We’re working on loading 500+ rookies (all the non-OLs and punters) into our system – the drafted and the UDFAs. We’re getting them placed onto the right teams and then analyzing the impact they can have now and for the future, for dynasty rookie drafts, as well as the impact they will have on the existing NFL players on their new teams. It’s a long, studious process…and one of my favorite times of the year.
We’ll soon have our downloadable, searchable spreadsheet of the top 300+ dynasty rookie prospects statistically valued and ranked…with commentary on the top 100 or so players. All this week, I’ll be building to a settled rookie draft board that we’ll then update weekly. 200 prospects ranked/posted so far (as of 5/11)
Here are the current top 60+1 dynasty rookie prospects with commentary…
1) QB Kyler Murray, Arizona
Okay, we’ve been beating the drum for months. Now it’s time to add the clashing cymbals – Murray’s the best player in the 2019 dynasty rookie draft and probably the best player ever, for fantasy, going into a dynasty rookie draft or season. The perfect blend of passing skills + high-end running skills (for supreme FF scoring) + all rolled into one and drafted by the most-offensive conscious head coach in the league, and running the most fantasy-friendly offensive system the NFL has ever seen. It’s a surreal mix of talent and perfect opportunity.
Early returns/info…he’s going as high as 1.06 a day/two after the NFL Draft finished. Eventually, he will be top 5 in rookie drafts. Will it take the 1.07? 1.05? 1.03 to get him? I don’t know for sure. All leagues and situations are different. I’m just telling anyone who will listen two things…
1) If you just acquire the 1.01, you don’t have to sweat it. If you’re going for the 1.03-4-5…the 1.01 or 1.02 is not that much more. Get the 1.02-03 to use to help get to 1.01. Let everybody laugh when you take him 1.01.
If you can’t get to 1.01, you get to 1.02-1.03…get as close as you can, and hope none of your league-mates find me/this info.
2) Murray is a generational fantasy talent…he’s is ‘the one’ – the one worth doing whatever you have to do to acquire in the rookie draft or trading hot for him after.
2) WR Parris Campbell, Indianapolis
The most dangerous/lethal non-QB, for fantasy, coming out of the NFL Draft. This is about as a good a landing spot as he could hope for – he’ll be the clear #2 WR on this team, and Andrew Luck at QB is a good thing for the passing game/Parris production, he’s not Mahomes-Mayfield-Murray, but Luck is as good as anyone after that. In addition, a home dome, and southern division with better weather matchups consistently.
Here’s Campbell’s mid-Nov. to Dec. (Weeks 10 on) games this year: home, home, at HOU/dome, home, at TB, at NO/dome, home, at JAC. Wonderful conditions for this team/offense to operate all season. Campbell will usurp Hilton in a year or two and can thrive as a rookie with TYH getting the top coverage early.
Kyler’s awesomeness really hides, to a degree, how great Parris could be for fantasy.
3) TE Noah Fant, Denver
I do not like this landing spot because of the QB situation…Flacco is meh/OK, but the Drew Lock era is going to suck…hard. However, going to Denver does bring some positives – he can start right away as the primary TE. Had he landed better he might be our #2 pick/rank to start the process. Had he landed worse he might be out of the top 5. A top talent among all TEs in the NFL already, but a murky situation with the QB and old-school coaching staff. There are not many TEs built like Fant, so he has to be a top 3-5 consideration regardless.
4) WR N’Keal Harry, New England
There’s an argument for him to be #3 overall here. A great WR going to play for a great franchise with a great QB. The problem is – new WRs don’t just immediately click with Tom Brady, and launch into WR1-dom lately (see: Brandin Cooks, Josh Gordon)…especially tough to ask a rookie WR to make a huge leap into a WR1 right away. Brady loves him some Edelman, and everything else is ‘as available to take advantage of’.
The fear is, by the time Harry starts to ‘get it’ and ‘clicks’ with Brady…Tom Terrific will be nearing 45 years old. Jarrett Stidham helps encourage me as the groomed backup, but there’s not a clear, obvious, quick path for Harry to WR1. WR2-3, but not WR1…which means you can get him cheaper when the new car smell wears off mid-2019 season – a WR2 is nice but that’s not worth losing your mind over and using a top pick with.
5) DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco
If your IDP scoring favors sacks and TFLs, then you’re gonna love Bosa. He may not be a great tackle accumulator, though he will be OK for his position…but his sacks, TFL, and forced fumbles counts should be sweet. He starts right away for SF and is star right away…everyone agrees.
6) WR Andy Isabella, Arizona
I had Isabella in my mental top five here for a few hours Friday…and then the Cardinals drafted Hakeem Butler Saturday – good luck trying to figure out who Kyler Murray is going to prefer as a weapon…Larry Fitz? Christian Kirk? The giant Hakeem Butler? Or the little speedster Isabella? A lot of mouths to feed to confidently bet on just one…especially the smallest guy, Isabella.
I’m cautiously optimistic here because Isabella could be a great underneath option…and catch and go machine, like Julian Edelman, but in a more dynamic passing game. Could be great… but also could be a #4 WR in the pecking order too often with frustratingly erratic FF-scoring.
7) LB Devin Bush, Pittsburgh
Obviously, Bush is going to start right away and he’s very athletically gifted…he’s an almost ‘can’t miss’ IDP tackle accumulator for 2019+. He wasn’t a big tackle tally guy in college, but he was fine…and might be in a better spot for higher tackle counts with the Steelers. Like his tape better than Devin White’s, and I like this landing spot a little better as well.
8) LB Devin White, Tampa Bay
I’m crossed up between knowing White is a physical freak and seeing his tape where he was passive/somewhat ineffective and not a huge stat-racker, to knowing he will start Week 1 and have an opportunity to shine (and, maybe, become more effective with different coaching/surroundings). He’s not my favorite, but I know he’s going to get chances to produce.
9) RB Josh Jacobs, Oakland
Solid RB talent with questions (slow afoot/4.6+ runner). He’s going to get all the touches he can handle for a weak NFL team with a shaky O-Line and terrible offensive coordinator. I can name you 3-4-5 reasons to worry…worry a lot, but I can also trump that with ‘draft status’ and ‘forced opportunity’. No matter if he’s just a ‘C’ talent…he’s going to get ‘A’ opportunity. He’s not much better than Isaiah Crowell, and not better than Chris Warren…so, I’m unsure just how much of a leash/free pass he’ll get.
10) WR D.K. Metcalf, Seattle
5/10/19 Update: The Doug Baldwin retirement will move the masses to DKM more, but I don’t know that it was a real factor for Metcalf one way or the other. It does open up opportunity more, but DKM likely had his certain role regardless. It more helps Gary Jennings, I think.
Yes, he cannot catch the ball well running normal routes…and, yes, he is going to a team that barely completes 10 passes a game sometimes. However, if DKM is used in a way to enhance his skills…he could be a monster.
He’s ‘OK’ on deep balls and red zone…that’s something. But where he could shine is…throw him bubble screens and just let this animal loose with the ball in his hands to truck over smaller DBs. Usually, that’s perfectly obvious to you and me, thus, the hope – but, usually the NFL is clueless… and thus the hesitation.
11) RB Darrell Henderson, LA Rams
I love Darrell Henderson, but I hate he’s stuck behind Todd Gurley’s huge shadow. If Gurley gets back to normal, Henderson will be a sparsely used RB4 in PPR in 2019…and that renders DH useless. However, what if Gurley isn’t right…Henderson could suddenly be ‘the guy’ on an offense that catapults the running back as a fantasy god. You either get an ‘A’ or a ‘D’ here for the next 1-2+ years. There are not many guys we could daydream ‘A’ on, so that’s Henderson’s value. If you own Gurley…you have to have him…add +2-4 spots higher in value.
12) WR Hakeem Butler, Arizona
I’m a Butler fan, and I don’t see a ‘hands/drops’ issue…I see athleticism, size, and circus ‘high point’ catches. If I knew Butler was a for sure starter…I’d get excited, but there’s so many great WR options he may not get enough touches to be a WR2 consistently…or he may begin his journey as a rotational #4 WR. He’s another guy that could be an ‘A’-ish type WR but has ‘D’ risk because the depth chart in Arizona is so crowded.
13) TE Jace Sternberger, Green Bay
I like, not love, Sternberger as a talent. He’s a very capable receiver and a so-so traditional TE/blocker, etc. So, for fantasy…I like the receiver part…but I fear the blocking part because it could keep him off the field too much and/or too early in the season to matter out of the gates.
Still, you know why he’s here/ranked up this highly – we always assume that any decent receiving TE with Aaron Rodgers is a good thing, as we’ve done with every single TE that Green Bay has had since Jermichael Finley. That’s only worked about once or twice in the past decade+…as far as pumping out a strong TE1 producer. There’s hope, although it’s not as strong as you think…but hope nonetheless, at a position constantly in search of ‘hope’.
14) WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City
5/2 Update: Deeper dive report posted on CFM…and, in short, this is a big stretch that Hardman is going to be anything like Tyreek – but he will get the chance, and work with Patrick Mahomes…and that’s worth something/quite a bit.
Org. Comments: The better version of Marquise Brown, and without a Lisfranc problem. Hardman is the obvious Tyreek Hill replacement attempt by the Chiefs. I’ll be doing a deeper dive study of him very soon…given his suddenly lofty expectations.
In my scouting previews, I didn’t see obvious ‘next Tyreek’ but something made the Chiefs willing to move up to find out if he was. I’d get more excited about this move if the Chiefs hadn’t added so many talented WRs via the UDFA ranks…and the fact that 2018 rookie WR Byron Pringle is a pretty nice talent as well, kept safe on the ‘fake I.R.’ last season. KC made such a sweeping move to get Hardman, we have to take this seriously. If you have Tyreek on your roster…move Mecole up like +3-5 spots in value/ranking as insurance for what may be the inevitable Tyreek absence.
15) LB Montez Sweat, Washington
If the Redskins change their defense to a 4-3 and let Sweat go as a 4-3 DE…look out. As a 3-4 OLB, I’m not as huge a fan. The ‘LB’ label stings for IDP purposes.
I am a fan of Sweat being a sack machine…a freak of nature EDGE prospect who only fell in the draft because of a debated heart issue. He was a top 3-5 prospect who fell into the Redskins’ laps mid-1st-round. He should be a 10+ sack a season guy easily, and the kinda guy who can lead the league in sacks because of his make up/chasing/closing speed.
16) WR Jalen Hurd, San Francisco
When the coaches start talking about him as a tight end and taking carries, along with discussing his presence as a WR…you have to start getting extra-excited for fantasy purposes. It’s been my point on Hurd back to the pre-Senior Bowl and Combine scouting – how many prospects come along that are legit 6’5” WR talents who also had a season rushing for 1,000+ yards in the SEC? I’m not sure how it will all pan out or if it’s just a lot of talk that never materializes, but Hurd offers a unique skillset that no other prospect really can in this draft.
17) DT Ed Oliver, Buffalo
If there’s a ‘next Aaron Donald’ it’s Ed Oliver, and that has value…especially if your IDP league has position specific scoring – DT, and not merely ‘DL’. He’s a great athlete, a productive player in college and will start day one in the NFL. He’ll be a top 3 DT producer in IDP in no time.
18) LB Cole Holcomb, Washington
One of my favorite players from the 2019 NFL Draft…an ILB prospect right up there with the ‘Devins’ in my book. He lands in a very good spot. The Redskins could use linebacker help, and they’re counting on Reuben Foster…a guy who constantly walks right on the edge of suspension.
I could see Holcomb starting naturally Week 1 or working his way in as a starter in short order as Reuben Foster lets everyone down again. Holcomb can work as an ILB or OLB, and he’s the quickest LB prospect in 2019…so he’ll get to tackles and will nab some TFLs/sacks too. Great in coverage as well. Sweet IDP potential.
19) TE Irv Smith, Minnesota
I’m surprised the Vikings are talking about moving on from Kyle Rudolph, not because he’s a great tight end…but he’s been solid and is the NFL prototype TE – big, slow, good blocker. Why do I have a feeling he’ll be a Patriot soon? Whatever is happening, Irv Smith is in line to be the Vikings starter soon…a Jordan Reed-like TE for Kirk Cousins, who was part of the connection that launched Reed to stardom and his own classification for tight ends.
20) WR Deebo Samuel, San Francisco (+1 spot)
I like Samuel well enough, but I do not like this landing spot…the 49ers have a cluster of talented receiving options. On the plus side, the 49ers put a lot of draft stock in Deebo…nearly a 1st-round pick (their #36). So it could be Samuel as the starting slot with Pettis-Hurd on the outside, in short order for the 49ers. Still, there’s a lot of talent fighting for targets on this team…Deebo could end up a bland WR3-4 like a Sterling Shepard, in no time.
21) QB Tyree Jackson, Buffalo (-1 spot)
A perfect landing spot with a cloak to hide him (UDFA vs. drafted)…a wolf in sheep’s clothing coming to get current franchise QB Josh Allen. Had the Bills drafted Tyree, there would have been some eyebrows raised…all the people waiting for Allen to full-scale bust would have wondered if the Bills were worried, and that would have spooked Allen. Now, Tyree enters as a ‘who cares?’ UDFA and can fly below the radar to become a backup to begin. And then when Allen starts failing hard, there will be the much better version of Allen in every way just sitting there – Tyree Jackson. The people/fans will fall in love with him…he’s the big arm with accuracy, faster foot speed, and towers over all other QBs at 6’7”+. I love this deep-sleeper situation.
22) DL Brian Burns, Carolina
Burns should start right away as a 4-3 DE and be a candidate for 8+ sacks right out of the gates his rookie season. He should be a stable, solid sack producer/IDP producer quickly and right through the end of his rookie contract.
23) WR Miles Boykin, Baltimore (+14 spots)
Miles Boykin is an ‘A+’ athlete and ‘C-D’ technician at wide receiver. He just never really stood out as a dominating force at Notre Dame, when his measurables and size say he should be the best WR in the draft class. I watched his tape pretty hard…seeking for a great WR prospect, after I saw the great Combine – and I just didn’t see it. However, he’s a good fit for Lamar Jackson…a guy who LJax can just heave passes towards and get some ROI on his throws when coverage is breaking down because Jackson is causing panic as a runner. Boykin’s size/athleticism but lack of skill may be rewarded playing with Lamar.
24) TE Kahale Warring, Houston
I like Warring, but I’m not sure how much I love this landing spot. I don’t see Deshaun Watson as a big ‘throw to the TE’ guy, but maybe he’s just been waiting for a nice option to throw to. This pick was a nice move for the NFL, suspect for fantasy, but with hope. I would have loved to have seen Warring in Green Bay or Jacksonville.
25) RB Alex Barnes, Tennessee
It’s a complete embarrassment and an indictment of the entirety of NFL scouting that Alex Barnes did not get drafted. That being said, I initially hated that Barnes landed in Tennessee…where he’s instantly behind Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis, but then I thought about it more – he’s a Henry injury or flop away from being the power part of the RB duo…the lead back, and RBs go down all the time. He was bound to be taken/added to an NFL roster to be a 2nd/3rd-string and have to work his way up…there were better landing spots, but there were also a lot worse. This one has some hope. Still, sad he wasn’t a top 100 pick…and he’ll have that weight around his neck getting started in his NFL career.
26) RB David Montgomery, Chicago
The prospect everyone wants to fight me on. It’s OK, bring it on. On one side we have the media loving him and Pro Football Focus ‘missed tackle’ numbers that are great (PFF? I don’t necessarily accept their stuff as automatically true). On the other side (mine) we have piss-poor yards per carry in most games/seasons, especially against better opponents and terrible NFL Combine numbers -- and no one defends Washington State 2019 rookie RB James Williams, who has top PFF ‘missed tackle’ grades as well. Where is all the passion for Williams if this stat is so holy? Montgomery was sold to people early by the establishment, and they aren’t letting go…and the Bears traded up for him, so that’s like a big deal (if the Bears hadn’t traded up, he was falling into the 4th-round…because he’s so beloved/awesome!). I think Cohen-Davis are far superior, and I think Montgomery was a bill of goods oversold since the jump in this draft, and people can’t un-brainwash themselves. We’ll see who is right in the end. It could be me…I’m ready!!
27) DB Jonathan Abram, Oakland
I could see Abram racking a 100+ tackles his rookie season, right out of the gates. He’s a very good tackler/hitter, and Oakland is bound to give up plays on defense. There are a couple of caveats here – I’m assuming that Karl Joseph is traded/moved… I think he will be, but it hasn’t happened yet. Also, Erik Harris is a deep-sleeper threat to start at safety ahead of Abram, but with Abram’s draft status, he should start quickly and rack IDP numbers pretty well.
28) TE Foster Moreau, Oakland
Someone has to be the starting tight end for Oakland…and isn’t that worth something for fantasy? Moreau could be that starter – Gruden had him in the Senior Bowl, so there’s a connection early. Moreau is a lot better prospect than analysts rated him. Had he gone to Oklahoma, instead of pass-challenged LSU…he might have been the top tight end in the draft (if T.J. Hockenson can go top 10, anything is possible).
29) RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia
I see all the measurables, they are fine. I also see, for me, weak tape…a poor/timid runner between the tackles and his productivity trends in games against better competition follow the weaker tape. I’m not saying he’s the worst…just that he’s more of a ‘C’ than the media’s ‘A’. Regardless of whether he’s actually a ‘B’ or ‘C’ – being an RB for the Eagles is terrible for fantasy. Philly is the purest RBBC out there… Sanders will share touches with 1-2-3 other backs in any given game. I’m just not that impressed with his talent and I know he’s in a terrible spot with Philly for FF-production. I know people love him and the Eagles want to make hay, so he has some value for sure.
30) WR A.J. Brown, Tennessee
I like A.J. Brown just fine. Not as much as the mainstream does, but I do like him. However, I hate this landing spot. Tennessee’s passing game has been bad for years under Marcus Mariota. Corey Davis cannot generate any fantasy heat, so how is Brown going to FF-matter? Terrible landing spot for Brown…he’s not even as good a WR weapon as Taywan Taylor (though I’m sure Taylor is now the odd man out).
31) WR Marquise Brown, Baltimore
I’m not a fan. I’m not necessarily a hater, though I am trending that way…from the aspect that no one could possibly know how good Brown is – he didn’t clock times pre-Draft…he was a mediocre WR for two years at OU, working with two of the best college QBs of all time…and he has a scary Lisfranc. How can anyone assign ‘best WR in the draft’ labels to him? It’s ludicrous. But Baltimore is going to have prove that the new GM isn’t an idiot, so Brown is going to get all the chances in the world. He’s OK-ish, so he’ll post numbers…I just don’t see anything special about him other than the group-think media hype that suddenly pivoted off D.K. Metcalf to Brown in April 2019.
32) LB Josh Allen, Jacksonville
I think Allen is a good prospect/talent, but I have my doubts watching his work. He has all the athleticism, but not sure he’s got the football mind/instincts to go with it. He gets a great draw with Jacksonville, because he’ll work on a defense with a lot of talent and Allen can be a pursuer/pass rusher and just try to make plays…the kind that are good for IDP (sacks, TFLs, forced fumbles). There’s also a chance that Allen could become a 4-3 DE, and then get a ‘DL’ label…and that would be great.
33) QB Jarrett Stidham New England
I’m a fan, and I thought he was going to wind up with NE all along. Let’s go with my theory on him – best traditional pocket passer in the 2019 NFL Draft…goes to the place where mystical things happen to QBs to work with the wizard (Belichick)…people remember Jimmy Garoppolo’s rise to value – Stidham is either going to become legend as a preseason worker, like Jimmy G., or Tom Brady goes down, finally, to an injury…and here comes Stidham, and he flashes to a disbelieving world that he’s really talented…more so than the Daniel Jones, Haskins, etc., group. Imagine if Stidham has to start for several games or a half a season, whatever, because something happened to Brady? His value is waiting to pop…the question is – when? How many years are you willing to wait?
34) RB Mike Weber, Dallas
You ever notice how all the ‘bad actors’ in the NFL remain bad actors? Tyreek Hill, Rueben Foster, Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon, etc. Rarely do they clean up their act once they’re in the NFL. Which brings me to Ezekiel Elliott – to me, he’s a ‘suspect actor’…plus he is going to want a mega-deal soon, and I’m not sure Dallas wants to give that…I just fear Elliott is capable of something stupid at any moment. Dallas drafted two RBs this year…coincidence? What happens if Elliott sprains an ankle or tears an ACL this year? Mike Weber would be in-line for the lead role, right? Weber is a poor man’s Elliott.
35) DL Maxx Crosby, Oakland
Oakland is pass rush challenged. They are going to put Clelin Ferrell on the right side to face the left tackle, and then put Crosby on the left side facing the usually weaker-blocking right tackle. Crosby was a highly productive DE, who played with a great internal-fire – he may be a more effective pass rusher than Ferrell.
36) RB Devin Singletary, Buffalo
I’m warming up to this more and more. The Bills have aging RBs McCoy-Gore and went out of there way to add Devin Singletary. I like Singletary, even though his grades are ‘meh’ in our computer scouting models. Love his tape and his production…maybe the shiftiest RB in the draft. A mild Kareem Hunt story – a guy who doesn’t have off the charts measurables, but makes people miss at the last moment. They say David Montgomery is the missed tackle king…I think Singletary deserves that honor over Montgomery. If Gore is ‘shot’ then Singletary is a LeSean McCoy injury away…maybe.
37) RB Tony Pollard, Dallas (+5 spots)
Rising up my board as this process goes on. I’m a fan, but I worried he would land someplace where he’d go to waste – he’s a unique threat as a RB/WR/KR-PR type guy…a player you have to create touches for, but, despite all of them talking about it, the only coach who has ever actually done such a thing with a secondary back like this is Sean Payton with Alvin Kamara (and Darren Sproles prior). If Pollard gets touches/work, it will be great for FF-output…he doesn’t have to be the lead back, just a 2-5 carries, 3-7 targets a game guy. Maybe he can even play some WR when not in the backfield. I’m getting more enticed as I think about it, but then I remember the Cowboys saying they’d make Tavon Austin ‘that guy’ as well and after trying it for about one game/first series…completely forgot about it.
38) RB Damien Harris, New England (-2 spots)
What if Damien Harris is going to replace James White in a year…and become the new James White? What if Harris is better at running the ball than Sony Michel? What if Michel gets hurt in the preseason? Harris has hope that his value could get activated quickly…or he’s just another good/cheap RB for Belichick’s RBBC ways (the likely case) and all Harris does is muddy the fantasy waters for Michel, James, and himself.
39) TE T.J. Hockenson, Detroit
I don’t get this. I have never gotten this ever. This to me is a true hoax. One draft analyst showed 2-3 clips of Hockenson blocking a guy well and then ran off claiming the greatest blocker/next Gronk…and all the echo chamber followed because they do no homework at all. I scouted him three separate times, and I saw a below average blocker. I defy you to watch the Mississippi State or Penn State games for TJH, games against better pass rushers, and tell me he’s a high-end blocker…or even a good blocker. His measurables as average. His pass numbers in college were bolstered by a few surprise pass plays off play action where TJH leaked out wide open by 15 yards as defenses were overplaying a running play (they thought). An average TE prospect being built into a god. I don’t understand it at all. He’s OK, but not next Gronk…that’s silly.
40) WR Terry McLaurin, Washington
I’m not a huge Terry McLaurin fan, per se, although he’s OK and highly athletic. Here’s what I do love…the soon-to-be starting QB for the Redskins is Dwayne Haskins, and he will have had a relationship with McLaurin already. I assume Haskins helped Washington make this pick or approved of it in some way.
41) TE Josh Oliver, Jacksonville
A solid tight end prospect. Had he gone somewhere like Buffalo, or as a backup in Indy or Tampa Bay or wherever…no one cares/I don’t care about him. However, going to TE-desperate Jacksonville…Oliver has a chance to start quickly, and work with good QBs – Foles, and eventually Minshew down the road. A perfect landing spot for an ordinary/good TE prospect.
42) LB Blake Cashman, NY Jets
I’m a fan. A nice movement, tackling OLB/ILB. He could be a surprise guy who ends up top 5-10 in tackles. He’s got the measurables, and the heart/effort of a good, solid NFL linebacker. His only question is – will the Jets start him right away or ‘groom’ him? I think he might start early, especially if Darron Lee gets dumped.
43) QB Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville
I like Minshew’s game – I think if he were thrown into the fire right away that he’d succeed year one…maybe not amazing for fantasy right away, but solid for the NFL. Minshew has a chance to matter ahead/years to come, quicker than most might think. Nick Foles has some history with injury, but worse – he’s hated by the football media/establishment for being so good while they all crowed about how terrible he was the past few years. If Foles stumbles at all, the media will turn the screws on him…then the fans will dutifully follow…then the Minshew calls will be loud and proud. Someday Minshew will be the heir to Foles, I believe it’ll be years from now…but it could happen quickly if things bounce the wrong way for Foles early on.
44) LB Chase Winovich, New England
Love his NFL potential – an athletic, high effort player. He’s probably better for the NFL than for fantasy, but he might be a decent combo of tackling and pass rushing as an OLB…enough to matter for IDP. I think the long-shot upside is if he somehow transitions to ILB, which football people think is a crazy take by me…but I just think there’s a small chance it could happen. They may be right, I may be crazy.
45) RB Jeremy Cox, LA Chargers (+2 spots)
One of the most impressive RB prospects of this entire draft for me…so, of course, he didn’t get drafted. I defy you to go watch his big Virginia Tech (an ODU upset) game on YouTube and tell me he’s not one of the better RB prospects in the draft. He measured with draftable NFL athleticism at his Pro Day. He produced in college. He runs like a wild stallion, with terrific power. He has terrific hands in the passing game, I mean really nice hands. I love this prospect. If Melvin Gordon gets hurt, again, there are drafted guys ahead of Cox, but if he ever got the chance somehow (and it will take injury) watch out…he is the biggest RB of the Chargers’ backups. See if Cox dispatches Justin Jackson from the roster – it would be a sign LAC sees ‘it’ too. More likely he’s headed to the practice squad and will have to scratch and claw from there.
46) DL Quinnen Williams, NY Jets
I’m not as over the moon with Williams as everyone else, but I see that he is good-great. He’ll be fine in the NFL; I just don’t know if he’ll be a big-time fantasy producer. Everyone got worked up about former Jets Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams at DT…and they had moments but then fizzled. It’s not a Jets thing, I’m just saying – the media get stoked on particular DTs in a draft, typically from colleges they adore, they get hyped up as rookies…and they are forgotten about within 2-3-4 years.
47) RB Ty Johnson, Detroit (+2 spots)
Another RB that I like who didn’t land in a great spot…but really, there aren’t many ‘great’ landing spots anymore for non-1st-round pick RBs, so Ty will just have to impress in the preseason and claim the 3rd-string role and hope for Kerryon to flop. Large wall to climb for Ty Johnson to become relevant in 2019-2020.
48) DB Juan Thornhill, Kansas City
Super athletic safety prospect, going to be a nice free safety or cornerback convert, but not much for tackling…more of a superior coverage DB. His upside lies in the possibility of a move to corner mixed with his solid safety tackling skills. He might start Week 1 for KC but should be a starter for sure by midseason.
49) DL Rashan Gary, Green Bay (+2 spots)
A hard player to project/rank. On one hand, he has the abilities/measurables of a top 10 prospect, but his effort, head, and tape say he’s a potential bust waiting to happen. I have a lot of faith in Green Bay D-C Mike Pettine…could he get through to Gary and change the game here? I bet he doesn’t, and Gary is the Gary he’s always been -- but there is a chance of hitting a big IDP homerun here eventually if Pettine does break through. I just, mostly, bet against it.
50) RB Trayveon Williams, Cincinnati
One of my favorite and most befuddling RB prospects of 2019 – loved his tape and production, and then hated his NFL Combine numbers…from the perspective that I thought they’d be great/reveal a gem…and all they did was raise questions. I’m on board with Trayveon, but I’m also cautious…I’m not going all-in. His value is only ‘handcuff’ to Joe Mixon for several years.
51) RB Ryquell Armstead, Jacksonville (-6 spots)
I’m not wild about Armstead, but I do know Leonard Fournette is injury prone and Armstead is now his likely backup. Ryquell is a try-hard, tough, ‘C’ grade runner/talent. He’s not a franchise back, but he could grind some 100+ yard games if forced the touch count. He’s just OK, it’s the situation that bumps his grade some.
52) WR Stanley Morgan, Cincinnati
I’m a fan…I think Stanley Morgan has a Robert Woods quality (someone else said this first to me, and it made instant sense) – a nice, athletic underneath WR a quarterback can really trust. The problem is…he landed poorly. The Bengals offense has A.J. Green-Tyler Boyd leading the way, and Morgan was a UDFA/not drafted, so he has no draft stock to help him get a push from the front office. He is more likely to be meandering around for a few years than breaking through as a shock producer early (unless an injury happens to a starter ahead of him).
53) QB Dwayne Haskins, Washington
I don’t love Dwayne Haskins’s talents, but he has some tools to work with. He’s likely to get jammed into the lineup sooner than you’d like, and if he fails quick…his whole career may get undermined. He’s a capable backup type talent who can hold down the fort as a starter in the NFL for a short term, but over time his medium and deep inaccuracies will catch up with him and we’ll forget about him in short order.
54) DL Christian Wilkins, Miami
I could see Wilkins putting up bigger numbers than Quinnen Williams for IDP. Williams is a good/great NFL prospect, probably better than Wilkins -- but Wilkins has faster feet off the snap and just finds ways to penetrate the line and get into the backfield – better than either Williams or Oliver from the rookie class at slipping past blockers. I’m a fan. Not sure how he fits in the scheme and depth chart with new Miami.
55) TE Keenan Brown, LA Rams
A former WR converted to TE…and he fits that Gerald Everett role, and is arguably better than Everett – as they try to fill that ‘Jordan Reed’ role for Sean McVay…thus we have to take this seriously. I think Brown has much more juice in his legs to fill that role than Everett, but he’s not a ‘wow’ prospect…just better than Everett, I think.
56) RB Khari Blasingame, Minnesota
I really like the raw power of this running back prospect – he runs like a wild stallion once he gets up to speed. He’s big, powerful, a 4.5+ runner with sub-7.0 agility with vertical and a great bench. A raw talent needing development, who goes to a team/coach not known for his patience developing talent or talent assessment ability on offensive prospects. There’s hope here, but Mike Zimmer scares me…however, Blasingame might be the most physically talented RB on the team right now – he’s got a chance to stumble into a workload out of nowhere if Dalvin Cook flops/gets hurt (per usual).
57) DL Clelin Ferrell, Oakland
I think Ferrell is a solid NFL talent, but I fear he’s just a guy who gets 8 +/- sacks in a season and barely racks up any tackles or TFL counts otherwise. His college stats show a one-dimensional IDP output. Skills here but limited for IDP…potentially.
58) PK Matt Gay, Tampa Bay
He’ll battle Cairo Santos for the kicking job, but between Santos’ injuries/bouncing around the league and the fact that Gay was the top drafted kicker in 2019…I’d say Gay has the upper hand. A very accurate kicker with a big leg for Utah the past two seasons – 86.2% on all FGs the past two seasons, and impressive 8-of-11 from 50+ during that span. Big dude, big leg…likely NFL starter Week 1 in Tampa or elsewhere.
59) DB Andrew Wingard, Jacksonville
A tackle machine…love his style of play for IDP purposes. He pursues ballcarriers and amasses good tackle numbers – 110+ tackles in each of his first three college seasons for Wyoming. 10 or more tackles in a game 23 times in college. The issue is…how fast/if/when he will start for the Jaguars? It may be a year or two.
60) WR Jamal Custis, Kansas City (+4 spots)
One of my favorite prospects of 2019…loved what I saw on tape…a Hakeem Butler type prospect. The problems are…bad agility times (although on tape he looks fine), injury history until 2018, and went undrafted. He’s in for a fight to get onto an NFL roster/field. He has terrific hands and a ‘plus’ size, if he can stay healthy. Likely, he’ll end up being cut and have to make it with a different team. KC is loaded with interesting young WR talent, both from 2019 and from prior years (Pringle, Kemp, Dieter).
61) WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh
I had ‘F’ level grades on Johnson coming out of Toledo…nothing special, either athletically or statistically, so I didn’t bother to dive any deeper. However, the Steelers drafting him so highly (#66 overall), makes me pause and has me set to go in and study deeper. It’s not that I’m afraid I’m wrong just because the Steelers are so smart, it’s that I’m willing to re-look at any big variables. I don’t want to be wrong just because I was too stubborn to take a second look when that look was justified. I can see Johnson is an aggressive, ‘good hands’, sound receiver…but I don’t see a ‘wow’ factor jumping off at me from my minor tape viewing sessions. He’s a technician, but not sure if he’s another Eli Rogers-‘next Antonio’ type barking at the moon the Steelers do every other year. More study/reporting on him coming soon.