As we have no time limit in between picks at this point, selections could come quickly or take days. In our case, once we get moving, things usually move along at a healthy pace, so check back often.
1.01 Ryan Matthews, RB – San Diego
Matthews is the easy #1 selection in every rookie draft unless you’re a coach that is in dire need for WR talent. Even if that is the case, I would recommend the trade of 1.01 for a known top WRs to a coach that is in need of RB help. It is far better to get a young stud WR than risk a pick of Bryant or Thomas. WRs bust far too often. For our particular coach, Matthews represents great starting production and he’s also a huge Charger fan … bonus.
1.02 C.J. Spiller, RB – Buffalo
Spiller is a dynamic playmaker in the mold of Reggie Bush, but lacks inside running toughness. The Buffalo situation is a mess right now and it’s anyone’s guess as to how the touches will be distributed. They did find success last year with Fred Jackson and it would seem logical that Spiller’s touches would come at the minority expense of Jackson, leaving Lynch as the #3. Look for Lynch to be traded at some point.
1.03 Dez Bryant, WR – Dallas
This is very high for a WR taken in the 20s. If you’ve read my analysis of WR selections over the past 10 years, you know this is a risk. However, Bryant has tangible skills and talent and is clearly the best WR in this class. If not for maturity issues, he would have been a top 8 selection in the NFL draft. It was also revealed that Bryant suffers from an irregular heartbeat; that fact in addition to character issues caused many teams to remove him from their boards.
1.04 Jahvid Best, RB – Detroit
Best may be the best true talent in the draft. He is THAT dynamic and does run tougher than his size would suggest. An easy selection at 1.04. An exciting selection at 1.04 if he hadn’t gone to the Lions, who haven’t had a relevant fantasy producing back since Barry Sanders. Kevin Smith should still get no less than 50% of the carries when healthy but a good spring and pre-season could see a 50/50 split and both RBs in the backfield at the same time.
1.05 Ben Tate, RB – Houston
I could have made an easy argument for Tate being the 2nd back off the board, so a selection here at 1.05 is a nice one. Houston has always had productive RBs and Tate would appear to be the odds-on favorite to carry the load for the Texans, along with Slaton receiving a material number of touches in passing situations and as a change of pace. Arian Foster’s value takes a significant hit as it would seem that Houston’s brass is looking for more of a pedigree back.
1.06 Demaryius Thomas, WR – Denver
The first 5 picks are a given and I would be hard pressed to listen to arguments suggesting Thomas over Jahvid Best or Ben Tate … unless the coach was extremely thin on WR. If that is the case, a trade out of the 1.06 would be best rather than risking a choice on a rookie WR. Thomas was not-so shockingly the first WR off the board. Unproven and raw but will immense measurables, Thomas ends up in a nice situation filling the spot vacated by the traded Brandon Marshall. No one will question Thomas’s size, speed (he does play faster than his timed speed) or his heart … but many will question his gimmick offense, lack of proven route tree performance and his production. That all said, Thomas has the look, and now the situation, of a true #1 WR. It should also be noted that the same coach that took Bryant above, also took Thomas as he is in dire need for a young WR and hopes at least one starter will be the result of the two WR selections.
1.07 Montario Hardesty, RB – Cleveland
I liked Hardesty, always have. He is a terrific one-cut RB with decent vision and one helluva spin move. A back with great size and balance, Hardesty is a tough runner but just loose enough in the hips and with a touch of that “dynamic” quality that I look for to make for an intriguing pick at 1.07. However, much like Detroit above, CLE is where RBs go to die. Their anemic offense, lackluster offensive line and committee of Jerome Harrison, James Davis and now Hardesty make this a muddy picture at best. Even if he was the sole back to carry the load, Hardesty would be facing many run-stacked fronts until the CLE offense can establish just that … offense. James Davis did show promise in 2009 before his injury. Hardesty is the last of the good situation RBs to come off the board and the remaining rookie pool will start getting thin after this next pick which will surely be Sam Bradford.
1.08 Sam Bradford, QB – St. Louis
Don’t need to say a lot here. It’s a solid pick, the first QB off the board and the last of the “slam dunk” top 8 selections. The team that made this selection also happens to have Brees and Rivers so Bradford provides a nice young addition, potentially opening up the possibility of a trade of one of his stud QBs to get stronger at another position.
1.09 Jimmy Clausen, QB – Carolina
I had Clausen pegged in either the 9 or 10 hole in this year’s rookie draft. Arguably the most pro-ready QB, Clausen goes to a nice situation and immediately carries a clipboard behind Matt Moore. Most seem to feel that Clausen will get his chance to play this year if Moore fails to impress.
1.10 Golden Tate, WR – Seattle
I had Tate pegged in the 12 hole in this year’s rookie draft but from here on out, it is more based on coach preference and team need. I thought Gerhart could go here but the drafting team needs starting talent, especially at the WR position. I like Benn’s upside more than Tate, but they are very close in value.
2.01 Arrelious Benn, WR – Tampa Bay
Gerhart continues to fall and Benn is a good value at 2.01. He should be a starter from day one, has a good NFL body and should have every chance to succeed. QB play is suspect in Tampa as is Benn’s college productivity. But this pick remains a good value
2.02 Toby Gerhart, RB – Minnesota
As it turns out, due to trade, this is the first of my four second round selections. Gerhart, perhaps the most enigmatic player in this year’s draft next to Tebow, finds himself in a bad starting situation playing behind AP, but a good situation should something happen to AP. Gerhart is of great character, work ethic and skills but could not replace AP’s dynamic skill set. His value is too great to pass up at 2.02
2.03 Jonathan Dwyer, RB – Pittsburgh
The second of my four second round selections. I don’t get it. Dwyer is a first tier RB whose stock dropped primarily due to a slow 40 and a failed drug test that apparently received more criticism than necessary. Either way, I’m thrilled to have him here and I think his situation is good as well. Any better and Dwyer comes off in the first round.
2.04 Dexter McCluster, WR – Kansas City
McCluster is a good value this late. Drafted as a WR, McCluster is a swiss army knife (Ken Kelly’s term) player that could contribute in all three phases of the game. Dynamic, tough and a workhorse, McCluster is a playmaker that you like to have in the middle of the second round
2.05 Colt McCoy, QB – Cleveland
One of those individuals that you just want to root for. I can’t help but like the kid and hope he does well. His less-than-ideal arm strength will be a challenge for the Cleveland weather but Holmgren’s West Coast style of offense should maximize McCoy’s potential. I think it’s a bit high for him in the middle of the second round, but if you are in need of a QB, McCoy is worth the risk.
2.06 James Starks, RB – Green Bay
I put my money where my mouth is with my 3rd second round selection. I believe Starks is a good sleeper RB and falls to a good location. Other players still on the board with more positional value but I’m stock piling young RB talent.
2.07 Jermaine Gresham, TE – Cincinnati
Gresham is a solid 2nd round value here at 2.07. If Gresham’s injury bug is a thing of the past, he will reward his owners in that offense.
2.08 Tim Tebow, QB – Denver
Much like McCoy, Tebow is a player that most love to root for. I don’t believe the kid has a bad bone in his body and he was one heck of a great college player. Whether or not he can transition his game into the pros is THE argument in 2010, but I wouldn’t bet against him. Loaded with charisma, talent and a workman-like attitude, Tebow makes for a great late 2nd round flier.
2.09 Mike Williams, WR – Tampa Bay
Big talent, big risk. Williams goes to a nice situation in Tampa and, if he stays out of trouble, could be starting come September. Without his character issues, Williams may have been a first round selection.
2.10 Charlie Whitehurst, QB – Seattle
My last (4th) second round selection of 2010. With Joe McKnight on the board, as well as Brandon LaFell, this pick took a bit more research and soul searching than I had originally intended. I wanted to come out of the second round with at least one QB and I had Whitehurst, Tebow and McCoy ranked in that order. Playing behind Hass is a nice situation for Whitehurst and he has five years of experience under his belt. Seattle spent a good amount to get him so one has to believe he is to be given a chance a starting sooner rather than later
3.01 Rolando McClain, LB – OAK
First LB goes off the board. McClain will be plugged into OAK’s 4-3 scheme, giving him a chance to do what other OAK LBs haven’t been able to in a few years … be a worthy IDP starter. I’ve read two stories out of OAK that state they won’t be playing only 4-3 and will be moving McClain around as needed. Anyone’s guess how that would affect his tackles.
3.02 Joe McKnight, RB – NYJ
A bit surprising that he fell this far but his situation combined with his “soft” body of work scared many away. He didn’t match expectations at USC and could have a better pro career than was his collegiate career. Low risk in the 3rd round.
3.03 Rob Gronkowski, TE – NE
Gronk will get plenty of opportunities to be a scoring TE in NE’s system. The late addition of Aaron Hernandez does make this selection a bit more risky, but in the 3rd round to a team that needs TE depth, he represents good value.
3.04 Taylor Price, WR – NE
Price is an underrated receiver that goes to a good situation. You can’ t expect any receiver to be fantasy relevant in his first year and Price will be no exception. You’ll need to wait 3 years to see what he can become, but in the 3rd round, that is a given.
3.05 Mardy Gilyard, WR – STL
Gilyard is a nice sleeper pick from this draft and could have a chance to contribute early for a WR-needy Rams club. If he can continue to build upon his Senior Bowl performance, he’ll be the steal of the draft.
3.06 Daryl Washington, LB ARI
A bit of a reach for this OLB prospect, but in ARI where their LB roles aren’t set, a calculated risk that could pay off
3.07 Damian Williams, WR TEN
Williams is the next USC wideout to try and be successful in the NFL. With the exception of Steve Smith, the track record has not been good for SC wide-outs.
3.08 Brandon LaFell, WR CAR
The steal of the third round, and I would have classified him the steal of the second round if he had gone late in the second. I strongly considered LaFell at 2.06 but don’t need another young WR. LaFell is one of my favorite WR sleeper picks. He had a down senior year but is a tough WR that can do it all and catches everything thrown to him.
3.09 Dezmon Briscoe, WR – CIN
Briscoe is unpolished and raw, not overly fast nor tough, but he’s still young (20) and was very productive in the Kansas system. If you have the time to wait, he’s a good investment and a value at 3.09.
3.10 Anthony Dixon, RB – SF
Dixon’s stock was rising into the combine but has steadily fallen since that time. Not without talent, Dixon is a beast and should excel as a FB or short yardage specialist. In watching Dixon for some time, however, he has looser hips and a nice change of direction not common for a back of his size.
4.01 EJ Henderson, LB – MIN
If he has recovered from his injury, this is a nice value pick.
4.02 Eric Decker, WR – DEN
Really like this pick. A tough, possession type of WR that should have gone much higher due to his drafted situation.
4.03 Carlton Mitchell, WR – CLE
A sneaky good pick with an opportunity in a weak Cleveland stable of WRs.
4.04 Jimmy Graham, TE – NO
This is my favorite pick over the last two rounds and I believe he is being largely missed by the masses. Graham will be one of my featured players in my 3rd round value article coming out shortly. If you are looking to stow a TE, Graham is a great receiver and in an offense that will reward his athleticism.
This live event will hopefully give you some idea as to how the rookies are being valued. Every league will have surprises during the process. What hasn’t been shared in this forum is the need that each individual team had when making the selection … at least in most cases. Without that, it a somewhat two dimensional exercise but one not without value.
If you have any questions, shoot me a question.
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i understand why you aren’t continuing the rest of the draft, but i really learned a lot from the analysis on the first 3 rounds. During the summer i will be having a smiliar IDP rookie draft and hope to have some great analysis like this.
I love that you guys do your rookie draft so early. I have scoured the web and I can’t find any site that has rookie mock drafts posted. Most dynasty leagues, including mine, draft no later than a week after the conclusion of the NFL draft. It is very good to have a completed draft for reference when I am in the process of doing mine.
Jeff if you and your coworkers are interested in seeing my league’s draft results, I’ll be posting the picks (with a comment or two on each one) on my blog listed as my website in the title area of this comment. Our league is PPR, and not IDP.
Keep up the good work! I look forward to seeing your draft results every year!
P.S. Armanti Edwards is a wonderful sleeper option.
Curious, but why is Whitehurst in the player pool? Is this a combo FA/Rookie draft?
Could you please continue listing the picks? Sans the commentary is okay, unless something noteworthy happens.
I find this very interesting and helpful.
In response to James: why do your dynasty rookie draft in April / May? This is only the third year of our league, but we have been having it in August. I think then you have a better idea of the impact the rookies will have.
Having your rookie draft later in the summer is not a bad idea. When we started my dynasty league, I petitioned to have the draft later in the summer, but majority agreed to have it a week after the NFL draft. After the first rookie draft, I realized the benefits of holding the draft early. I causes team owners to really do their homework. You don’t know how players are doing with their particular team yet, so if you want to do well, you study every player and figure out which system they would best succeed in. If a player gets drafted by an NFL team who best suits his skills, his value bumps up pretty good. A couple examples of that from this draft is Ben Tate and Brandon LaFell. Both players got drafted into systems and situations that best suit their football capabilities, and by studying their talents, you should know they have great value in your dynasty draft.
When your draft is later, you will have already seen what most of the rookies are capable of in their training camps, and it is much easier to adjust your rankings accordingly. Holding your rookie draft in mid-late August allows the amateur team owners to have a more level playing field with the experienced owners. Also, having your draft early satisfies the football rush that tends to still exist right after the NFL Draft, and you have an entire summer to make trades with rookies involved.
Hey I’m really confused on Dynasty leagues. What happens after the end of the season, You have a full roster and you keep them all. Then you have a rookie draft. If I was LM would I have to expand the roster size pre-draft? i play on espn. also after the draft does everyone just drop whoever they choose to fix the roster size issue?