Looking into the 2016 Rookie Class: Part Two

Nick Whalen

henryPart two of this series dives deeper into potential players in the 2016 rookie class. Things may change with players declaring or deciding to return to school. Part one of this series covered the top players in this class. For further reading, I would check out my article from this summer and Ryan McDowell’s article from last month. Ryan also released a must-read piece yesterday providing an early look at 2016 rookie ADPs.

Tier Four

These two players are just a bit behind tier three, but far ahead of tier five in terms of floor. Both players are good prospects with several question marks. If they land in good spots, I can see them moving up.

Derrick Henry, RB Alabama (6’3” 242)

The Heisman Trophy winner fell all the way to tier four and this won’t be a popular opinion, but he’s the most overrated prospect in this class. He’s a very good athlete for a player his size, but that’s not how we measure fantasy football potential. Henry’s size is a negative in many ways including balance, power, and agility. In fact, I think he’s not a great short yardage back. Henry will be more scheme-dependent because he has a more difficult time overcoming a poor offensive line than the average NFL running back. Highlights

NFL Comparison = Brandon Jacobs

Leonte Carroo, WR Rutgers (6’1” 201)

[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]

Multiple off-field incidents will cause Carroo to drop on draft day. It will linger in the back of dynasty owners’ minds before they make their next rookie pick. I would caution you to ignore it because Carroo represents a huge value. Thickly built, he brings a physical attitude and can overpower defenders for the football. He is a good, not great athlete on the field. However, he is a high effort player that will transition to the NFL level. He is a hands catcher, but still needs to develop further in his route running. I do like his vision and effort after the catch. I can see a smart team grabbing him in the third or fourth round and he develops into a good player. Highlights. More Highlights. Even more Highlights

NFL Comparison = Donte Moncrief

Tier Five

Lots of big time potential in tier five. Landing spot and development will be key.

Alex Collins, RB Arkansas (5’11” 216)

He has very good feet and cutting ability to find a hole and make defenders miss. He also has good athletic ability and will top out in the high 4.4’s. He was highly productive in the SEC every year he was in college, but his ceiling will be limited by his running attitude and power. Collins plays soft and tries to avoid contact. Highlights

NFL Comparison = Ryan Williams

Devontae Booker, RB Utah (5’11” 212)

Booker is a tough runner with determination and will break tackles from not giving up. He shows good balance after contact and can string together broken tackles; displaying good cutting ability and a wide array of ways to make defenders miss. He’s a better outside runner than on the interior, and more of a slasher than a power runner. He has very good hands, with 80 receptions over the last two years. Booker’s NFL ceiling will be directly tied to if he evolves as a better interior runner. JUCO transfer, who will enter the NFL at age 24. Highlights wilson

NFL Comparison = Arian Foster (shows some of the same smoothness to his game, and hands)

De’Runnya Wilson, WR Mississippi State (6’5” 215)

One of the more unique receiver prospects in this draft class. Wilson is a former Mr. Basketball for the state of Alabama and has only played football for four years. While he’s still learning, his potential jumps off the field. He has great flexibility, ability to adjust, and tracks the football well. He needs to catch with his hands more often and play more physical, but he’s improving there. Wilson runs well, probably a 4.5 flat, and shows very good quickness for a 6’5” player: it’s evident when he releases off the line of scrimmage and gains separation. Highlights

NFL Comparison = AJ Green (without the great hands, and a lesser athlete)

Bucky Hodges, TE Virginia Tech (6’7” 241)

Hodges won’t turn 21 until next August, and was recruited as a quarterback out of high school. He transitioned to tight end during the Spring of his Freshman season. Therefore, we have a young and raw player, who is still learning the position. His NFL position could be either tight end or receiver, as Virginia Tech has split him out quite a bit this season. Hodges is a very good athlete for a 6’7” man, but he doesn’t play nearly as physical as one would expect. He also body catches the football too often and negates his height advantage. Boom or bust type of prospect. Highlight

NFL Comparison = Jimmy Graham (athletically), Devin Funchess (just as raw, and drop issues)

Evan Engram, TE Ole Miss (6’3” 227)

I could see Engram at a number of positions in the NFL: tight end, ‘move’ tight end, slot receiver or outside receiver. He has very good hands and athletic ability, and is sudden in his route running allowing him to gain separation. He runs in the high 4.4’s and can make defenders miss. Engram gets overshadowed due to Laquon Treadwell at Ole Miss, but he definitely should be on your radar. Highlights

NFL Comparison = Jordan Reed

Tier Six

I don’t see big time potential with the quarterbacks this year, but they still possess value.

Jared Goff, QB Cal (6’4” 205)

I really like Goff’s active feet and movement in the pocket. He has inconsistent accuracy, which may be only off by a foot. However, it happens often enough to affect the game because receivers have to stop momentum or turn in towards a defender to make a reception. He has the necessary arm strength to succeed in the NFL, but doesn’t possess a cannon. His slight frame may make him prone to injuries, but he has a quick and compact release. Goff looks to have good command of the offense and makes the necessary reads: throwing on time and in rhythm with his receivers. He has the highest floor of the quarterbacks in this class. Highlights

NFL Comparison = Sam Bradford (appearance and arm only)

Paxton Lynch, QB Memphis (6’7” 245)

An athletic player for his size, Lynch can move around to make plays both running and buying time. He doesn’t have consistent feet, which lead to inaccuracy and not throwing in rhythm. He also throws off his back foot often, which leads to a ball sailing and lacking zip on some passes. At times, I see him showing solid feet and throwing within five yards of the line of scrimmage. Therefore, it’s in there, but he needs to concentrate on it further. Lynch has a good, but not great arm. His development will take time, but will the NFL give it to him? Highlights

NFL Comparison = Brock Osweiler, Ryan Tannehill

If you’re still in the playoffs, good luck. If not, I hope you enjoyed this two-part series and I’ve shifted your mindset to next year and how to improve your team.


nick whalen
Latest posts by Nick Whalen (see all)