Post-Draft Rookie Mock: Round One

Jacob Feldman


That is the only word that I can think of that is appropriate to put into print to describe the impact of the NFL Draft on this year’s fantasy drafts. You expect to see some changes and you expect there to be a few surprises, but this year exceeded everyone’s expectations by leaps and bounds when it comes to unexpected circumstances arising from draft weekend. As I was watching the draft, I think I could almost hear the collective gasps and screams of frustration as player after player fell into bad situations while players that many had lower on the fantasy pecking order went to the prime spots.

No one expected Eddie Lacy to be the fourth running back off the board. What made it even worse is that he went to a pass first team AND is being joined by fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin. Tavon Austin going to the Rams wasn’t a surprise, but him being joined by college teammate Stedman Bailey shakes things up a bit. EJ Manuel being the first quarterback off the board to the Bills (instead of Ryan Nassib) was yet another twist. Everyone was drooling over New England adding a wide receiver, but they didn’t want it to be Aaron Dobson and/or Josh Boyce.

I could go on and on for quite some time, but let’s get down to business. In order to give you a little peek into the minds of our DLF writers, we bring you yet another mock draft, this one started just as the NFL draft was finishing up on Saturday. Keep in mind that we assumed PPR rules for our draft. The person making the pick was asked to give some comments on why they made the pick and then I added a few of my own thoughts as well.

If you want to take a look at previous mock drafts that we have done to get a sense of the risers and fallers, here you go:

Pre-combine: Round 1 and Round 2

Post-combine: Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3

Pre-draft: Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3

1.01  – Tavon Austin, WR STL

(Pre-Combine 2.01, Post Combine 1.04, Pre Draft 1.01)

Mark’s thoughts: Well, so much for Eddie Lacy being the consensus first pick. Due to poor landing spots for a lot of players, I feel the top pick is really a two horse race between Austin and Giovani Bernard. Austin is the most dynamic player in the draft and looking at what the Rams gave up to get him, it’s clear they view him as their best offensive play maker.

My thoughts: I completely agree with Mark when he said there are limited options at the first pick, but I feel like in a PPR league it has to be Austin. While I’m not quite ready to call up memories of the Greatest Show on Turf days for the Rams, I do think that they are putting together an offense that is full of potential. Austin will be the dynamic playmaker of that offense and should be a day one starter, even in two receiver sets.

1.02  – Giovani Bernard, RB CIN

(Pre-Combine 1.02, Post Combine 1.02, Pre Draft 1.03)

Jeff H’s thoughts:  Bernard isn’t your prototypical three down back, but he was drafted into a fine situation with only the single-dimensional and slowing BenJarvus Green-Ellis ahead of him on the depth chart. The Bengals were in dire need for a play making dynamic in the backfield and they get just that with the addition of Bernard. He runs tougher than his size would suggest, possesses a speed and agility dynamic not currently on the roster and should also be active in the passing game.

My thoughts: This was about as good of a spot as Bernard could have imagined. He won’t get the short yardage or goal-line work, but he should be able to take over just about everything else for the time being. If he can stay healthy, he should be a pretty solid RB2 in a PPR league. I still don’t think he is an elite talent, but a good talent in a great situation equals fantasy success.

1.03  – Montee Ball, RB DEN

(Pre-Combine 1.11, Post Combine 1.07, Pre Draft 2.04)

My thoughts: With how the NFL draft played out, I think 1.03 is the pick that offers the least amount of value, relatively speaking. There really isn’t any kind of significant difference in the values of this pick and any of the next five or six picks. You could make an argument for them to go in any order, so if I have the 1.03 I’m working super hard to trade back a few spots and then taking whoever falls to me. Unfortunately, trades aren’t an option in our mock draft so I had to make a choice.

I gave Justin Hunter some serious consideration here because I think he will be the lead receiver on his team within two years. I also thought about Cordarrelle Patterson, but then I remember who is throwing him the ball. I ended up going with Ball, whom all of you should know I’m pretty high on. He couldn’t have landed in a more perfect situation. With Peyton Manning running the offense and the wide receivers keeping defenses honest, I’m thinking Edgerrin James in the mid-2000’s type of ceiling for Ball with a very high floor. He isn’t fast, but he won’t need to be.

1.04  – DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU

(Pre-Combine 1.07, Post Combine 1.08, Pre Draft 1.06)

Jeff B’s thoughts: Hopkins is the second ranked player on my draft board, so I’m pretty happy with getting him here with the fourth pick. He moves very fluidly and runs sharp routes so I expect him to be one of only a handful of the players from this rookie class who starts week one. The instant production for my dynasty team (even if it’s only WR3 or WR4 level this season) will certainly be a relief. A veteran quarterback, an established offense and an all-star wide receiver starting opposite him are all positives for Hopkins as well.

My thoughts: With Hopkins going to Houston, I think he might have one of the highest floors for receivers in this draft not named Austin. Unfortunately, I also feel like his ceiling is rather low as well. He should start opposite Andre Johnson, but the second receiver slot for them hasn’t been a fantasy producer. It is behind Johnson, Owen Daniels and at least one (if not two) running backs. I also don’t view him as the long term successor to Johnson, but rather a compliment to whoever comes next. I could easily be wrong, though. Nonetheless, he is a pretty safe pick.

1.05  – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR MIN

(Pre-Combine 1.05, Post Combine 1.03, Pre Draft 1.04)

Tim’s thoughts: This was an easy pick for me. Getting someone in my top four at pick five is a huge plus. The combination of raw ability and situation makes Patterson one of the few elite rookie prospects. Patterson has what it takes to become the best player in this draft class, though it would be nice if he’d learn to run routes.

My thoughts:  I like Patterson’s upside and long term prospects. However, being a Viking isn’t an ideal situation in my eyes. I have major questions about Christian Ponder. He averaged 137 yards per game during an eight game stretch in the middle of last season. With Kyle Rudolph and Greg Jennings in the mix, that doesn’t leave much. If you’re taking Patterson, I think you need to be ready to wait a while for him to not only learn the position, but for the Vikings to find a new quarterback.

1.06  – Eddie Lacy, RB GB

(Pre-Combine 1.01, Post Combine 1.01, Pre Draft 1.02)

Ryan’s thoughts: The dynasty value of running back Eddie Lacy was a true roller coaster ride during draft weekend. He went from first running back and possibly the first fantasy rookie off the board to the NFL second round the fourth running back in the draft. While this was somewhat disheartening, his eventual landing spot, the Green Bay Packers, had owners doing backflips. This put him back in the mix for top overall pick in rookie drafts. That excitement lasted less than 24 hours when Jonathan Franklin joined him. While it is hard to predict how the Packers will use the duo, I am relying on my pre-draft evaluation of each player and am thrilled to get Lacy at the sixth pick.

My thoughts: The hits just keep coming for Lacy and not in a good way. Being drafted by the Packers is a good thing because of the scoring chances, but the fact that Johnathan Franklin is also there tells me that Lacy is the power part of a major committee. With the injury concerns that came out during the draft, I think Lacy’s upside is definitely limited. I can’t recommend looking at him with top picks anymore, but he’s worth a shot in the middle of the first round. Mikel Leshoure’s 2012 season is the ceiling for Lacy right now and the floor is backing up Franklin, which could easily happen.

1.07  – Keenan Allen, WR SD

(Pre-Combine 1.03, Post Combine 1.05, Pre Draft 1.05)

Andy’s thoughts: Allen is my fifth best player in this class so I was happy to get him here. Despite his knee injury concerns, the wide receiver is a special playmaker who could remind some Chargers fans of Vincent Jackson. He plays very physically for a wide receiver as he is not afraid of contact. I love the way he attacks the ball and runs like a half back with it.

My thoughts: Allen’s knee worries me, and I think it worried NFL teams as well since he wasn’t taken until the third round. If he can get back to 100%, he should easily become the top receiver on the Chargers. I don’t quite see the Vincent Jackson comparison because Allen doesn’t have the special size/speed combination that Jackson does, but he could definitely approach Stevie Johnson levels if he heals up.

1.08  – Justin Hunter, WR TEN

(Pre-Combine 1.10, Post Combine 1.06, Pre Draft 1.08)

Eric H’s thoughts: Le’veon Bell was a possibility, but he just screams Daniel Thomas to me. In other words, it is all situation and little talent. I’ve had Hunter as my top rookie receiver through the whole process. Though the Titans have questions at quarterback and a glut of pass catchers between Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright and newly signed Delanie Walker, it’s not a bad long-term situation. Britt could be gone as soon as 2014, and I don’t view Wright as a WR1. Jake Locker will either turn it around or be replaced soon. Though he needs to bulk up a bit, Hunter brings with him ideal height, speed and leaping ability, and when fully healthy, offers high upside.

My thoughts: I almost took Hunter with the third pick in the round, so I think this is great value here for Eric. While things are quite crowded, I don’t expect Walker to have a huge role in the passing game. I’ve also never been a fan of Britt. Hunter is probably going to see the field in three receiver sets at the start of the year and it wouldn’t surprise me if he started showing up in two receiver sets by the end of the season. His upside isn’t quite as high as Patterson, but I think it is close. He’s a great value in the middle of the first round.

1.09  – Le’Veon Bell, RB PIT

(Pre-Combine Undrafted, Post Combine 2.11, Pre Draft 2.08)

Ghost’s thoughts: Bell looks to get an immediate start in Pittsburgh and has a lot of talent which will allow him to move the ball successfully. With a possible decreased focus on the passing game with Wallace’s exit, he looks to be a steal to me at the ninth pick.

My thoughts: I really liked Bell heading into the draft, and I was one of a few who had him in their top seven running backs. When he landed in Pittsburgh, he vaulted into many people’s top three or better. Last year Doug Martin saw a similar spike after the draft and the year before it was Daniel Thomas. The question is if he’s more Martin or Thomas, and I’ll lean towards the former. This is a great pick in the late first. He could easily go top three in many rookie drafts.

1.10  – Markus Wheaton, WR PIT

(Pre-Combine 2.12, Post Combine 1.10, Pre Draft 2.07)

Ken M’s thoughts: Considered Lattimore for a long term high upside play at this spot, but in the end I went with the player who offered the best combination of talent, opportunity and surrounding cast. Wheaton is a terrific replacement for Mike Wallace and is nearly identical in skill set. He should be very productive.

My thoughts: Wheaton was a rock solid second round rookie pick prior to the draft. Landing in Pittsburgh was just about as good as he could have hoped for out of the draft. The Steelers throw the ball a fair amount, but their current receivers are rather unproven and either injury prone or better suited for other roles. The opportunity is there for Wheaton to muscle his way into the starting lineup as soon as this season and become a decent fantasy WR2/WR3 with upside higher than that in future years.

1.11  – Robert Woods, WR BUF

(Pre-Combine 1.12, Post Combine 2.02, Pre Draft 2.01)

Eric O’s thoughts: With the top of the draft going how I expected, I was left choosing between Woods, Tyler Eifert and Marcus Lattimore. I chose Woods because I like what the Bills are putting together and I think he has a clear path to playing time and production. Playing at USC, he was flat out dominant at times and playing with Stevie Johnson and Da’Rick Rogers, he has the potential to give the Bills their most explosive passing attack since the Eric Moulds era.

My thoughts: When I look at this NFL draft, I think that there is a chance that at least three skill position players taken earlier in the draft will get beat out by fellow rookies taken later at the same position. Woods is the first of those. I don’t see anything special about him, just like I don’t see anything overly special about Stevie Johnson. Woods isn’t overly explosive, isn’t big and just doesn’t stand out to me. He’s consistently gone in the late first or early second, so this is correct value, I’m just not a fan of Woods in general.

1.12  – Marcus Lattimore, RB SF

(Pre-Combine 1.08, Post Combine 2.05, Pre Draft 1.11)

Chad’s thoughts: This was an ideal landing spot for Lattimore and he will be a perfect selection at the end of the first round in rookie drafts. The 49ers won’t rush his rehabilitation and Frank Gore only has a few seasons left in him. With the uncertainty surrounding Kendall Hunter’s recovery from an Achilles tendon injury, Lattimore will be the running back to own in San Francisco by year’s end.

My thoughts: Lattimore going to the 49ers told me two things. He’s isn’t going to do much of anything until 2014 at the soonest, and he going to be a part of a committee if/when he does see the field. The 49ers showed us last year that they like to have a lot of different backs involved. They also have enough depth that Lattimore might spend the whole season on the PUP. If you’re willing to wait on him, a late first or early second seems just about right – just make sure that you’re patient and keep your expectations in check.

Stay tuned for the second and third rounds of picks in the next few days!

jacob feldman