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Post Combine Rookie Rankings


Many players chose not to participate in last month’s NFL Combine, but I saw most of what I needed to see to complete my rankings with a relatively high degree of confidence ahead of the draft.

I was very disappointed to see the top quarterbacks elect not to throw.  As one of the experts on the NFL Network pointed out, it’s not as if anything we see at the combine with the top quarterbacks is going to change what we’ve all seen on tape.  We know that Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are elite within their position, so show the confidence and competitive desire to get in there and sling it around.  I wasn’t that excited about the prospects of seeing them throw as I was seeing them out there competing with the others, having a good time just going through the drills.  Same goes for Trent Richardson and Justin Blackmon.

But while I say that, I fully understand why they are coached not to work out.  Just look at past years, the fall-out from poor workout times and the stories that follow.  Ultimately, the stock of top athletes in their respective positions has nowhere to go but down.  Kendall Wright begins to overtake Justin Blackmon on some experts’ boards, but then runs a forty in 4.6 range and the chatter begins.  Blackmon chooses not to run and seemingly his draft stock remain unaffected due Wright’s fall.

And even in some cases, this can affect third tier athletes such as Dwight Jones out of North Carolina, who had a dismal outing.  Moving up charts due to a productive 2011 and good size, Jones’ stock has cratered after after displaying a nonchalant, unfocused and lazy attitude on the field over the weekend.  A top MLB prospect, Vontaze Burfict executed a perfect series of CLMs (Career Limiting Moves) by backing up his sloppy play with ridiculously bad interviews and no accountability.  Burfict may now fall to day three of the draft.

It’s no wonder that some of these athletes decide that they’ll just forgo the entire experience, let their college production speak for them and work out on their school’s pro day.

But for us here at DLF the work continues, and the NFL Combine is only one piece of information I use to rank the rookies.  In fact, it’s a relatively small piece considering the amount of weight put on tape review and on-field performance.  Beyond that, I do put some stock into how the players look on the field, given their positional needs.  In certain drills such as the gauntlet, I’m looking for line discipline and the use of dominant and off-hand usage with each catch.  Does the receiver snatch the ball naturally or let it get into his body?  Does he reverse his hands or force his dominant hand?  Each position has its own needs.

But let us do the work for you.  You care about the rankings and not all this other rubbish… so let’s get to it.

Quarterbacks

1  Andrew Luck  Stanford
2  Robert Griffin III  Baylor
3  Ryan Tannehill  Texas A&M
4  Brandon Weeden  Oklahoma St.
5  Kirk Cousins  Michigan St.
6  Nick Foles  Arizona
7  Ryan Lindley  San Diego St.
8  Brock Osweiler  Arizona St.
9  Russell Wilson  Wisconsin
10  Case Keenum  Houston
11  Kellen Moore  Boise St.
12  Jordan Jefferson  L.S.U.


Running Backs

1  Trent Richardson  Alabama
2  Lamar Miller  Miami
3  David Wilson  Virginia Tech
4  Doug Martin  Boise St.
5  Chris Polk  Washington
6  Lamichael James  Oregon
7  Bernard Pierce  Temple
8  Isaiah Pead  Cincinnati
9  Cyrus Gray  Texas A&M
10  Robert Turbin  Utah St.
11  Ronnie Hillman  San Diego St.
12  Dan Herron  Ohio St.
13  Tauren Poole  Tennessee
14  Terrance Ganaway  Baylor
15  Vick Ballard  Mississippi St.


Wide Receivers

1  Justin Blackmon  Oklahoma St.
2  Michael Floyd  Notre Dame
3  Kendall Wright  Baylor
4  Stephen Hill  Georgia Tech
5  Rueben Randle  L.S.U.
6  Mohamed Sanu  Rutgers
7  Alshon Jeffery  South Carolina
8  Brian Quick  Appalachian St.
9  Dwight Jones  North Carolina
10  Nick Toon  Wisconsin
11  Jeff Fuller  Texas A&M
12  Tommy Streeter  Miami
13  Juron Criner  Arizona
14  Ryan Broyles  Oklahoma
15  Chris Owusu  Stanford


Tight Ends

1  Coby Fleener  Stanford
2  Dwayne Allen  Clemson
3  Orson Charles  Georgia
4  Ladarius Green  Louisiana-Lafayette
5  James Hanna  Oklahoma

Have your own ideas about who from this list will surprise , or someone that isn’t on this list?   Let’s hear it!  I’ll be starting a short series of draft sleepers to keep track of starting shortly.

 

Jeff Haverlack

Jeff Haverlack

Senior Partner / COO at Dynasty League Football
Husband and father who devotes far too much time to Fantasy Football, research, statistics and content development.We created DLF to ultimately assemble the largest fantasy football community on the planet and want YOU to be a part of it.

You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff
Jeff Haverlack

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. tstafford

    March 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Jeff – Nice work. I think I’d take a shot on Broyles higher than that just for the pure upside. He’s probably a late second, early third where you have him ranked. I’d go more like early to mid second. Tim

    • Jeff Haverlack

      March 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      I want to see how he returns first over the next couple of months before moving him up … but I too really like him.

  2. Luke

    March 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Two things-one, it’s Coby Fleener, not Toby. I also think Marvin Jones deserves to be ranked in the WR section.

    • Jeff Haverlack

      March 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Hah! That’s my favorite one yet. Thanks for the catch!

  3. tebow

    March 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    i thought after the combine u would have turbin and hillman over grey and pead. do you think pead will be a better fantasy back than turbin? with a late first i will considering one of these 4 players depending on where they are drafted.

    • Jeff Haverlack

      March 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      I think that all four of them are nearly dead even in potential, I’d probably rank Hillman in the last of that group. It’s all going to depend on the situation that they are draft into. I like Turbin’s chance to increase in value in the right system but I couldn’t rate him over Gray or Pead at this juncture. But it’s VERY close.

  4. StevieMo

    March 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    My question is this: Is this a projection of talent and draft position, or a ranking based on dynasty value over, say, five years in the league? On this site that’s what we should be targeting, although admittedly it depends a bit on where they end up.

    • Jeff Haverlack

      March 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Essentially, it’s the former, but with some degree of the latter thrown in. That is why Weeden is a the QB4, and almost a QB5 for me. Age is taken into consideration.

      But for the most part, I concern myself more with ranking the rookies as related to their talent, their NFL outlook and their potential fantasy productivity.

      I put in a LOT of hours of watching tape, reading reviews, watching more tape, studying the nature of their production, etc. etc. If I can get my rankings correct (and I have a track record that I’m proud of) within the positions, then coaches that come to trust my rankings can put them to work however they wish and for whatever outlook they are looking toward.

  5. BB Wayne

    March 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Miller and Streeter are (FL) Miami guys, not (OH). I do like where you have Stephen Hill. Not only did he light up the combine, but dove for a catch and landed on his neck. Got right back up readied for another drill. That is all I needed to see.

    • Jeff Haverlack

      March 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Geez, I really stunk up the attention to detail on this one. There’s no question that they are Miami (FL) guys and somehow I put OH. Yikes. Thanks.

  6. Adam

    March 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Do you think you could drop Turbin off your list? I really don’t want the word getting out.

    • Jeff Haverlack

      March 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Believe me Adam, I hear what you are saying. The toughest part for some of us here on the site is that we are essentially giving away how we REALLY feel about players and rankings. Before starting the site years ago, we had to come to grips with the fact that we had to be able to do that, otherwise we were holding back and our readers wouldn’t want that.

      I guess when it comes down to it, what we are saying is that given the choice of being competitive or doing all the research that we do for the site and our readers, we’d take the latter every time. There is no better feeling than when a reader emails or comments that our advice/research helped them win the league.

      …well, maybe that and winning our own leagues too. Last year we were 17-1 in our Dynasty Experts League with the best sites around, taking the championship. That was a great feeling.

      I’ll see what I can do about Turbin but can’t make any promises. 🙂

      • Adam

        March 4, 2012 at 8:01 pm

        Yeah, I know you have your priorities. It’s just that he has been high on my board for quite some time now, and recently he’s done nothing but fly up everyone else’s board. I do more than my fair share of homework, and I hate nothing more than to find players that aren’t on anyone’s radar until the last minute and lose out on the potential steal of the draft.

        • Jeff Haverlack

          March 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm

          Indeed. Turbin has been quietly gaining steam since his 4 TD performance vs. Colorado St. He did tail off at the end of the year and the competition was less than stellar. He’s a great prospect but I don’t see him cracking the top 7 or 8 in the position.

          He’ll be a fun mid to late 2nd round selection however in fantasy.

  7. Danny Hall

    March 5, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I Definitly think Marvin jones should be in the list. Guy has the measuarables, pretty good tape and from what I read looked good at the senior bowl. Yes Keenan Allen was all the rage at cal but jones shouldn’t be over looked. But other than that a pretty good list!

  8. The Lung

    March 5, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I’d agree that Marvin Jones is an egregious omission from the list – in these rankings, I’d have him as high as #7; basically, after Sanu but before Alshon Jeffery.

    Also, Case Keenum, Kellen Moore, and Jordan Jefferson are just terrible QB prospects and I’ll be shocked if ANY of them get drafted in the NFL Draft. Small schooler B.J. Coleman from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and G.J. Kinne from Tulsa are the deep QB prospects to watch in their places.

    My $.02

    • DLF_Jeff

      March 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

      I think one of those QBs could be drafted but I wouldn’t be shocked if all of them go undrafted. My guess is that Jefferson will be drafted in the 6th or 7th rd.

      I’ll have to take another look at Jones but I haven’t seen much on him to make me think that he’s deserving to be in the top 10-15. There are a ton of prospects out there and this year, after the third tier of receivers, it isn’t promising.

      Truth be told, I’m not that excited about the class after the 2nd tier of receivers. Very bust worthy and mediocre group as a whole.

  9. CCrane

    March 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Cant believe you penalized Vick Ballard to #15 after he tripped over himself running the 40 at the combine… hahahah

    • the clarion contrarian

      March 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      anyone who gets out fortyed by rich eison is lower than 15 in my rankings

    • DLF_Jeff

      March 6, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Ballard just barely made it on my list at all, very late addition. A large % of these backs aren’t going to ever be heard of again … that’s just the nature of the game.

      • CCrane

        March 6, 2012 at 12:58 pm

        As a LSU student/ fan… Im bothered by your Jordan Jefferson ranking. I know the guy. Nice guy. We have booku mutual friends. I see him in the clubs around BR all the time (he hasnt been back to Shadys since the pre-season incident), but thats just ridiculous he is ranked.

        • DLF_Jeff

          March 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm

          I’m not sure if you’re saying he should be ranked more highly or lower. Either way though, ranking QBs outside of the top five is a fool’s folly nearly every year. So few will ever rise to NFL or fantasy prominence. Once I get to the fourth tier of QBs, often times the third tier, I start looking at size and NFL potential more than anything else. Things like football IQ are very important in this area and I think that is what drops Jefferson’s value.

          But in all likelihood, you could swap the QB6 and the QB12 in this year’s draft and have a 50/50 chance of choosing the one that has the best NFL career.

  10. mikaela73

    March 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

    How is Tannehill the #3 QB on this list? Granted, I haven’t watched as much game time as you, but the couple of games that I did see, he was an average college QB at best. Is he better than I give him credit for, or are all the rest just that bad?

  11. The Lung

    April 30, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Case Keenum, Kellen Moore, and Jordan Jefferson all go undrafted.

    I certainly have made my share of egregious misses over the years, but this is one thing I was quite certain about, and for good reason.

  12. The Lung

    August 31, 2012 at 11:58 am

    And Case Keenum got cut by the Texans today.

    I hate to say “I told ya so” but this one was plain as day.

    • Ken Kelly

      August 31, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      Well, I don’t think anyone was saying he was going to be a star or even make a team for that matter. He was the 10th ranked quarterback on a post-combine board and never made it further than #75 on our rookie rankings sheet.

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