Final Rookie Mock Draft: Round Three

Jacob Feldman

sudfeldThe NFL pre-season has begun and the games that matter are less than a month away! For those of you that haven’t had your rookie drafts quite yet they should be rapidly approaching. In order to help you get an up to date view on rookie values we conducted one last rookie-only mock draft with our writers.

This particular draft features three rounds and was conducted just as the first week of pre-season games were kicking off. That means that our writers weren’t privy to any news that has come out since the pre-season games. Things can happen quickly this time of year, but this should help give you a little extra information as you take your final steps towards planning your draft.

For this mock draft, we assumed it was a standard scoring PPR league with normal lineup requirements, meaning no IDP, super flex, or 2 quarterback leagues. Trades were not allowed. Draft order was randomly assigned and each drafter was asked to make a brief comment about why they made the pick they did. I’ll follow up each pick with some brief thoughts of my own. I’m not a draft expert, and like many of you, my rookie analysis is far from complete. I’m just sharing my thoughts so you get two opinions on each pick. In cases of disagreement, I’ll be the first to admit that I might be the one that is wrong.

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

Post draft: Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3

June Mock: Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3

3.01 – Da’Rick Rogers, WR BUF

(Post Draft 3.01, June 2.11)

Chad’s thoughts: I touched on Rogers briefly in my 32 for 32 article, but he has the most prototypical WR1 body on their current roster – only thing holding him back is his head.  He has all the tools you want in a receiver minus blazing speed.  He’s a big target with big, reliable hands.  He should flourish in Marrone’s offense once given the opportunity.  He’s already gotten leaps and bounds better at training camp than he was at OTAs according to Marrone.

My thoughts: Rogers is much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The good is that he is one of the most talented wide receivers in this year’s draft class. The bad is that he is one of if not the greatest risk in terms of questionable choices. The report out of camp is that he is on a no tolerance policy for any kind of infraction. So far he has mostly kept his nose clean (aside from taunting his own teammates), but there is still a lot of risk with this pick. With that said, this is about the right place to take a flyer on him given the talent level.

3.02 – Zach Ertz, TE PHI

(Post Draft 2.04, June 3.10)

Jeff B’s thoughts: Chip Kelly traded up in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft to get this guy for a reason.  Ertz is a former basketball player with fantastic speed and body control.  Kelly will utilize him all over the field to create mismatches, especially in the red zone where Ertz will line up wide and use his size to catch slants and jump balls on fade routes.  If he had been drafted by the Patriots, he’d be the #1 overall dynasty rookie pick.  I understand the hesitation by some owners due to the positional depth and uncertainty about the Eagles offense but this guy is the real deal and he has a brilliant future.

My thoughts: I think Jeff is exaggerating more than a bit when he says Ertz would be the top pick if he was a Patriot. Ertz is a decent pass catcher, but he isn’t a complete tight end. He also isn’t quite as athletic as some of the other pure pass catching tight ends around the league. With that said, I’m sure Kelly will find a way to use him. My only concern is that Kelly typically doesn’t pass the ball much and his tight ends in college never produced much. Even if Ertz wins the starting role, I’m not sure if he’ll produce enough to be a fantasy starter. There are a lot of question marks about his usage.

3.03 – Mike Gillislee, RB MIA

(Post Draft 3.07, June 2.12)

Chris’ thoughts: A very talented runner who has been consistently underrated in my eyes. The failure of Daniel Thomas to emerge has left an opening for a young Miami back to fill. Yes, Lamar Miller is the hot name in town and will undoubtedly be given the chance to run away with the job, but he is far from a proven player. Miller’s value and subsequent expectations are high, but there are still any number of things that could prevent him from maintaining that role, such as ball security issues or pass blocking insufficiencies. Reports are good out of camp, but until he proves it in game time, Gillislee has a dark horse shot.

My thoughts: I agree with Chris that Gillislee is a bit underrated. He is good at everything, but not great at anything. He could be a very consistent compliment to Miller and a potential committee partner if Miller shows that he can’t handle the full load. Of course an improved Thomas could also challenge for a committee role as well. There is a lot up in the air at this point in time, but given the unproven nature of all players in this backfield I like the flier on Gillislee.

3.04 – Kenny Stills, WR NO

(Post Draft Undrafted, June 3.02)

Brian’s thoughts: Stills is a solid wide receiver who has great speed to stretch a defense or can find the soft spot in the zone to make a catch. The injury to Joe Morgan leaves Stills battling with Nick Toon as the WR3. Stills has a game that mimics that of his teammate Lance Moore. Stills comes from a NFL pedigree and he is in an offense that gives him a great chance to produce fantasy points if given enough snaps.

My thoughts: The injury to Morgan really opened the door for Stills to see some action this year. If Morgan was healthy, I don’t think Stills sees the field very often. With the injury Stills is going to get the chance to blow the lid off of a few defenses. I think he’s going to be rather inconsistent though even if he wins the third receiver role. He might have a good game and then disappear for a few weeks. I’m not sure if he has the talent to be a top receiver, but given the age of the people ahead of him it is worth a shot.

3.05 – Zach Sudfeld, TE NE

(Post Draft Undrafted, June Undrafted)

Eric O’s thoughts: The other undrafted rookie in New England. Zach Sudfeld has stepped up in the absence of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez by reportedly catching everything thrown his way. With New England’s well documented ability to feature skilled tight ends and nobody in front of him but a sluggish Jake Ballard and nobody Daniel Fells, Sudfeld has the opportunity to carve out a role either alongside or behind Gronk when he returns. Like I said about Kenbrell Thompkins, when Tom Brady is involved you roll the dice. It’s really that simple.

My thoughts: Sudfeld is a very intriguing player to me. He has great size, good hands, and runs nice routes. More importantly, he seems to have earned the trust of Brady if the reports are true. That’s the good side of things. The downside is that like the previous tight ends of the Patriots, Sudfeld’s past is filled with a history of injuries. He’s a very hot name right now, but I’m not sure if he is a good long term investment. Between the injury history, questions about his role when Gronk comes back, and his issues as a blocker, it will be very interesting to see how he develops.

3.06 – Joseph Randle, RB DAL

(Post Draft 3.06, June 3.04)

Karl’s thoughts: Randle had a solid college career and looks the part of speedy NFL caliber running back. I am admittedly a DeMarco Murray fan, but even I can’t ignore his injury history. Should Murray go down for any lengthy period of time, Randle could steal the show in Dallas. I was also considering the upside that Jordan Reed has, but ultimately, I felt that Randle was a stellar value at this point in the draft.

My thoughts: I didn’t understand this pick by the Cowboys when they made it and I still don’t. To me, Randle is everything that Murray is, just not as talented. Murray has an increasing injury history and sometimes struggles in short yardage so they draft Randle whom has the same issues. Randle still seems to slight of build to be an effective NFL running back to me. It wouldn’t surprise me if Lance Dunbar ends up being Murray’s backup instead of Randle.

3.07 – Kenjon Barner, RB CAR

(Post draft Undrafted, June Undrafted)

Derek’s thoughts: This pick is pretty easy for me. Barner has impressed everyone in training camp and has quickly jumped into the backup running back role due to injuries. Camp reports show he has spent a lot of time working on his blocking skills which were much needed. From all accounts, he’s one of the hardest workers on the field and is expected to be involved in the offense. Next year, with DeAngelo Williams likely leaving, he should have a chance to get even more involved. While he doesn’t seem to have the build to be an every down back, I believe he’ll be extremely productive in a third down role and as a receiver out of the backfield. He and Aaron Mellette are my favorite late round rookie targets this year. Barner gets the nod because of the glowing camp reviews.

My thoughts: Barner has the speed and desire to be a nice backup, but I’m not sure he has the size and power to be much more than a change of pace or third down back. He needs to run with more decisiveness and doesn’t run between the tackles very well. Weighing in at around 190 pounds, I would worry about his durability in the NFL if asked to carry the ball a significant number of times. There is a chance he could partner with Jonathan Stewart next year if Williams leaves, but at this point I think he is more hype than potential.

3.08 – Vance McDonald, TE SF

(Post Draft Undrafted, June Undrafted)

Mark’s thoughts: Eric Hardter is a smart guy.  He’s been talking about how great this guy is for months now.  That’s enough for me, but just to make sure I watched him a bit in his first preseason game and read a lot of player evaluations about him.  I’m convinced he has a bright future with plenty of athleticism and good hands. Even if it takes a couple years, he will play an integral role for the 49ers and my fantasy teams.

My thoughts: McDonald is a big, strong, athletic tight end that would be getting drafted much higher if it wasn’t for Vernon Davis sitting above him on the depth chart. He has a lot of talent and with the injuries to the receivers on his team, he just might get his shot. Davis could be split out wide a lot, giving McDonald to take charge over the middle of the field. He just needs to show that he can handle the blocking and then he could surprise a lot of people even sooner than expected.

3.09 – Charles Johnson, WR GB

(Post Draft 3.12, June 3.03)

My thoughts: I’m not quite sure on Doug’s side of things with this pick since no comment was provided. Perhaps he was just completing the trifecta and making it three for three on getting the same players he drafted in June, but a full half round later. Johnson has the measurables and there is still some hype that is swirling around him, so I’m guessing that is what made Doug pick him.

Personally, I was expecting Johnson to slide out of this draft with the shine seeming to have worn off of him, but Doug snatched him up again. With both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb missing time in camp due to injuries, you would think it was the perfect time for Johnson to show what he can do. Unfortunately for Johnson, he’s been sidelined for weeks with a knee injury and has been unable to take advantage of the situation. I think this missed time will end up equaling a missed opportunity for the young rookie and late round picks don’t get too many opportunities.

3.10 – Josh Boyce, WR NE

(Post Draft Undrafted, June 3.08)

Eric H’s thoughts: I had Vance McDonald ticketed for this pick, but it looks like I just missed out on him. Boyce isn’t a bad consolation prize, as the New England receiving corps remains unsettled, but Boyce might just have the best physical skills of the bunch. It’s more than likely that the Pats will implement a “spread the wealth” type of offense, but if top two threats Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola can’t stay healthy, Boyce could see significant action. For a late third round pick, you could do much worse than a speedster in one of the league’s best offenses.

My thoughts: Boyce is the final of four Patriot pass catchers that was drafted by our writers. Boyce is battling the two other rookie wide receivers for the role of being Brady’s deep threat. While I agree with Eric that Brady will probably spread the ball around to at least six targets each game, whoever wins the job as the deep threat will have some sporadic value with the occasional 4/140/1 type of line. There doesn’t seem to be any clear leader at this point in time ,so you might as well take a lottery ticket with Boyce.

3.11 – Jordan Reed, TE WAS

(Post Draft 3.09, June 3.01)

My thoughts: Not only is Reed a rookie, but he is also a tight end. That means a double dose of patience is going to be required by anyone drafting him. The fact that Fred Davis is back and almost healthy while Reed has missed most of camp with an injury means it might even be a triple dose of patience for those that are drafting him.

You might be wondering why I would take him with all of that working against him. Well, Reed is one of the most complete tight ends in this year’s class. He catches the ball very well and runs almost like a running back when the ball is in his hands. He is also a decent blocker with the size and skill set to develop into a three down tight end. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Reed ends up being the starting tight end for the Redskins as soon as 2014.

3.12 – Marquess Wilson, WR CHI

(Post Draft Undrafted, June Undrafted)

Scott’s thoughts: Wilson has good size, talent and could be sneaky productive as a WR3 in the Trestman offense. Plus, Alshon Jeffery has injury issues and Brandon Marshall has bad hips. Marshall owners should definitely grab Wilson, but I’m taking him regardless in all drafts. He also finished second at the NFL combine in the 3 cone drill, so the big fella has surprising agility and quickness.

My thoughts: I like Wilson, and I was glad to see that Scott picked him up. I agree with pretty much everything that he said. I question Jeffery’s ability to stay healthy and there really isn’t a whole lot of other options on the roster. Wilson has early round talent and only slid do to some issues with his coach in college. He has speed, agility, and nice hands. He just needs to work on his focus, concentration, and mature a bit. Adding a little bit of strength would be nice as well. He’s a nice flier late in the third round.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our mock drafts. We will be back after the Super Bowl with more rookie mocks to give you a look at the 2014 draft class. Good luck with your season!

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Jacob who did an amazing job this off-season organizing and reviewing all our rookie mock drafts, exclusively for our Premium Subscribers.

jacob feldman