Earlier today I brought you a look at a mock draft we here at Team DLF quickly completed on Voxer, an app that works like a walkie talkie for smartphones. In case you missed it, Voxer is used to leave what equates to be short voice or text messages and we have the ability to create groups to talk about whatever we may want in a very quick and efficient manner. The article was well received and that led me to think about using it for something else – this time something a little more provocative.
I asked the group to again do a quick hitting 12-team, PPR, two-round rookie mock draft using the app and opened it up to everyone on Team DLF. The rules were simple – if you opened the app and saw the draft running, you could choose a player to keep it moving (you just couldn’t pick two in a row). However, this draft was very different and had two very distinct rules you had to follow.
1.) You were to choose the player on the board you believe has the biggest rookie pick bust potential – this was defined as drafting a player who has the best chance at returning nothing close to the draft pick value you’d have to use to acquire him. For example, DeShone Kizer is a popular player who many believe will not be a great dynasty asset. However, he can be had in rookie drafts with a late round pick, so the risk isn’t great with him and thus, he really doesn’t fit the criteria. On the other hand, Joe Mixon is a polarizing prospect for obvious reasons and he represents a significant risk since you’ll have to likely use a top four pick to secure his services.
2.) The players taken had to be from our top 24 in the current rankings. You couldn’t go outside the consensus first two rounds for a player.
It’s our duty to give you as much information as we can and managing risk with valuable rookie draft picks is a key part in winning or losing long-term in dynasty leagues. As you read this, understand these picks are made in the context of value. Someone like Jeremy McNichols has a great chance to bust but at his current late second or third round value, the risk is mitigated in comparison to taking him in the top ten. With this in mind, here’s how this unique “Voxer Rookie Bust Mock Draft” unfolded.
Editor’s Note: Click on the player’s name to read their Rookie Player Profile, an exclusive look brought to you by DLF.
“I just threw up when I hit submit.”
1.01 = Joe Mixon, RB CIN
No surprise here as Mixon tops the chart as the riskiest pick on the board. It’s going to take some courage in order to select him within the top four of a rookie draft but that’s exactly what it looks like it’s going to take to acquire his services. Mixon is supremely talented and would be squarely in the mix for the 1.01 if his off-the-field issues weren’t there. He could end up being a steal in the draft or get himself back into trouble and subsequently find himself in real hot water since there will be very little tolerance for any transgressions given the public backlash that would ensue.
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1.02 = John Ross, WR CIN
The Bengals come in with the two riskiest picks for dynasty owners in our “Rookie Bust Mock Draft.” Ross is literally the fastest player in the league but he has some serious knee injury concerns and has to prove he’s more than a “one trick pony” as a deep threat. He’s also not going to be the WR1 on his own team since he’ll line up across from the likes of AJ Green.
1.03 = Curtis Samuel, WR CAR
The Panthers already drafted a dynamic multi-talented player in the form of Christian McCaffrey. Is there enough production to go around with Kelvin Benjamin, McCaffrey and Cam Newton scoring touchdowns? Samuel is quickly turning out to be one of the true conversation lightning rods in this draft.
1.04 = JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR PIT
It’s no surprise to see Smith-Schuster high on this list. There’s no questioning his talent but he just hasn’t been able to put it all together consistently. The Steelers churn out receivers like nobody’s business but there are also a whole host of them above him on the current depth chart and Ben Roethlisberger is no sure bet to be around by the time Smith-Schuster starts to get it.
With Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram in the way at the moment, it’s hard to see immediate dividends coming from Kamara. In addition, he landed in a place that’s obviously going to be hesitant in making him the lead back and those drafting him have to hope he’s as dynamic as Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush was to justify a late first round or early second round choice.
I was a little surprised to see Williams this high on the list despite his lofty rookie draft status. I asked Jeff Miller why he chose Williams at 1.06 and he said, “He may end up being the fourth best pass catcher on a team that feeds its running back 20 touches per game.” It’s true the Chargers have some nice talent at the position and Philip Rivers is also towards the end of his career, making Williams a choice not without risk somewhere around pick #5 in a rookie draft.
“It’s not a totally perfect situation for this draft slot but let’s roll the dice. No guts, no glory!”
1.07 = OJ Howard, TE TB
Let’s face it. Taking any tight end in the top ten is going to be a risk and that’s what you’re going to need to do in order to get Howard. There’s a chance the position finally evens out to the point where there are distinct tiers of players again instead of having it be so top heavy but there’s no guarantee there. Howard will also need to show his lack of production truly was the product of poor quarterback play at Alabama.
1.08 = Dalvin Cook, RB MIN
This one is pretty easy. Do you believe the player you see on tape or the one who bombed at the NFL Draft Combine? Cook is going to run behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league and has some character concerns as well. He’s a high risk, high reward player in its purest sense.
1.09 = Corey Davis, WR TEN
When you find yourself as the 1.01 pick overall, there’s going to be some pressure to succeed. After all, someone spending their top pick on Davis is choosing not to trade it for a known commodity and instead risk it on elite-level potential. Still, Davis looks the part and just needs to prove he can perform at the highest level instead of against inferior competition.
1.10 = Leonard Fournette, RB JAX
Much like Davis, Fournette belongs somewhere towards the top just based on someone likely using one of the top two picks on him. He could have landed in a better situation but he has the makeup of a workhorse running back, even if he is running behind a porous offensive line and playing with an unproven quarterback.
1.11 = Christian McCaffrey, RB CAR
I actually expected McCaffrey to come in a little higher on the list. There are questions about how much he’ll be used (though you don’t spend the 8th pick in the draft on a player to have him watch), if he’ll be able to hold up to the beating of the NFL and just how many scoring opportunities he may lose to Jonathan Stewart and Cam Newton early in his career. Still, we haven’t seen a player this dynamic in quite some time.
1.12 = Samaje Perine, RB WAS
Spending a late first or early second on a running back who may or may not have a chance to start this season is a risk for sure. Perine looks the part and fits the offense well but Robert Kelley isn’t going to just allow him to steal the job and it’s hard to say just how Perine would perform even if he had it based on what many perceive as a limited skill set.
“I’ll stick with one of these players because I want them to have a legitimate chance to perform.”
2.01 = Chris Godwin, WR TB
He won’t have a chance to produce early on in his career but should be ready by the time DeSean Jackson moves on. Godwin has a chance to be very successful in a revamped offense if the coaching staff can stay patient with him. Dynasty owners should do the same.
2.02 = David Njoku, TE CLE
If Njoku had landed on a team with a more clear quarterback picture, he’d likely be lower in this list (which is obviously better). Still, the Browns have jettisoned Gary Barnidge and Njoku should have a chance to start from day one – that’s a very positive sign for this athletic freak of nature.
2.03 = Jeremy McNichols, RB TB
Now, keep in mind this isn’t saying McNichols is going to be the starter in Tampa Bay this year. What this IS saying is the risk associated with taking him at his current spot in the late second round isn’t as dangerous as it could be. McNichols is still a major dart throw but one that could really pay off.
2.04 = Marlon Mack, RB IND
Much like McNichols, Mack is a late second or early third round prospect who could turn out to be a steal or a bust. At his current price tag, that seems pretty palatable considering Frank Gore is getting close to acquiring an AARP card and can already see movies and eat dinner cheaper than you can.
2.05 = Evan Engram, TE NYG
Any tight end taken highly in a rookie draft generates a certain amount of risk. Still, it’s pretty telling about what Team DLF thinks of Engram as he was comfortably the safest pick of the talented bunch.
2.06 = Kareem Hunt, RB KC
If you wanted proof of the existence of the Kareem Hunt hype train being in full force, here it is. He’s a late first or early second round pick being deemed as relatively safe. There are questions as to if he can truly beat out Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West but it’s clear our team believes he can and is providing decent value even at his lofty draft position.
“I worked hard for this draft pick and I’m not going to waste it!”
2.07 = Zay Jones, WR BUF
The sky seems to be the limit for Jones and the Bills failing to pick up the option on Sammy Watkins’ contract seems to have solidified it. He looks like a pretty safe choice at the end of round one or early in round two.
2.08 = ArDarius Stewart, WR NYJ
A barren depth chart and a low ADP helps Stewart achieve “rookie safe status” within our “Rookie Bust Mock Draft” here. Much like Howard, Stewart will need to prove his sub-par production was the result of poor quarterback play from the Crimson Tide but he has the talent to do it.
2.09 = Wayne Gallman, RB NYG
Gallman is quickly becoming one of my favorite players to cover in this year’s post-draft rookie content. While many are down on him for not being dynamic or having special ability, he’s also widely regarded as a safe player to draft in the late second round. It seems we’ve found “Mr. Average.”
2.10 = D’Onta Foreman, RB HOU
Foreman had a monster year at Texas and stayed in his home State to play for the Texans. He’s a Lamar Miller injury away from immediate value and even though he has a limited skill set, it seems our team really likes him at his current late second round ranking.
2.11 = Taywan Taylor, WR TEN
It’s official. Corey Davis is not the only receiver to own in Tennessee. Taylor is likely going to man the slot for the Titans sooner, rather than later and Team DLF likes him at his second round price. While he certainly isn’t projected to be the same player as Davis, the risk to acquire Taylor isn’t nearly as great.
2.12 = Carlos Henderson, WR DEN
The safest bet in the first two rounds may very well be Carlos Henderson. At a ranking of 21 and a projected draft slot of the late second round, Henderson seems to have won over the team here and represents solid value in a rookie draft.
Well, there you have it. Keep in mind this was simply an exercise for us to discuss risk vs. reward and have a little fun as we continue to analyze this year’s rookie class. Let us know which picks you agree and disagree with below!
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK