Sadly, every draft must end.
After the big names in the first round followed by some value picks in the second, it was time for owners to conclude the draft in round three and beyond. The later rounds are a chance for us to take gambles and select our favorite ‘sleepers’ when the idea of the best player available becomes less clear-cut. There is always great value to be had in these later rounds, but finding it is easier said than done. Many owners in this 2QB league were also looking to fill their QB3 and QB4 spots with ‘upside’ rookies or ones with a chance to make an early impact. I have listed every rookie selection (including my remaining four) along with some of my thoughts.
Note: This was a rookie/FA draft, but only rookies are shown
25.) Devonta Freeman, RB ATL (My pick)
The words ‘direct’ and ‘spark plug’ spring to mind when watching Freeman. With an ageing Steven Jackson and an underwhelming Jacquizz Rodgers not providing much speed in the Falcons backfield, he will bring some urgency. The combination of talent and opportunity left him at the top of my board here.
26.) Ka’Deem Carey, RB CHI
Carey always finishes his runs. Always. He may have the strongest leg and butt muscles of any running back this class, but lacks the great agility you want to see from a back entering the NFL. Will the ability to break tackles and fall forward be enough?
27.) Storm Johnson, RB JAC (My pick)
Based on talent alone I have him higher than many other running backs (I love the kid), but there is no denying a seventh round pick is a gamble. I need an upgrade at running back and didn’t think I would get another chance at Johnson, so took him here over some very good receivers left on the board.
28.) Josh Huff, WR PHI
I believe Huff is someone who every NFL fan, coach and player will want on their team. He plays smart and tough, excels as a blocker and contributes on special teams. However, none of these things will necessarily lead to fantasy success. He will get his fair share of balls in the Chip Kelly offense, but don’t expect him to be a weekly game-winner.
29.) Martavis Bryant, WR PIT
A typical ‘raw’ wide receiver, Bryant is tall, strong and fast, but unrefined. He was outshined by Clemson teammates DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins during his college years, yet still managed to create buzz with some phenomenal catches. I love the potential, but he has many aspects of his game that must be honed and improved in order to have an impact.
30.) Lache Seastrunk, RB WAS
With such a unique running style, it was hard not to fall in love with Seastrunk before the draft. Yet he fell to the sixth round, and left many people wondering what his role in the league could be. As exciting as he is to watch, I see him more as a career ‘complementer’ who will flash as opposed to someone who could be an every-week starter.
31.) Isaiah Crowell, RB CLE
He was the most hotly debated ‘talented-player-with-character-issues’, yet it was no real surprise when he wasn’t drafted. I expect Cleveland to give the majority of their opportunities to Ben Tate and third round pick Terrance West, so Crowell will need to do a lot to win carries in a rejuvenated Browns backfield.
32.) Jarvis Landry, WR MIA
A true ‘football player,’ Landry runs good routes, makes tough catches and throws huge blocks. No, he didn’t test well at the combine but how many players who did test well can make one-handed catches like this or this circus catch last year? Landry will ball out for the Dolphins.
33.) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE TB
This looks to be outstanding value for Seferian-Jenkins, who I would expect to go much earlier in the majority of rookie drafts. Despite his athletic freakishness, drafters seem to be approaching him with caution and I understand why – I don’t feel extremely comfortable investing in someone who is more of an athlete than football player. That being said, if ASJ puts it all together he could be dangerous.
34.) Jeff Janis, WR GB
For metrics lovers, Janis is the guy to own. He was ultra productive at the DII level and tested well at the combine, but how well will it translate? He is a gamble at this point in the draft as many other big names still left on the board have more of a path to contributing, but he is also an extremely intriguing prospect.
35.) Zach Mettenberger, QB TEN
Outside of the three taken in the first round, Mettenberger might be the quarterback who has the best chance at playing time in 2014. Jake Locker has missed 14 games over the last two years, so Mett’s chance could come early. He was surrounded with NFL-level talent at LSU with Jeremy Hill, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry and possesses effortless arm strength. I like his prospects in a run-first system.
36.) Paul Richardson, WR SEA (My pick)
As I took a step back from using my own personal opinion, I couldn’t help but view Richardson as the value pick here. He is a speedster with a knack for highlight reel catches, but I was left wanting more and didn’t see him fight for the ball or win as many contested catches as I would like. However, he was selected ahead of Davante Adams, Cody Latimer and Allen Robinson, so I will trust the Super Bowl Champions on this one.
37.) Tom Savage, QB HOU
Savage has an arm that wows you, but the visions and decisions need work. Ryan Fitzpatrick being named the starter is no surprise as he consistently puts up good numbers (and is someone who I highly recommend for those of you who employ a late-round quarterback strategy), but his fantasy play is better than his NFL play. If the Texans struggle to bounce back from last year’s meltdown, Savage may get a shot.
38.) John Brown, WR ARI
Brown is a mystery to me, but has stood out very early in camp. He will be behind a stud in Larry Fitzgerald and a strong breakout candidate in Michael Floyd in the pecking order, so I can’t see a huge fantasy impact early. However, I expect him to contribute to the return game early and play a role in an Arizona offense that is going to look very exciting.
39.) Jared Abbrederis, WR GB
He is a ‘technician’ at the receiver position, but has no real star qualities. The hands aren’t fantastic and he lacks power and speed, but he finds ways to get open with great routes (his ‘out-n-up’ really is something special). While I certainly believe Abbrederis can produce, I would prefer to take a chance on someone with more upside.
40.) Jerick McKinnon, RB MIN
I am a huge fan of McKinnon’s running ability, athleticism and versatility (he started five games at quarterback in 2013). His opportunity for dynasty success will depend on how long the great Adrian Peterson can stick around, but good things come to those who wait…
41.) Colt Lyerla, TE GB (My pick)
I need serious help at the tight end position and I couldn’t resist taking Lyerla here. Ken Kelly outlined his history and athletic potential back in May, and his success may hinge upon whether or not he can keep his focus and avoid trouble.
42.) Aaron Murray, QB KC
Murray looked very good in 2013 until a disappointing ACL tear in late November. He was fun to watch at Georgia, showing pretty touch passes, excellent deep balls and an impressive rushing ability (seven rushing touchdowns in 11 games last year). But does he have the physical tools to produce in the NFL? The way Alex Smith played last year; we may have to wait a while to find out.
43.) De’Anthony Thomas, RB KC
Unfortunately, despite the absurd speed and acceleration, I can’t envision a scenario where Thomas is anything more than a gadget player and return man. His highlights are certainly worth a watch though.
44.) Troy Niklas, TE ARI
A great blocking tight end, but how much of a fantasy impact will he have? Dan Meylor showcased some of the concerns with Niklas in his Arizona Cardinals draft recap – Route running, catching and Bruce Arians’ affection for blocking tight ends. These are all reasons to be wary of Niklas in your dynasty league.
45.) James White, RB NE
Just like Browns running back Terrance West, White is someone who I believe is very adept at ‘choosing the right path.’ I am a fan of both White as a player and the situation in New England as he will be given every opportunity to get carries. He was very productive in college even though he shared time with other backs, and as a ball-carrier his great vision and patience are hard to teach. He also drops the shoulder like no other, which I love to see. White is a great pick here.
46.) Dri Archer, RB PIT
Archer is electric. CRAZY electric. My question and concern is – where does he fit on the fantasy football scene? He won’t be a feature back and he won’t be an outside receiver. Could he play in the slot? Maybe, but I see him having more of an impact on the field than on the stats sheet. Steeler fans may benefit more that fantasy owners.
47.) Brandon Coleman, WR NO
You can’t deny the big body and the size, but Coleman has serious questions in every aspect of his game. He is not very agile, doesn’t play as strong as his height and weight, and has had issues with concentration drops. Before the 2013 season, there was a lot of expectation and hope that Coleman would play to his full potential, but it didn’t materialise. He needs a lot of work.
48.) Jimmy Garoppolo, QB NE
Despite his second round selection by the Patriots, Garoppolo fell very far in this draft. He is a very intriguing small-school prospect with an astonishingly clean delivery of the football; however his situation means he isn’t very valuable right now barring a Tom Brady injury. There will be no rush to get him on the field.
49.) Richard Rodgers, TE GB
Rodgers is one of four tight ends in contention for fantasy relevance in Green Bay. Before the addition of him and Lyerla, Brandon Bostick was considered a potential breakout candidate whereas Andrew Quarless was in the starting role. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that Rodgers “might be in the lead” at this point in the off-season.
50.) Logan Thomas, QB ARI
An exciting physical talent, Thomas is a good value pick here as the ninth quarterback taken in this draft. While I would prefer to get excited about what’s between the ears with a quarterback, it is the physical ‘tools’ and the ability to use the truck stick on defenders that get us excited about Thomas. Bruce Arians will have fun working with him.
51.) Bruce Ellington, WR SF
Ellington has a knack for big plays and big catches and is someone who I can envision sticking around in the league for a while. I believe (as does Jacob Feldman) that Ellington is currently being underdrafted, so this pick was a great way to end the draft.
At the conclusion of the draft, nine rookie quarterbacks were taken. Despite only having two quarterbacks on my roster, I didn’t see large value in picking any of those rookies so my final draft haul was:
- Sammy Watkins
- Carlos Hyde
- Devonta Freeman
- Storm Johnson
- Paul Richardson
- Colt Lyerla
With any team you own, your startup strategy can determine the way you draft in years to come. I went ‘QB Heavy’ by taking Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson with this team, which has allowed me to focus on other skill position players in future drafts. How did I do?
Which late round picks stood out? How does this 2QB draft compare to others?
Follow James on Twitter @JS_Football
James can be found on twitter at @JS_Football