The biggest weekend of the off-season is behind us, and we now know the second major piece of the value puzzle – the situations. The first major piece is, of course, talent. Now we can clear up an awful lot of the “what ifs” and speculation about what systems all these prospects will be playing in, what kind of opportunity the rookies will have and a little bit about how NFL teams viewed their potential. In my opinion, people tend to under rate that very last one – NFL teams spend millions of dollars scouting players and they have decades of experience doing it. If a player isn’t drafted until the fourth round, that means teams had over 100 opportunities to draft that player and decided there was someone they liked better. That should tell us something. I’m not saying they are perfect, but if a player the fantasy community really liked slides far in the draft, there is likely a reason. Enough of that tangent, let’s get back to the main focus and cover what the draft did to player values!
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 and others have that covered for you) but rather a more detailed look at how our knowledgeable writers view each and every one of the picks. This way you get our thoughts and opinions on what the draft actually did to player value. Keep in mind, we all have our favorites who we like more than most, 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..
The first round of this mock was already published so make sure you go back and check it out. Now it is time to dig into round two.
2.01 – Pharoh Cooper, WR LA
Jeff’s thoughts: I was flummoxed with this pick. I looked hard at Devontae Booker and C.J. Prosise, but both went to teams where they will be hard pressed to be anything more than a committee member. Then I looked at Malcolm Mitchell and Leonte Carroo, but at the end of the day, I went with one of my favorite players in the draft.
To me, Cooper is already the best receiver in Los Angeles (you Mike Thomas truthers need to shush). I know many see him as a pure gadget type, and thus a poor match for a team already with a similar player in Tavon Austin, but I like the idea of him coming in and being a reliable target for new quarterback Jared Goff on a team that has a startling lack of that sort of receiving options. I will happily take him in the top half of the second round.
My thoughts: I’m really torn on Cooper. He needed to go to a team which has shown at least some ability to be creative on offense, which he did. Unfortunately, they already have a player who seems to be filling that creative playmaker kind of role. If the Rams try to make Cooper into a traditional receiver, it could be a disaster. It is going to be very interesting to see how Jeff Fisher deals with Austin and Cooper playing together. Cooper is dynamic with the ball in his hands, but getting the ball there will be the interesting piece.
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2.02 – Leonte Carroo, WR MIA
Austan’s thoughts: In our staff rankings prior to the draft, Carroo was the sixth-rated receiver in the class. I had him even higher, slotting him in as the fifth-ranked wideout. I’m guessing his landing spot may have soured some, but I’m thrilled to get him as the ninth receiver off the board. Carroo produced at a high level in college – he averaged over 20 yards per grab over the last two years despite being the only Rutgers’ offensive player defenses needed to worry about. He’s dominant after the catch, has good size (6-foot, 211 pounds) and is a natural hands catcher. Miami was certainly an interesting spot, but the Dolphins traded three picks to move up and get him. They wanted him badly and (I’d assume) have a plan for him. It’s never a bad idea to bet on talent, and I like the value here.
My thoughts: Out of all of the top receivers, I think Carroo’s landing spot hurt his draft stock and his prospects the most. While he does land on a team which seems to be trending up when it comes to offensive production, it is also a team with at least the top two receiver slots locked in. When you mix in Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron as potential pass catchers, I’m not sure how much room there is for someone else. I like the talent as a late first round fantasy pick prior to the draft, but the landing spot is a definite disappointment for fantasy owners.
2.03 – Mike Thomas, WR LA
Nick’s thoughts: I’m a fan of new quarterback Jared Goff because he has a complete game already. I fully expect him to develop into a good NFL starting signal caller. However, the Rams current receiving corps of Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin have failed to live up to expectations. Austin developed some last season, but this team needs a WR1 to develop with Goff. Yes, they drafted Pharoh Cooper in the fourth round, but he’s a gadget/slot receiver type who lacks the size and athletic ability to play on the outside – this leaves Thomas a big opportunity with the Rams. Remember when the Colts paired TY Hilton with Andrew Luck? Good young quarterbacks need a player to develop with and Thomas has a good chance to be that player.
My thoughts: We now have a second Rams’ receiver come off the board in the first three picks of the round. I think the debate between Thomas and Cooper is just beginning and I expect Nick and Jeff to have it out on one of their podcasts very soon! Training camp is going to be very interesting this year in LA, because there are a lot of receivers who could emerge from the murky depth chart we currently have. I don’t know if Thomas is more gifted physically than the other players on the roster, but the fact he is an unknown will get some people excited. I think he’s more of a late second round pick in fantasy drafts, but if you’re a believer, you might as well take him. This draft is a bit of a mess after the first 10-12 players anyway.
2.04 – Malcolm Mitchell, WR NE
Brian’s thoughts: Mitchell struggled with a knee injury early in his college career that slowed him a bit. His 4.43 forty yard dash at the draft showed that he has vertical speed. He is able to win on intermediate routes and was a chain mover in Athens for the Bulldogs. His ability to use his body to create separation and make contested catches makes him a great possession receiver for the Pats. Mitchell is the type of player who needs some grooming and hopefully will play out better than many of the receivers drafted by the Patriots in recent years. When he isn’t playing football, Mitchell spends his time at book clubs and is a published author of a children’s book.
My thoughts: Mitchell was one of the feel good stories of the NFL draft, but unfortunately feeling good about players doesn’t get you fantasy points. He’s a bit raw when it comes to route running thanks to the offense he is coming from and he really struggled to come back from his knee injury. There are concerns the knee could be a long term issue and shorten his career, but I’m more concerned about the short term. Not knowing how to run routes is bad on pretty much any team, but if you aren’t exactly where Tom Brady expects you to be at the exact time, you don’t play. The potential is there, I just think we might be waiting a few years on this one.
2.05 – Hunter Henry, TE SD
Scott’s thoughts: It was a tough choice between Henry and Devontae Booker. In the end, I went with Henry, as I think he’s a safer bet for consistent fantasy production. Booker is more of a gamble. Henry is the consensus top tight end in this class and played in a pro-style offense in the SEC. He was also very productive with 116 receptions, 1,661 yards and nine touchdowns in three seasons at Arkansas. He has good size (6 feet 5 inches, 250 pounds) and managed a 4.67 40 yard dash with 21 bench press reps at his pro day as well. He goes to an offense that emphasizes the tight end as a receiving option and Philip Rivers loves to target them. Henry ran a variety of routes at Arkansas and should be ready to step in as a receiving threat. There are mixed reports on his blocking ability but he is reportedly a willing blocker and hopefully will improve with NFL coaching. I wouldn’t take him in round one of rookie drafts, but mid-round two is a good time to grab him.
My thoughts: A month ago I would have said the seventeenth pick in a rookie draft was too early for any of the tight ends in this draft class. While I still think it is a touch too soon given some of the other players on the board, I think the landing spots of several players destroyed a lot of the value we thought would be available in the second round, possibly moving the tight ends up just a bit. Henry wouldn’t have been the top tight end in any of the last several years, but he’s the best option this year. He’s going to have a year or two to learn from one of the best ever, which should help his transition. Just remember, when you’re drafting a tight end, you can’t expect anything until at least year two.
2.06 – Devontae Booker, RB DEN
Izzy’s thoughts: This draft got ugly in a hurry. It seems like all of the talented players went to poor landing spots and the lesser talents went to good landing spots. Since the second round is full of bad situations, I was happy to take the best player left in the draft. Pre-NFL Draft, Booker was in my top six prospects and although the landing spot hurts him, he still has upside. The only thing in his way is CJ Anderson’s contract. The Broncos invested in Anderson, so dynasty owners can only hope for injury to open the door for Booker. Hey, it’s possible, if not probable.
My thoughts: I wasn’t as high on Booker pre-draft as a lot of other people, so him ending up on the Broncos really sunk his value for me. With everyone else seeming to be dropping as well, I think you’re still going to see him as a common pick in the early to middle second round. I’m still not high on him, though. I think Denver views him as the future backup for Anderson. Ronnie Hillman is just on a one year deal and I’d bet John Elway would like that signing back now that he has Booker. I don’t think Booker can or will beat out Anderson, so he’s going to be his caddy for years to come.
2.07 – Tajae Sharpe, WR TEN
Matt’s thoughts: In time, Sharpe should develop into the team’s WR2 across from Dorial Green-Beckham. The Titans signed Rishard Matthews and also still have Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker, so he may have a difficult time getting reliable targets early in his career, though. Sharpe’s excellent route-running ability could help him surpass both Wright and Matthews if he can beat press coverage more consistently than he did in college. Sharpe showed plenty of ability to catch the ball and only had one fumble on 277 career catches so do not be concerned with the pre-draft talk about his small hands.
My thoughts: Sharpe is one of those players with a limited ceiling who might struggle with bigger and stronger defensive backs in the NFL. He’ll never be the top target on an NFL team, but he can turn into a solid role player in a receiver group. Considering who else the Titans have, Sharpe could turn into a nearly every down player as soon as 2017 and his upside will be determined by how his young quarterback progresses. He’s a solid pick in the back half of round two.
2.08 – CJ Prosise, RB SEA
My thoughts: I’m shocked Prosise was still on the board at this point in the mock because I would have taken him over the vast majority of players who have been selected ahead of him in this round. Maybe his slide is a product of people just not liking him as much as I do, but I’m guessing it has more to do with the situation he walked into in Seattle.
People assume the Seattle backfield is locked up by Thomas Rawls, but I think that is far from certain. Rawls is coming off a major injury for a running back. In fact, it might even be worse than an ACL tear. Just ask Ben Tate. There is a decent chance he won’t be the same player when he returns and Seattle drafting two running backs in the middle rounds tells me they realize it is a possibility – this opens the door for one of the rookie running backs to take a very sizable portion of the snaps this year. I think people are drastically misreading what has been going on in Seattle, so if Prosise starts to dip into the second round, I think you need to go get him.
2.09 – Jared Goff, QB LA
Eric’s thoughts: I’m not a big believer in Jeff Fisher’s ability to produce a legitimate NFL offense but I liked what I saw from Goff at Cal. There’s a stable of under achieving wide receivers in LA in Kenny Britt, Brian Quick and Tavon Austin for Goff to sling the rock to. Year one will undoubtedly be a lot of handoffs to Todd Gurley, with good reason, but he’s a solid guy to pair with a Tom Brady, Drew Brees or the uber fragile Tony Romo.
My thoughts: This is about the right time for the first quarterback to come off the board. I have my doubts about either of the top two quarterbacks ever becoming rock solid QB1s, but I think they could approach the high QB2/low QB1 threshold in a few seasons – this means I view their ceiling as being in the Eli Manning and Philip Rivers neighborhood. I view Goff as the safer of the two players and the much more likely of the two to reach that ceiling. I think you could probably justify taking him in the middle of the second if you’re really hurting for a quarterback, but that’s the absolute highest I’d suggest taking him in a one quarterback league.
2.10 – Rashard Higgins, WR CLE
Adam’s thoughts: One of four and a half wide receivers taken by the Browns, Higgins is in for an uphill battle. It’s going to be a very important camp to be watching, but at the end of the second round it’s hard to find a more talented player. An excellent route runner who’s a bit skinny for his height, Higgins must beat out Ricardo Lewis and Jordan Payton for a spot opposite Corey Coleman. Even though it is the Browns, this could be a good offense in a few years. This is a great flier for a contender, especially in PPR leagues.
My thoughts: It doesn’t feel right saying this, but two of the most interesting training camps will be the Rams and the Browns. I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. Both teams invested heavily at the receiver position and have a depth chart which is almost entirely up for grabs. In Cleveland, you know Coleman is a week one starter, but the other three are all on pretty much equal footing right now. Higgins needs to get stronger and more physical, but he could turn into a solid possession receiver for the Browns. The million dollar question is what will that be worth given that it is for the Browns. Nonetheless, I expect him to be a common pick in the late second round.
2.11 – Jonathan Williams, RB BUF
Kevin’s thoughts: Williams could be the steal of the draft at running back. Without the injury suffered in 2015, he may have been taken as high as the second or third round in the NFL draft. The Buffalo Bills drafted Williams as the twelfth running back in the fifth round at #156 overall. He has the ability to wear down a defense and can be used in multiple situations, including pass protection. Often in today’s NFL, teams look to substitute personnel based on game flow or a series which may involve pass heavy plays (such as a no huddle), or some series which might require a slower pace to eat up the clock. Williams has the ability to perform both roles as a runner and as a pass protector. For fantasy, the landing spot is not ideal with LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams already fighting for snaps. Williams is a solid late second round pick with the approach that talent will overcome situation eventually.
My thoughts: I like Williams as a nice second round sleeper heading into the draft process, but landing in Buffalo killed his value for me. For Williams to see significant time, you are counting on a McCoy injury and Williams reverting back to his inconsistent college ways. I think both of those occurring is pretty unlikely. I believe Williams was simply insurance for a team we know is going to run the ball a lot. He was a great value for the Bills, but I think his fantasy value took a major hit. He definitely has talent, but I don’t think we will get to see it on display anytime soon.
2.12 – Braxton Miller, WR HOU
Trevor’s thoughts: I honestly didn’t expect to take Miller as I’m not a fan of his raw skills entering an NFL level of play. However, at #24 overall, I think the risk/reward profile is just about right. He won’t be expected to do too much too soon with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller projected to take the majority of the work with Cecil Shorts and Jaelen Strong still ahead of him – this should give him the opportunity to learn and hone his craft to hopefully match his athletic skills. This pick is all about upside and the risk is relatively low at this point in the draft.
My thoughts: Extremely raw but incredibly gifted, we knew an NFL team was going to take a shot on Miller. The question about him has always been if he will be able to make the transition and turn into a player worthy of being started in fantasy leagues. I think the answer is most likely a no, but if he does he could be fantastic! If that happens, we’re talking about a player with the potential to crack the top 25 receivers. Even though he is likely to do nothing, I’m willing to take that chance based on the upside in the late second or early third. Just don’t get too excited and go after him any sooner.
That is it for the second round. In my opinion, the talent in this draft dries up very quickly. I feel like there are fewer than 15 total players who would be second round picks or better in most years, leaving the second round as a largely underwhelming experience. Originally I expected the second to be filled with nice values, but due to a lot of players landing in bad spots, those values are now going in the late first or very early second. You just need to make the best of a bad situation this year.
Round three will be posted within the next few days for a look at some of our favorite fliers!