Summer has officially arrived and the NFL has entered into the closest thing it actually has to an off-season. We have now entered the six week “break” between OTAs and the start of training camp when teams and players aren’t allowed to have any formal contact. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean we are taking a break from what we do. Instead, we are back with another rookie mock draft. If you have already completed your rookie mock drafts, use it to help you evaluate your trade offers. If your draft is still approaching over the next few months, I hope it will help you prepare for your summer draft.
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. It happens to all of us.
Rounds two and three will be appearing in later articles, but here is round one. The top five picks seem to be mostly locked in at this point as far as the names go, but the order is up in the air. The tail end of round one is quite a different story.
Let’s take a look!
1.01 – Kevin White, WR CHI
Zach’s thoughts: First, I want to mention this is not an attempt to be contrarian. I think there are four players who should be considered with the first pick: White, Todd Gurley, DeVante Parker and Amari Cooper. I just find White has the highest ceiling combined with a floor which, while lower than Cooper’s and Gurley’s, isn’t too low to drop him in my rankings. With the top pick in the draft, I want a player who could be an elite player at his position, not someone who I fear may already be a nearly finished product. There are several reasons why White is the top prospect for me. He has exceptional big play ability, the size/speed combination of a true number one NFL receiver, great hands, a more developed route tree than most incoming rookies and he isn’t even anywhere close to a finished product. In two years, I think people taking anyone but White at the top pick will be kicking themselves.
My thoughts: While Gurley is going to be the first pick in a majority of rookie drafts, there is a case to be made for multiple players as Zach mentioned. It ultimately comes down to style of play. Zach went with White because he feels the upside is the highest. Personally, if I’m picking first overall because I “earned” the pick, I think the best course of action is to make sure you don’t swing and miss on the pick. If your team is really the worst in the league, you need to hit on this pick. In that case, I would have gone Cooper. While I sure hope White doesn’t bust, especially since he’s playing for my Bears, I think he is much riskier than the rest of the top players in this draft.
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1.02 – Amari Cooper, WR OAK
Ken’s thoughts: Two players top my rookie board (Cooper and Gurley), so picking in the 1.02 spot is perhaps the easiest pick in the draft. Cooper is my 1.01, so I’m happy to grab him here. We’re all pretty familiar with Cooper’s skill set by now so I don’t need to recap it too much. Of all the receivers in this class, I believe he has the best chance to be a top 15 option for years to come.
My thoughts: Of all the players in this draft class, I think Cooper has the highest floor, by far. Even playing for the Raiders, I think he’s pretty much a lock to be in the WR1 discussion as soon as next year. I don’t think Cooper will ever be an elite top five receiver, but I think he’ll be very close to that group. Absolutely nothing wrong with getting a top 10-15 receiver for the next decade! Like Ken, he’s my top player in this draft class.
1.03 – Todd Gurley, RB STL
Jarrett’s thoughts: I was fairly surprised to get Gurley here (my 1.02 and end of my first tier with Cooper). I had White pre-drafted as my 1.03, so I won’t quarrel too much with Zach. I like a lot of the rookies just fine, but Gurley and Cooper are the only ones I feel comfortable saying have elite upside.
My thoughts: You aren’t going to see Gurley available at the 1.03 slot in very many rookie drafts this summer. My guess is he’s in the top two slots on the vast majority of boards with Cooper in the other position. Personally, I’m not quite as convinced as everyone else about Gurley being an elite rusher for the next decade. I think he’ll be very good starter for years to come, I just don’t see him as a once in a decade talent at the position. His ADP in startups is way too high for my liking. With all of that said, I definitely still think he belongs in the first few picks of every rookie draft this summer.
1.04 – DeVante Parker, WR MIA
Eric O’s thoughts: Choosing between Melvin Gordon and DeVante Parker was tough. I decided on Parker due to longevity of wide receivers and the fact I’m not 100% sold on Gordon being an elite player. Parker has everything you want in an NFL wide receiver, he’s 6’3″ and 210 pounds with vise grips for hands. Patience will be key with Parker due to reoccurring foot issues and the fact he recently underwent surgery to replace a screw in his foot.
My thoughts: There are a lot of question marks starting to pop up around Parker thanks to his foot injury. It is the foot he broke this past year and he didn’t quite look the same after getting it fixed. The recent surgery was a “clean up” procedure much like the one Julio Jones has a few years ago. The issue is that Parker has a bit of work to do on his route tree and he’s going to miss all of the summer. I still expect him to start this year, but I think it is going to be a slower start to the season than many had hoped. By the end of the season he should be producing. I personally have him locked into my fifth slot, just slightly behind White.
1.05 – Melvin Gordon, RB SD
Jeff B’s thoughts: I would have been fine with any of the top 5 guys here. I have Gordon ranked 5th of the 5 but it’s a pretty distinct drop off after this point so I’m happy with him. The only thing that is kind of concerning with Gordon is the expectation of talented rookie running backs drafted into a perfect “situation” where they’ll start as the RB1 from Day One. Montee Ball and Bishop Sankey were huge let-downs last year and while Gordon is more talented than either of those guys, I’m not expecting him to light the world on fire right away.
My thoughts: I think the fifth pick in the first round is by far the easiest pick to make in this draft. You just take whoever is left and don’t complain because there is a pretty significant drop from pick five to pick six this year. The problem is that pretty much everyone knows there is a major drop, so trying to trade up from later in the first into the top five gets pretty expensive. As for Gordon, I’m a big fan. Getting him at five would make my day. I think his talent is a lot closer to Gurley’s than most other people feel, and I think the situation is better. It is going to be a lot of fun to see him play for the Chargers.
1.06 – Nelson Agholor, WR PHI
Breeze’s thoughts: 1.06 is the toughest spot for me. There are 5 justifiable guys I could take here. If this was a real draft I would have traded down but if stuck here I’ll go with Agholor. He is a crisp route running with draft pedigree and in an offense that puts up fantasy points. I see him being a very nice WR3 in PPR with strong WR2 potential in the very near future. I like him more than Jordan Matthews.
My thoughts: If the fifth pick is the easiest one in the first round then the sixth pick is by far the most difficult. I agree that this is a pick I try to trade if possible. Maybe there will be someone picking in the late first who is in love with a certain player and is willing to give a few extra picks to move up. If I had to pick, I would go with Agholor as well. I think he’s the best USC receiver of this decade, and he’s going to be a nice high floor option for the Eagles. I think the ceiling is a little bit low, but I’m pretty happy if I get a WR2 in the middle of the first.
1.07 – TJ Yeldon, RB JAC
Jeff M’s thoughts: If you have been paying any attention the last three months, you know T.J. Yeldon is my boo, my bae, my soulmate. It seems others have caught on as well, as his ADP has steadily risen from 67, to 56, to 49 from April to June. Not only do I consider him to be the third most talented back in the draft, but he is likely to be neck-in-neck with Gordon to lead rookies in touches. What’s not to love? All that said, I would be totally comfortable taking Perriman or Green-Beckham here if my roster dictated such a move.
My thoughts: Jeff and I have gone back and forth a little bit this offseason about who should be the third running back off the board. He’s a Yeldon guy and as you can see by the next pick I’m a fan of Coleman. One thing I will admit is Yeldon definitely has the clear path to touches. After all, he’s going to be “competing” with the likes of Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson. I can’t even imagine how bad Yeldon would need to be to lose the starting job to one of them. From a talent perspective, I just see Yeldon as being a slightly above average NFL starter. He’ll be a solid RB2 thanks in part due to volume, but I don’t see a foundation running back.
1.08 – Tevin Coleman, RB ATL
My thoughts: As I just mentioned, I think Coleman is the third running back in this draft class. The main reason I have him ahead of Yeldon is there were times watching Coleman when I sat back and said “Wow”. To me, pretty much every true RB1 in the NFL has that quality to them. They might have holes in their game, but there are times they do something special on the field. Coleman has that quality to his game. There are times when he will turn nothing into a 50 yard touchdown. Not everyone can do that. Then of course there is the little fact that he had more rushing yards than his entire team had passing. Being able to do that when defenses know he is literally the only weapon is extremely impressive.
There are holes in his game though. Coleman needs to add a little bit of weight to help handle the punishment of being a top running back in the NFL. The added muscle would also help him when it comes to running between the tackles which is one of Coleman’s weaknesses. His game revolves quite a bit around his speed, which is exceptional, but he needs to be able to move the pile if he’s going to be a complete back. Then there is the issue of competition. Of the first and second tier running backs in this draft Coleman faces the toughest challenge, but I think he’ll pass with flying colors.
1.09 – Breshad Perriman, WR BAL
Eric B’s thoughts: This was between Perriman and Abdullah at this spot. I ended up siding with Perriman. Most of the dynasty community has brought up concerns with his history of drops but when I went to his college tape, I wasn’t actually that concerned with his drops. He had one of the worst quarterbacks I’ve ever seen at UCF last year and had a ton of terribly thrown passes which were uncatchable or borderline so. That really contributed to his college catch-rate and it’s not getting enough recognition. I like the draft spot and like him as a productive asset with high-end WR2 upside both immediately and in the long term.
My thoughts: We are still in the range of players who could go at 1.06, but I think we are starting to get to the players with a little more risk involved. They also happen to have a little bit higher ceiling. Perriman could turn into a true top receiver for the Ravens and might sneak into WR1 range in fantasy. I’m not sure either of those are true for someone like Agholor. However, there are a lot of holes in Perriman’s game. From his route running to catching the ball, there are concerns about what Perriman can do. He could be the next Stephen Hill or he could become so much more. Definitely worth the risk in the late first.
1.10 – Dorial Green-Beckham, WR TEN
Doug’s thoughts: I was thrilled to find DGB waiting for me at the No. 10 spot. I consider him a Top 5 talent and pairing him with Marcus Mariota I think only helps enhance each player’s value. Green-Beckham is a tall receiver with good speed and a checkered past. I think landing in Tennessee will be good for him, as opposed to a New York/Chicago/Dallas where there is much more nightlife and opportunities to leave the straight and narrow. He should begin the season as a starter and if he can keep his focus on football, generate a very good rookie season.
My thoughts: If you are a gambler, then Green-Beckham is probably on your radar. There are some who have said he would be the top receiver in this draft class if it wasn’t for the off the field issues. I don’t agree with that, but he does have talent. I think there are work ethic issues, toughness issues, and holes in his game to go with the off the field issues. With that said, on the field there are times when he dominates. Landing on the same team as ultra-driven, super high character Mariota is a definite plus. I just wish the Titans had a veteran receiver to help him along as well. If he can grow up and stay out of trouble, he could be the top receiver for Mariota for years to come. He could also be out of the league in a year or two. Are you willing to roll the dice?
1.11 – Ameer Abdullah, RB DET
Rob’s thoughts: I plugged in my Pre-Draft Selection list without expecting much. Toiling at 1.11, I resigned myself to landing someone at the back-end of one of my player tiers; someone who would draw only a silent nod as opposed to exuberance when he joined my roster. Instead, I landed Ameer Abdullah, whose hype I am buying as an excellent addition in the middle of the first round of rookie drafts. Even though he’s not the prototype at running back, I am not deterred. He’s physically dominant in all the right areas and adds incredible toughness to boot. Throw in an above-average situation and a team that heavily invested in its offensive line this off-season, and I am bullish on the former Husker becoming a major fantasy contributor.
My thoughts: I have Abdullah a fair amount behind Coleman and Yeldon in my running back rankings. The main reason being the role I see Abdullah filling on an NFL team. I think he is too small to be an early down rusher and his ability to pass block is rather suspect. This leaves him with a very limited role. If he can work on his pass blocking he might be able to be a committee running back for the Lions, but I think he has a long way to go. Yes, there are times when he was very impressive in college and his combine was great, but I think against bigger, stronger and faster defenders in the NFL he loses a lot of his advantages.
1.12 – Jay Ajayi, RB MIA
Eric D’s thoughts: I have 10 players making up two top tiers this year and unfortunately all 10 were taken by my pick at 1.12 (plus Coleman). I think Ajayi is a longer term play, as Lamar Miller has improved every year and will likely be the lead back in the foreseeable future. That said, Ajayi only fell in the draft due to concerns over his knee, but has the talent to be an NFL starter if he can stay healthy. I preferred him to the others in this tier (Dorsett, Coleman, Duke, Funchess) even though it will likely take a patient dynasty owner in order to reap the rewards.
My thoughts: How you value Ajayi is likely inversely proportional to your opinion on Miller. Personally, I think Miller is better than most realize and will get 15 carries a game plus work in the passing game. This is only going to leave a handful of carries for someone like Ajayi this year. That means selecting Ajayi comes down to a long term play. Will the Dolphins let Miller walk in free agency? If they do, Ajayi could get first crack at the starting job in 2016, making him a steal in the late first or more often in the middle of the second round. If Miller stays in Miami on a contract extension, I think Ajayi is going to be his caddy for the next few years.
That concludes our look at the first round. We will be back with round two tomorrow!