Johnson-like parallels, so he is of interest for sure. I hate that he landed on the Cowboys, because he’s buried right away. However, I could also see a scenario where the Cowboys try to sneak him onto the practice squad, and another team poaches him right before the season starts.
Darius Jackson is a cheap lottery ticket I’d like to possess from this crappy rookie draft.
#44) SS Kevin Byard, Tennessee
One of the most athletically gifted safeties from the 2016 NFL Draft. He’s a playmaker. May be going higher on this list soon.
#45) TE/WR Tanner McEvoy, Seattle
8/17/16: The single biggest report-to-report jump in the history of my rankings…
In college, McEvoy was a running QB, a fill-in RB, played both ways as a senior at WR/TE and Safety. He picked off six passes in the Big 10 last year. He is a play maker. He’s also 6’6″/230…a possible stud TE…a possible answer at TE in the passing game if Jimmy Graham goes on the shelf.
Caught a Hail Mary as time expired to win Week 1…and he played it like a maestro.
We missed on identifying him pre-draft because he scored poorly as a QB, WR, TE, Safety…you have to consider that he played them all, when trying to grade him…throw the algorithms out the window here.
#46) LB Nick Vigil, Cincinnati
8/16/16: Very impressed with him at ILB in Week 1 of the preseason. If he was named starter for some reason…top 20-25 guy here.
I like Nick Vigil a lot more for Fantasy purposes than as a pure NFL player. Because Vigil is such a terrific athlete he should be able to do a lot of stat-producing things at linebacker – he can be great in the coverage aspect. He’s also quick enough to bum-rush/slither into the backfield for TFLs. He seems to be a decent enough linebacker to chase down/assist on tackles as well. He may not be considered a great NFL player, but I think we might all really enjoy his IDP output.
#47) DT Adam Gotsis, Denver
Possibly, the most talented DT in this draft…hidden away because of all his bouts/missed time with injury. He may be in the top 25-30 before long.
#48) DL DeVondre Campbell, Atlanta (+35 spots)
Scrapped his way to a starting role for Atlanta.
#49) WR Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee
8/8/16: I give up; I’ll ride the wave. So much chatter about Sharpe starting, and I just heard Mariota talking about his relationship with him…and all non-Rishard WRs on Tennessee suck, so Sharpe just might be the #2 after all.
He’s a solid enough WR. I just think he’s going to struggle finding a role…he has iffy hands, iffy speed-agility, an iffy frame. He’s a hard worker, etc. so maybe he just out-efforts his deficiencies. Enter at your own risk.
#50) DT Javon Hargrave, Pittsburgh
Hargrave looks unstoppable at times…a 310-pounder with 4.93 speed. He can dominate and interior, and is suddenly being whispered about as an opening day starter for the Steelers.
#51) WR Braxton Miller, Houston
I’m not a huge Braxton Miller fan, but I know he has a little more value in Houston than does, say, Will Fuller. Brock Osweiler is not a great deep ball QB, so that’s going to limit Fuller. Osweiler is a better dink-and-dunk QB, which plays into Braxton Miller’s hands. Miller could be viable on a handful of bubble screens, and 2–4+ plays as a wildcat QB/WR. The Texans showed the commitment to getting crazy with their offense in how they used Cecil Shorts as a wildcat type wide receiver late last year, and Braxton Miller can be the ultimate wildcat wide receiver. The possibilities are fairly intriguing.
#52) TE Rico Gathers, Dallas
6/14/16: The more I think about this, the more I wonder why Dallas drafted him so highly already possessing Gavin Escobar and James Hanna, and Jason Witten…the more I am starting to think the special pre-Draft look Dallas got was really something. In a world of limited Fantasy TE prospects hitting the scene, the Gathers move from hoops-to-gridiron is a ‘mystery’…one to romanticize about.
Flying blind here, but if a Dallas rookie does something impressive…the whole world knows about it moments later, and FF-values change among the masses.
Org. Comments: Gathers is the Baylor basketball-to-football conversion TE prospect of 2016. He didn’t play a down of football in college, but was a four-year starter as a power forward – the nation’s leader in offensive rebounds.
Gathers did get tested at a Pro Day, and his athleticism measurables were so-so. He has nice size at 6′7″+, but obviously he’s so raw. He also has to figure out a way to become a pertinent Fantasy asset over Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, and James Hanna. It’s a long shot on top of a long shot in 2016. He’s a guy that may not matter for a few years, if ever.
#53) RB Brandon Wilds, Atlanta (-17 spots)
On another NFL roster, Brandon Wilds might be among our top 15. I believe Wilds is by far the best receiving running back weapon/prospect in this draft. I know it. I know it. I know it. I don’t know if anybody else knows it though. I know there is no natural way he’s jumping over Devonta Freeman.
My main hope here is that the Falcons cut Wilds right before the season starts, and they try to stash him on the practice squad, but another RB desperate team poaches him away.
#54) RB Daniel Lasco, New Orleans (-16 spots)
I’m not a huge fan of Mark Ingram, but I know for sure he’s the starter without doubt. C.J. Spiller flopped last year, but is still here. Tim Hightower is useful, but not the future. Daniel Lasco is a sneaky, athletic jack-of-all-trades running back who could become that high-target guy out of the backfield quicker than anyone would imagine. At least, that would be my daydream at this point of the Dynasty Rookie Draft.
#55) SS Keanu Neal, Atlanta (-7 spots)
Neal is going to start at safety and give you numbers right away. He’s not my favorite safety prospect, but this is a good fit for early playing time.
#56) RB DeAndre Washington, Oakland
DeAndre Washington is the handcuff for Latavius Murray, and I know a lot of you own Murray…so you’ll do the obvious math. Washington will never be a workhorse running back, but he could handle a lot of work for a short period of time. He is a minor threat to take some of the pass-game activity away from Murray. In the end, Murray is much more talented in every way than Washington, but that’s no slap at Washington either.
Washington is a smart play if you’re looking to grab the handcuff for your owned Latavius, or just to block the Latavius owner.
**Now we’re starting to get into the heavier-risk portion of the program. There are some guys who you will think unusual to be ranked as high as they are, but we see so many flaws in the rest of this group that we’re willing to stretch our necks out for some interesting talents in the potentially perfect situation…but these are low draft status guys who teams tend to overlook.**
#57) FS Darian Thompson, NY Giants
#58) LB Kamalei Correa, Baltimore
Playing ILB during OTAs…he could start at ILB, and matter right away for the Ravens. I’m more intrigued by this situation every week.
#59) LB Reggie Ragland, Buffalo
8/10/16: Torn ACL, done for 2016. I’m not sure I could even make this pick. He;s not that great, and now an ACL…plus, Rex will be gone next year.
Org. Comments: I’m not a huge Reggie Ragland fan, but I assume he’s going to be starting right away…and that’s worth something for IDP purposes.
#60) DT Jonathan Bullard, Chicago
#61) T.J. Green, Indianapolis
Starting free safety?
#62) LB Joe Schobert, Cleveland (+12 spots)
#63) DE Charles Tapper, Dallas
9/7/16: dealing with a broken back.
Charles Tapper could be the surprise pass-rush IDP of this rookie class. He may be forced into the action right away with the entire Dallas defensive line seemingly under suspension for the first few games of the year. Tapper is a 4.5+ runner off the edge. I’m getting more intrigued by him by the day.
#64) DE Matt Judon, Baltimore
#65) RB Tyler Ervin, Houston
I’m not over the moon with Ervin, but the more I think about it the more I realize he was brought in as a pass game weapon, plus he’ll see 3-5 carries per game and he is also going to have a role returning kicks. He’s going to get touches in this offense, and have some FF-value, quickly.
#66) LB Cory James, Oakland
Loved what I saw from him Week 1 of the preseason. Moved to middle linebacker, and looks promising.
#67) LB Dominque Alexander, Cleveland
#68) RB Jonathan Williams, Buffalo
8/16/16: With Karlos Williams about to fade away, Jonathan Williams matters. I had to put him back on the list. He’s OK. What was once a crowded scene is pretty open now.
Org. Comments: Overrated, and joins a roster with LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams, and Mike Gillislee ahead of him.
#69) WR Pharoh Cooper, Los Angeles
We are not huge Pharoh Cooper fans, but who else is there to catch passes for the Los Angeles Rams? Cooper should get a long look as a starter at a certain point in 2016, and working with a very talented Jared Goff…there might be something here. You might get a nice, instant blip to trade potentially.
#70) CB Eli Apple, NY Giants
#71) SS Vonn Bell, New Orleans
#72) WR Tyreek Hill, Kansas City
Tyreek Hill is up this highly only because he is a freakish speed-demon athlete for the NFL – a 4.29 40-time with a 6.5+ three-cone. Between his use in the return game, and what he could do on bubble screen type passes, Hill may be a bit of a shock producer in 2016. He has a ton of off-field issues that got him dismissed from Oklahoma State, and he’s not somebody I would set my watch by for the future, but I do recognize he could pop quickly and give you options to use or to trade in the frenzy.
#73) CB Will Jackson, Cincinnati
8/2/16: Torn pectoral muscle; likely done for the season…or most of it.
I like Will Jackson, but I have some fears of him as an IDP – because if he’s as good as I think he could be, it won’t be long before teams are NOT throwing his way…and then he’s going to be lacking for Fantasy output. He may be a little bit of a victim of his own success, if he’s as good as can be. However, he also gambles a ton and leaves himself open to getting burned…in that case, he may thrive for Fantasy purposes because quarterbacks would keep targeting his gambling ways.
#74) WR Paul McRoberts, Los Angeles (+13 spots)
#75) DT Vernon Butler, Carolina (+43 spots)
#76) DT Kenny Clark, Green Bay (+4 spots)
#77) WR Mitch Mathews, Kansas City (-9 spots)
9/1/16: Released by KC, early. Not good.
8/14/16: I love the guy, but it’s like he’s a ghost; like he doesn’t exist. No camp news. Didn’t play Week 1 preseason. SHOW ME SOMETHING!!!
Org. Comments: I was shocked when Mitch Mathews didn’t get drafted late (he went undrafted). It scares me a little bit. Mathews has some fantastic measurables, and was a terrific producer/had nice tape at BYU…all that in a legit 6′6″+ frame. Him not getting drafted, to me, was a total shock.
Mitch Mathews could make the roster, and find targets quickly if he’s as good as we believe he is. You can’t let a 6′6″ receiver who high-point catches better than anyone in this draft, just sit idle. Mathews could be a red zone specialist Week 1, at worst. There’s a lot here to work with, but it’s murky on how he’s going to push past all the other receivers in KC. It’s not so much Mathews has to beat out Jeremy Maclin, etc., as much as Mathews needs to carve out a niche using his height and skills to be a weapon regardless of all the other Chiefs’ options.
#78) CB Xavien Howard, Miami (+16 spots)
#79) WR Daniel Braverman, Chicago (-10 spots)
Braverman could be the shock #3 WR for the Bears this season. Wes Welker-esque. Not sure if Cutler will use him as such.
#80) TE/WR Thomas Duarte, Miami (-10 spots)
The Jordan Reed possibilities prop him up a bit here. An average wide receiver prospect, but an intriguing tight end mismatch possibility.
#81) DE Shaq Lawson, Buffalo
*Going to miss at least six games in 2015…if not the entire season due to shoulder surgery.
Shaq Lawson is a good player, but I’m not in love with the situation he’s going to in Buffalo…unless Rex Ryan is going to get after the quarterback this year. The 2015 Buffalo Bills were a ‘D-Line drops back into coverage’ kind of team…not lending itself to defensive ends racking up numbers. Your hope with Lawson is that Ryan goes back to the crazy blitzing days of the 46 defense. I’m not sure that he will. It won’t matter when Ryan is dismissed after the 2016 season.
#82) WR Jordan Payton, Cleveland
Jordan Payton is a professional receiver, but below average in athleticism…but more pressing: he is surrounded by a ton of talent at wide receiver just brought in by Cleveland. There’s no way Payton will be the #1 target given Corey Coleman’s existence. Payton will be useful, but probably not a star.
#83) WR Paul Turner, Philadelphia (+42 spots)
#84) DE/LB Dadi Nicolas, Kansas City
#85) RB Brandon Burks, Green Bay
#86) WR Jakeem Grant, Miami
#87) LB B.J. Goodson, NY Giants
#88) FB/TE Dan Vitale Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is listing him as a tight end. He’s a very interesting poor man’s Delanie Walker-type prospect. He’s a heck of a receiver. As a fullback, he would be like Kyle Juszczyk. As a tight end…this gets a little more FF-interesting.
#89) WR Moritz Boehringer, Minnesota
At a certain point, you just close your eyes and throw this dart. Boehringer measurables are terrific, but there are a lot of guys who are big and athletic that don’t amount to anything in the NFL. He’s no ‘sure thing’, and he’s playing on a team with a horrific passing game…but at a certain point, you roll the dice on his athleticism and see what happens.
#90) RB Troymaine Pope, NY Jets (+10 spots)
#91) WR Alex Erickson, Cincinnati
#92) WR Cody Core, Cincinnati
#93) DE Noah Spence, Tampa Bay
#94) CB Deiondre’ Hall, Chicago
#95) DT Sheldon Day, Jacksonville
#96) WR Rashard Higgins, Cleveland
#97) WR Nelson Spruce, Los Angeles — MVP of Rams Week 1 preseason game.
#98) WR Tevaun Smith, Indianapolis (-14 spots)
#99) FS/LB Jeremy Cash, Carolina
#100) WR Jaydon Mickens, Oakland (+21 spots)
#101) CB Cyrus Jones, New England
#102) WR Ricardo Louis, Cleveland
#104) WR Keyarris Garrett, Carolina
#105) WR Mike Thomas, Los Angeles
#106) TE Stephen Anderson, Houston
#107) DT Adolphus Washington, Buffalo
#108) LB Kentrell Brothers, Minnesota (+29 spots)
#109) TE Ben Braunecker, Chicago
#110) TE Jerell Adams, NY Giants
#111) WR Charone Peake, NY Jets
#112) WR Jalin Marshall, NY Jets
#113) LB Travis Feeney, Pittsburgh (-15 spots)
#114) DE Jihad Ward, Oakland
#115) WR Trevor Davis, Green Bay
#116) CB Daryl Worley, Carolina (-31 spots)
#117) DE Dean Lowry, Green Bay
#118) WR Chris Moore, Baltimore
#119) QB Trevone Boykin, Seattle
#120) TE Austin Hooper, Atlanta
#121) CB Eric Murray, Kansas City
#122) WR Demarcus Ayers, Pittsburgh
#123) DE/LB Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville
#124) DE Shilique Calhoun, Oakland
#125) CB Kevon Seymour, Buffalo
#126) WR Wendall Williams, Houston
#127) DE Kevin Dodd, Tennessee
#127) LB Scooby Wright, Cleveland
#128) DB Justin Simmons, Denver
#129) LB Nick Kwiatkoski, Chicago
#130) LB Luke Rhodes, Tampa Bay
#131) WR Jamal Robinson, Jacksonville
#132) LB Jordan Jenkins, NY Jets
#133) TE Cole Wick, Detroit (-16 spots) – Not great, but big…and may start for 1-2-3 weeks due to injuries to others.
#134) QB Brandon Doughty, Miami (-11 spots)
#135) TE Temarrick Hemingway, Los Angeles
#136) QB Vernon Adams, Free Agent — Headed to the CFL.
#137) LB Trevor Bates, Indianapolis
#138) DT Austin Johnson, Tennessee
#139) WR Devin Lucien, New England
#140) RB Byron Marshall, Philadelphia
#141) QB Brandon Allen, Jacksonville
#142) CB Will Redmond, San Francisco
#143) WR K.J. Brent, Oakland
#144) SS Clayton Fejedelem, Cincinnati
#145) OLB Eric Striker, Buffalo(-16 spots)
#146) DT Maliek Collins, Dallas
#147) DT Chris Jones, Kansas City
#148) DT Justin Zimmer, Buffalo (-47 spots)
#149) LB Kyler Fackrell, Green Bay
#150) FS Deon Bush, Chicago
#151) CB Zach Sanchez, Carolina
#152) DT Willie Henry, Baltimore
#153) LB Ronald Blair, San Francisco
#154) WR Darrin Peterson, Chicago
#155) DE Bronson Kaufusi, Baltimore (-48 spots) – On I.R.
#156) QB Jeff Driskel, San Francisco
#157) WR Marquez North, Los Angeles
#158) WR Devon Cajuste, San Francisco
#159) WR Kolby Listenbee, Buffalo
#160) WR Rashaun Simonise, Cincinnati (Supplemental Draft prospect)
#161) LB Anthony Morrison, Indianapolis
#162) DE Alex McCalister, Philadelphia
#163) CB KeiVarae Russell, Kansas City
#164) RB Devon Johnson, Carolina
#165) RB Marshaun Coprich, NY Giants
#166) DT Vincent Valentine, New England
#167) LB Joe Walker, Philadelphia
#168) DT Matt Ioannidis, Washington
#169) WR Reggie Diggs, Washington
#170) CB Kalan Reed, Tennessee
#171) DB Kamu Grugier-Hill, New England
#172) DE Anthony Zettel, Detroit
#173) CB Ian Wells, Detroit
#174) WR Duke Williams, Los Angeles
#175) RB Brandon Ross, Green Bay – 5/24: Already cut by MIN, and that’s never good for a UDFA. Signed by GB 7/12/16.
#176) CB Trey Caldwell, Cleveland
#177) QB Joel Stave, Minnesota
#178) WR Cayleb Jones, Philadelphia
#179) WR Dom Williams, San Diego
#180) WR Darius Powe, NY Giants
#181) CB Terrell Chestnut, San Diego
#182) FS Jalen Mills, Philadelphia
#183) CB Blake Countess, Philadelphia
#184) FS Marqui Christian, Arizona
#185) LB Joshua Perry, San Diego
#186) WR Devin Fuller, Atlanta
#187) DT David Onyemata, New Orleans
#188) CB LeShaun Sims, Tennessee
#189) QB Josh Woodrum, NY Giants
#190) CB Tavon Young, Baltimore
#191) SS Jayron Kearse, Minnesota
#192) TE David Morgan, Minnesota
#193) LB/FB Will Ratelle, Atlanta
#194) RB Zac Brooks, Seattle
#195) RB Romar Morris, NY Jets
#196) LB/S Peni Vea, Kansas City – released quickly by KC
#197) CB Justin Burris, NY Jets
#198) QB Kevin Hogan, Kansas City
#199) WR Jay Lee, Detroit
#200) LB Devante Bond, Tampa Bay
#201) CB Ryan Smith, Tampa Bay
#202) DE Tyrone Holmes, Jacksonville
#203) QB Jake Rudock, Detroit
#204) DT Ra’Zahn Howard, Houston (Supplemental Draft prospect)
#205) DE Dadi Nicolas, Kansas City
#206) TE Cedrick Lang, NY Giants
#207) WR Reece Horn, Tennessee
#208) DT Hassan Ridgeway, Indianapolis
#209) CB Maurice Canady, Baltimore
#210) DT Quinton Jefferson, Seattle
#211) CB D.J. White, Kansas City
#212) RB Brandon Johnson, Pittsburgh
#213) WR Miles Shuler, Carolina
#214) LB Antwione Williams, Detroit
#215) SS Will Parks, Denver
#216) FS Deandre Houston-Carson, Chicago
#217) FS Kavon Frazier, Dallas
#218) RB Rob Kelley, Washington
#219) LB Aaron Wallace, Tennessee
#220) CB Elie Bouka, Arizona
#221) CB Prince Iworah, San Francisco
#222) SS Kevin Dillon, Houston
#223) QB Nick Arbuckle, Pittsburgh
#224) QB Joe Callahan, Green Bay
#225) RB Terron Beckham, Free Agent
#226) WR Anthony Dable, NY Giants – 27-years old, played in the German league and French league prior yrs.
Prospects we are not taking (because they’ll be gone before we’d ever think about them/we don’t like them)….
WR Laquon Treadwell, Minnesota – Mediocre WR going to a dreadful pass-game offense. He’ll go way ahead of the point I’d ever think of him.
DE Joey Bosa, San Diego — I’m not a fan of Bosa. However, I do understand he’s above average athletically, and he’s definitely going to play because of his draft status. However, his college numbers vs. top opponents were awful. His tape, to me, is terrible. Listening to him in an interview is painful. Just count me out.
WR Michael Thomas, New Orleans – I’m not a fan of his talent, and think he’ll be average or a bust.
TE Hunter Henry, San Diego – He won’t matter for a year or two at best…by then, you could make a play for him cheaper. I am suspect of his talents in general as it is.
WR Will Fuller, Houston – He’ll be OK, but I won’t come close to paying the price. A shaky WR, who is one-dimensional as a deep ball receiver…goes to work with a weak deep ball passer.
RB Devontae Booker, Denver – I don’t like Booker much at all, and I just can’t pull the trigger on him. His skills are nowhere near CJA’s or Hillman’s skills. H’es solid/belongs in the NFL, but I’m not paying his crazy ADP price.
LB Jaylon Smith, Dallas – The window has passed. He’s gone from everyone excited, to forgotten or worry about his health. He’s nto that talented, so why bother?
Original Comments: I think Jaylon Smith is wildly overrated, but I also know because he went to Notre Dame and now is on the media-monster Dallas Cowboys – and thus this story cannot, will not be contained. The media is building Smith up into the next Ray Lewis. I don’t see it. However, I’m willing to draft it now, and then trade the heat next year when everybody’s going crazy about it. This is a pure draft-to-trade situation.
RB Kenyan Drake, Miami…
7/20: I was already starting to turn 100% negative on Drake the more I researched, and then the Arian Foster signing and another hamstring injury for Drake pretty much assures that I would never draft him – I’d take just to trade him.
Original Comments: I like Kenyan Drake OK as a talent, not as a human, but we all sit here knowing Jay Ajayi is going to be the lead running back…and Drake is known for his pass-game skills only. However, the problem with Ajayi is that he’s an injury risk. Drake may be forced into more action quicker than anyone thought, right away.
Drake has instant PPR hopes, with an outside chance they need to use him for even more work. The second Ajayi gets hurt, and Drake’s value got elevated – I’d sell Drake off, because he is a huge injury risk as well.
TE Nick Vannett, Seattle – He’s no good for Fantasy.
WR Aaron Burbridge, San Francisco – A mediocre prospect going to a team with a ton of talented young WRs…little chance he makes any impact…or the team. 8.25″ hands.
DE Robert Nkemdiche, Arizona – I’m not as wild about his athleticism numbers as everyone else, plus he’s a total mess off the field…and even worse he did nothing in the field for Ole Miss. He had like one decent game in college, and a bunch of garbage otherwise.
LB Darron Lee, NY Jets – Not a fan. He’s more of a coverage LB than a big hitting LB who will rack tackles.
RB Alex Collins, Seattle – Moved from #74 to this list. I’m just not making this pick anywhere near where others are. He’s nothing special, and has Rawls-Prosise ahead of him…if Collins got a shot due to injuries above him, I’m not sure he’d do much with it.
RB/WR Keenan Reynolds, Baltimore – Not all that athletic, and goes to a team that is loaded with RB and WR prospects already…legit ones. Name/story/college performance is bigger than ability. I need to see him thriving as a WR in the preseason to have my mind changed.
LB Leonard Floyd, Chicago – The most overrated pass-rusher I’ve seen in years. No real skill, and under-sized. They will bulk him up, and thus slow him down…and he’ll be an enigma that becomes a wasted high draft pick.
DT Andrew Billings, Cincinnati – I like him as an NFL entity, but not for FF/IDP. Had him ranked originally, but done for year with injury.
PK Roberto Aguayo, Tampa Bay – Head case already failing in the preseason…this could be the shortest NFL career of any top 100 pick this year.
Other ‘Do Not Touch” by Alpha:
CB Mackensie Alexander, Minnesota
WR Geronimo Allison, Green Bay
QB Jacoby Brissett, New England
CB Anthony Brown, Dallas
CB Artie Burns, Pittsburgh
QB Connor Cook, Oakland
LB Steven Daniels, Washington – Torn labrum, ends 2016 season in August.
WR Andre Dubose, Oakland – 7th round pick, already waived in June 2016.
WR Ed Eagan, Dallas
LB Josh Forrest, Los Angeles – 4.91 40-time, 11 bench reps at the NFL Combine.
QB Christian Hackenberg, NY Jets
QB Cody Kessler, USC
SS Miles Killebrew, Detroit
WR Kenny Lawler, Seattle
RB Keith Marshall, Washington
CB Harlan Miller, Arizona
RB Paul Perkins, NY Giants
RB Jhurell Pressley, Minnesota
DT D.J. Reader, Houston
DT Jarran Reed, Seattle
DT A’Shawn Robinson, Detroit
WR Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City
CB Rashard Robinson, San Francisco
WR Alonzo Russell, Cincinnati
TE Beau Sandland, Carolina
QB Nate Sudfeld, Washington
RB Kelvin Taylor, San Francisco
WR De’Runnya Wilson, Free Agent
DE Jonathan Woodward, Jacksonville – Tore his Achilles in OTAs