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2018 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft (Five Experts Picking with Commentary) *#1.11-1.12

Air Date:
March 31, 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 1.11-1.12...

Starting with extended comments from yesterday's 1.10 pick...

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. 

RC: It was a trick question... The answer of which one of the 4 RBs looked the best was San Diego State FB Nick Bawden

I was watching these games again and was just like -- damn, Stanford's run defense is awesome. Which also made me re-consider that my computer models think Stanford DT Harrison Phillips is awesome and I couldn't understand why...

But when I watched San Diego State/Penny in this challenge...at first, Penny was getting wiped out like the rest, by a really good run D giving the RBs fits...and then all sudden Penny started popping a few like none of the other guys could middle part of tape. Then I realized something had changed -- Penny's sweet runs were almost always or always with Barden suddenly inserted and mashing people in a power run alignment. SDSU went jumbo with Barden and a TE and ran some clever blocking schemes, and Penny looked really good. But notice the difference when Penny was solo and Penny + Barden.

I only say that to marvel that the other teams didn't push a fullback blocking and got stoned by a great run-D. SDSU figured it out. This is not take away from Penny...he looked great with the space to maneuver in. He did his share of the work but he looked as flustered without Barden...and my Penny fear, without Barden, he gets hit and knocked backwards. Credit to Jones here for making more extra inches/yards on dead plays. I gained respect for Jones that I didn't have (haven't gone deep enough with him yet, waiting for him to put times on paper before I judge). I see some of why the love from MC here. I was anti-Jones in my mind going in, but opened up to him now.

This also makes me wonder if Pumphrey-Penny have a lot to credit to Nick Barden, former QB turned FB last 3 years.

MC: That's a very fair point, RC.   I think it begets the need to see why that was in the first place (SD State's insertion of their fullback here).  Was it b/c Stanford was loading up so much to stop Penny that their blocking was simply overwhelmed w/o the additional blocker? ..... and if that answer is yes, did it appear that Stanford was gearing up more to stop the run vs SDSU than the other 3 programs?  If the fullback Bawden's purpose was to help tilt the scale back to even b/c of Stanford selling out to stop the run, then I think you have to give credit to Penny for doing more apparent damage against Stanford's D, and with a lesser O-line and lesser surrounding cast to absorb some of the attention, than the 3 backs from the big programs (Oregon, Notre Dame, and USC).  I mean, I would definitely claim that ND's offensive line is superior to SDSU's, as is their superb run-blocking TE who should probably be receiving more attention in his own right than he currently does. Oregon & USC's are probably better as well, no?

RC: It's very possible. Stanford lived in Notre Dame's and USC's backfield and the RBs couldn't get going. Nor could Penny as a single set back. Once the Fullback came into play things changed. I just wonder if Penny went single set back all game...would he have had the same 'meh' game as the others did. Or, if Jones-Adams had the blocking/space would they have popped a few decent runs...I think they would have. It could be this is the proof for Penny over the others...but I'm cautious that the other good backs weren't exposed for being lesser by this because their team was arrogant/didn't adjust/didn't matchup. In Adams' case...you could sell out the run because of no QB play, and make the O-Line look bad. Ronald Jones didn't have the same excuse but he was hit in the backfield too much to blame on him having any real flaw on this one tape.

I really walked away thinking Stanford's run D was excellent and Nick Bawden is a great fullback...and Ronald Jones is tougher than I thought.

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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

1.10 RB Josh Adams

 

Katz: I am back on the clock and will select, at 1.11, Nick Chubb. I know I went on a rant about how I have no use for RBs that don't catch passes, but I also went on a rant about NFL teams and who they choose to push. Chubb is the type of guy an NFL team could push. His ceiling in terms of fantasy is probably Jordan Howard, but that's okay. This is still a rookie draft and I'm just trying to stockpile useful assets. The majority of the picks we make will end up useless. I struggle to see a scenario where Chubb is healthy and useless.

 

RC: Pffttt... He's no Josh Adams... ;)

Did any of the tape studiers on him note a change in Chubb after his injury a few years ago? I usually don't believe in that type of stuff but I thought he went from 'A' power runner to B-C the past year or two. Anyone else thinking that or just me? The fact he just went 1.11 when he likely goes top 3-4 in most DRDs right now leads me to believe I'm not alone. 

 

Katz: He'll certainly have a much easier path to playing time than Adams. Fair or not. That's reality.

 

XC: Chubb's injury was worse than an ACL tear. He damaged cartilage and tore the MCL, PCL, and LCL (but not ACL). He couldn't have completely recovered for his junior year. With him you know you're getting a two-down RB and few receptions. He has to be in a situation where he can score a lot of TDs to be a RB2.

 

Katz: That is my fear. But, again, I'm just trying to acquire usable assets. All it takes is for a team to give Chubb a chance, him to have a couple nice performances, and me to be able to trade him for someone I think has more long term sustainability and success. One underappreciated part of rookie drafting is that you're not necessarily looking purely for players to help you by playing for you - there are other ways to make productive picks.

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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

1.10 RB Josh Adams

1.11 RB Nick Chubb

 

MC: 1.12 DJ Chark.   6'3 200 who blazes a 4.34 and blisters an even more impressive 1.51 10 yard split?... plus jumps 40 inches??... has the athleticism to be a dangerous open-field runner and return man??.... and puts on a manly display during Senior Bowl week when he actually has good QB play to get him the ball??? - yes please, sign me up for that!!  Best days easily lay ahead for this potential #1 WR.  If WIll Fuller can go in round 1 and do some damage (when healthy and with good QB play), then DJ Chark surely could as a bigger better Fuller.    

 

XC: Chark is a deep threat. Assuming he starts as a second receiver, he sees around 105 targets. He's probably on the fantasy WR2/3 edge, with people hanging on to hope with occasional TD spikes. He seems to have the most 'Donte Moncrief' failure potential of the top WRs. If he's that great of an athlete and he's still considered a round 2-3 prospect, then he's not that great of a player.

 

MC: Don't be surprised when you see Chark drafted in the back of round 1 or at least in the top 45.  He put on enough of a show during the Senior Bowl and all week long in practice to demonstrate that LSU's putrid passing offense was holding him back.  One good thing that came from LSU, however, is that they cross-trained him at all 3 spots, splitting snaps near evenly on the left side, right side, and slot, which isn't something that can be said about all draft eligible receivers.  With that 1.51 10-yard acceleration, he's clearly not a speed-gatherer, so I wouldn't go overboard with assumptions that he's limited to being just a deep threat guy.   Watch Chark's simulcams, obviously not that it's the end-all be-all of anything of course.  He's got nearly a yard on Odell Beckham at the 10 yd mark and expands it from there.   Against Saquan & Calvin Ridley, he's got a yard on them at 10 yds and 2 yards on them at 20 yds.  

 

40-Yard Dash Simulcam: OBJ vs. DJ Clark, Barkley vs. Zeke & More! | NFL Combine Highlights

 

RC: The risk is Chark is used as a deep threat only in the NFL. However, the more I watched him the more I saw a really decent all-around WR hiding in that abomination of a passing game. Chark as a 'real' WR is a possible hidden gem, right away. Chark is a much more technically accomplished receiver than D.J. Moore, in my opinion, but both with work to do to get NFL better...like almost every WR hitting the NFL anymore. 

Chark could hit the ground running for fantasy as a deep threat guy on the right team/offense/QB. That's where I see Moore and Chark, and Sutton with advantages over Ridley, Kirk -- the homerun threat can make them fantasy viable early while you wait for them to grow into the offense. I like Kirk but he's a narrow window of the right place at the right time for a WR-QB relationship to be built. 

I find myself liking Chark more and more as I watch him play in the non-highlight reel moments. He's better than I realized as a craftsman.

 

MC: I was thinking the same thing, RC- that of the two DJ's, Chark is the one less in need of refinement.  The other DJ also received no benefit whatsoever from Maryland's equally putrid passing offense, but so many of his catches were of the simple variety that he didn't have much opportunity to work on crafting his true route tree.   Moore also has a terrible habit of wasting a bunch of steps at the start of his stem for no reason whatsoever, and he'll have to fix that habit in the NFL b/c that's nothing but wasted time and botched rhythm.  Moore is  outstanding with the ball in the air, displays +hands, great movement ability, and outstanding athleticism, so if the work ethic is there, I could see him blossoming into a really dynamic WR1/WR2.  Get him into a high-volume Jarvis Landry role out of the slot and you'd be golden.    If Chark's passion and desire for the game are high, then he's got WR1 ceiling IMO, especially considering how many receivers he doesn't have to compete with over the previous 3 disappointing drafts.   

 

MC: Chubb is all about landing spot.  He's not a zone runner so he'll need to find a home with good enough gap blocking to let him do his business.  He's got enough size, power, balance, and burst that if his O-line can put him into the 2nd level with the efficiency of say a top 10 unit, he could potentially be a valuable RB2.  It's likely that he'll give you more than Samaje Perine for instance.  He's like a poor man's Gurley-- behind a mediocre line or in a bad scheme, he'll have trouble creating on his own (just as Gurley did), but give him a good line and the right scheme & play design and he'll be able to get things done, minus the passing game addition.  I would probably flip him the first chance I got though.  

to be continued tomorrow...

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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 >>