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2018 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft (Five Experts Picking with Commentary) *#1.09-1.10

Air Date:
March 30, 2018

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.

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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.

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This Post: Picks 1.09-1.10...

1.01 RB Saquon Barkley

1.02 RB Rashaad Penny

1.03 WR Courtland Sutton

1.04 QB Lamar Jackson

1.05 RB Royce Freeman

1.06 RB Derrius Guice

1.07 RB Ronald Jones

1.08 RB Sony Michel

 

XC: 1.09 WR DJ Moore 

I'm surprised that the best WR in the draft is still available at pick 9... DJ Moore (Maryland). I've seen a lot of comparisons to Pierre Garçon, including on CFM. That wouldn't be too bad. Garçon had a fairly good run as a WR2 (fading to WR3 with age). Longevity is what you want in a dynasty pick. But Moore is a better version of Garçon. Every metric on Moore is phenomenal. 97th percentile SPARQ, 98th percentile breakout age, 97th percentile college dominator. And he is nearly the youngest WR in the draft at age 21.4. With high volume, he can enter low-end WR1 territory. Otherwise he should offer years of reliable WR2 service. He is one of the few WRs in this draft with 'do-everything' star traits.

 

Katz: Completely agree with XC that DJ Moore is the best WR in this class. I understand RC's concerns about Moore that he outlined in his scouting report, but Moore is just too athletic to not be worth taking a chance on. Sure, he could end up being the next Donte Moncrief, but it is more likely that a super athletic WR succeeds than fails. I would be thrilled if the Cowboys drafted him at 19 and then cut Dez (and I'm sure for Moore's fantasy purposes that would be a great spot).

 

1.01 RB Saquon Barkley

1.02 RB Rashaad Penny

1.03 WR Courtland Sutton

1.04 QB Lamar Jackson

1.05 RB Royce Freeman

1.06 RB Derrius Guice

1.07 RB Ronald Jones

1.08 RB Sony Michel

1.09 WR DJ Moore

 

Katz: Alright RC, you've hyped this pick up for hours. Don't disappoint!

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RC: And 1.10 is RB Josh Adams, Notre Dame

I realize that Saquon Barkley is designed 'on paper' to be a superstar, and should be heralded as the 'best in class' because of his measurables and homerun abilities. I'm proposing that Josh Adams is best actual RB talent...vision/instincts between the tackles, avoiding first contact, patience for holes developing, breakaway speed/burst. He's a taller, quicker Kareem Hunt ability to make plays and yards/avoiding negative plays running between the tackles, a more athletic Jordan Howard style patience to find narrow openings in the line and make 2-5-10+ yards out of a play that seem walled off. But he's faster, more agile than Hunt or Howard could ever dream of. 

It's not a Notre Dame O-Line thing. That's going to be the simplistic explanation for Adams's success. He had a good O-Line, so he had some nice plays off sweet holes but those are the plays you see on the 2-3 play highlight reel they show -- the 70+ yard TD runs are usually because a hole was created. It's the regular runs where I feel in love with Adams...the ability to find yards where they weren't obvious. Finishing plays with an extra 2-3 yards. Amazing breakaway speed. Best open field extra gear-to-pull-away runner I've seen since Tevin Coleman at Indiana.

Adams also has room to grow. His body is primed to add 5-pounds of muscle and he's then 6'2"/220 with 4.5 speed and sub 7.0 three cone...which are good, but it's not the measurables because Kalen Ballage has measurables but is a terrible running back in instinct. Adams is the best pure, instinctual runner in this draft class. Instincts + above-average measurables.

The downside...he will be taken 4th or 5th round+ and fight the media perceptions and a current starter, a la Jordan Howard in 2016 or Kareem Hunt in preseason 2017. Adams will have to get some injury luck to advance his career. I willing to make that investment because he's one of the most talented, pure RBs I've ever scouted. 

I would put Adams highlight reel up against Saquon Barkley's any day. 

No one will agree with me on this level of enthusiasm, and it will land as a little 'out there'...I would challenge you to spend some extra time really watching him run after run after run...even in games he didn't have big tallies. Don't just go highlights, which are amazing enough. Watch the regular plays, the cutback ability, the way he gets the extra 1-2-3...he has, as a runner, what those of us worried about Saquon think Barkley doesn't have enough of.

 

Here's a quick taste of some of his big plays (quick video below)... At some point, watching him reel off long run after long run, you move from 'lucky' to...how does he keep doing this? He doesn't just make a few long runs...he runs past defenders like they are standing still and then he pulls away by 10 lengths in the end. That run at 1:48/9 of the video, my second favorite run of his: https://youtu.be/4CExutUCjio

 

Katz: I will pose this very simple question: Where do you think Adams will be drafted in your average rookie draft?

 

END: No, I agree with you RC. I remember watching Adams and thinking “this guy is sneaky good. He doesn’t look like he’s doing much, but he just gets the yards.” I was very curious about his measurable and of course he didn’t participate at the combine. His pro day numbers were encouraging, but there’s always a little fudge factor there. He’s good enough. I actually considered him with my last pick but thought he might get looked over for another round. There’s also the issue of where he goes like you mentioned. Michel will get an intentional push. Adams isn’t likely to. High upside sleeper for sure. 

 

RC: He's barely on the radar today. Depending how he lands...late 2nd or likely a 3rd+ today. He's kinda forgotten...didn't run at the Combine due to minor injury and thus doesn't exist. He has no momentum at all...which I LOVE.  

 

RC: Even with the Pro Day variance, and him adding 5-pounds of muscle -- he could be 6'2"/220 running 4.50-55 with what 6.85 three cone? That just establishes him as 'legit'...not Barkley athletics, but not a question mark for the NFL. He passes the tests. But then you add the X-factor RB skills I'm proposing along with it...I think there is something not good, but special here. I don't like to throw that type of term around loosely. 

I'm not sure I can recall seeing RB tape that left me this blown away. Not even David Johnson...and DJ was a different case. I'm just saying pure ability, vision + the athleticism. Jordan Howard is probably the BEST running back for vision and instinct I've ever seen in college. Le'Veon the best in the pros.. Kareem Hunt is up there as best instincts in college. DJ was the most physically gifted all-around I might have ever seen. Adams is near Howard in vision but beyond JH's athleticism. Adams not as athletic as DJ but not far off in speed-agility. 

If Adams can add 5-pounds of muscle to his frame and keep his 4.5s speed...watch out. 

XC: He's built like Wayne Gallman (tall and thin, a terrible combo for a RB) but is a better athlete. Athleticism is all he really has going for him. He should have already added muscle after three years at Notre Dame. The foot injury that kept him out of the Combine needs surgery, and he had a torn ACL in high school. He won't catch anything. And I do think that the o-line, which is the best in college football, is a large part of his success. Yeah he's effective when he has time to build up speed (who isn't?), but behind a normal o-line I think he'll get hit and dropped regularly. He's going to be a backup.

RC: more athletic than Gallman could ever dream. Benched 18 reps so he’s already above average strong at his weight class...but like most college kids hitting the pros they can add 5pounds of muscle. In his case it’s a big mark to take him to 220...something that feels better for comps. He’s got the frame to add to. He can catch the ball fine. Didn’t need to catch that much w ND because he was the RPO fake. 

And I love the Notre dame O-line trap door. Love it. Counting on it for Fantasy. We’ve (football society) have made our minds up that Notre Dames line was mystical therefor Adams is hack. I think the opposite is on the table — Adams made them look better than they were (and they’re good). I wish they would have blocked better to make their crappy Qb a more efficient passer. They only blocked for Adams and took other plays off. 

Adams was also producing at a high level when those OL names were freshman and not all plays by together yet. 

I acknowledge the ND line was a benefit but that’s the hidden gem here — it’s being used to write off a talented RB. 

If can’t wait to find out if Adams greatness was all OLine and Barkley’s constant halted at or behind the line and less explosive plays than Adams was due to a bad OLine. 

OLines seem to get a lot sway over things. Maybe rightfully so. Or maybe its just what we want to see because we’ve made up our minds it’s true. Happens all the time. I’ve done it not wanting I’m sure. 

The NFL will for sure. That’s the Adams risk. It’s the Nick Foles is just lucky template that has to be true or everything previously believed falls. 

My chips *push* all-in on Adams is a potential star and most talented instinctual vision and movement RB in this draft class. 

 

Katz: Obviously I don't know nearly as much about Josh Adams as you guys, but from what I gather, I think the odds are stacked against him ever making an impact in the NFL. I get that his ceiling could be as high as anyone's, but I'm certain we've seen dozens of potentially elite prospects just never even get a chance in the NFL that we'll never know about. Adams' most likely career path is another one of those. If he lands buried on a depth chart and never sees the field year 1. By year 2/3, there are more RB prospects inundating the player pool with talent and Adams will be forgotten.

 

RC: That's the downside to this pick -- he gets the Jordan Howard/2016 treatment or worse. But there are lot's of 'good' RBs in this draft, I think I see a special one here...I really do. So, I'm going with it and living with consequences if it was a wasted pick. I worry that he's Dwayne Washington, but DW was never this accomplished in college or ever. I liked DWs physical resume and liked his tough running but I never thought he was a gem on instincts, etc. Adams is another-level of RB instincts. 

Adams may get the Jordan Howard treatment literally...the Bears new O-L coach was the ace Notre Dame OL coach, who knows whether Adams was a hoax or not. If Josh Adams is a Bear in a month, I'm going to lose my mind over the Bears even more than I have. 

 

MC:  From watching Notre Dame during the regular season, I was thinking Adams was going to be more of a straight line size-speed guy (like a quicker/faster Latavius Murray), one who maybe benefitted greatly from outstanding blocking.   I figured that's why we've heard nothing but crickets on his front the past few months.  But then I took a deeper look a couple nights ago to prepare for this draft and was immediately impressed.  There's one play in particular that notably stood out- timestamped here:  Josh Adams Highlights vs USC // 19 Carries for 191 Yards, 3 TDs // 10.21.17 .  A 6'2 back typically doesn't have much business being able to jump cut in the open field like that and then accelerate laterally around the corner with that level of speed and no lag time.   

A few games into his tape and I was thinking that he could be the top sleeper back this year and was shocked that he's been receiving no attention whatsoever. Adams is tall but he's not high-cut like Latavius; he actually runs with good pad level inside the box and through contact, allowing him to consistently finish runs for additional positive yardage, the thing that I constantly harp on Saquan Barkley for.  He recognizes when he has a glimmer of daylight and then instantaneously hits top gear to beat all the defensive angles ahead of him..... and he runs with good natural balance, too, so he'll rarely be an easy tackle, especially not when afforded a head of steam.    Pass protection needs some improving, and he may have worn down a bit as the season deepened.  Not to mention Brandon Wimbush was a terrible QB; thus defenses began loading up to stop the run and sending more guys than Notre Dame's front could block, negating the advantage that ND's great O-line had to start the year.  Good pick by RC, and I can relate to his enthusiasm.  If Adams were healthy, I would've graded him as a mid to late Day 2 pick. I was hoping you guys would've overlooked him TBH so I could snag him with one of my 2nds.  

 

RC: YAHTZEE!!! When I said the video I posted before had my 2nd favorite play of Adams -- the one you time stamped was my first. I put it in my full scouting report I did a few days ago for publish tomorrow. That run ain't because of Mike McGlinchey is a good left tackle...

Oh, and I forgot to mention...the Notre Dame gem of a QB -- 48% passer in 2017...defenses stacked the line 8-10 deep by the end of the season to try to stop Adams before he tried to break the college record for yards per carry in a season. Adams accomplished a lot with a beyond garbage QB/passing game. 

 

MC: Here's a fun little exercise for you guys.  Watch Stanford's defense against Josh Adams, Royce Freeman, Ronald Jones, and Rashaad Penny and then rate their performances from 1 to 4.

 

Josh Adams (Notre Dame RB) vs Stanford - 2017

 

Royce Freeman vs Stanford - 2017

 

RB Ronald Jones II vs Stanford 2017

 

Rashaad Penny (San Diego St RB) vs Stanford - 2017

 

RC: Done...Adams #1. Wait, was I supposed to watch the tape?

 

MC: ahhh yes, lol.    Also keep in mind the level of respect Stanford's D is showing each back.  For instance, I know they loaded up big time to try and stop Penny.  

 

RC: I have an answer but I'm going to let some time go by to see if anyone else wants to mess with the videos. Here's a hint... It's an unintended trick question. 

To be continued next post...

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is an NFL Draft analyst for College Football Metrics, and a football projections analyst and writer for Fantasy Football Metrics. 

Learn more about RC and the College Football Metrics system >>