Final Pre-Draft Rookie Mock: Round Three

Jacob Feldman


With the amount of time until the NFL Draft kicks off now a matter of hours instead of weeks you can feel the excitement in the air anytime you talk with a football fan. That excitement is multiplied many times over if the fan happens to be an avid dynasty player like all of you. There are few times more exciting! A lot has happened since the combine back in February. There have been pro days, news reports, further evaluation and, of course, the hype train.

In order to help give you an idea of what all of this has done, I’m back with 11 other writers to bring you another mock draft. This is not meant to be a rookie ADP (Scott Fish has that covered for you) but rather a more detailed look at how our knowledgeable writers view each and every one of the picks. At this point the only piece of the puzzle remaining is the all-important landing spot for all of these players. Some will undoubtedly shoot up draft boards while others will tumble down. Here is one last look without that last piece of the puzzle. Keep in mind, we all have our favorites who we like more than most right now, so there will be some disagreement on where a player should have gone, but that is part of the fun!

If you’re unfamiliar with how our mock drafts work, here is the quick rundown. Our rules for the mock draft are as follows:

  • Standard PPR scoring with normal lineup requirements
  • Draft order is randomly generated and no trades are allowed
  • Draft the best player available without any consideration for team need or previous players drafted

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. From time to time we will disagree on a player, and that’s perfectly okay. There is no group think here at DLF and sometimes we get widely different opinions on players. I’ll be the first to admit that we, and especially me, will get a few of these players wrong, especially at this early stage in the process.

In case you missed them, here are the previous rounds: First and Second

As is customary with the third round, it is time for everyone’s favorite fliers. Like most of our mocks, the third round is dominated by wide receivers with a sprinkling of running backs. We continue to have just two quarterbacks drafted and just one tight end in our three round mocks. That could change after the NFL draft, but I think taking a flier on one of the high upside rushers or receivers is a much better choice. Let’s take a look at how it all shook out.

3.01 – Matt Jones, RB Florida

Ghost’s thoughts: Matt Jones is one of my favorite prospects in this draft class. First, he is a strong and tough runner who shows no fear of contact. Second, he has superb balance and won’t go down just from a single hit. Jones must be wrapped up in order to for a defender to make the tackle. Finally, one of my favorite things about him is just how good of a pass blocker he is.

My thoughts: The more I look into Jones, the more I like him. He is a big, bruising running back who likes to punish defenders. He runs over a lot of people and has the size to give punishment, not just take it. Of course part of the reason he runs over so many people is he has to do so. He doesn’t have a ton of wiggle and doesn’t make many defenders miss. He is also a bit on the slow side of the scale. I think he is most likely to form the power component of a committee. Like most running backs, his value will depend on his team.

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 3.02 – Phillip Dorsett, WR Miami

Scott’s thoughts: Man I hope Dorsett is available at 3.02 in rookie drafts. I love his explosiveness and pure speed. I think he could become a more refined version of DeSean Jackson. Dorsett stands a great chance of production that exceeds his rookie draft slot.

My thoughts: I strongly considered Dorsett at the end of the second round. He has some size concerns and does have the occasional issue with his hands, but he oozes speed. His 4.33 time in the 40 yard dash was slower than what most expected given what he does on the field. He is great when the ball is in the air, both at tracking it and positioning his body to make the catch while shielding defenders at the same time. His route tree is incomplete at this point in the process, but most college receivers with speed like this are a little shaky with their routes. He’s a great lottery ticket.

 3.03 – Jeremy Langford, RB Michigan State

Jeff’s thoughts: Langford has been a consistent selection for me in every rookie mock draft thus far in 2015 and every time early in the third round.  In two years as a starter for the Michigan State Spartans, Langford amassed nearly 3,000 rushing yards, 40 touchdowns and 39 receptions, including one additional touchdown.  He doesn’t possess the size that does fellow Spartan Le’Veon Bell, but displays good speed and has the body to add ten pounds.  With a 4.42 40 time and soft hands in the receiving game, Langford could be a notable sleeper in fantasy.  He’s got work to do in learning how to run through traffic in the NFL but as a third round fantasy selection, you’ll have a hard time finding more upside.

My thoughts: It isn’t often you find a running back with a complete skill set in the third round of rookie drafts, but I think that will be the case with Langford. He bounced around a little bit when it comes to his college position, playing a little cornerback and receiver in addition to running back, which shows off his athleticism. He is a little lean for his height if he is playing running back, and it shows as he often fails to power through tackles and tends to go down on first contact much too often. If he can add some muscle and some power, he could be a complete back. Definitely worth the gamble in the third.

3.04 – Rashad Greene, WR Florida State

Doug’s thoughts: I absolutely love Greene. He’s the all-time receptions leader at Florida State. I’m not a college numbers guy, but that is an impressive line on your resume. He runs good routes, has excellent hands and played in a pro-style system. He can step in as a Day 1 WR2 for a team and be an instant contributor. His value only goes up in PPR formats.

My thoughts: Greene was the last player I considered with my pick in the late second. While he might not wow a lot of people with impressive measurable or highlight reel catches, Greene is going to be the quarterback’s best friend. He runs nice routes, has nearly flawless instincts and gets the job done. He isn’t going to be a big play guy, but he has the skills to be a Julian Edelman type of player. I would like to see Greene add a little bit of muscle though, because he can get pushed around from time to time by physical corners.

 3.05 – Josh Robinson, RB Mississippi State

Nathan’s thoughts: Hard-nosed runner, he seems like a guy I’m getting in the 3rd of a lot of these mocks. Very solid player this late in the draft, I just hope a good landing spot doesn’t skyrocket his ADP.

My thoughts: I don’t think Nathan has much to worry about in terms of Robinson’s ADP skyrocketing, because I just don’t see a whole lot to like about Robinson. He’s not very athletic, seems to have poor vision and just gets what is blocked. He does have decent hands, can power through tackles and has the size you need at the next level. I just don’t see him being anything more than a short yardage/goal-line guy at the next level where they hand him the ball and tell him to run straight ahead.

3.06 – Chris Conley, WR Georgia

Brian’s thoughts: I like looking for players with a ton of upside in the third round and I think Conley is just that. He is a raw route runner but has the physical attributes to win in the NFL. He was top 5 at the combine in 40 yard dash (3rd), bench press (4th), Vertical jump (1st), and broad jump (1st) among all wide receivers. He wasn’t heavily utilized in the Georgia run-heavy offense. I look forward to his landing spot and hopefully he develops in the NFL.

My thoughts: I’m not going to get into discussing Conley a whole lot here because I’ve already done it several times. If you want to read an expanded version, check out this article and find his name. Conley is without a doubt one of the highest upside players in this draft. His physical tools are definitely elite and in the same category as some of the best in the game. If he can make it translate to the field he could be a stud. How early he goes in the NFL draft will help shed some light on how likely NFL teams think he will translate.

3.07 – Tre McBride, WR William & Mary

Dan’s thoughts: McBride is an interesting prospect. Although he registered a nice 40-time at the combine (4.41) he doesn’t play nearly as fast with the pads on. He does have impressive ball skills however. Always timing jumps perfectly to catch the ball at its highest point, McBride has big time red zone potential on Sundays. That along with his impressive hands make him an excellent lottery ticket in the third round with the potential to move into the second round if he ends up in an offense that will need him to play early on.

My thoughts: One of the best small school prospects in this year’s draft, McBride is going to deal with the age old question of how much does the level of competition matter? I wouldn’t say he dominated at William and Mary, but he was productive for many years. He also flashed exceptional skills at times while other times he struggled to separate from the defenders, largely due to sloppy route running. He isn’t one of my favorite fliers because I’m not sure if I see massive upside with him, but he’s a solid pick.

3.08 – DeAndre Smelter, WR Georgia Tech

Eric’s thoughts: It’s the late middle of the third round, why not shoot for the moon? He’s a big guy with good enough speed who will likely be facing a reasonable NFL learning curve. But upside is the name of the game at this point, and there’s an argument to be made Smelter would be going higher if not for a torn ACL – simply put, why not?

My thoughts: If you have been around college football and dynasty leagues for a while, all I need to say about Smelter is he is a Georgia Tech wide receiver. The mold for Georgia Tech receivers are bigger players with a lot of athleticism. They are very raw route runners because of the Georgia Tech system, but the potential is always there. Of course the best have been really, really good (Calvin Johnson) but there have also been a fair number of busts (Stephen Hill). Smelter is a little bit smaller than those guys and the ACL injury is going to hurt his stock, but he definitely has potential if he can get healthy. Nice upside pick.

3.09 – Tyler Lockett, WR Kansas State

Eric’s thoughts: I’ll say this right now, if Tyler Lockett is drafted by the New England Patriots you will not get him outside of the top 15 dynasty picks. He’s small, yes, but he’s smart and so fast on game days. He might start his career being a special teams return guy who is only sprinkled into the offensive game plan but he is compared favorably to Antonio Brown in the ORANGE Report and that’s pretty high praise. At this point in the draft, there is nobody with the massive upside Lockett possesses.

My thoughts: I just wrote about Lockett not long ago in my wide receiver analysis pieces. He’s tiny by wide receiver measurements including short arms and small hands. Outside of size, it is tough to find a flaw. He’s lightning quick, has very good straight line speed, solid hands, his effort and work ethic are both top notch, and he runs crisp routes. If we put him into a 6’2”, 220 pound body we would definitely be talking about a first round pick in the NFL draft. The issue is going to be his role in the NFL. I think he’s most likely to be a return specialist, but if he lands on the right team he could see some quality time on offense as well.

3.10 – Kenny Bell, WR Nebraska

My thoughts: All of my favorite sleepers vanished in the last few picks, which left me searching for someone I felt had some decent upside. After all, upside should be what the third round of your fantasy drafts are all about! Bell was someone I took notice of at the NFL combine. He showed surprising athleticism, turning in one of the best combines in this draft class while measuring 6’1” tall. Not only were his drills impressive, but I liked what I saw from him during the gauntlet and other on the field drills as well.

Unfortunately, Bell is much too lean for his height. He’s going to get pushed around a lot in the NFL unless he can bulk up and get a little bit more powerful. He also needs a fair amount of work on his routes. In the NFL, he won’t be faster and quicker than all of the defenders he faces, so he’ll need something else to help him create separation. If he can get the separation, he has the hands and athletic ability to be a great second target on an NFL team and a solid WR3 on your fantasy squad.

3.11 – Karlos Williams, RB Florida State

Jeff’s thoughts: Williams is my favorite late-round Hail Mary in this year’s class. He has exceptional speed for his size (4.48 40 at 6’1″, 230 lbs), is a fluid runner, and has the power you’d expect for a man of his girth. Despite coming to FSU as a safety, Williams also shows solid pass game chops with good hands and the willingness to be physical as a pass blocker. On talent alone, Williams could be a first round pick. But (and there is always a but at the 3.11), there are some major, glaring, significant issues. We saw a precipitous drop in production from 2013 to 2014. I won’t pretend to know why it happened, but it is an obvious concern. Speaking of concerns, Williams was charged with domestic battery (charges were dropped at the request of the alleged victim) and was investigated for his involvement in a drug deal gone wrong. At this point in the draft, I’ll take my chances. If things break good, Williams will end up the steal of the draft (NFL and fantasy).

My thoughts: It is the third round of our mock draft, and I suppose it is time for me to agree with Mr. Miller. Even with the off the field issues, if the Karlos Williams of 2013 showed up once again in 2014, we would be talking about him as a first round selection in rookie drafts. 2014 showed a lot of issues though. Not only were there more off the field concerns but he seems to lack the drive and determination he showed earlier in his college career. As I’ve mentioned a few times in these mocks, a lack of heart and motivation is a major red flag for me. There are an awful lot of talented players in the draft each year. The ones who make it are the ones who want it more than everyone else. With that said, at the 3.11 pick, it is worth the risk.

3.12 – Justin Hardy, WR East Carolina

George’s thoughts: There is little that is sexy about Hardy’s game. He is a sure-handed receiver with a 70%+ catch rate in both 2013 and 2014 despite over 150 targets each season. He saved his best games for elite opposition (11 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown against Florida in their bowl game). I also like players that have an elite physical skill and Hardy’s 6.63 three cone drill indicates a player who can change directions on a dime. Flags of the crimson variety have been raised over his 4.56 40-yard dash and an overall lack of game changing explosiveness. Hardy will never be a superstar but an aggressive and determined player like him always manages to outperform his position. Don’t be surprised if a team utilizes him as a safety valve, becoming a nice PPR option.

My thoughts: When I saw Hardy at the NFL Combine, I was very impressed with how polished he seemed. When I went back to watch him play, I saw the same polish. He is a great route runner, very focused, very rarely makes any kind of mistake and is a very high effort guy. My concern for him is he’s refined just about everything he can refine already. What is holding him back are the physical traits. He’s a smaller receiver, and he lacks speed. This is normally not a good combination. He profiles as a possession receiver out of the slot, but I’m not sure how much upside there is with him. His athleticism and his role will both limit his ceiling. None the less, a player with his drive is likely to at least see the field for his NFL team.

The last round of our mock is now in the books and the NFL draft is finally here! Our coverage and analysis is just beginning though! There will be many more closer looks, mock drafts, and analysis once we know all of the teams the 2015 rookies will be playing for next season. Our next mock draft will actually be held on Saturday, with the instant results posted on Twitter and a brief analysis appearing shortly after. That way all of you who start your drafts on Monday get one last look from us. Enjoy the draft – it only comes once a year!


jacob feldman