The long night has finally ended for football fans and training camps are underway! There was much rejoicing all across the land, and the trade markets in dynasty leagues far and near started to warm once again. This could very well be your last chance to buy that rookie at a discount before they blow up!
To help you get a feel for the current market, I grabbed 11 other writers and we sat down for another rookie mock. Keep in mind, this is just a snap shot of the current market. Your leagues could have a very different take on a player, so it never hurts to explore the market and see what you can get!
This mock was conducted just as training camps were opening up. That means any major news which comes out a week or two into camp is not accounted for in the drafting and comments below. For example, if Devin Funchess blows out his ACL in week two of training camp, that would obviously impact D.J. Moore. However, we didn’t know what at the time of drafting. I think you get the picture! For this mock, we assumed it was PPR scoring without any glaring team needs.
If you missed the first round, you should go take a look. Here is the second round.
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Early Second Round
2.01 – Courtland Sutton, WR DEN
2.02 – Michael Gallup, WR DAL
2.03 – James Washington, WR PIT
2.04 – Lamar Jackson, QB BAL
This is pretty much par for the course when it comes to the early second round. It has been and continues to be very common to see a trio of receivers and either a quarterback or a tight end in the first four picks of the second round. The receivers are the ones who didn’t go in the late first. Sometimes you will see Sutton or Gallup sneak into the last few picks of the first, which means Anthony Miller or Christian Kirk slide back to the early second.
Either way, there seems to be a group of receivers who always go right around the end of the first or early second. Then you have either the first tight end, which is almost always Gesicki, or the first quarterback, which tends to vary a lot.
When it comes to the trio of receivers, I like Sutton the most and it isn’t even close. While I don’t know if he can be a future fantasy WR1 or even the top target on his team, I think he can be a very solid receiver in the NFL. I view him as a slightly lesser version of Dez Bryant. Sutton isn’t overly athletic, but he is athletic enough that someone of his size can be very effective in the NFL. I don’t think he will do much this year, but the receivers in front of him are aging and near the end of their contracts. If he shows something this year, he could easily be a starting receiver in 2019.
Second on my own personal list from this group of receivers is Washington. His drafted situation doesn’t do him any favors. Antonio Brown just turned 30, but his contract and his skills should keep him around for several more years. Unless JuJu Smith-Schuster’s rookie season was a total mirage, he seems locked in as the number two and potentially future number one for a long time, especially since he is a year younger than Washington.
That means Washington is going to need to be content with the third receiver slot. Fortunately, the Steelers run an awful lot of three and four receiver sets, so Washington should see the field. However, his chances for meaningful production might be limited to flex play or maybe WR3 level unless an injury happens. With that said, he has the talent to make the most of the opportunities he gets.
Gallup, my least favorite of the trio, is almost the exact opposite of Washington in a lot of ways. Gallup landed in the ideal situation. A team with a young, ascending quarterback and a wide open depth chart at the receiver position. However, I have a lot of concerns about if Gallup has the talent to capitalize on that opportunity. I feel he is being over drafted purely based on the situation (remember Bishop Sankey?), but everyone can have their own opinion.
I asked Jeff Haverlack to share some thoughts on his selection, and it is a bit of a mixed bag: “Thanks to the situation, Gallup is being drafted higher than I would expect given his talent and level of development. He should push for snaps in three-wide situations as a rookie. He has plus-size at 6’1” and 205 pounds.
“A JUCO transfer who completed two years at Colorado State, Gallup made the most of those two years by pulling down 176 receptions for 2,685 yards and 21 touchdowns. He looks the part, has nimble feet, is a good leaper, and has natural instincts. On the negative side Gallup didn’t play against top competition, is a raw route-runner and tends to lose focus on the finer aspects of the position. I’m very comfortable taking Gallup near the top of the second round due to the opportunity he has and his natural athleticism.”
To round out the early part of the second round, we get our first quarterback. I’ve seen four different quarterbacks be the first off the board in the last few months. Jackson is probably neck-and-neck with Baker Mayfield to be the most common one with that honor. It is a little ironic that Jackson is the first one given that he will likely be the last one to start a NFL game.
Tommy Kislingbury tackles that thought and more: “I think it’s only a matter of time until he’s installed as the starting QB in Baltimore. Primarily, his fantasy value lies in his rushing ability and the benefit that brings is just so significant. There are huge questions about the receiving weapons he has, but I think they’re likely a bit underrated. Michael Crabtree is a very solid player. Willie Snead will be a good short weapon, and John Brown can stretch the field. Mostly though, I’m buying Jackson for 2019 and beyond – when I think his rushing ability can absolutely make him a top-ten QB.”
Middle of the Second Round
2.05 – Mike Gesicki, TE MIA
2.06 – Dante Pettis, WR SF
2.07 – Hayden Hurst, TE BAL
2.08 – Tre’Quan Smith, WR NO
After eight running backs went in the first ten picks of this mock draft, we haven’t seen another one since the 1.10 pick. This is common from what I’ve seen in a lot of drafts, both this summer and the ones which happened in the spring. Our first two tight ends come off the board as well as two more receivers. There is a large tier drop right around this area as well. Once you get past Gesicki and Pettis, it is pretty far down to the next group. If you have your rookie draft coming up and you are sitting in the back half of the second round, it is probably well worth it to try moving up a few slots.
Gesicki – the first tight end off the board in almost all mock drafts brings supreme athleticism and is in a wide-open depth chart. What he doesn’t have is a complete skill set. He is definitely a tight end for the current era, because he even struggles to stand in someone’s way, let alone actually block them – not that this matters a whole lot in fantasy leagues as long as it doesn’t impact playing time. I don’t think it will matter for Gesicki, because the Dolphins know exactly what they are getting with him. Given their struggles to find relevant receivers in recent years and the departure of Jarvis Landry, there should be a lot of targets waiting to be claimed for the athletic tight end. He won’t be on par with last year’s rookies, but he could be a high-end TE2 with more upside down the road.
The other tight end drafted in this grouping is Hurst. Pre-draft, I had Hurst as my top tight end. A lot was made over his advanced age due to a brief pro-baseball career, but rookie age is sometimes a bit overblown. Can we realistically plan seven-ten years down the road? If not, why does it matter if a rookie is 22 or 24 years old? Anyway, unlike Gesicki, Hurst does have it all.
While not quite as impressive at the Combine as Gesicki, Hurst still put up some big numbers – especially since he is 6’4” and 250 pounds. He has the skill set to be a TE1 in fantasy leagues. The question with Hurst is how things will shake out for the Ravens over the next year or two. Not only are there questions around the quarterback that carry potential scheme changes as well, but the Ravens also invested in another rookie tight end, though later in the draft. What this means for Hurst’s role and playing time is making a lot of fantasy owners a little bit nervous. He’s a pretty solid pick in that next tier of players once you get into the back half of the second round.
I like Pettis a little more than most people. He first caught my eye about a year and a half ago. I was looking at games to watch John Ross, and I was very impressed with what Pettis was doing opposite him. He has all the tools to be a complementary receiver in the NFL. My only concern with him is he never showed up big in the biggest games. Time and time again he fell flat in big games.
Nathan Powell had this to say about his selection: “I’m a fan of Pettis. I liked him pre-draft, then he went higher than expected in the NFL draft and to an attractive landing spot with the 49ers. His rookie draft ADP doesn’t properly reflect where he went in the NFL draft, with multiple wide receivers who went after him being valued higher than him in dynasty. Short-term, expectations are tempered but there is opportunity in San Francisco with only Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garçon as the other legitimate options in the passing game.”
The last player in this grouping is Smith. If I don’t have a choice of someone from the top half of this round, Smith is definitely one of my targets. Between his play-making ability and athletic ability, there is a lot to like. Not to mention, he is on a team with very little in the way of proven pass catchers. Once you get past Michael Thomas, you have a 33-year-old Ted Ginn, a recovering Cameron Meredith, and nothing else. Smith could easily play himself into a role sooner rather than later.
Zach Wilkens is equally high on the selection: “I was thrilled to have Smith fall to me because after James Washington and Mike Gesicki went earlier in the round, he was comfortably my top player available. I’m very skeptical of Cameron Meredith’s health which means if Smith plays well this preseason, he has a very real chance to start right away. We saw Michael Thomas make a huge impact right away as a second rounder. Brandin Cooks and Kenny Stills also played a lot early on. Sean Payton has a nice track record with draft choices recently. I expect Tre’Quan Smith to continue the trend.”
Late Second Round
2.09 – Nyheim Hines, RB IND
2.10 – Josh Rosen, QB ARI
2.11 – Baker Mayfield, QB CLE
2.12 – Antonio Callaway, WR CLE
Once we get to this point in the draft, we have entered the flier stage. Some years we get all the way through the second round before we hit this point, but this year features a very large tier in the first round with a slightly weaker middle. All of the players remaining are either at non-premium positions (QB or TE) or long shots with some solid upside. The four picks here are a great example of exactly that.
Hines breaks the running back drought which lasted nearly a full round after we saw eight running backs come off the board in the first ten picks. In fact, he is one of just four running backs taken in the whole rest of the mock draft. The position drops off very quickly this year. If Hines were 15-20 pounds bigger, he could have joined the first round group. As is, he is probably slated for a committee role, but as we have seen recently there is still value there.
Here is what our own Peter Howard had to say about his pick. “Nyheim Hines is limited because of his size. We all want players with high ceiling potential, but it’s also important to weight the likelihood of them succeeding. I thought Hines was the best mix of both at this spot. The “pass catching back” is often underrated because we think it’s a job almost anyone can do. By and large, it’s a myth that some quarterbacks or teams target their backs more than others. What really matters is when they have a running back with the skills set, then that player is utilized.
“I think Hines has a superior receiving skill set when compared to most, and he has a good shot at transferring it to the NFL. While I favor Marlon Mack to lead the team in touches I think Hines could earn himself a role and put up Chris Thompson/Theo Riddick type production as early as his first year.”
The second quarterback off the board in this mock, Rosen, is a player some love and others want nothing to do with him. I think Rosen was the most pro ready of the rookie quarterbacks, and considering his competition is the often injured Sam Bradford, Rosen could get his chance to start sooner rather than later. He has the talent to make the most of it as well.
He needs to improve down the field with both his decisions and getting the throws where they need to be, and he has his own injury issues. With that said, he has the tools to be a very capable quarterback, especially in the short and intermediate parts of the field. Not to mention, he has one of the best to every play the game in Larry Fitzgerald to help coach him along on the field. If you need a quarterback for the future you could definitely do a lot worse.
The first pick in the NFL draft falls to 2.11 in our mock. I’ve seen Mayfield as the first quarterback off the board a fair number of times. It is tough to not like what the Browns have been building. They have a lot of young talent on their offense now. The question is if they will actually pan out. If they all reach their potential, a backfield of Nick Chubb, Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson could be one of the better ones in the league. Then you have pass catchers Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman, Antonio Callaway and David Njoku. That could be quite the offense with Mayfield at the helm!
Unfortunately, that is a really big if on almost all counts. When you draft Mayfield, you are definitely rolling the dice on upside and potential, not just for him but for his surrounding cast. In all likelihood, Mayfield ends up being a solid but not great player. There are too many things that need to go perfect for him to be a superstar.
Callaway might be one of the biggest lottery tickets in this draft. If you only watched game tape for him, you would have him ranked as a top three receiver in this draft class. Unfortunately for him, there is a whole laundry list of other issues that have Callaway falling this far down. There are off the field concerns in terms of legal issues and drug issues. Then there are also some on the field concerns as well. There were multiple reports which mentioned his lack of effort in practice and in the weight room. That isn’t going to get him very far in the NFL.
If he can put it all together, he has the potential to be an every week starter in the NFL and potentially for your fantasy team. Easily worth a shot at this point in the draft.
(Editor’s note: All of this was written before Callaway was cited for marijuana possession in early August.)
That’s it for the second round recap. I’ll be back soon with the final round.