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2018 pre-NFL Combine Mock Dynasty Rookie Draft
Taking my deeper QB scouting studies combined with quick preview scouting of the RBs-WRs-TEs at the 2018 NFL Combine, I am going to do a one-round, 12-pick Mock Dynasty Rookie Draft based off what we think we know now…pre-Combine.
Using a mindset of a dynasty start up that begins with a rookie draft…so an empty, PPR roster. Taking in order that I would in a real draft, not just ranking my preferences. Sometimes I take players to trade other times I break with ADP and ‘reach’ because I don’t want to miss out on a guy.
Going to release a few picks each day with commentary and wrap it up this weekend.
1.01) RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Do I think he’s the best RB talent in the 2018 draft class? I’m beginning to think not.
Do I think he’s an elite talent? No.
So, why #1.01 overall? As I’ve been saying for weeks – he is a hyped up A++ prospect by the ESPNs, etc., so therefore he is #1 with a bullet for the masses. The value of Barkley’s hysteria is worth more than anything I could draft at this point.
I would trade Barkley for David Johnson is a split second. I would trade Barkley for any number of top, existing NFL RBs…and some of those RBs, I could get the RB1 + stuff. I know someone who traded the 1.01 for Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and a 2nd-round pick in 2018 this week.
Barkley might be a nice ‘B’ producer…a back-end RB1 for fantasy 2018 based on force-fed touches – so, don’t dismiss his value because you hate his (over)hype. However, I don’t think he’s an ‘A’ talent…and I think his hype will dissipate quickly and you’ll have a nice ‘B’ producer. He’ll be more of a universal B in November 2019. But in the pre-Draft of 2018…he trades as a top 5 fantasy player overall. I sell into that if I can extract a ransom.
1.02) WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
Calvin Ridley has the early WR buzz, but I think post-Combine it will be Sutton as the most likely guy to steal that ‘WR buzz’ mantle. Ridley has normal size and speed…he’s just a high-quality receiver. He won’t jump off the Combine screen. While Sutton has all the ‘next Julio’ chatter and he could come out of the Combine with full Julio comparisons.
If Sutton runs in the low 4.4s with a sub-6.85 three-cone and a 38”+ vertical…he’s on his way. If he runs in the high 4.3s, people will lose their minds. I can either keep him for my dynasty-fantasy team because he lands great but more likely (if Sutton has a great Combine) -- Sutton becomes the WR version of Saquon Barkley…trade the hype (Sutton) for a real, discounted existing NFL star player(s). First-round WRs have floundered for the past 2-3 years. I’ll pass the buck if I can make a great deal…but I also hold the cards if Sutton comes in with great height/size with Julio-like measurables.
1.03) TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
Because he shows hands of pure gold at a very nice size at tight end…AND the fact that all the top TEs are falling apart/have sudden concerns…we have to overvalue any good-great TE prospects. Goedert is shaping up to be the best TE prospect from a fantasy standpoint…maybe not the best for the NFL, but more for fantasy because of his Larry Fitzgerald-like catching ability.
Goedert runs a 4.8+…then there will be a ‘depression’ about this pick.
Goedert runs a 4.7 or better at the Combine and this works nicely.
If Goedert runs 4.6 or faster than we won’t be alone with Goedert ranked this highly.
A lot riding on the Combine…and then we have the hurdle of what QB he lands with. He’s more apt to be seen as a receiver weapon, so he should, in theory, go to a team planning on utilizing him as such.
1.04) RB Nick Chubb, Georgia
For me, pre-Combine, arguably the best RB in this draft class – the most classic, NFL-styled between the tackles runner. He’s a really gifted power runner – doesn’t go down easily. Has great balance and is evasive with proper NFL speed/agility.
If not for an ACL injury a couple of years ago, losing some time/momentum and then having to split with a talented Sony Michel…Chubb might be the RB prospect the analysts all fawn over. To me, Chubb is a more athletic Kareem Hunt.
1.05) RB Darrius Guice, LSU
I’m not a huge fan of Guice but I can see that he’s good + the NFL establishment loves him…so, I know he’ll get plenty of opportunity.
If I made this pick of Guice here…I would be immediately trying to trade it. I’m making this pick for the value of trading it because the rookie draft gets real murky ahead…lot’s of sleepers who may not get a shot until 2019.
1.06) TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
The more I watch of him the more I like him but I fear he’s more ‘typical’ TE than ‘star’…which means he could land with Green Bay and be a fantasy star or land with Buffalo and be on a fantasy milk carton. He’s closer to being like Greg Olsen than Mark Andrews is, and Hurst is definitely getting drafted to start not sit…so I like Hurst here as a reach because all my guys from here are more reaches. Hurst ahead of most reaches because he’s at the critical/limited availability of great prospects’ TE spot.
1.07) RB Jaylen Samuels, NC State
There are more talented players available on my list…probably more logical to take Calvin Ridley…but why I am pushing Samuels, and the Combine may burn this theory down – how many prospects are there who might be legit three-down RBs, or just radical receiving backs, or could work as a weaponized RB/TE hybrid?
I’d consider Samuels higher, but I have to factor in how stupid NFL coaches are and that they’ll see Samuels and want him to be a fullback.
Samuels looks like a legit starting RB but has fantastic hands. He’s a ‘freak’ of sorts…and ‘freaks’ often get ignored by stuff, lifer-grinder head coaches who don’t know how to create for them. Here’s hoping the ‘freaks’ have their day in the NFL…
1.08) RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
I wrestled back and forth with Ballage or who I eventually took 1.09.
I’m at a fork in the road with Ballage…my eyes see a very good power runner with fantastic hands. However, then I look at his bizarre college career with lower output than makes sense and wonder ‘what’s up?’ And then I see him at the Senior Bowl dominate…and then I see scouts pooh-pooh him right after.
If the NFL doesn’t fall in love…he’s getting drafted to sit behind whomever and I don’t want to waste my FF time with picking him early. I’m looking for a beloved-by-the-NFL Ballage for fantasy. The Combine will make or break my instincts. If Ballage puts up surprisingly good numbers…he’ll rocket up the charts in the draft. A dull speed-agility time at the Combine -- and it’s over.
I’m gambling my instincts are right…and that I have a fallback with him with his hands. He might play some WR or be a plus-sized 3rd-down back.
1.09) WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
The best WR in the draft, to my eye, at this point…but rookie WRs are not blowing it away in the NFL in year-one of late, especially high-pick ones. Moore, I fear, winds up in a Zay Jones circle of hell – bad passing game, defensive coach, and not the #1 WR for his QB.
Moore could be an instant impact WR in the right landing spot, but the odds are against it. He’s like a better Sterling Shepard to me right now. More so a taller Brandin Cooks, more accurately. I don’t think a team will draft him to feature him day-one, sadly.
1.10) TE Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Has some Travis Kelce ways in him…the Combine will reveal the truth. But then he’d also need to fall into the right spot/right offense in the draft. He could fall out of the top 20 quickly post-Combine or solidify his top 10 spot and move higher depending on his speed-agility times.
Again, we’re pushing for TEs because of the economic supply and demand…so reaching here a bit. But, what? I’m going to waste time with high pick WRs who won’t matter for 2-3 seasons…if ever? Actually, we’ll start wasting that WR time next…
1.11) WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
Obviously, Ridley would be long gone by the time I made this pick, today, but here’s where I’m making the pick.
Ridley is a dilemma.
He’s a very sound, quality WR…who if he falls into the right place can start/impact right away. However, he’s also not SO good that he’s an obvious jump from college to pro stardom. He’s just very capable, solid…but needs an offense to give him a boost.
As I balance that debate of how talented he is, I also know an NFL team (as of today, we’ll see if the Combine alters this) will likely excitedly draft ‘Alabama guy’ and jam him in as their #1 WR…and force him targets/opportunity – and that’s FF valuable. More valuable than stud sleeper sitting on the bench ignored like a Cameron Meredith or Tyrell Williams…at least, in year-one of their NFL journey.
I like Ridley OK, but I like him more to trade the hype. He’s not as good as the hype that I can see.
1.12) RB Josh Adams, Notre Dame
I don’t know what it is…I just saw something in Adams. It might be a delusion but I went back and took a second-look to disprove my initial feelings…and couldn’t deny him. Something about his running style…it’s a different but similar vibe I felt with Kareem Hunt – some RBs, regardless of size/shape just find away to avoid tacklers between-the-tackles and make hay…like they have some kind of bat sonar system. I think Adams has some of that ‘sixth sense’.
The Combine numbers are going to get me more excited or blow this up and have me move on. I just have a feeling here. Sadly, he’s not seen as a top RB prospect so he’s not being drafted to start but I hope he lands right. Mike Mayock hyping Notre Dame players might get him a boost if he has good times at the Combine.
Six players I had on my short list for the top 12, but didn't make it pre-Combine...
QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma -- Will start right away and is a really talented QB, with the X-factor that he will run the ball.
WR Allen Lazard, Iowa State -- I have to respect his size/athleticism if he falls into the right place.
QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State -- I like him better than Mayfield for my NFL team but toss-up for fantasy considering Mayfield's decent running ability.
WR Keke Coutee, Texas Tech -- The most Tyreek Hill guy I've seen so far, but there are others.
RB Kamyrn Pettway, Auburn -- My secret love child player not really respected anywhere else. Bound to never see a carry in the NFL.
WR Jordan Lasley, UCLA -- Falling out of as much love as I had a week+ ago, after looking at some more tape.