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2018 Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft (Five Experts Picking with Commentary) *#2.03-2.05

Air Date:
April 2, 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 #2.03-2.05

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

1.12 WR DJ Chark

2.01 TE Dallas Goedert

2.02 QB Baker Mayfield

 

Katz: RC. You’re on the clock!

 

RC: 2.03...Jaylen Samuels. 

 

I have about a 10% chance of this working out, but if he can land right with a team that tries to make him a TE weapon...listed as a TE, but lines up as a TE or WR or H-back and even as a tail back on occasion -- then this could be an awesome pick. I get a chance at a listed TE for fantasy who takes 1-3 carries a game and sees 3-7 targets. It could be shockingly sweet.

Or he's an H-back that sees a target every other game and plays special teams. 

At his size, he's a unique 'move' TE and a legit RB (5'11/224, 4.54 40-time, 6.93 three-cone). 

I'm too intrigued to not take him even if earlier than he should go. 

 

XC: I remember abusing Marques Colston's TE designation in his rookie year (2006). You got the TE1 off of waivers that year. But if you had drafted him in typical TE1 range that year, it would have spoiled the satisfaction. There would be only fair value or massive downside. As soon as Samuels is listed as a RB only—which is what he is—then what? Is he particularly good at RB? Because if an NFL team can put a better TE and a better RB than him on the field, why wouldn't they? If you draft him this high, you have to believe that he'll be an elite pass-catching RB who takes enough carries to matter, like Danny Woodhead, which would make him a low-end RB2. Except there is no reason to give him handoffs, like Andre Ellington.

 

RC: I’m drafting him this high because if I get what I want, and the odds are against it, I wind up with a (FF) game-changing asset. A top 3-5 scorer at his position right away as a unique offensive weapon. 

Not many opportunities on the board like this in this draft, especially left at this stage. Going for the home run ball or strikeout here. The Lamar Jackson scenario among the TEs — if he could just land right with coaches that want to play to his strength.  

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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

1.12 WR DJ Chark

2.01 TE Dallas Goedert

2.02 QB Baker Mayfield

2.03 RB Jaylen Samuels

 

Katz: 2.04 WR Calvin Ridley. I refuse to pay the premium for Ridley because I do not think he projects as anything beyond a real life WR2. However, Ridley has the Bama pedigree and will have draft stock. We've seen lesser talented receivers pushed ahead of more talented receivers year after year. Ridley will be given every opportunity to succeed and I do not think he is a bad player - not at all. He's good. He's just not as good as the consensus is making him out to be. Obviously in your average rookie draft, he will never make it this far because of his name, but we're in this mock and at this spot, he is worth it, if for no other reason than the trade value alone.

 

RC: (For anyone) Where would Ridley legit land with, but it hurt his DRD stock enough to push him second round? Or is he just going top 5 in the rookie draft because he's been ordained there? Can anything legit stop the Ridley top 5 in a rookie draft story for the masses as far as landing spot? I don't think there is. I don't think the Steelers or Patriots would make a move on him if he fell. 

Would the Broncos, Bills, Jags type teams with bad/unloved QBs hurt him...or nothing stops this (manufactured) Ridley top 5 story? 

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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

1.12 WR DJ Chark

2.01 TE Dallas Goedert

2.02 QB Baker Mayfield

2.03 RB Jaylen Samuels

2.04 WR Calvin Ridley

 

MC: 2.05 Kalen Ballage.  Looks like Chris Carson on the hoof? -check.  Runs like Carson? -check.  Enough burst and top end speed to beat angles and pull away from defenders? -check.   One of the best receiving backs in this class, and arguably the best of the 210+ pounders? -check.  Ballage's receiving chops alone should get him on the field and get him touches.   

A poor line at ASU did Kalen no favors, nor did his being miscast in the wrong blocking scheme. ASU went through 4 Offensive Coordinators in 4 years.  In 2016, they switched to more of a ZBS, so it was an entirely new adjustment for the line and the backs, and most of Ballage's linemen weren't recruited as ZBS guys that I recall.  Demario Richard went from an 1100 yard back as a sophomore to a 500 yard back as a junior in 2016, with a significant reduction in his rushing avg (dropping from 5.4 to 3.8).   More importantly, Ballage is not a ZBS back.  Stick Todd Gurley in a zone scheme and force him to figure out most of his yards on his own and he too would look as inefficient as he did his first 2 years in the NFL.  That's not Gurley's game, and it's not Ballage's either.  Put Ballage in a strong gap-scheme, however, where he doesn't have to do too much thinking behind the LOS and where his blockers can get the 227 pounder into the 2nd level or around the perimeter with a head of steam as often as the Rams did for Gurley last year and you've got a potential Pro Bowler on your hands.  In 2017, ASU incorporated more man-blocking usage, but it wasn't until later in the year that the unit began gelling, and it was evident in the team's rushing stats (look at what Demario Richard did during the first 7 games compared to the final 5).  I watched on multiple occasions where blockers actually ran into each other, lol.  

 Partaking in a level playing field during Senior Bowl week demonstrated that the sum of Ballage's parts is much greater than what ASU made him out to seem.   Will it be enough to become an RB2+ in the NFL? Only time will tell, but we're at the point in this draft where it's well worth it to find out.  

XC: 2.04 WR Calvin Ridley: I'm not sure whom we're supposed to compare Ridley to that would justify Ridley as a real-world top-20 pick. The Amari Cooper comp is just because they both went to Alabama. Ridley isn't close to Cooper's level. The TJ Jones comp looks correct. Jones isn't bad; he's just a nice, average WR. People use the 'bad QB' excuse with Ridley, but there's no good evidence that it's legit, in contrast to DJ Moore. Ridley seems like he'd be a 3rd-4th rounder if he went anywhere but Alabama. In brainlet dynasty leagues, he goes around 1.05 or 1.06, and there's probably not much that can knock him down significantly.

2.05 RB Kalen Ballage: Ballage has the physical traits of a feature back, but he isn't one. The Javorius Allen comp seems pretty good. Allen always gets under 4 YPC as a runner, but you can throw him tons of passes. Fantasy RB3 type (i.e. ideally on the bench).

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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 >>