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Five experts mock drafting the rookie draft, pre-NFL Draft…so it’s a bit flying-blind on their landing spots, but we wanted to show you what some experts were thinking at this stage of the draft studies.
We’ll release a few picks each day as they are made, and the commentary is organized to be published. The draft is going on, a slow draft, as I type. After each round we'll publish the whole thing as one post and then all of them as a post in the end, but for now pieces at a time.
*Informal chats via email, so forgive typos or grammar.
Welcome to the first annual FFMetrics expert rookie mock draft. The participants and draft order is as follows:
1.1 Jason Katz (Katz)
1.2 Myles Crowe (MC)
1.3 Ender (END)
1.4 Xavier Cromartie (XC)
1.5 RC Fischer (RC)
And keeping that order for 25 picks.
Katz: 1.01: Saquon Barkley.
I will get us started with the easiest pick of the draft and the only pick where there is any sort of consensus - Saquon Barkley. No one is doubting Barkley's athleticism. RC has illuminated some concern over Barkley's vision and that he may be a "run into a wall a few times before he breaks through" kind of back rather than a 4-8 yards a pop kind of guy. Honestly, either one is fine by me. RC is without question the best mind I know in fantasy. And full disclosure, I've only been on the FFM team since 2015. I've been playing this game since 2003. I've read analysis from a lot of different people. I've been on a lot of different websites. No one is as good as RC. However, one of the things I learned from RC is actually an area that he has acknowledged is something he needs to work on himself - situation and opportunity vs talent. I completely agree with RC's scouting of Melvin Gordon and Michael Thomas, but both are worth top 15 picks this year and were last year because of their situation and opportunity, even if their talent is overrated by most analysts. That brings me ever so slowly back to Saquon Barkley.
I believe in Barkley's talent and I do think he is a once in a generation type of back. However, even if I am wrong, I have a very hard time envisioning a scenario where he isn't a top 5 dynasty back. If he's drafted to a good team with multiple weapons, he may not see Todd Gurley's type of volume, but he'll have increased scoring opportunities and he's certainly going to be his team's goal line back. If he goes to a bad team, his scoring chances may be less than ideal, but his volume should more than make up for it.
One aspect of dynasty leagues that many tend to overlook is planning for now. It's why Larry Fitzgerald is going to have like a 9th round ADP in Dynasty startups. I get that your team is your team forever, but you should always be trying to win now if you think you can win now. Rookie running backs have a consistent track record of being able to help fantasy owners win now more than any other position. Barkley can and will make an immediate impact. He provides both short term and long-term benefits. No other player in this draft class can say that.
RC: We all would make this 1.01 pick (not considering trades in this mock). No drama here. BUT now, all heck is about to break loose, I have no idea what the next couple picks might be. I'm sitting at five and I have no clue who I am going to take/get because the only thing I truly want will be gone, I assume. This 2018 Dynasty Rookie Draft is easy...until pick #2...then this is going to be chaos I have a feeling. I can't wait to see the picks and the logic from this group. Unlike your typical Dynasty Rookie Draft...not one person here follows the mainstream, so we have no idea what anyone will do next.
Will master of running back scouting, lover of RBs...code-name: Myles Crowe (MC)...take a running back #1.02? Just a piece of advice MC...Calvin Ridley, he went to 'Alabama'. Just keep that in mind as you pick.
1.1 Saquon Barkley
Katz: MC is on the clock.
MC: 1.02 Rashaad Penny.... after great deliberation. In a real draft I'd be trading this pick back a few spots to someone wanting to move up for Guice (who runs with a bit too much reckless abandon for my risk-averse taste). This selection is all about upside for me. If Penny hits, he could be the best pick of this dynasty draft. 220-pound back with breakaway speed and a special level of vision, anticipation, decisiveness, and feel for defensive flow, capable of finding yards where most backs cant. Arguably the best natural runner of this draft who could very well be this year's Kareem Hunt. The nation's leader in 'forced missed tackles' got better as the season wore on, rushing for 1,133 yards and 10.3 YPC over his final 5 games. This pick could change depending on how the other top backs look catching the football at their pro days.
RC: Gutsy pick right off the bat!! I'm a fan of MC's eye for RBs...so I take heed with me going oppo here, but I don't see the natural/Kareem Hunt-like runner here. I see an OK between-the-tackles runner with size and speed...worthy of 1st round dynasty rookie consideration but I never see any 'it' factor when I watch his work. I see good not great. Swap Rashaad Penny into the SEC and he doesn't lead the nation in forced missed tackles. Put some of the other top 10 RB prospects on San Diego State and they'd light up the stat sheets as well in that conference that spawned Donnel Pumphrey as 'the greatest'. I see the window where Penny is better than I'm posturing. so, I would never call this a bad pick, but I think Penny is going to be more B-C than A in the pros...and I'm more C than B.
And I worry about his hands too...from a fantasy standpoint. He never looked that comfortable at the Senior Bowl week catching passes and that's stuck with me for some reason.
This is probably one where MC emails me Week 5 'crowe-ing' about how he was right. So far, I'm not on the same vibe with Penny as MC...which scares me.
I thought for sure you were taking Royce Freeman! Kudos for shaking up the draft board right away!!
Katz: One thing I definitely agree with is another RB off the board. This is the type of rookie class where at least half the first round, if not more, should probably be RBs. I fall somewhere in between RC and MC on this. I am more of a fan of Penny than not and would have no problem making him my first-round selection, but going back to my situation and opportunity thing, I would expect Nick Chubb or Derrius Guice to find themselves with more favorable volume right off the bat and I see both as having higher ceilings than Penny. But obviously in rookie drafts, you're never getting your guy at the next pick - there just aren't enough players to go around, so if Penny is the guy you believe in, you have to take him whether you pick at 2, 5, or 12.
Next up is the 1.03