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Top 12 Mock Dynasty Rookie Draft (Using Only 2017 Senior Bowl Prospects)

Air Date:
February 25, 2017

This week I will be doing my dynasty rookie draft (DRD) top 12 rankings of the Senior Bowl prospects based on the information as we know it today after Senior Bowl week of activity. This is pre-NFL Combine and our official grades, but we’re trying to set up fantasy valuations and what to look for at the NFL Combine.

I am going to add two picks each day, all week. These are my personal rankings, not where I think they will actually go in the DRDs.

 

1) TE O.J. Howard, Alabama

The surest thing from the Senior Bowl group. He has it all – the backing of the media, the right college, universally accepted by football analysts, perfect TE prospect measurables, and is very talented – he has the speed-agility-strength/blocking of a high-end NFL tight end. There will be no grace period or working behind the veteran starter for a year in the NFL – he’s starting and will be considered a weapon for his new team on day one.

My deliberation now is – is he the #2 dynasty rookie draft prospect overall behind Leonard Fournette?

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: Top 5 overall

NFL Comp: Kellen Winslow Sr., not junior. More recent…a tall Jordan Reed.

NFL Draft Projection: Top 15 overall

 

2) WR Cooper Kupp, E. Washington

There are plenty of talented wide receiver prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft, and right here at the Senior Bowl…a ton of ‘B’ (whether B, B+, or B-) NFL WR talents to debate. Kupp has one gift that stands out from the rest – he’s a master technician, a master craftsman at the art of route running…on top of being an NFL athlete with fantastic hands. He’s Eric DeckerChris Hogan, and Jordy Nelson all rolled into one.

The risk here, like any WR, is that he falls in with a crappy QB/offense in the NFL. In the right spot, Kupp could be a WR2 immediately in PPR.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: 2nd–3rd round DRD pick

NFL Comp: Shorter Eric Decker. Stefon Diggs.

NFL Draft Projection: 3rd round

 

 

3) QB Davis Webb, Cal

You really have to stop and marvel at what Webb did at the Senior Bowl. While everyone crowed about Nate Peterman heading in and Webb’s own Senior Bowl coach choosing to start Josh Dobbs over him…Webb went out and was voted the best QB of the practice week, and then won the game’s MVP.

In addition, consider that Webb produced the best performance by a QB at the Senior Bowl that I’ve seen in my four years covering the game…and did so working with the second team offense. Mostly, no O.J. Howard with him. It didn’t matter. Webb looks like the Jared Goff people were hoping for – better arm and more confidence/command. The Goff comp (went to same school) is not going to help Webb at all in this process.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: #20–40 overall.

NFL Comp: A better Jared Goff. A better Matt Ryan.

NFL Draft Projection: 2nd round. Should be 1st round, but if I know the NFL…they’ll overlook him.

 

 

4) TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss

Ranked a little higher than you might expect, but I’m considering the economics of the tight end position in fantasy. You will hear this about a thousand times this draft season – Engram is a ‘next Jordan Reed. He is. Engram is 6′3″/236 and likely runs a 4.6 +/- 40-time. He worked like Reed in college and was used that way all practice week at the Senior Bowl – like a TE/WR hybrid weapon. With all the discussion about it, an NFL team is only drafting him because they desire to use Engram as a Reed-like weapon.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: #10–20 overall

NFL Comp: Jordan Reed

NFL Draft Projection: 2nd round

 

 

5) TE Michael Roberts, Toledo

Another situation where the value is driven by the economics of the position. 16 TDs last season working as a traditional tight end is pretty amazing. You want to believe it was a fluke, but then I saw him manhandle some defenders at the East-West game and then work just fine at the Senior Bowl (don’t blame him that his QB play was awful). 6′4″+, 261 pounds with giant 11.6″ hands – he’s a potential freak at tight end. If he runs a 4.8+, we start backpedaling away a bit. I think he’ll be in the 4.7’s, and doing so at 260+ pounds is a good thing.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: 3rd round

NFL Comp: Not-as-good Antonio Gates. Julius Thomas. Bigger Tyler Eifert.

NFL Draft Projection: #100–150 overall

 

 

6) WR Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech

Likely, even more of a surprise than Engram at #4. However, it’s a similar theory. Taylor is a specialist. A Welker-Edelman type. Slowly but surely the league is gravitating towards guys like them as a staple in the offense. When Taylor is taken, you have to hope/assume it will be a team that covets that role…not just ‘thinking about it’.

Landing spot will be everything…is he Cole Beasley or Wes Welker right out of the chute?

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: 3rd–4th round

NFL Comp: Wes Welker

NFL Draft Projection: 4th round

 

 

7) WR Zay Jones, East Carolina

Jones had a nice college career but was dinged in scouting circles because he came from a high-volume offense at East Carolina. Great numbers, but pushed by the offensive output. However, he then went to the Senior Bowl week and was quite quality all week. He just kept impressing. He fully exploded at the Senior Bowl game itself…he was nearly a one-man show. Eventually, the quarterbacks on his team just kept throwing it to him no matter what. He became the ‘it’ WR of the Senior Bowl.

The issue is – he doesn’t have any characteristic that really stands out…except that he is good at everything. Good athlete. Great hands. Good size. The good news is – he’s good at everything. There’s nothing to complain about except the lack of something to complain about.

Jones goes from sleeper to a WR some team takes on purpose in the top 100 at the draft…so he should hit the ground running in the NFL.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: Top 18 overall

NFL Comp: DeAndre Hopkins-ish

NFL Draft Projection: 3rd round

 

 

8) WR Jalen Robinette, Air Force

I loved what I saw with Robinette on tape – he was a big/athletic WR prospect toiling away in anonymity on a wishbone rushing team at Air Force. He drew an invite to the East-West Shrine Game…and played in a game with dysfunctional QB prospects. He got a late invite to the Senior Bowl, arrived late (due to a military function/commitment) and never really stood out one way or the other in practice and was not thrown to in the game itself. Once again, a victim of playing on an all-star team with weak QB talent. In the Senior Bowl, the limited North roster just threw to Zay Jones all the time.

We’re left to wonder – is Robinette a hidden gem not given a chance to shine or is it that he didn’t seize his chance, while Zay Jones was able to? I think Robinette is a possible gem, but I would have liked to have seen something more to get excited about in these postseason all-star games.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: 3rd–4th round

NFL Comp: Tyrell Williams and Josh Doctson mix…or short of that

NFL Draft Projection: 4th round

 

 

9) DB Obi Melifonwu, UConn

He’s the freak defender of this Senior Bowl year, I think…I’m not 100% sure yet. I need to see the measurables, but I think he’s a 4.5+ runner with sub-7.00 three-cone sitting 6′4″/220 as a safety or SS/LB or FS/CB type prospect. He opens up a world of possibilities at his size and athleticism…and he’s a hitter. Obi is going to be drafted high and play right away – and make an impact.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: Top 5 IDP prospect…like #4-5-6

NFL Comp: Clayton Geathers + Eric Rowe…a hybrid of them

NFL Draft Projection: Top 25 overall

 

 

10) FS Lorenzo Jerome, St. Francis

One of my late-breaking crushes from the Senior Bowl. I didn’t get a chance to watch his college tape until the day before the game, and I have to tell you…it’s amazing. Remember now, he’s also playing like a Texas high school level of college competition…so it’s hard to jump off a cliff with him yet. However, I thought I saw something possibly special in him.

Because I was late to the game on him. I wasn’t looking at him much during the practice week. My miss. However, in the game, he had a couple of picks and made 3 tackles along with a TFL and FF. I need to see more, but I’m very excited about what I’ve watched and think I see. The NFL Combine could send him on a rocket ride up the draft boards.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs:  I’m guessing he jumps up to the #15–20 overall among IDPs. Right now he’s not on many/any radars.

NFL Comp: Morgan Burnett/Landon Collins mix?

NFL Draft Projection:  3rd–4th round

 

 

11) WR Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M

Reynolds was better than Zay Jones in the practices, but Jones outshined in the game itself…although Reynolds led his team in receiving in the game as well. Both are good-looking WR prospects…the tiebreaker between them will be the NFL Combine. The fantasy football tiebreaker will be what team/offense they land with. One of my tietiebreakers right now – Reynolds is very skinny/thin-framed. How he holds up over the long term is a concern.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs:  2nd round

NFL Comp:  Less talented Robby Anderson (and I love Robby Anderson, so not a diss)

NFL Draft Projection:  3rd–4th round

 

 

12) LB Haason Reddick, Temple

There are a bunch of loose pieces of a puzzle here and I’m interested to see how they fit together. Reddick was a very good pass/edge-rusher for Temple, but no way he’s an NFL edge-rusher at 6′1″/237. He was a star at the Senior Bowl practices – rushing the passer in drills. His speed/jump is terrific. However, he’s trying to convert to ILB, and that’s where I didn’t see any ‘wow’. To be fair, he’s just moving there so it’s too soon to judge. I want to see the speed-agility-strength at the NFL Combine, but Reddick has such anticipation and a quick instinct and gives max effort always – there is something here for the NFL but I’m not exactly sure how excited to get about it at this stage.

 

Projected ranking in summer DRDs: #10–15 IDP rank overall

NFL Comp:  Might be a poor man’s Jatavis Brown??

NFL Draft Projection: 3rd round, possibly 2nd round if his NFL Combine goes better than expected.

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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 >>