The 2018 rookie class is set and I couldn’t wait to get a group of our writers together for some mock drafts. While there is little intrigue at the top of rookie drafts this season, where running backs Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice are expected to have the top two picks on lock, there is plenty of room for disagreement from the 1.03 on. With disagreement comes value and it is never too early to begin tracking the value of your favorite rookies.
You might be thinking that you just read this exact same article. But this mock draft included once very important change from our previously posted one. This is based on a 2QB format. While there are questions about each of the quarterbacks in this class, as a super-flex dynasty player, I am encouraged by the volume of solid signal-callers entering the league this year.
Here are the participants, listed in draft order:
- Kyle Holden
- Michael Zingone
- Noah Ballweg
- Joe Redemann
- Ryan McDowell
- Adam Tzikas
- Travis May
- Curtis Patrick
- Joseph Nammour
- Jake Anderson
- Richard Jenkins
- Anthony Santigate
1.01 – Saquon Barkley, RB Penn State
Kyle owned the first pick and acknowledged that drafting the Penn State running back was the “easiest pick of the draft.” Not even the advanced quarterback value in this format should push Barkley out of the top spot.
1.02 – Derrius Guice, RB LSU
As has been previously mentioned, Guice is the heavy favorite to be the second player off the board. Michael agreed with this sentiment, saying Guice was “fairly easily the pre-Combine 1.02.” He noted there was “no stud quarterback to take.”
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1.03 – Courtland Sutton, WR SMU
Just as in our previous mock draft, SMU receiver Sutton is the third pick, this time by Noah. He expects “red zone targets to be a regular” for Sutton, thanks to his size. Noah also mentioned he sees a “long career of dominance ahead of him.”
1.04 – Nick Chubb, RB Georgia
This might be the range we start to see quarterbacks drafted in this format, but Joe clearly still values Georgia’s running back Chubb near the top tier. He explains that he “wasn’t biting on a quarterback when a big-time RB1 is still available.”
1.05 – Josh Rosen, QB UCLA
I had the fifth pick in this draft and gladly grabbed my top rookie signal caller, Rosen. All of the quarterbacks in this class have some warts, but the UCLA product is my current favorite. He’s a value in the middle of the first round.
1.06 – Sam Darnold, QB USC
As you’ll often see in rookie drafts, once the seal is broken on a position, others will quickly follo. That is the case here with the Darnold selection. Adam felt the USC product was a “safe pick in the middle of the round,” and said “Darnold has the tools to be a pro quarterback.”
1.07 – James Washington, WR Oklahoma State
Travis made former Oklahoma State Cowboy Washington the second receiver off the board, calling him a well-rounded big-play threat.” He also explained that Washington “felt like a safer pick than the other quarterbacks available.”
1.08 – Christian Kirk, WR Texas A&M
According to Curtis’ research, his pick, wide receiver Kirk of Texas A&M, has some nice company. Curtis points out that Kirk “is one of three players since 2010 with 200+ receptions, 1,000+ kick return yards and 500+ punt return yards. The others: Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton.” Fine company indeed.
1.09 – Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville
Another quarterback is the target of Joseph, who admits Jackson “is probably not the best quarterback in the class, but his game-changing ability as a rusher gives him the highest upside at the position in the class.” Let’s just hope Jackson lands with a coaching staff who can figure out how to use him.
1.10 – Auden Tate, WR Florida State
The quarterback tier is drying up, so Jake opts for a receiver in Florida State’s Tate. He says “Tate has all the physical attributes you want out of a big-bodied receiver.” Jake also likes how Tate uses his 6’5”, 225-pound frame, making him a “great contested catch guy with enough speed and lateral agility in the open field.” Although, he did admit Tate “needs to improve as a route runner.”
1.11 – Sony Michel, RB Georgia
Georgia’s Michel, who was not so long ago viewed as the clear second option behind teammate Chubb, is now one of the hottest rookie names among dynasty players. Richard called him “the best value here,” despite lacking “stellar college production.” The Combine results will tell us if Michel will continue to rise up the board or flat line.
1.12 – Ronald Jones II, RB USC
The first round ends with a fifth running back, USC’s Jones II, who Anthony suggested could be “a high first” round pick in other drafts. I agree with him. The depth of the class will result in some amazing value late in the round and into the second and third rounds.
2.01 – Calvin Ridley, WR Alabama
Many expect Alabama’s Ridley to be the top receiver taken in the NFL Draft, but here he falls to the early second round. Kyle notes Ridley “might not have as high a ceiling as some of the other names on this list.” Regardless, Kyle explained that he “felt confident using a second round pick on a receiver who should be ready to step in and produce on day one.”
2.02 – Baker Mayfield, QB Oklahoma
The jury is out on what to expect from the undersized playmaker and Heisman winner Mayfield, but in the second round, Michael said he’d “be extremely happy with the value.”
2.03 – Josh Allen, Wyoming
There are five quarterbacks currently being discussed as potential first-round picks in the NFL Draft and the fifth off the board here is Wyoming’s Allen, who some have projected as the top overall draft pick. Noah grabs him here, noting his “cannon of an arm,” but also suggesting Allen “will have to develop a bit.” Noah ended up taking Allen since he “couldn’t pass up his potential investment return in the NFL.”
2.04 – Equanimeous St. Brown, WR Notre Dame
Joe seemed to want a quarterback here, but explained that the “quarterback tier drops off after Mayfield.” Instead, he chose former Notre Dame receiver St. Brown, who he says “has a ton of tools to make him a compelling prospect.” Joe called him a “possible WR1 if he tests well.”
2.05 – DJ Moore, WR Maryland
Even in the mid-range of the second round, there are still several strong options available. I chose Maryland receiver Moore, who is just starting to get some deserved attention. In a subpar receiver class, Moore has the chance to really climb the board.
2.06 – Mark Andrews, TE Oklahoma
While there is plenty of debate about the top of the quarterback and wide receiver ranks, most seem to agree Oklahoma’s Andrews is the TE1 in this rookie class. Adam felt like the mid-second was a solid spot to “take a tight end shot,” and called Andrews “pro ready.”
2.07 – Kerryon Johnson, RB Auburn
It is exciting to see the depth of this class on display when a talented, high-upside back like Johnson falls to the back-half of the second round. Travis used his second-rounder to select the former Auburn back, who he noted ”grinded out 167 and 104 yards against Georgia and Alabama in their first meetings of 2017.” Travis also liked that Johnson “showed true feature back ability with some underrated receiving chops.”
2.08 – Royce Freeman, RB Oregon
The productive and powerful Freeman, formerly of Oregon, is next off the board. Although Freeman may not be the most explosive runner, he was a dominant college back, especially early in his career. Freeman should be able to carve out a role as part of a backfield committee.
2.09 – Rashaad Penny, RB San Diego State
Seeing former San Diego State back Penny fall this far actually had me second guessing my earlier Moore pick. Joseph nabbed him here, mentioning that “Penny posted astronomical numbers this season and looks to have a capable three-down skill set.”
2.10 – Kalen Ballage, RB Arizona State
As he did in the earlier draft, Jake made sure he came away with Arizona State’s Ballage, who he said has “phenomenal upside.” But he did admit Ballage is “the ultimate boom/bust pick.” The later it gets in a draft, the easier it is to make a pick like that. Ballage has been one of the standouts at this week’s Senior Bowl practices.
2.11 – Mason Rudolph, QB Oklahoma State
Getting lost in the crowded quarterback class is Oklahoma State’s Rudolph. Projected by most as a Day Two pick in the NFL, Rudolph would certainly warrant a pick in this range in the 2QB format. Richard likes Rudolph’s “prototypical size for a pocket passer and his great arm strength.” Richard also noted Rudolph has “prolific college numbers, but lacks agility and could be a victim of the system.”
2.12 – John Kelly, RB Tennessee
Anthony makes the final pick of the draft, grabbing Tennessee’s Kelly. Surprisingly, Kelly, who some are comparing to former teammate Alvin Kamara, was not selected in our previous 1QB mock draft. Kelly is the tenth back drafted, causing Anthony to point out the “loaded running back class.”
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