Rookie Mock Draft – Round Three

Jacob Feldman

cooksThe college bowl season is complete, Florida State has broken the SEC’s reign for at least one year, and top college players across the country have turned their gaze towards the NFL’s draft process. Fantasy owners are going through a similar process with fantasy football leagues entering the offseason and we all turn our collective gaze towards the same process and the fresh new rookies who are participating in it.

This mock draft kicks off a full season of staff rookie mock drafts just for our premium subscribers! This is the first of eight three round mock drafts we as a staff will provide for you. We will have mock drafts staggered throughout the offseason with rookie only mock drafts prior to the combine, just after the combine, prior to the draft, just after the draft, June, July and August. In addition to all of those, we will also toss in a few rookie only mock drafts with some alternate setups for those of you who play in leagues outside of the PPR leagues that are now the norm.

Here is a quick refresher on the guidelines given to our drafters before each mock begins:

1)      Standard PPR scoring with normal lineup requirements
2)      Draft order is randomly generated and no trades are allowed
3)      Draft the best player available without any consideration for team need

Once the mock is complete, each drafter was asked to provide some comments about the player they drafted. In order to provide a second perspective on each selection, I will also provide some comments on each of the choices. I’ll be the first to admit that we, and especially me, will get a few of these players wrong. This is especially true at this point in the year when the vast majority of us are just beginning our 2014 rookie evaluations.

The players in this mock, especially in the third round, are players that have caught our eye early in the process. There will be many changes as time goes on, both players shooting up and falling off our draft boards. A perfect example from last year is Le’Veon Bell. He wasn’t drafted in the first of our initial mock draft last year but was a top four pick in our later mock drafts.

We continue with a look at the third and final round of the mock draft. This is where you’re going to see a lot of our favorite high upside players. The majority of these players could easily go undrafted in fantasy leagues by the time drafts actually roll around, but at the current time we like the potential in this group.

3.01Brandin Cooks, WR Oregon St.

Andy’s thoughts: I have Cooks in my top six wide receivers so getting him as the 3.01 pick was even more ridiculous than Hyde as the 2.01.  Sure he is a bit small for a starting NFL wide receiver at 5’ 10”, but he makes up with it with his quickness and fantastic hands.

My thoughts: Like Andy, I’m surprised Cooks was still available. My top three tiers at the wide receiver position have a total of five players. Cooks is in my fourth tier at this point in time with Kelvin Benjamin and Donta Moncrief. Considering that Benjamin went in the first, this is great value as Cooks shouldn’t be the eleventh receiver taken in drafts. His size could make the transition difficult but if players like Randall Cobb and Antonio Brown can do it, there isn’t any reason Cooks can’t be successful.

3.02Marion Grice, RB Arizona St.

Jeff H’s thoughts: A slow start and a notable finish defined Grice’s 2013 campaign, ultimately ending with a somewhat minor lower-leg injury.  In his last four games, he totaled no less than 94 yards per game while scoring four touchdowns including a 24/118/2 game against an underrated Oregon State team.  Additionally, he averaged 176 all-purpose yards over the balance of the season including 50 receptions and six touchdowns.  Grice is a multi-talented back with reliable hands and a good motor.  In an NFL that is deemphasizing carry-the-load backs, Grice is a name whose versatility will be tough to keep off the field.  It will be no surprise to me if Grice is the most production fantasy back three years from now.

My thoughts: Grice is a very versatile player that is above average at a lot of things but excels at very little. A lot of NFL teams would be happy to have him come in and help out on special teams and to be their backup running back, but I doubt he is going to get a fair shot at being a starter. The best case scenario for Grice would be as a change of pace back to a bigger running back.

3.03Isaiah Crowell, RB Alabama St.

Jeff B’s thoughts: Isaiah Crowell’s got a rap sheet a mile long and he might not even get selected in the NFL draft at all. However, he was a very highly recruited player coming out of high school and also very productive in his freshman year at the University of Georgia where he earned SEC Freshman of the Year. After being dismissed from the Georgia program, he seemed to have kept his nose clean in two seasons at Alabama State so there’s at least some hope that he learned his lesson. This pick was a total flier and could very well end up being a huge bust for me but there wasn’t anyone with as much upside as Crowell left on the draft board so I’m okay with taking the risk here.

My thoughts: As Jeff mentioned there are major off the field concerns with Crowell to the tune of two felony charges. Those are supposedly in the past at this point, but it is still going to make NFL teams hesitate quite a bit. In terms of his play, he wasn’t very involved in the passing game, but did dominate lesser competition on the ground, which you would expect. He has great size for the position and is someone to watch on draft day. There is a chance that he could go in the late rounds or undrafted due to off the field issues and very quickly rise up the depth charts like linebacker Vontaze Burfict a few years ago.

3.04Brandon Coleman, WR Rutgers

Brian’s thoughts: Coleman had a very disappointing season at Rutgers finishing with 33 catches, 484 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Not the kind of numbers you would want to see from a guy that you want producing for your fantasy teams. Coleman had a great 2012 season with 43 catches, 718 yards, and 10 touchdowns. The 6”6” 220 pounds, Coleman has the body of a top receiver, but is lacking in other areas. His straight line speed does not allow him to create separation and his lapses in concentration cause him to drop easy passes. Coleman has all the physical attributes to be a great NFL player, but he may be lacking many mental attributes that may keep him from being a star.

My thoughts: We see a few players like Coleman each and every year. Guys that are big and very athletic, but they don’t know how to play the position. Ramses Barden is a prime example from a few years ago while Tommy Streeter is a more recent example. The physical talent is there, but they struggle to learn how to be a wide receiver at the NFL level. I think Coleman is going to follow the same path, but if you’re going for upside you could do worse.

3.05Terrance West, RB Towson

My thoughts: Who? What college is that? I know those were the two questions most of you said when you saw this selection. Why haven’t you heard of him or his college? We are dropping down to the FCS ranks for this selection. Normally that isn’t a good choice. There hasn’t been a single starting running back to come out of the FCS schools in many years. There have been a few backups that have had moments to shine though such as Rashad Jennings.

Why would I waste a pick on West? He isn’t just another FCS running back, he is the most prolific FCS running back in a very long time. He put together 2519 yards and 41 touchdowns on the ground just during the 2013 season. That’s right, just one season not a career. Granted, the FCS isn’t nearly the level of competition of the FBS, but you need to take notice when someone dominates to that extreme. He has ideal size for the position and definitely has some skills. He’s a sleeper to watch through the draft process as he will likely be a late round pick in the NFL draft and in fantasy drafts. If we had four rounds in this mock, I would have waited until then to take him.

3.06De’Anthony Thomas, RB Oregon

Tim’s thoughts: Undersized, super-fast RB. If he was larger, he’d be a much earlier pick. We’re throwing darts at this point in an early mock, so I went with the player I believe has the highest upside left on the board.

My thoughts: Like his former teammate, LaMichael James, Thomas was a very good college player that doesn’t fit in the NFL. There just isn’t a role for Thomas on most NFL teams. If he’s lucky, he’ll end up on a team that will use him like the Saints use Darren Sproles, but I feel it is more likely he will be stuck as a tweener like Dexter McCluster and never truly be fantasy relevant. He has a lot of name recognition though and there is some upside in the right system, but I’m going to stay away from him unless he ends up on a team that has shown some offensive creativity in the past.

3.07Jarvis Landry, WR LSU

Ryan’s thoughts: It seems that every scout and dynasty owners felt the need to choose between the two talented LSU wide receivers- Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham. While most side with Beckham, that should not be a knock on Landry, who led the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Landry has excelled on catching passes over the middle and is known for his large hands, making it a breeze to make tough catches in tight coverage. With the deep wide receiver class, Landry and a few others will fly under the radar, but will make those late round rookie picks more valuable than normal.

My thoughts: The whole Landry/Beckham debate reminds me a lot of the Tavon Austin/Stedman Bailey debate last year. In this case, Landry fills the role of Bailey in that he was the more productive college receiver and is a little bit bigger, but lacks some of the explosiveness of his teammate.  Over all, I think the LSU receivers are a step down from the West Virginia pair from last year, but Landry could see some playing time on the right NFL team.

3.08Andre Williams, RB Boston College

Ghost’s thoughts: By this point in most drafts you’re picking up guys who are either falling into good situations or have a decent amount of upside. Admittedly Williams isn’t a back that will be a team’s only option at running back. A lot about him reminds me of LeGarrette Blount, he’s a powerful rusher who doesn’t shy away from contact but he’s fairly one dimensional in that he isn’t a huge threat to catch passes out of the backfield. However, similar running backs have made decent careers for themselves in the NFL and given the right opportunity Williams could do the same.

My thoughts: The Doak Walker Award winner for 2013, Williams was a definite surprise this year. He has great size for a running back at 6’0” and 225 pounds, and carried the ball at least 23 times in every game this season except for two. He had some minor durability issues in the past few years, but he has the look of a player that can be a very solid part of a committee. He would make a very interesting player to pair up with a smaller speed back like Giovanni Bernard or David Wilson.

3.09Derek Carr, QB Fresno St.

Mark’s thoughts: I’ll be honest, I’m not terribly familiar with Carr. Outside of his poor performances against USC, I didn’t watch him this season.  Instead, I’m going off Mock Drafts and what I’ve read from the NFL draft crowd on twitter.  A projected first round pick in a year where a handful of teams will be looking at quarterbacks makes me optimistic that he’ll at least get a shot at starting and have a long leash.  The draftniks are impressed with his arm talents with some suggesting he has the best raw arm talent in the draft.  On the downside, his pocket presence has come under fire and that’s what I noticed most when watching him the few chances I got.  At 3.09, it seems like a reasonable chance to take.

My thoughts: I’m honestly not sure how good Carr really is. He has the arm strength and touch of guys like Matthew Stafford and Jay Cutler, but he also has terrible throwing mechanics at times and makes a lot of mental mistakes just like they do. It is tough to tell if these are issues that can be coached out of Carr or not, but he has a lot of things to refine if he is going to be a fantasy relevant quarterback. He’s nice value in the late third round though.

3.10Richard Rodgers, TE California

Karl’s thoughts: Rodgers isn’t considered in the top tier of tight end prospects entering the NFL draft this year, but maybe he should be. The California product suffered through a couple of bad seasons recently in college, but was among the team leaders in receptions and yards this year. He is very athletic, and there is plenty of demand in the NFL for the next great tight end.

My thoughts: It is really difficult to tell how good Rodgers actually is because his team was terrible. He has the size and raw physical tools to fit into the athletic tight end mold that the NFL is moving towards, but 39 receptions for 608 yards and 1 touchdown doesn’t do much for me. He belongs in the second tier of tight ends after the big three, but I think the gap between the two groups is extremely large. Rodgers is likely a multiyear project at the tight end position so make sure you’re willing to wait on him.

3.11James Wilder Jr, RB Florida St.

Dan’s thoughts: I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about Wilder, other than what I saw from the limited action he got in the final two games he played at Florida State.  He had to deal with nagging injuries as the season progressed but he finished the year with 81carries for 563 yards (7 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns as a junior.  He’s also had his fair share of run-ins with the law, being arrested at least three times since getting to Florida State.  He should be able to carve out a role as a goal line back at the very least, which is worth taking a shot on at the end of round three.

My thoughts: I have a feeling the off the field legal troubles will make Wilder drop into the last rounds of the NFL draft if not all the way out of the draft. He has great size for the position but is pretty much a straight ahead runner. There isn’t a whole lot of shake to his game, but he would be a great fit as a goal-line and short yardage back if he can keep his nose clean. Given his history, that is a pretty big if.

3.12Troy Niklas, TE Notre Dame

Scott’s thoughts: Size doesn’t matter with Niklas. His nickname is Hercules, and that’s easy to see, given he is 6 feet 7 inches and 270 pounds. Hands aren’t the greatest, but he is a converted linebacker, after all. I expected more from him as a blocker. Still, he is a project, with a ton of potential. He did take a 66 yard bomb against Temple for a touchdown, left two tacklers on the ground, then sped away from two defensive backs en route to the end zone. I’ll take the massive upside in round 3.

My thoughts: The mammoth tight end probably should have stayed in college for another year to learn a bit more about playing tight end. As it stands right now, he’s a project at the position, but he still fits into that second tight end tier with Rodgers. I think he’s likely to be a blocker and red zone threat in the NFL, much like Joseph Fauria was this last year. However, Niklas has more athletic ability than Fauria and could actually become a full time tight end in a few years.


This is it for our first rookie mock draft of 2014. We will be back with our second mock draft in the days leading up to the combine. The draft order and the players will definitely change over the next few weeks as our player evaluations really kick into high gear. Some of the names on this list will shoot up the draft board or fall way down, and there will definitely be some new names added to the list as well.

Who are the players you are surprised we didn’t pick?

jacob feldman